Saturday, April 13, 2019

You wake up in Toronto a bit jet lagged at 5 in the morning. You take a shower, pack, and order room service breakfast. Then it’s 7. Time to check out.

The guy driving the Uber to the airport is nice, and the trip is smooth with only a little bit of traffic. You’re there in thirty minutes and checking in a few minutes later. The lady at the counter is super helpful and checks your bag to your final destination even though you’re flying on two different bookings.

The airport seems pleasantly calm until you go down the hallway towards the gate and suddenly see a huge line winding its way through the U.S. border check. It’s at least a two-hour wait to get through it. Maybe more. You have never been so happy to have a Global Entry membership as when you see a little sign with the logo on it that lets you skip past the massive queue. Fifteen minutes later you’re through with forty-five minutes to boarding time to do something with.

Oh look, there’s one of those places where you can get a chair massage. That’s an excellent way to spend a bit of time and do something nice for yourself.

After that, it’s boarding time. As you queue up, you hear an announcement with a colleague’s name. “Christina Warren, please report to your gate. Your flight is leaving.” She was one of the speakers at the event you organized yesterday and is going to Seattle this morning. You hear the announcement calling for her repeated a few times.

Shit. You ping Christina on Slack to see what’s up.

She’s stuck in that massive queue at the border checkpoint that you got to whiz by and has been for a long time. Her Global Entry application got delayed by the last government shutdown, and she doesn’t have her magic pass yet. You feel pretty sorry about that. Right before you shut your phone off, you see that the airline has rebooked her through Vancouver. Good, she’ll be home tonight, at least.

An hour and a half later, you’re arriving at JFK and have a bit of time on your hands before your next flight. Ok, more than a bit of time. Almost eight hours. How did that happen? Oh yeah, you saved your company a lot of money by taking this way home instead of flying directly to Europe from Toronto. It’s ok. You’ve got a lot of work to do, and the lounge isn’t a bad place to do it.

Seven hours and more than a few calls later, you head to the gate for your next flight. It starts raining hard outside. People are pushing in line like they’re going to miss their flight or somehow make the process go faster by acting like assholes. It’s not like everyone isn’t going to end up on the same aircraft. You get on board, settle into your seat and do some more work on your phone.

By the time the jet is closed up and pushed back, the airport is down to one operational runway, and your plane is number 25 for departure. All you want to do is recline your chair and snooze, but you’re still on the ground and just have to wait it out as you taxi your way to what feels like the far end of Long Island.

They delay drags on. And on. You make use of the time composing and sending out one more email. A few minutes after you hit send on this last message, your aircraft turns onto the runway and accelerates up into the sky. Finally.

You lean your chair back, take some melatonin, put on an eye mask, and let sleep take you. Seven and a half hours later, it’s morning, and you’re in Amsterdam.

The delay in New York means that there’s not enough time to get through passport control and on board. As you head down the concourse, your phone dings. It’s your friend Bryan Jones. He’s at the airport in Amsterdam too and has just boarded a flight that coincidentally is going to Berlin. The same plane you’re supposed to be on. The one you’re missing.

Bummer. That would have been a wonderful coincidence.

Instead, there are another two hours to do something with before the next flight to Berlin. So you do a bit of shopping, find a trinket or three for the family, then hit the lounge, and recheck your email.

Twenty four hours after you left the hotel, you get onto your final flight. It’s completely full, of course, which means that people are annoyed, pushy, and trying to take seats that aren’t theirs. You don’t care. You close your eyes as the plane pushed back from the gate.

Only an hour more till you land in Berlin.