JFK Reloaded.

Most US airports are catastrophically crummy when it comes to connections. So, when planning multi-leg air journeys, if you ever get the opportunity to not have a connection in the country – take it; even if that means using the in-flight services of your most hateful airline!

But out of all American airports, one in particular is so awful… well, you just feel embarrassed for the country for accommodating such an abomination. Yes folks, this airport is so appallingly atrocious that it needs to be avoided at all costs. As a frequent business traveler I established a strict embargo on using it several years ago already, and if you too travel the world up in the air quite a lot, I recommend you do the same.

At least, that’s the situation as I know (knew?) it. But then along comes D.Z. singing its praises after a recent positive experience there (why he was embargo-busting in the first place I’ve yet to find out:). Must say, his arguments seem convincing. So I’ll now pass the reins over to him, and let you decide for yourself…:

—8<—

Location: On board the Moscow to New York Delta flight (DL467), September, 2015. 

News: From December 1, 2015 Delta Airlines will be stopping its flights to Russia, for reasons known only to itself. However, I think Aeroflot and other airlines will be fully aware of the reasons, and understand, share and support them.

‘Delta’… the airline with traditionally unobtrusive air service. But this time… 

…One of the toilets at the front is ‘reserved for pilots only’. To one side of it there’s a trolley blocking the aisle; to the other there’s a flight attendant installed telling all-comers not to go further – ‘it’s for the pilots, and there are some safety rules’ or some such. When pressed, she remarks: ‘Use the other toilet!’. Ok! So the whole of business class gets in the endless line for the loo on the other side!

So what shall I do now? 

Terminator Genisys – watched! Mad Max 4 – watched a month earlier. Emails all sorted, Kaspersky Daily blogpost ready for publication.

But then, suddenly, somewhere between Norway and Iceland I notice the onboard Wi-Fi! $14.95 for an hour, $27.95 for the flight, $45.95 for the day. Ok. Credit card inserted, PIN entered, logged in. Let’s see how fast this baby goes…

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Woh! No sooner do I press ‘enter’ – I’m fully connected to the WWW! EH??!!

 This can’t be right…

 At this point, into my brain walk two imaginary characters – one red with a tail, the other white with wings. The former is clearly skeptical, nasally pronouncing: “Onboard Internet sucks! By default! Both because it’s onboard and because it’s Delta!” The latter suggests waiting and seeing; you never know – it might just continue to be fast. Anyway, in the meantime while they argue among themselves my inbox gets full up with emails. With attachments. Big ones! Suspiciously quick…

Now I’m curious… 

So I get the trusty Internet connection speed tester out. Woh! Four megabits for incoming! Whoooah! And outgoing? Hmmm… (the first character appears again). A measly half-megabit! The two characters start over again with their bickering. But eventually it’s the white winged one who wins! For this truly is the best onboard Internet experience I’ve ever known – and I’ve known a few! So if you don’t mind putting up with absurdly ‘closed for passengers’ toilets when there’s absolutely nothing out-of-order about them, but want a calm, relaxed and effective Internet-and-email experience – it’s Delta for you!

All righty. Back to my tales from onboard Delta…

We’ve started our descent, so it’s time to make the usual preparations. These are: transferring two movies onto my laptop. Why? Because I’m descending into JFK-Hell! You can spend upwards of two hours just waiting in line for passport control, so four hours of films (laptop placed atop suitcase, etc.) should cover the whole seat-to-seat experience. 

But I needn’t have gone to the trouble! Because Delta operates out of Terminal 4, and there, it turns out, passport and customs control lasts… 10 minutes! Yippeeeee! 

But wait – it only gets better!… 

We’ve got a connection to Boston. We go to the security check. Not a soul. We ask the geezer there if we’ve got the right place, since the waiting hall is proper EMPTY. ‘Yep, you’re in the right place, sir.’ Five minutes later and we’re at the gate. We head to the business lounge – ideal for plane spotting – where they’ve five different draft beers on tap. This is turning into the journey of dreams!…

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The flight to Boston also has onboard Wi-Fi, but I simply don’t have time to try it out. We climb, moisten the tonsils with a certain brown, smoke-smelling liquid, and before we can say “whiskey’s written without the ‘e’ if it’s Scotch”, we’re descending already – with all the attendant limitations, including on Wi-Fi. 

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The moral to the story: JFK is back. Reloaded. Fuel injection. Turbo-charged. Red-Bulled. Just remember to check you’ll fly into Terminal 4! 

The only question remains is – why did I leave four hours between my two connecting flights? Well, I won’t make that mistake again, and now neither will you.

Ok, there is one more question: Will Eugene drop his embargo already? Let’s wait and see… :).
—>8—

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