On Almost Not Making It

We almost did not make our flight to New York. The traffic jams on the motorways of London are notorious. If you are stuck on the M1, because there always seems at least one accident in the works, know this that you shall surely miss your flight. As my parents experienced much to their horror when they were returning to Calcutta from a holiday in the Blighty.

Now the thing is when you are not in someone’s shoes, even if it be your parents’, it is difficult to absorb the enormity of a situation. The proverbial sitting ducks, they went ballistic, the hours flying away dizzily enough – as it always does the day you are about to catch a flight. They were still sitting on the M1. Could it be? A bad bad dream but yes there they were, caught in a cab with somewhere to go, yet with no choice but to sit tight on the motorway, miss their flight and hyperventilate alongside. This even as they had left hours before they were supposed to from Northampton.

The day before we were to catch the flight, my mother said with a nervous laugh, “M (pet name alert), get out well ahead. You know what happened to us.” I did the usual thing that daughters do, roll their eyes, and note impatiently: “But obviously, ma. What happened to you was a freak incident. It does not take place all the time.”

Now indulging in a cliche, because cliches work my dear friend, do not go around counting those chickens. They may hatch but is there a guarantee in life? Non.

Two factors worked simultaneously in our favour as we set out for the airport. The most important was the fact that we had decided to part ways with British Airways this once and opted for Norwegian Airlines. It is a low-cost long-haul option that offers a world of comfort. Do ink it in for your next search for cheap travel tickets. You shall see by and by, why.

The second crucial factor was that the system of British Airways had developed a major snag that morning and it had crashed. The upshot of it is that many were caught aboard BA planes with no idea of what was happening, others could not fly out of Heathrow for their bank holiday trips to Europe, some were trapped in Europe with no way to fly back home to the UK. And our flight was delayed by 45 minutes. It was thus that we made it to Gatwick with 15 minutes left before boarding began. I am sure BA is not about to forget it in a hurry. They have to after all pay up 500-odd euros of compensation per couple. Do remember that little fact if you were caught up in a situation the last weekend thanks to BA.

There is a silver lining in most every situation, you see. You have just got to remind yourself of it in life. We managed to sidetrack the M1 accidents, felt grandly astute, but how could the M25 be left bereft without its share of accidents? So we sat in the car for aeons. Our bums froze and Adi engaged his maws to showcase magnificent yawns, worthy of a sleepy lion, behind the wheel. When an opportunity arose for a divergence, like eager beavers we jumped at it.

This meant that we were on the A roads soon puttering through beautiful villages at 20 miles per hour in West Sussex country. Doing what we do best. Smiling in indulgence at the chocolate-box cottages and acres of green where cricketers in white huddled together for to-do about serious matters such as how to lob the ball and catch the batsman unawares (I kid, okay? A serious cricket fan would lob the very ball at my nose for even suggesting that lobbing or underarm bowling still takes place, goodness gracious me). Charming parish churches of middling height stood quietly besides timber-framed cottages and jolly little pubs showed up to tickle us for a last pint within those wondrous dark rooms of joy, but no we resisted.

The larger picture had to be kept in mind there.

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Part of the larger picture. Food served with clouds on the side. If you fly Norwegian Airlines, premium economy, as we did, you shall be pampered.
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Grilled chicken with risotto, sugar snaps and sundried tomatoes on the side. Don’t sniff your nose at the sugar snaps, you ungrateful wrtech. Yes they look a little worse for the wear, but then you are as hungry as a bear.
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The motto in life
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Salmon salad. If that was Norwegian farmed salmon, apparently I had greedily gobbled up tons of chemicals on the side along with potato salad and itsy-bitsy greens. 
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Not to be looked at with a gimlet eye
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New York beneath a dream sequence of clouds
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JFK Airport
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This morning when Adi left for his first day at work post Memorial Day. My perch alongside.

It was how we did not miss the flight after all, made a dash for the gates to board, and then sunk with relief into the arms of comfort (wine, delicious food and movies) to be swept into New York’s abysmally drab John F. Kennedy airport of pesky hustlers and expensive yellow cabs. To my amusement, we were rewarded with a disgusted ‘chhi’ apropos a female Chinese hustler who lost a possible pair of cows to a yellow cab in which the able African-American driver informed us sagely, “You should be allowed to make the choice.”

