Flying to New York City

New York Travel Blog

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I hurriedly packed my bags and took a taxi to the Cartagena airport to get my 9am flight to Miami, which was then to connect to New York City.

For the second time in less than two weeks the airlines failed me. After going through a special security line related to travellers to the United States I got to the counter to check in. This time the Avianca woman said that the flight was already full and asked me if I had to travel today. I said yes and the woman said she could get me on a flight that left at 9:20am, but via Bogota instead of Miami, and I would arrive in New York City at JFK airport around 9pm instead of 7:30pm at LaGuardia. I didn't have much choice so I had to agree to it. The woman then asked me to go with her into the office behind the check in counters, where she just left me standing there as she walked back out again. Obviously then the people in the office are just staring at me and I'm staring back, wondering why the hell I am there. Someone in the office goes out and finds out I need to fill out the online form to get authorisation to travel to the United States, which I had already done, but I just hadn't brought the application number with me. I had to fill it all out again and then I went back out with the number to the check in desk. The woman wasn't there and took about 15 minutes to come back while I stood there with no idea what was going on. Poor form Avianca!

Then the woman came back and said she had upgraded me to business class from Bogota to New York, and I could use the VIP lounge before both flights. Good form Avianca!

I sat in the VIP lounge with a bunch of snotty people and ate the free food and drank the free drinks. The flight to Bogota was not very notable, I just read my book most of the time.

In Bogota I took the transfer bus to the international area and then went into the VIP lounge with even more snotty people for the three odd hours wait before my next flight. There was decent free wifi in the lounge so I passed the time on my laptop. After a final security check at the departure gate I got on the plane to my comfortable business class window seat in the front row. I sipped on champagne and peanuts as the economy peasants walked past to their tiny seats. It was both glorious and completely undeserved.

The flight itself was I suppose quite comfortable. My final attempt to use Spanish were undone when the attendant got impatient and decided for herself that I only spoke English and ignored what I said in Spanish and repeated the question in English. From out the window I could see Jamaica and Cuba as we flew overhead. As we approached New York I could see other planes flying in the opposite direction no more than 1km away. They were going along at a blistering speed, which of course we were too, but it is easy to forget that when you are actually inside the plane and lose sense of speed.

After landing we took a transfer bus from the plane to the terminal. Inside the terminal is the passport control line, which at 9:30pm was very long. It took 2 hours to get to the front of the line and past the biometric scans. It had been so long that the luggage carousel had stopped and the flight wasn't even on the carousel screen. I found my bag sitting on a stopped carousel. It was then around 11:30pm and I wanted to get my shuttle I had already booked to my hostel. I rang them up on a free phone at the exit and by enormous luck the final van was just about to leave for the night. I got on in the front seat and we headed from JFK to my hostel on the Upper West Side. In Manhattan we went around for about an hour dropping other people off. It was really good because I got a bit of a tour around Manhattan, including Times Square, Central Park and Madison Square Garden. I finally got to my hostel about 1:15am and was exhausted from the long day so after I checked in I went straight to bed.
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photo by: herman_munster