About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

getting there

The past couple of years for my London Book Fair trip I'd taken Eos to London, one of the three business-class only airlines across the Atlantic that went belly-up from late 2007 thru summer 2008, Eos just a couple of weeks after I got back last year.  This year I flew business on Delta, choosing them largely because they were offering a 5PM flight back for the price other airlines charged for the 10AM return from Heathrow.  The late departures are very popular with the road warriors who can do a full day of business in London and then head home and the airlines charge accordingly (though now it looks like they're happy to take less money than you might think any time of the day or night; I'm checking American right now and finding what a year ago would have been shockingly low prices if I wanted to go back to London in June).

Delta seems to have taken lessons on schedule updates from Amtrak, which has this nasty habit of pretending that a NYC to DC train won't be delayed because the same train coming down from Boston is running 35 minutes late, and so it was that even though Delta 001 is a continuation of a flight from Orlando albeit with a change of planes for the Florida passengers, Delta pretended that the scheduled 90 minute delay for the flight from Orlando would have no effect on our departure.  Not until we got to the airport 2 hours before, and then just after we've checked in they finally decide that yes, the incoming flight really will be late and then push our ETD back by 90 minutes.  I am assuming they were waiting to see what time the flight actually left Orlando so they'd know more precisely what time we would be able to leave JFK, but unless they were willing to strand all the switching passengers in NYC if that flight was really really really late, wouldn't it have been nicer for them to have admitted sooner that whatever time we left, it wasn't going to be on time?

Delta has two shabby old terminals 2 & 3, so I was happy to find out that even though we checked in at terminal 2 that the Heathrow departure actually left from the nicer and newer international terminal 4 (you could go thru security at terminal 2 and take a shuttle across the tarmac), which has more shopping and eating and long wide concourses that are good for exercising.  I used part of the "unexpected" delay to walk around outside, and was glad to discover you can actually walk between terminals 1,2,3,4&5, which is the new Jet Blue terminal. I did not have time to walk the far end of 5 to see if the path continued onward.  I have no idea if or how you could walk from the terminals to the rest of the world thru the spaghetti of access roads, but at least I know there's this walking route for outdoor exercise if delayed in the future. I did have time for my first in-person glimpse at an A-380 jumbo jet, with one of Emirates parked beside terminal 4.

Eos used the Emirates lounge, which Eos termed the best in NYC, and they may well be right.  It had a full hot buffet and lots of space.  The Sky Team lounge in terminal 4 had only a soup and two hot dishes, though both of those were at least tasty, and then some cold stuff and the usual plentiful array of beverages and etc. etc.  Not at all bad, but not Emirates.

Delta did its best to board the passengers starting at JFK so we could welcome the people moving over from the flight from Orlando, many of which seemed from the accents as they slowly filtered in to be families from South Africa who had been visiting Disney World by way of Heathrow and JFK.  The last of them got on maybe 10 minutes after our announced delayed departure time, and we got lucky to the extent that we had a very short taxi time (either a smooth day @ JFK or we were now leaving after the peak evening taxi delays) and no circling once in London and were less than an hour behind getting to London.  This was my first time doing normal trans-Atlantic business class instead of the more first-classy Eos.  I couldn't really get comfy in my seat for sleeping though it was large enough and reclined near flat, perhaps because as my assistant Eddie told me later I didn't take advantage of the leg extension part of it.  The food was OK.  The one thing I really missed from the much larger personal space on Eos was a cubby near my head to put some stuff in for the flight, so you don't have to unbuckle to reach the seatback pocket or a stowed briefcase beneath the seat that's a decent difference in front.  The passport control line was rather longer than I'm used to in London, but that meant no waiting the other side for the luggage.  Since we were staying in west London I decided it would be about as quick to take the Picadilly line for not very much money as to take the Heathrow Express for rather more money and then still have to get along to the hotel.  Other than having the heaviest rain of the day exactly during the walk from the tube to the hotel we arrived in OK time, and I pressed a little on getting rooms that were ready and for me on my preferred side of the hotel so we could freshen up and get to work.

1 comment:

Lisa Iriarte said...

There are few things I hate more than having to travel by air. Two many rings of fire to jump through to get where you're going. And, I'm afraid of flying. I dig my nails into my poor husband's arm on every flight. I think he has permanent marks there.

My preferred method of travel? Cruise ships. The ultimate luxury.