A ride through the glitziness of Manhattan and he was emptying out massive four suitcases and two strolleys at the end of the journey. A wink was accompanied with some advise, “Now don’t you go unpacking tonight, just order yourself a bottle of red wine and relax.” Who am I to ignore the wise? Both of us just fell into bed and had a long 10 hours of sleep before we woke up to our cosy little service apartment with a view of my neighbours in Jersey City – who can, through the bay windows, surely espy a bespectacled girl scooched over the table on her bar stool as she clacks away and sips on tea.

Welcome to the joys of city living.

Published by

Arundhati Basu

The great affair in my life is to travel. I count myself immensely fortunate that my partner shares this passion. We are a team that likes to spend time planning and plotting out places to go. Destination check, flights check, accommodation check, cheesy grins check. Off we go.

77 thoughts on “On Almost Not Making It

    1. Hey Gracie, I did. I shall look into it again. The thing is with all that is happening I am struggling a bit with time. If you give me some time, I can do it. I would not dare say no as I have already ben warned 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Hey! Glad you made it. The food looks a bit weird but that photo of Addi in your hotel room is pretty awesome. Looks like a Conde Nast ad :-). Hope that you are coping with jet lag ok.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, that is funny but thank you 😀 I can foresee his goofy smile at that. The food might look weird but trust me it was much better than the average fare they dish out in BA nowadays. And yes, we are glad to have made it across and then walked the streets of Manhattan with our jaws dropping here and there. The jet lag is making us get up and and retire early, so no complaints 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome to the concrete jungle! I have been so many times on the M1 in your situation that is hard to think when was the last time that I wasn’t – as you perfectly picture – hyperventilating in the back of the car. I feel you. How did the first few days go?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a most annoying situation to be caught in – that is an understatement as you would vouch for it too. These last three days have been interesting – I have been veering between the urge to run back to Northampton and gaping at the tall buildings all around us like a country bumpkin, apart from meeting all kinds of people 😉 I shall post about it tomorrow in detail 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am glad to read that New York is already proving to be different. Stay strong ??
        Looking forward to reading about it tomorrow!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The M1 is notorious! My family and I had a similar experience…. So close to missing our flight to Florida! We had to have an escort through the airport… Although it wasn’t all bad as it meant we missed all the queues haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You were immensely lucky. I think my parents have been scarred for life and there is no budging them from the fact that it happens regularly in London (according to them) 😉 I do not think there can be questions about the goodness of missing out on queues! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, that is a long time. But it’s a good amount of time to do lots of exploring around the United States. And maybe make it bit further north, hint hint. Good luck house hunting!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahaha. I think up north where Jen hails from is spectacular. Whatever little I saw of it last time I was there. I shall make sure I explore her stomping grounds too. Thanks and oh how we need that bit of luck x

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Take care my blogging friend. You were so lucky not to be with BA as I have heard it was an absolute nightmare. All life adventures start somewhere and this story may be the beginning of a new one. I wish you well. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my lovely lady. I have a few already but this house hunt is driving us up the walls. As it should. So I shall get cracking with the posts asap 🙂 Norwegian’s food made the day for me especially after BA’s dreadful meals.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Can’t get enough of your way of writing…it’s hella fun!!! And of course, I’ll remember not to sniff at those sugar snaps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I am sure he was. I am going to maybe go for a Sex in the City Tour too. When I am a bit settled in. I mean why not, right? It is okay to be a little frivolous. Norwegian Airlines is actually a good one to try out if you like exploring new and cost-effective ways of flying 🙂 Thank you, I am glad I made it too! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel like I was there with you ! I love the way you tell your stories !

    And you’re right, it’s important to always look at the bright side of the situations life put us through 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A little late here, but so glad you made your flight. Kudos to you for enjoying the scenery when in a time crunch. I would have been clenching my teeth and spending all of my energy on quelling a meltdown. Gah! But hooray, you made it, and chemically-spiced salmon aside, your meal looked pretty good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heehee it was delicious. Maybe the chemicals added their bit 😛 See the thing is I could not imagine I was actually leaving England, so that last minute of greedily soaking up the rural scenes was just habitual. Of course the difference was that we could not stop for a pint. All for NY 😉


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