Day 297, en route to Athens

Wednesday, 9/25/2019

Of course I couldn’t manage to stay asleep until the alarm went off. I got up at 2:40. At 2:55 I got a text saying the Uber I’d scheduled for 3:15 was five minutes away. So I headed out — and then immediately headed back, because I was briskly walking to the elevator without my bag. Sheesh.


driver was clearly a refugee from the 1960s, long hair and mumbled to himself all the way to the airport. Well, not mumbled, but talked a monologue about politics most of which I couldn’t get over the road noise. At SFO, surprise, the

doors to the security line

and gates don’t even open until 4am! So much for being two hours early for  flights. Mine nominally boards at 5:40. And nobody manning any of the Delta, or other, desks.

A few dozen people around the security entrance were occupying every available seating space. I found part of a bench down a hall, and had time to pull out the Chromebook and try it using, for the first time, a different wifi. Seems fine if a little slower than normal. (Chromebooks seriously need an internet link to be fully usable.)

I’m not TSA precheck for this trip. Although both Road Scholar and KLM know my number, that somehow didn’t get passed to Delta for my online check-in. So I had to do the full thing, take off shoes and belt and put laptop in a tray. I didn’t care on this trip, since it would only have saved me time on this one boarding. For the return flight, I would need Global Whatsis, the international version, which I only just learned about this month.

departing SFO at dawn

The first leg,

SFO-JFK, was as nominal and routine as a flight can be. Boarded on time. I’d deliberately selected a seat at the way-way-back, row 42, because I didn’t care how long it took to get off the plane and two, I thought they would board the back rows earlier than the front ones. Nope. I can’t figure out what Delta’s algorithm was, but the biggest group (after three different classes of Privileged Folk) was Main 1, and they mostly sat in the middle. I was Main 3, last group. So I was a tiny bit apprehensive that my bag would not actually fit under the seat. But it did, just. We had a tail-wind and the pilot proudly announced we were 25 minutes ahead of schedule on arrival.

I won’t say the five hours flew by but at least they passed quietly. I had a couple of short naps, even. And listened to a lot of podcasts and music. After landing I had to go from C65 to B38, nominally all the international terminal, but in actuality requiring a shuttle bus ride. As I was striding along from the bus into the B-gates terminal it occurred to me that I was striding, carrying my bag, moving right along. Marian and I took several flights in 2016-17 when her mobility was increasingly impaired, and using wheelchair assists to get from gate to gate, and always trying to plot the shortest walking route. Today I consciously savored the feeling of being freely mobile, realizing that it is not a given, wondering how long I’ll have it.

Anyway that got me to B38 with a bottle of OJ and two hours to kill before the

flight to Athens.

Which is a bit delayed. The Aux power unit (APU) on the aircraft needs service, with the result that the plane has no air conditioning and “it’s about 95 degrees on board” according to the flight officer who came up to the desk to explain the delay. 15-30 minute delay in boarding — they say. So not an on time departure. Wonder when it will go?

Answer: it pushed back an hour late.

Depart JFK at sunset

And that was Wednesday.


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