Jan. 4. – Time for me to fly

NEW ORLEANS, La.
The alarm jolted me from a brief but satisfying sleep at 1:30 a.m. this morning. I showered, dressed and had about 25 minutes to spare. Soon I was headed to the airport. I arrived just within the suggested three-hour window for flights to Moscow. I have lived in New Orleans long enough to know that the agents wouldn’t be there that early, but I followed the directions anyway. Of course, the counters were empty. I tried the self-check in kiosk. The kiosk didn’t even open until 4:15 a.m. So I waited among a group of weary-looking travelers in the seating area.

There were about 20 other travelers waiting, about half were sleeping on the floor. I think the ones on the floor had been there all night. The guy closest to me was snoring loudly as he slept … once … I believe he talked in his sleep, though not in English (Arabic, I think). Around 4 a.m., I ate a granola bar and took a brief nap. Around 4:15 a.m., I was awakened by the sounds of people rushing to the ticket counters.

It took awhile to get through the ticketing process. The kiosk did not work for my trip … the agent had to check my passport and visa. My computer was chosen for an extra security checks (I guess really sleepy people look suspicious). The extra check was so quick that I didn’t even have time to put on my jacket or shoes.

ATLANTA, Ga.
After an uneventful flight, I made it to Atlanta and had my first cup of coffee … a Grande Caffe Americano from Starbucks. For second breakfast — a bit of beef jerky. Later, I am looking forward to a Nathan’s hot dog for lunch. After eating, the wait was on. It was supposed to be a short wait, but it turned into a long wait. Delta never explained why the wait was so long. The plane was late arriving at the gate, but it didn’t fly in from another destination. Once at the gate, the plane had to be stocked and cleaned. We were at least 40 minutes late loading the plane.

NEW YORK
As we approached New York, we were informed that we had been placed in a holding pattern. We circled around and around for another 30 minutes. By the time we landed, I was getting a bit nervous about making the connecting flight to Moscow. I rushed to the gate listed on my boarding pass, but it was wrong. As I made it to gate, the first call can for boarding. It was tight, but I made it.

I sat next to a Russia woman during the trip. We had great conversations about Dostoevsky, Moscow and St. Petersburg. She gave a few recommendations about Russian food.

After dinner, I was able to get a few hours of sleep. Somewhere over the Atlantic, we welcomed a new day.

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