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Three Belated Notes from the Road

I flew back from NYC on Monday, and have been trying to recover and unpack from the trip, as well as unpacking the stuff that arrived from Louisiana while I was gone, ever since. I’d hoped to post this sooner, but getting the house relatively organized really had to be a priority.

In any case, three things of interest — at least to me — from the trip home:

First off, my flight left JFK at 5.25 am. For those keeping score, that means that I was in a car on the way to the airport at 4 am, which in turn means that I got out of bed at 3.30 am. Or at what would have been a reasonable time to go to bed on the left coast. I’d gotten about two hours of sleep, due to my usual pre-travel insomnia, and so was, shall we say, a bit foggy in the head. I left the apartment I was staying in dragging my rolly bag with my pink shoulder bag resting on top of it and my computer bag over my shoulder. I was also carrying a bottle of water, with one of those sports tops. At the elevator, I needed a free hand, so I slid the water bottle into my pink bag, pushed various buttons, got off the elevator, rolled outside, found the car service waiting for me, handed off the suitcase, took the pink bag and the computer bag, and got in the car, pulling the water bottle out of the pink bag in order to take a drink. I then wanted to put on some lip gloss — yes, at 4 am — and so began rooting around in the bottom of the pink bag, sticking my fingers directly into about half a cup of water. Yes, the top of the water bottle had been open. The ride to JFK was spent attempting to dry off everything in the bag, as well as the interior of the bag itself. Not the kind of thing that makes you feel the seasoned traveler.

Second: JFK’s terminal 4 was all but deserted when I arrived (at about 4.30), so I breezed right through security (I’d checked in online the day before) and into the enormous shopping pen. This is the area that served as the set for most of The Terminal, and, perhaps unsurprisingly given the hour, most bench-like flat surfaces had people lying down on them. I couldn’t help but wonder how long they’d been there.

Finally: I’d been upgraded, and so was one of the first people to board the plane, and was happily sitting in seat 1F waiting for the plane to roll so I could go back to sleep. A woman got on and sat next to me in 1D, but asked whether, if no one took 1A, she could move over there. The flight attendant said that after the flight had closed, she could, no problem, and then later told her it was okay to move. But, it turns out, the flight hadn’t yet closed; two passengers were stuck in some protracted security thing, and (perhaps since they were supposed to be seated in first) we were waiting for them. One of them was supposed to sit in 1A, so the same flight attendant asked him to take another seat, since the woman who had been next to me had been allowed to move. There was some foofarah, however, about this guy’s travel companion and where she would sit, and so the flight attendant asked what seat the woman now in 1A originally had. She said 1F. The flight attendant pointed to me and said “that’s 1F.” The woman in 1A pulled out her 1F boarding pass, as did I, and neither of us thought much of it, because there’s always some double seat assignment thing, and there were other seats available, so no worries. (Plus, I was there first.)

But: the flight attendant looks at the two boarding passes, and then quickly grabs for her list of passengers. And looks at the woman and says “what’s your last name?” The woman in 1A says that her last name is Fitzsimmons. Except that the name on her boarding pass is Fitzpatrick. Kathleen Fitzpatrick. The desk agent had apparently checked her in as me, and no one caught the mistake — not the guy checking IDs and boarding passes at security, not the computer that scanned her boarding pass after already having scanned mine. I have no idea what her final destination was, and am a bit curious whether she was able to convince someone that she really had taken the flight from JFK to IAH, or if they’d cancelled her seat on the second leg because she never got on the plane.


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