July 11, 2019: Back in New York

Thursday. GT2 Day Thirty Three. New York, New York, USA.

So going back to yesterday, since I was computerless and needed to post while I still had Internet… we left the apartment on top and went back to Brunch and Cake by the Sea for another breakfast and the girls’ favourite. Breakfast was awesome, even as our third time in three days. I had the salmon benedict again, and all the girls got the breakfast pancakes.

We lingered at Brunch and Cake as long as we could, but they were very busy and needed the table. So we left there but still had a few hours to kill. As we were walking up the street we found a place that had space and served sangria. Madeline especially had been wanting sangria in Spain, so they decided that we could stop there and wait for a while.

Dominica did not get anything. Emily, Madeline, and I all got sangria, it was pretty good. The restaurant was Mi Tio Pio (my cheap uncle.) We hung out for a while and enjoyed our drinks. But we only stayed for one, Emily was getting ancy because there might be wifi at the airport and there was none at any of the restaurants along this stretch.

So it was a bit early when we headed to the airport. We just had to take the metro over to Placa de Catalunya, then catch the Aerobus from there. We got the Placa and then Emily needed to use the bathroom again. So we ducked into El Corte Ingles since they knew where one was in there and she used that. Then we got on the bus, which runs every ten minutes from the square, and were off to the airport.

The bus to the airport was nice and easy. It was just under six Euros per person, definitely the cheap and easy way to deal with getting to and from the airport.

We arrived at the airport a bit before three. Our flight is around six thirty, so this is a lot of spare time. We got in and the line to check in with Norwegian was insane, so we jumped right in. There only had three lines open and our flight was listed on the board with the check in desks listed. So we were doing everything by the book.

We waded through a forty five minute line for the automated check in machines only to find out that they were all broken and the entire line was “fake”. The line was so long that people at the front realizing that there was no way to check in weren’t known to the people farther back in the line. So the line just kept getting longer and longer, even though it was for nothing.

I ran and got into the two hour long manual check in line. Suddenly we had gone from being nearly two extra hours early for our flight (we were there almost four hours before the flight) to worrying that we were not going to even make it! More stress. And Norwegian was doing nothing to label anything, tell people that machines were not working, direct them where to go… nothing. The lines were so long that you had no idea when you got into a line where it would even end up. It was just a mass of people.

Eventually someone informed us (not a staff person, just someone in a line) that there were new lines that had opened up out of sight just for US flights. So we got to switch to those, and there was no line at all. Probably because these were secret lines that no one already at the airport would know about. Once we got to them we were through the line in no time. We told them what was going on with their other lines in the hopes that they would do something to instruct people where to go. What an organizational mess.

After that we were right through security and into the terminal. We did some snack shopping for a bit so that we would have food now and on the plane. Dominica and I just got food for the plane. Madeline and Emily went to Burger King and got dinner as well to eat before getting to the gate.

The organizational mess continued to the gate for Norwegian. First, they used two gates, not just one and we ended up using the gate that was not listed by the airport. A little worrisome when they have so much confused already. And they called a lot of people, including Emily and Dominica, out for extra security measures very far away from the gate, but said names incorrectly and had no way to actually inform people that this was going on, and not enough time to really get there and get back for the flight. Then they didn’t board the plane when they were supposed to. They listed lines for different boarding categories, but forgot to staff the desk and open the doors, so the whole place became a mob of people trying to board a plane that wasn’t boarding, but the lines were again so long that we couldn’t tell. I sent a note to Norwegian corporate asking why we were “boarding” with the doors closed and if they plane intended to leave without us. Then the doors opened – only after “last call” had already been announced. Not our first time that Norwegian has pulled the “lock you out till after last call” trick with us. I’m convinced that they do this to try to leave people behind.

So we finally boarded the plane. Of course they made it very stressful as we were worried about all of the things that were going wrong for the last few hours. Sadly, we were stuck on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Not the worst plane, but not as comfortable as an Airbus. At least it has movies. But Boeings have bad seats and bad environmental handling, they are just super cheap planes and it shows.

To really make things worse, the Boeing had no AC at all while on the ground. So the internal temps were getting really high. There was no air movement, it was a packed plane, and there was no AC. So we were pushing ninety degree inside. Dominica was getting really sick without the plane even flying, and we were starting to really worry that they had no AC whatsoever and that they were going to try to fly a plane without environmental controls!

Once we finally got into the air, the AC came on. But the 787 has no real air flow and what we got was only a trickle. The 787’s air conditioning system was inadequate for such a full plane and wasn’t able to cool it down. Dominica spent eight and a half hours in flight fanning herself the entire way to make it possible for her to keep going. They have “vents” but almost no air comes out, and what does isn’t cold enough. I did okay, but was sweating the entire flight. There should be laws that commercial flights have a certain minimum level of cooling to keep passengers from getting sick, this is a bit dangerous allowing a plane to fly that can’t cool itself.

The movie selection on the plane was pretty poor, but at least there was something. I watching Isn’t It Romantic which was surprisingly good. Then I watched The Kid Who Would Be King which was surprisingly bad, I thought that I was really going to enjoy that, but it was super boring and not really worth sitting through if you weren’t on a plane. I watched Deadpool which everyone had raved about and while it wasn’t absolutely awful, it wasn’t good. Definitely not worth sitting through. Some crude humour and some good actors, but the writing was terrible and it is just garbage overall. But certainly the best thing I’ve ever seen Marvel turn out, but a long shot. So by comparison, yes good, but as a movie, just trash. Lastly I watched Dodgeball again as I have not seen it in a long time. That’s a well done movie, with an amazing cast.

We arrived in NYC at nine. We got to Alamo and rented our car. Originally Dominica had gotten us a pickup truck, but they had a Toyota Camry available for us, so I paid for the upgrade. And we got on the road as quickly as we could to get to Dominica’s parents’ house in Frankfort.

The drive went fine, but I was so tired. It was quite painful to make it all of that way. We arrived at two in the morning and were ready to pass out. The lack of sleep was really killing us. Of course, all three girls slept for hours in the car, so not nearly as bad for them.