As dawn broke over New York, we realised this was our final day in the city. Our flight was leaving JFK airport at seven-thirty that evening, so we had a whole day ahead of us.
Days one, two, three and four had flown past (excuse the pun!) and day five was to be no different. After our final American breakfast, we headed to the The Guggenheim Museum. It had been my idea to visit the museum and I thought that most of the day, before we had to travel to the airport, could be spent there. We were in and out of the museum within one hour. I’d made a mistake and we should have gone to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art. John enjoyed what The Guggenheim had to offer but, other than some oil paintings, Anna and I were at a bit of a loss as to why what appeared to be a floor painted blue, some bits of card with shapes cut out of them, and a room with some flashing lights, were considered to be art? Don’t get me wrong, I do like art and have visited many museums and enjoyed my time at them, but some of the art on display at The Guggenheim was mind-boggling. The building itself, however, was simply beautiful.
We decided to walk down Madison Avenue, taking a right, and eventually came to FAO Schwarz which, for those of you who do not know, is a huge Toy shop. We simply had a great time in there and I could not help but take some pictures of huge bars of chocolate they had for sale. I also came across some more ‘Salt Water Taffy’ and giant size stuffed soft toys bigger than all of us put together. I was like a kid in a toy shop…oh, I am in a toy shop!
Saks on Fifth Avenue was our next stop where John made another purchase while Anna and I marvelled at the beautiful Christmas decorations on display. The inside of the store was like a fairy grotto and I felt very at home, but time was getting on and we had to make our way back to the hotel so we could collect our suitcases and get to the airport. It was at this point that John got a text message to say that our flight was running ninety minutes late. Now we could have either stayed a little longer in Fifth Avenue or travel to the airport and enjoy the lounge and, after a little debate, it was agreed we’d go to the airport.
A few more cocktails at the hotel later, and we were in a car and on the way to JFK. No further announcements about our flight had been made and we agreed it was not too much of a concern as, at least, the flight had not been cancelled. We were all pleased about this, especially Anna, as she was attending a Wedding the following day back in the UK.
When we got to the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk, there seemed to be a problem. One passenger in front of us asked what time flight we were booked on and, upon telling him, he told us that the flight had a technical problem and that Virgin Atlantic staff had no idea if the flight was going to leave that evening. Panic started to erupt, especially for Anna as she had the Wedding to attend, and by the time we reached the front of the queue there were quite a few unhappy Upper Class passengers giving the check-in staff some grief. The choices were to either fly with Delta Airlines at 7pm, but in economy, or to sit it out at the airport with no guarantee when or if our flight would leave that evening. There was a Virgin Atlantic flight leaving at six thirty and others later that evening, but all were fully booked.
While John went over to the Delta desk to see what seats they could offer us, I decided to put on my ‘Customer Service’ head. It wasn’t so much as a little flirting with the lady on the check-in desk, but agreeing with why she could not tell us how long the repair to the technical fault on our flight would take. I had a little laugh with her and complimented her on the way she was handling the situation and agreed with everything she was saying. Then, out of the blue, she told me to call John over (he was still talking to the Delta airline staff) and announced that three seats in Upper Class on the flight leaving at six-thirty had suddenly become available. She checked us and our bags in at super speed and we ran through the airport to get the flight, leaving some of the other rude passengers booked on the seven-thirty flight behind. We made it to our seats with time to spare and enjoyed the flight back to the UK even though we did not sleep very much on those hard flat beds. It was probably the nightmare I was having about the loving couple on our flight over to New York that prevented me from going into a deep sleep.
We landed at Heathrow airport an hour earlier than we would have done had our intended flight taken off, so Anna was able to make it to the Wedding and John and myself had an hour more of trying to stay awake until bedtime. We later found out that the seven-thirty flight had been delayed by four hours.
As I finally closed my eyes that night and drifted into a long deep sleep, I dreamt of Christmas socks and how I had failed my mission in New York. Perhaps it’s a British thing?
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