The Super 8’s continental breakfast was um, present. It’s canteen-grade, but it does the trick.
Check-out was a breeze; the Shuttle driver was friendly and got us to the airport in no time. He dropped us off at the terminals of our choice – I asked for Terminal 4 so I could get my suitcases; the charge was $19 for the pair which doesn’t seem so bad except that the guy didn’t take credit or debit. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to bother with American cash on this layover, but for this one thing I had to go to a white label ATM and pay them $2.50 and my own bank $3 to withdraw $20, so it really became $24.50 – actually more, because $21.50 of that is in US currency.
It’s kind of a sketchy operation – I’d recommend avoiding using it. The guy went on a bathroom break before serving me (that’s cool), and then told the people behind me to come back in 10-15 minutes after, I suppose, a formal break. I mean, the guy from last night did that, too. If I get back home and find things missing…
Well, they probably didn’t take the heavy things because I had to pay $50 again to put my bags through. If I had my druthers, I wouldn’t have taken this dumb layover. I tried to check my bags last night, but they weren’t tagged to go through back in Tokyo, so they wouldn’t do it. Zarg.
It seems like last night’s flight to Halifax was cancelled, though, so it’s just as well I had the layover, I guess. Great – just what I wanted, a packed puddle-jumper. I hope they won’t give me grief over my carry-ons. Damn, I hate air travel.
On my way to my gate I was thirsty, so I tried drinking at a water fountain. Unfortunately, it was one of those where you get a half-second of water pressure followed by a trickle that clears the spout by about a quarter-inch that you have to press into and slurp really loudly if you want to actually drink any water. So I went to a shop and got a 591ml orange soda. It was $2.48 – a 500ml soda would have been a mere ¥140 back in Japan. And you know what else? The credit card receipt that I had to sign had a line for a gratuity. A gratuity! You’re overcharging me by $1 for a bottle of pop and you want a frigging tip? Who… who would expect to have to give tips at an airport snack counter? (Maybe I’m just culture shocked… in Japan, you never give tips anywhere for anything.)
Good things: The security screening here was lengthy (there was a very long line), but there were adequate provisions to get my things off and out and onto trays and (I never see this) adequate provisions and time to get them off the trays and back in and on. Kudos to JFK for letting me get in and out of security at something like my own pace. Some airports expect you to vanish as soon as your things clear the x-ray and don’t give you any time or space to regather.
Another good thing is the AirTrain – it’s a great way to get around the airport, and it’s designed so you can drive your luggage carts onto it. The luggage carts themselves kind of suck and they cost $3. They squeal and bleat and their brakes don’t really work (a serious liability when you’re on the AirTrain). The dispensing machines accept credit cards, but I think the carts should just be free. Just put an electronic boundary lock on them or something to keep them from leaving the airport.
Neither of my carry-ons have wheels, and I find myself wishing they had carts inside the secured departures area.
Most of the staff I’ve dealt with today were pretty friendly – perhaps it’s the Christmas spirit. Alright, I gotta go! General boarding will be happening momentarily.
* * *
Naturally, the overspill from last night’s flight completely filled up the scheduled departure – save one seat. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get that because I’d checked bags, and those bags are with all the people going on my flight.
OH! But it looks like they’re pre-boarding my flight after all!! They let the plane with last night’s folks leave and they’re sending us on another plane. Woo!
And they didn't give me grief about my bags - the flight attendant just asked me to put it on the "valet" rack to go under the plane, and I went into the cabin with just my laptop bag.