travel, ups and downs

Getting there

Welcome to what I hope, going in, will be the low point of the trip. 😄

(Narrator voiceover: it wouldn’t be.)

I remember midday to check in for my morning flight, and that’s when I discover my flight has changed. Gee AA, maybe I’d have wanted to know that?

But actually, the later flight, in this case, will mean smoother, less traffic-heavy airport trips (thanks Dad). It will also mean my ridiculous layover in JFK will be … every so slightly shorter. No, still ridiculous. But no time stress is a good thing.

S has only started packing as I leave for my first flight. I try not to think about it.

At BWI, they are pushing Clear hard. Sign up for a few free months of Clear! Never mind that we don’t say who or where or to what end your bio data will be stored. Good luck trying to figure out what it will cost you after the first few free months. Don’t worry your pretty little head about these kinds of details! Oh, and we’re closing most of the the TSA PreCheck lanes so that those are actually slower than general boarding. Are you sure you don’t want to sell your data to who-knows-who?

Uh, no. Thanks. I got time.

Anyway I warn S about the delays in case similar happens at the next airport. There are no guarantees – please Lord let her get packed and to the flight on time!

Once at JFK I navigate the AirTrain system, Terminal 8 to Terminal 1 (the long way, but I have time). I can’t check in without S, because of the way it’s ticketed, and Norwegian isn’t open til this evening.

Then I pop over to Terminal 5 to try to sort something for our return flights for S, at TAP, but there’s no one manning their counters either. We’ll have to sort it in Rome.

And then I’m back at Terminal 1, starting to feel like a pro at navigating this airport. A good book will help pass the time til S arrives and we can check in.

###

At JFK, Norwegian Air check-in rivals Emirates for disorganization and a slow security process.

We just have time to eat a little something before we hop on our flight and…

I am fading fast shortly after before takeoff.

It’s not the best sleep I’ve ever had on a flight. But it isn’t terrible. S needs oxygen to fly, and when I wake later, I catch myself worrying if she’s ok. If her oxygen was low and she was in distress, she would be sleeping, also. No way to tell the difference but to watch the time. About 2:20am I touch her leg. Do you need to change the battery? It’s been a lot of hours…

She wakes up understandably groggy, but unoffended at being awakened – she knows that it’s coming from a place of care. But no worries, she had an alarm set for 2:30am for this very purpose, but I had been nodding off at the time so hadn’t known. So I’ve only woken her up 10 minutes early.

Battery changed, we both fall back to fitful plane sleep.

(Interlude because I don’t want to forget about the loud man in the row in front of us who kept standing up, looming over me while I tried to sleep, and talking full volume to another man in the row behind us. S finally had to shush him. The cabin lights were off. Everyone around them was trying to sleep – and both he and the person he was talking to had an empty seat beside them. She was waaaay nicer about it, of course … S is never anything but nice about things, and she managed to handle it all via gestures and whispers — but the gist was… Dude. Sit together and talk quietly, or sit down and zip it, so everyone else can sleep. They finally opted to shut the heck up. Guess it wasn’t that important after all, that it needed to be discussed at full volume over our heads at that moment?)

We landed in Rome without incident. Euros acquired. Luggage acquired. Rental car acquired.

3 hours to Florence. It seemed like 8 … but that was just the exhaustion.

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