Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On our way

Our journey began at 0815 Saturday, January 4 at the Delta check-in at Boston Logan airport. Due to traumatic winter weather and cancellations of flights, only 64.3% of us were there (including Amanda/Амалия who drove from New York to Boston to fly back to New York). We checked in our luggage with ease and went through a nonexistent security line. We noneventfully took the Logan/La Guardia shuttle of the sky. At La Guardia, we got our suitcases and met up with Kendall/Кеня who faithfully waited for us at carousel 5. We took 4 taxis to JFK, which contained enough people for even a blind fire marshal to condemn. I would estimate the population density of JFK as 4 people per square meter. We luckily skipped the 2+ hour line (ура Алла Львовна) to check in, met up with Graeme/Граня and Hannah/Ханна (after a lovely snack-sharing circle on the airport floor). We got lunch and our boarding passes stamped (which is a foreshadow of future problems).

When it was time to board the plane to Moscow, our boarding passes didn't scan in. And in the confusion, some people just went through without knowing (and then it showed that they weren't on the plane). Some students had to get new boarding passes, but to our emerging dismay, these passes gave us already occupied seats. After a few discussions with the flight personnel, we all found seats and settled in for a 9 hour plane ride. Because the airport was so congested, we weren't airborne until over an hour past our departure time.

We got to the airport in Moscow (Sheremetyevo) and went through customs without trouble. Once we got to baggage claim, however, the next disaster struck. Over 50% of us (including Алла Львовна) did not have our luggage. We watched the unclaimed luggage go around and around for a couple hours (especially since the next flight from JFK had arrived, and maybe they were on there. They weren't.), and eventually they filed a baggage claim (which took another hour). Our private investigator still doesn't know how (if we all checked in at the same time) only a subset of our luggage arrived safely (or at all). We thanked Delta for their cruel contribution to the beginning of our trip.

We stepped outside the airport impossibly tired, hungry (there was no food where we were in the airport), and dismayed at our lost possessions. We got a bus and began our Moscow adventure.

PS This blog post descended into a negative attitude because we are hoping a Delta representative reads this and understands our pain. We are actually quite amiable and optimistic.

1 comment:

  1. When I entered terminal 4 at JFK to drop off Hannah, I was shocked. I didn't let Hannah know this because I worked for Pan Am at the Pan Am Building a long time ago and we owned our own building at JFK called the Worldport. Back then, if you let any pilot know you had a connecting flight with Pan Am, the pilot would radio ahead and we would hold the flight for you. We would just fly a little faster to make up the time difference, a benefit of being a long-range international airline.

    Lisa, If I have a beer with any friends working at Delta, I will give them some static about your treatment on your behalf. Fortunately, you somehow got your flight completed thanks to Alla and her contacts. At Pan Am, we used to discuss what was most important and it always came back to getting the customer there rather than comfort. We did our best in the comfort area.

    A very close friend of mine went off to be Moscow Station chief for Pan Am and she told me everything was bugged, her office her apartment, everything. She had undergraduate and graduate degrees in Russian and Russian area studies. Those were the days.