By Jade Johnston
Its 1:15 am, and yet I don’t feel the slightest bit tired. Even though I am a hardcore morning person. And even though I have been going through the rigours of travel all day long. Why am I not tired? Blame it on the adrenaline rush. I left quite early from the neighbourhood of Chelsea in NYC so that I could get to La Guardia through public transportation. This was actually just as easy as taking the airport shuttle, as I would have still needed to take a metro to get to the shuttle anyways. The only difference – it cost me only $2.25, or one token on a metro card. Once I got to La Guardia, things got a little more difficult. I was several time misdirected as to which terminal building to be in, and after quite some time walking around I was feeling pretty frustrated and exhausted. All my possessions are only in two backpacks, but yet those backpacks combine to be about 3/4 of my body weight. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I needed all those pairs of sunglasses after all. After about thirty minutes of working out with my backpack, I found the check in for US Airlines, and proceeded through security. It was here that the trouble began. My flight was delayed almost two hours. One hour before we boarded, and about one hour after we were on the plane due to air traffic. I wasn’t as stressed out as I could have been at this time due to my mostly being asleep through the whole delay. However, by the time I got to my first port of transfer, Washington DC, I realized that I had missed my next flight. I also found out that my baggage had been put onto an earlier flight (which apparently I was not allowed to do with myself) and that it had make its connection without me. The very friendly woman (sarcasm) at special services booked me onto a new flight to Charlotte North Carolina (my second point of transfer) and assured me that I would make my connection to London because the London flight had been delayed. She even moved me into a seat in the very front so that I could make a quick get a way once the plane landed. This probably would have worked fine if there was not another plane in the dock where our plane wanted to go, causing us to be stuck on the plane waiting for twenty or so minutes… enough minutes for me to miss my flight to London. However, during all this fate did throw me a friendly neighbour on my flight who worked wonders at taking my mind off unreasonably freaking out. I even managed to not burst into tears when I found out that the next flight to London was not until the next evening…. just enough time for me to miss my flight to New Zealand. The best part of this story is this. My visa has a time period in which you must enter the country. It is a wide time period…. it is a year. But of course, I pushed my limits on this and had booked myself to arrive the day before it expired. Firstly, I called immigration in New Zealand to see if I could extend my visa by a day to which I was told I could not. I then called Singapore Air (my carrier from London to Auckland) to see if I could move onto the next flight which would still get me to New Zealand just in time. I was told I could….if I upgraded to business class…. for the paltry sum of $4000 dollars. (about half my yearly income as a student) This is where the tears came. I have to admit, I cry when I’m frustrated. I can’t help it. But I did get a hug from a random middle aged man and a pat on the back from his wife, so that made me feel better. Finally, I gave in to the idea that I would just have to buy a new flight. Thankfully, wonderful friends back home (thanks Matt and Neal) consoled me and helped me figure out a new strategy. Matt even took it upon himself to call up US Airways and give them a stern talking to until they conceded to reroute me to LA for free. Meanwhile, I spoke with Singapore Air and got a partial refund for my flight. So the new strategy is this: Sleep in the Charlotte airport, and then fly to LA in the morning. Then I change to Pacific Airlines and fly from LA to Auckland in the evening. The gives US Airways plenty of time to delay my flight, lose my luggage, and find it again without me missing yet another flight. So despite all this, I end up still arriving in Auckland at almost the exact same time as before. And even though it was a pretty shitty day at parts, it did have its joy in small places. My friends really came through for me, I made a new friend, and I get to totally justify consoling myself with a big pile of chocolate bars.