Sunday, March 05, 2006

Travelogue: The Palo Alto Experience

I started off by driving to the JFK Airport on a day of snow and sleet - slowly wading through snailing traffic in George Washington Bridge and Whitestone Bridge in NYC. I anticipated (or should I say overanticipated it) and started at 5.30PM for the 9PM flight. I am used to flying out of Newark (EWR) which I know in the back of my mind. Since this was my first time parking & flying in JFK, I dint want to take any chances. I reached the long term parking (read: cheap) at about 7.15P and took the Airtrain to the terminal. As I had checked in online, I headed straight to the terminal and boy, was it crowded. I took a quick bite from the Asian Bistro and waited an hour for the flight.

If you have not flown Jetblue before, well, you should. Although there are other lowcost airlines, the main reason they are as successful as they have been, I think, is coz of the crew they have. They are 10 times friendlier than other major airlines' crew in the US. As we boarded the plane, our captain explained that since the plain had ice on the wings, it had to be de-iced before its take and it's going to delay the departure. He also explained that due to the bad weather in Oakland Airport, he may need more fuel than the plane can hold to land (I'd have to research on this more) and that may result in a fueling stopover in Salt Lake City. As a way to compensate for this, he made all the movies free. And this is exactly the reason why Jetblue has a very loyal customer base. I only wish they'd introduce more flights from Newark, NJ.

Fortunately for us, we didn't have to make the fuel stop as weather in Oakland improved. So we landed in Oakland at 1.13AM and that meant I would miss my rental pickup which closes at 1AM. Bummer! And to add to my woes, I figures this out only after reaching the rental center which took another 30 mins. So, I had to call a taxi and that took another hour to come. On top of all this, it was raining and it was unusually cold in CA. After paying $80 for the ride from Oakland to Palo Alto (which is a beautiful city btw). When I went to bed, it was 4AM pacific time which is 7AM for me (eastern time). But it dint matter -- I had to sleep and I did for just 3 hours.

As if to compensate for all this excitement, the return trip was as pleasant as it could have been. A friend of mine gave me a ride to the airport and there was no crowd either at the airport or in the flight. It reached NYC ahead of time and my ride back home was a breeze. I was home by 10.30PM. They say that things always have the knack of evening themselves out.

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