Long lines, staccato questions and the ever-present threat o detention can make even the most honest of travelers start to sweat. With long, bureaucrat-controlled lines, the potential for frustration reaches incredible levels at customs stations around the world.
You’ll find none of this at the lone airport on St. Barthelemy.
Arriving off-season, of course, helped take the sting out of the customs gauntlet, such as it is, on St. Barths. But, I can’t imagine it being terribly daunting even during the busiest days of the year. The customs agent merely stamped and waved each visitor on.
As my fellow passengers left the terminal, the layer of border security left, too. Before I’d even stepped into the car, he was already leaning against a wall, cigarette in hand.
Disclosure: Eden Rock picked up the tab for this trip, and it would have been impossible to cover this destination otherwise, given the cost. Nonetheless, my opinions are my own – they’re certainly not for sale at any price.
A poll of 14,500 frequent fliers, all participants in the Priority Pass airport lounge program, has again ranked the best and worst of the airport world, with Heathrow hitting rock-bottom for the second year in a row. Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris landed second from the floor.
Los Angeles International Airport was third worst, despite having poured $1 billion into a recent overhaul. Frankfurt International and Miami International round out the lowest five. In the United States, voters reserved their venom for Chicago, Atlanta and JFK, along with those awful enough to make the global list.
I used to use Carmel Limo fairly regularly when traveling. I prefer to schedule my ride to the airport rather than hope like hell that I can get a cab (either at rush hour or in the absurd hours of the morning). But, their record wasn’t all that hot, especially when picking me up at the airport. So, when they absolutely blew it this summer upon my return from Curtain Bluff in Antigua, I’d had enough. I wrote to the company to let them know how upset I was.
Brace yourself for some horrible customer service: the correspondence is after the jump. To put the moral of the story up front: Carmel Limo’s only response to a problem with customer service is to have you call customer service. Ugh.
While you’re up there, go grab a hot dog. They have decent dogs at the pool hall (there aren’t any pool tables there any more, just hot dogs) on St Denis. That’s exactly what I’m doing in the picture.
With fall coming, you probably think it will be cold as hell up there. You’d be absolutely wrong. Don’t think; let me do that for you. It’s beautiful up there well into October and probably into November. The air is nice and crisp.
Well, there must be somebody to blame. This time, it seems more like LaGuardia’s fault than Delta’s.
[a considerable amount of time elapses]
Someone’s gotten his shit together. I’m back in Manhattan and happy. The flight home was a pain in the ass. The flight wasn’t able to land in New York, because there was too much traffic. So, we had to circle until we were too low on fuel. The plane was sent to Baltimore, where we waited until some sort of “hold” on LaGuardia was lifted. At least the cab ride back into the city was easy.
It’s starting to feel like, whatever I do, I get screwed on the flight. Montreal was the exception … the only exception.
This isn’t a fear issue. I’ve never been afraid to fly, and I’ve spent more time on planes at my tender age than most people will in their entire lives. I’ve had super-duper-elite-medallion-preferred status on several airlines at the same time. But, for some reason, I have not gotten used to what flying entails.
I made it to LaGuardia airport an hour before my flight, already pissed because I was under the gun for a day job deadline. I was starving and dropped my pizza on the floor. Of course, I screamed an obscenity, though it was my own fucking fault. Just a reference point– this is the type of mood I was in.
Well, I guess I still haven’t leared that everyone working in an airport is fucking inept. Quadruple espresso: how fucking hard is that? But, I get it. This is ot were the folks who will cure cancer someday wind up. I’m coming to accept this.
I have particular hatred for infrequent travelers. Though I’m no longer on the road 40+ weeks a year(how I hated those days …), I do still get to an airport almost monthly, and I’ve been a pretty frequent traveler for more than a decade. My point: I know how to behave in an airport. These other dimwits don’t. It drives me out of my fucking mind to see them fuck everything up (like not taking laptops out of bags until at the x-ray machine.
If you can’t, read signs and follow instructions, you belong on a fucking bus.
Anybody who follows the woes of the air transportation industry knows that JetBlue has a habit of stranding passengers out on the runway for hours at a time. Well, a mistake by JetBlue (double-booked my seat) put me in seat 1D– bulkhead aisle– and within earshot of the flight attendants. Normally, this wouldn’t interest me, but since we spent well over an hour waiting for our turn to take off, I was able to pick up some insights.
Apparently, there were several international flights in front of us. I don’t know why that matters, but hey, they’re the professionals. Also, the flight attendants said (loud enough that it was for us rather than each other) that this was JFK’s fault, not JetBlue’s. As if any one of us gave a shit … It didn’t help that the pilot told us three times that we’d be taking off shortly.
The best muttered-just-loud-enough-for-the-passengers excuse, though, was that Delta was at fault. They sent out three planes, according to one flight attendant, with hardly any passengers on them. Delta did this just to fuck up traffic. Apparently, they do this all the time.
Now, I hate Delta Airlines. With a passion. But, this was too much even for me to stomach. And, I’d believe almost anything bad said about Delta. C’mon, JetBlue. Just admit it. You suck.
I had a shitty day at work. Seriously. I was not in the fucking mood for anything. But, that was okay. I knew that at 3:45 PM my chariot would arrive to take me to the airport for a weekend of pure bliss.
Bliss, I found, is something to be earned.
As usual, I called Carmel Limo to take me to JFK airport. I always use Carmel. Generally, they’re pretty good. The driver I had today was awful. Carmel usually shows up annoyingly early. This guy was annoyingly late. Then, to avoid traffic, he lengthened the trip by taking me through Woodhaven and Jamaica, in Queens. It took forever. And, he was a shitty driver … by my standards, which are not high.
It’s all fine now. I’m on the balcony outside my absurdly beautiful and comfortable hotel room. But, the ride sucked.