Jfk International Airport

On The Worst Day To Fly

Robert Masterson
3 min read
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I chose to fly a commercial airline flight on what has been officially designated the Worst Day to Fly, Thanksgiving Eve, and, beyond that, I further chose to take my return flight on the Second Worst Day to Fly, the Sunday following Thanksgiving. I, as well as those around me, questioned my sanity, admired my determination, and advised me to pack light. I had chosen to fly from, anecdotally, one of the Worst Airports in the World, New York’s JFK International Airport, hub of at least one major ongoing construction project since the late 1950s and I’m sure involvement with any kind of organized crime enterprise has absolutely nothing to do with that situation or similar situations involving baggage handling, cargo delivery, and cardboard sleeves for hot paper coffee cups.

So, girding myself to endure the Worst Day to Fly, I did succumb to the luxury of hiring a car to take me to the airport rather than utilize any of the seeming-to-be dozens of alternate methods including but not limited to public transportation like subways and air-trains (not nearly as cool as they sound), semi-private shuttle busses and hotel vans, and private helicopters to set-down at clearly marked helipads. I booked the car 3.5 hours in advance of my departure time allowing myself plenty of time traffic on the roads, highways and byways New York sends us on when we seek its international airport, 3.5 hours for long lines at counter check-in (even though I’d done the bulk of that work by printing out my boarding pass and baggage claim check at home on my computer), 3.5 hours for a security nightmare, and 3.5 hours for the other 16 million things that were guaranteed to go wrong on such an expedition.

After a quick run from the house down to the airport on lightly trafficked roads, I was easily 3.5 hours early for my flight. The nightmarish traffic jams ringing JFK never materialized. The hour-long slog through ticketing/baggage check was, instead, a pleasant 5-minute pause while the agent helped the three people ahead of me. The gel-carrying throngs I’d anticipated at security were instead, hardly throng-like at all and most had seemed to have packaged their gels in federally approved fashions.

So, there I was with hours to kill in the food court surrounding the gates on the JetBlue concourse listening to the talking heads on the airport television sets reporting massive traffic tie-ups on all roads in, near, and around JFK. They talked about the crowds of people milling about the airport. They talked about flights delayed, denied, defiled. And none of it was happening. I looked around. I looked at the TV. I looked around again and realized that I was right in the middle of their made-for-TV news story watching it not happen. And that, watching those coiffed and combed marionettes mouth their reports of holiday catastrophe, was almost worth the price of admission. That and back-to-back episodes of
Law & Order from South Dakota all the way into Oakland.
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