Published: July 11th 2012June 6th 2012
En Mass > En Route
The halcyon pre-plane days
A quick stop in Providence for lunch with the final tier of comrades kicked off the five-hour drive to JFK, the airport that hates travelers. Security gave me a little guff for my stick of Old Spice High Endurance which, despite being a solid, violated their "three ounces or less" liquids rule. (They let me go because I smelled so nice.) Once settled in the terminal, futile attempts to connect to their stupid Boingo wifi hotspot drained the battery of every device I had, thanks largely to electrical outlets that are so inconceivably absent you’d think it was a point of pride. The gate for IcelandAir (the cheapest ticket across the Atlantic) is positioned next to a reprehensible theme bar with Sammy Hagar’s name on it, where the bartender generously offers a free exasperated scowl with every drink order.
About 30 minutes before the flight’s scheduled departure, just before boarding began, the gate attendant began the standard procedure of rattling off the names of those whose tickets are somehow problematic. Guess who made the cut? Turns out that if you have a one-way ticket to London, the United Kingdom is afraid you’re coming to steal jobs, because apparently their 8.2% unemployment rate means there are jobs to steal. We were instructed to go back to ticketing -- on the other side of security -- and obtain proof of passage out of the UK, then return through security and board the plane. In 30 minutes.
After a sprint that would have embarrassed Jackie Joyner-Kersee, we got to the ticket counter (who clearly received a call that we were coming) where the attendant snidely remarked “You really shouldn’t wait until the last minute to do this.” I told her to go fuck herself, but then what I actually said was “How much for a ticket from London to Paris?” I picked an arbitrary date of June 27th.
(Spoiler alert: I’ll be in Paris on June 27th.)
An escort (and by “escort” I mean “frantic old lady”) guided us to the front of the security line where we received the royal treatment. In this case, the royal treatment means we got guided to the front of the security line. (They still gave me shit about my deoderant.) The people in line behind us grimaced in our direction as though they were applying to work at Sammy Hagar’s airport bar, and with mere minutes to spare, E and I had made it safely onboard IcelandAir flight something-or-other to London via Reykjavek.
This may all sound like an inauspicious beginning to a big international adventure, but the fun doesn't stop here -- I spent the next seven hours seated next to Typhoid Mary and Tuberculosis Larry, whose coughing and wheezing and snotting nearly ruined my enjoyment of Date Night
on a six-inch airline screen. It is to be hoped that my close proximity to disease in such a confined space will pay off later, yes?
Gosh, Reykjavik is lovely. I should go outside their airport sometime.