Travel thoughts

Just finished a 4 mile run after getting back from NYC last night. I’ll be putting up a full day by day review of the trip but wanted to jot down some thoughts on the whole travel experience.

We had booked a red-eye flight leaving on Monday late evening and arriving in the Big Apple early Tuesday morning.  I have done a few of these flights in the past though honestly I can’t remember the experiences as they were all a very long time ago and my memory doesn’t serve me well on those occasions.  My wife was worried about the red-eye because she historically has not been able to sleep on planes (flights to Europe,Hawaii, Asia) and this would make it tough to get off the plane and go directly to exploring the city.

To maximize the chance of success for sleep, my wife had a few tools in her arsenal.  We picked up some Benadryl (active ingredient diphenhydramine) to help with sleep.  If you look at the “sleeping aid” OTC pills you can purchase, they’re almost all diphenhydramine  except more costly.  So we just picked up some regular ole’ OTC benadryl because it is cheap.  The second tool was a good sleep mask and ear plugs.  Finally a J-pillow travel pillow is something that she had used on a previous trip.

We arrived to Terminal A of the Sacramento International Airport, which is where JetBlue flies out of.  Luckily for us there is a direct flight from Sac to JFK.  They had been doing renovations on Terminal A ever since putting in a new Terminal B a few years back.  This time around they had finished a seating area with desks that had plugs so people could charge their devices.  They also had these cool benches that allowed you to lay down.

New benches and tables in Terminal A

I laid down and tried to nap before the flight.  However, there was too much going on – overhead announcements, people talking, etc.   I gave up on this and we boarded just before midnight.  Originally I had booked an aisle and middle seat since I like access to the walkway and bathrooms during the flight.  My wife pointed out that since she wanted to sleep, she didn’t want to be asleep next to a stranger.  I gave her the aisle seat and took the middle seat.  JetBlue kindly had a “sleep kit” on each seat that contained an eye mask and earplugs.  I never realized the droning loudness of being on a plane until I put the earplugs in.  Somehow I managed to get about 3 hours of sleep – though I felt like I was constantly waking up here and there.  I’m happy to report that my wife managed to get some sleep as well.  This truly helped out as we were then able to explore the city that first day as opposed to napping/sleeping the day away.

Our return flight last night was delayed for just over an hour because the 1st officer (co-pilot) was running late.  We purposely left the city early because of concerns for traffic as well as security at JFK.  While sitting there waiting for the boarding process, the ticket agent came on and said the 1st officer wasn’t there yet so we couldn’t board yet.  For some reason you’d think that this was his job so he would have planned for traffic.  They announced that he was in a taxi and that he commuted to work.  Um…pretty much we ALL commute to work.  That’s something you’re supposed to take into account, no?  It was just frustrating because we waited an extra hour for this guy to arrive.  In the end we landed about 30 minutes later than the originally scheduled arrival but it was still late (11:30 pm).  As I laid down to sleep last night I had an interesting thought.  I woke up yesterday morning in NYC and walking around these giant high rises and the crazy crowds of the streets and Central Park and last night went to sleep in my own bed in northern California.  I think we sometimes take for granted the advancement in technology and travel.  Back in the day you’d probably take a train that would be multiple days to get across the country.  Now we do it in a matter of hours.

I do enjoy travel by large boat (cruise ship) because you don’t even feel like you’re on a boat yet can travel good distances.  I like that you can go about your day (exercise, eating, sleeping) relatively normally while on a cruise ship and yet still travel from port to port.  I’d consider it for travel across the oceans though I don’t know how long that would take.  I could see getting bored on a ship for longer than a few days.  Still the cramped spaces and dry air of plane travel is not something I’m a huge fan of.  I’ve learned to tolerate it, especially with the extent of flying I did through my many years of schooling, but don’t enjoy it.  I’m definitely a fan of the shorter plane hops (SMF to the PNW and down to SoCal).

NYC recaps up next!



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