Thursday, December 18, 2008

There must be an easier way to make a living


After having spent both Saturday and Sunday doing stuff for work projects, I got up Monday morning at 4am and flew to Atlanta. A full day of meetings and conference calls followed. Got to the hotel at around 10pm ready to run a training course there the next day. Finish work on a document for a client at midnight.

Wake up at 6:30 on Tuesday to run the training course only to find out that there has been a miscommunication and I am in the wrong venue – thank goodness I didn’t set up last night.

Taxi to correct venue takes ages to arrive. I panic and persuade the night manager of the place I stayed at to drive me there for $20.

Arrive at correct venue 45 minutes late. Set up and run a full on session until 6pm.

Jump in a taxi to the airport.

Flight back to New York is delayed. Panic again, I have a 7:40am flight to the UK from JFK which I must catch for my Visa appointment on Thursday.

Flight keeps being delayed.

Finally they line us up to board the plane and then realise they don’t have a crew so that delays us another few hours. Honestly how can you not realise you don’t have a crew!!

Delayed over three hours in the end. What should have been an 8:20 flight ends up being an 11:35 one.

Arrive back at Newark and get a taxi to work to drop off the kit.

Finally get home at 2:30am on Wednesday morning.

Wake Amy up as I climb into bed – oops

Set alarm for 4:30 and try and get some sleep.

Alarm clock goes. Jump in the shower, gather up my cases and leap into a taxi to JFK.

Arrive at Terminal 4 to fly back home with Virgin Atlantic only to find out they aren’t flying from JFK.


Retrieve email confirmation on laptop and there it is in black and white – Depart JFK Terminal 4 at 7:40am.

Can’t find anyone to talk to at the terminal.

The Virgin America staff said it wasn’t there problem.

Try phone Virgin US helpline and get sucked into a world of automated phone messages.

Desperate I phone Virgin in the UK and a one hour phonecall begins which includes the following questions…

Didn’t anyone tell you that we now operate out of Newark?
Errrr Noooooo. I was just there 5 hours ago I could have just stayed there if I had known!

Can you get back to Newark before 6:40?
Errrrr Noooooo. I’m not superman. It is over an hours drive.

I got put on hold a lot but I tried to stay calm. Rob the Virgin employee was my only hope of getting to my Visa appointment (if I missed that I couldn’t work in the US and I have commitments I need to keep).

Rob tells me that they are looking to get me onto an American Airlines flight from JFK.

I jump on the Skytrain and head from Terminal 4 to Terminal 8 as this is where all the AA flights leave from.

Rob confirms they have got me a place on the flight. I wish Rob a very very merry Christmas.

I get to the AA check in desk and queue and queue and queue and queue . The staff are so fucking unhelpful. I waste an hour in the queue. The staff seem more interested in chatting amongst themselves and patting passengers dogs than getting us checked in.

My new flight is leaving in 60 minutes. Panic.

AA employee finally says to me: Don’t wait here. You’ll miss the flight.

Whattttt???? Now you fucking tell me!!!

I jump out the queue and go to self check in.

I swipe my passport and enter in my destination.

IT IS TO LATE TO CHECK IN FOR THIS FLIGHT appears on the computer screen.

It was 58 minutes before it was due to take off.

I go bonkers.

No no no. This can’t be happening.

I go up to the first class area and the security guard sees from the look in my eyes that I’m not joking and let’s me in.

Find semi nice AA employee who checks me in but tells me I should get to the airport earlier. I smile and say thanks rather than releasing both barrels of fury about the amount of time her co-workers wasted making me queue up.

Security, for once. is fast.

Walk straight to the gate and get on the plane.

Arrive at Chris’ house in North London at 11pm.

Lots of chatting and cups of tea.

Sleep on the sofa.

Set alarm clock for 6am so that I can get to the US Embassy for 7:30 (30 minutes before the appointment is what the paperwork tells me to do).

Make it through security and get give a ticket - 10019.

Wait an hour until my number is called.

I go up to the counter and get told: "You've got the wrong number. You need one with a 2 at the front.

Steam starts coming out my ears.

I go and get a new number and wait again.

I end up waiting around for 2.5 hours. Answer lots of questions and surrender my passport - Yippeeee i can stay in America for another 2 years.

I then jump on a train back to my sister’s.

At last I can relax. Shame about the 3 hours of conference calls schedule for Friday – the first day of my holiday.

Between Monday and Thursday I have had about 12 hours sleep, I have wasted 7 hours of my life in airports, spent almost 8 hours in the air, easily talked for more than 6 hours on the phone, spent 12 hours in meetings and visited one embassy where I sat on my arse for 3 hours.

There has to be an easier way to make a living.


And how much money did you spend?? ;) Well at least now you can get some rest (sounds like my trip to Florida that never happened ;)

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