GREETINGS! This year’s GROW team—Gaby, Will, Eliza, and Allie—have decided to follow in the footsteps of our fantastic predecessors and post to this blog with our individual thoughts, reflections, questions, conundrums, and stories. First up:
You must be wondering: What could they possibly have to share so far, this early in their internship? We just said goodbye to them! What the.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have quite the story for you.
At 7:10pm on June 27, 2013, Eliza and Gaby boarded a Delta airlines flight to Amsterdam, a leisurely economy class flight where dinner was served. They then made a connecting flight at Royal Dutch Airlines which brought them straight to Entebbe…lunch was served. Beautiful. They were then picked up by Sunset Entebbe’s hotel shuttle, and slept soundly in separate rooms…
MEANWHILE, IN HELL: At 6:30 pm, I entered Logan airport with only one question about my itinerary in mind: Will our bags make it all the way to Entebbe? Or do we need to recheck them? A simple question, but the answer was much more complicated…
Mrs. Secor, understandably stressed because she was about to say goodbye to her son for 5 months, approached me and said that we would need to recheck our bags and that Will had already sent his bag away…Oh no! Small problem, though, easily fixed. We retrieved Will’s bag from the lovely JetBlue worker….lovely that is, until she handed us a completely torn bag.
“It was gone for five minutes…”
“Yeah we’re really sorry about that…it must have been TSA who did this.”
“……….do you have any….tape….?”
Luckily Will had packed tape and we proceeded to tape up the bag while people behind us fidgeted with impatience; I must say, the black tape truly transformed the bright orange and green duffle into the envy of the terminal.
I checked my email for travel updates: Our flight was delayed until 10:00pm due to a FREAK THUNDERSTORM in New York. They weren’t letting any planes in or out of JFK, and there was no way we would make our connection on time. JetBlue kindly put us on a new flight, and we were told we would be the first eager travelers to leave Boston should the weather in New York let up. And it had to let up, right? Right?!
We were delayed three hours. Oh, and according to JetBlue, it was too late to change our minds about taking this flight because our stuff had already left.
*Disclaimer: The above is a highly compressed summary of the hellish wait for our flight in which a hundred angry passengers flooded the help desk occupied by only two JetBlue workers, workers who made sure we knew every half hour that “It will just be another ten minutes, don’t worry.”
As soon as we arrived at JFK, Will and I sprinted with our baggage to the Airtrain which would, in theory, bring us to the correct terminal. We started moving when Will said “This one is going the wrong way!” “Ahhhhhh!!!!” We jumped off and boarded one going in the other direction this time, and I had a few minutes to call Turkish Airlines to see if our connection had left yet. It sounded like this:
“Hi I have a quick question has our plane left djfhskjfdhdsjkh Turkish 12 fsdfjkshf”
“Ma’am, I need a ticket number.”
shuffling through tightly packed carry on “It’s 56JGBY”
“That is not the right number. It should be 10 numbers”
“sdfhdsjkfhdjksh can you just tell me if Turkish 12 has left sdkfjhsdjkfhsdjkhf”
“Ma’am I need a number.”
“I JUST NEED TO KNOW IF OUR PLANE HAS LEFT. CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THIS OR NOT”
Will and I hopped off the airtrain and started running to the terminal. We could see the light…
“I don’t know, can I?”
We finally made it to the terminal and saw that we missed our connection.
By six minutes.
And the next one would be in 30 hours.
It was about 2:00am on June 28th at this point. We thought we’d try going to Turkish Airlines, our connecting flight, to rebook. They had to rebook us, right? Right?!
They were closed.
A janitor told us everyone had gone home. “Sorry, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow morning to talk to them.”
Not a big deal, I’ll just call Orbitz: So I called….
and now, ladies and gentleman, I would like you to imagine Mozart’s Minuet playing in one of your ears, the sound of airport construction beeps in the other (2:00am is prime construction time, apparently), and bright fluorescent lights all around you….Like that scene in A Clockwork Orange where the dude in the wheelchair locks Alex in a room for a few days and plays Beethoven over and over again. I experienced this magical, mystical harassment on the senses for over an hour before I got through to someone.
“Oh you’re flying international? Let me transfer you.”
music playing, loud beeps, for what would be another hour. I passed the phone onto Will so we could maintain our sanity. What teamwork!
Tired and frustrated and with the phone to one of our ears at all times, we sought the solidarity of some other stranded travelers, two guys from Turkey who had plans to study at Plymouth State College in NH and had just made it into JFK. They just didn’t know how to get there. I scribbled directions to Boston (ha!) and then told them Plymouth was a two hour drive from there. We wished them luck before finally speaking with Orbitz. This was 4:00 am.
“Yes, Allison? Hi I see your reservation. We can’t get you on the Turkish Airlines flight, it is full.”
“So…when is the next one?”
“We can get you there on…..July first.”
“And that’s the absolute earliest we can get there?”
“I’m afraid so.”
They said JetBlue would fly us back to Boston for all the trouble we had been through. But the flight wasn’t until 6:45 am. Needless to say, we didn’t sleep.
My dad picked Will and I up at 8:00 am on June 28th. All seemed well and okay for what we had been through until we remembered the start of our rough journey:
Remember our brilliant plan to check our bags all the way through to Entebbe? Well, it backfired a bit…
And I will leave you with this: About 50 hours of phone calls among JetBlue, Turkish Airlines, Entebbe baggage claim, Will, Mr. Hillner, Mrs. Secor, and myself. And we still have no idea where they are. We know we’re going to Uganda on July 1st….but where the **** are our bags?!