We are on our way to go see Maddie's tekes kumta, her beret granting ceremony in which she marches 10 miles to get a beret. In other words, a regular day at the mall. We started out by experiencing Igor the Uber driver and a nice drive to JFK. Our flight was scheduled on American Airlines, for 5:15PM.
We got to the airport with time to spare, got ourselves checked in and settled in at the gate. I noticed a desk and went up to ask a question about our Kosher meals. Then the line started behind me. I figured that they all had questions about Kosher meals so I shrugged it off, but soon, the desk agent started telling people to sit back down because "if you don't have a seat, I'll call you." Well, I had a seat so I didn't worry. Then the Chuds came.
Apparently, our flight equipment (ii.e. the plane) had been downgraded. I don't want to hear that my plane has been downgraded. When I hear "downgraded" al I can think is "rubber bands" and damned if I am going to have to twist rubber bands to fly across the Atlantic. The 767 which was expected FROM Paris was delayed so they gave us a 757 instead. Now a 757 is a fine aircraft but not state of the art. It holds fewer people so stand-by passengers could not be given seats and people who paid for seats couldn't be given seats. Let the madness ensue. Business class people were being pushed into commoner seating and commoners were being bumped. An offer was made -- if you are willing to take a later flight, American would give you a whopping $500 credit towards another American flight. Um, that's not going to cut it. We already regret taking American -- we aren't going to be bought by the promise of more poor planning. Cash or go blow, my friend. So we didn't give up our seats. I had paid for the "plus" seats with more leg room so I didn't want to risk losing that. And I was afraid that the Kosher food reservation would be lost. We demured. The flight became severely delayed. Apparently, a smaller aircraft means smaller shaped meals so we had to wait for catering services to come over and get things all squared away. The next rumor to circulate was that the later flight was downgraded also so no one who volunteered could even be sure of getting a later seat. Suckers, I thought.
Then the karma came. Amidst the sour mood we began boarding at 6:05. Yes, we had seats. Yes, they were seats 20A and B as expected. But on a 757, those are not the preferred seats we paid for. They are regular "I can't breathe" seats. Calls will be made and a refund had better be tendered because I went crazy stuck in those seats for 6 hours. Harumph! Also, the overhead bin above row 20 is full of oxygen tanks so there is no room for the carry on luggage! Oxygen? Who even uses that stuff anymore?
Now the 757 is a fine plane, but it is like asking your friend Biff to help you move and getting his little brother Peanut, instead. Yeah, he'll try really hard and do a serviceable job, and he is cute in a way, but still, Peanut. Come on. So, yes, I'm taking your gol-darned earbuds whether I need them or not. Cold comfort is still comfort. The exit-information card is from 2013. I'd like to think that exit card information has gone through a series of advances technologically since then and I was afraid I missed something by using out of date diagrams and such. Worrisome, indeed. My subsequent nausea was both caused and exacerbated by the 2 films, Beauty and the Beast and The LEGO Movie. The audio jack didn't work very well and I never liked "Don't Worry, Be Happy" especially on a loop.
We made fine time and eventually deplaned. I had to find a place to daven and had researched Charles De Gaulle airport so I knew that there was a synagogue available to the faithful. Well, that's not entirely true -- there is a multi-faith service area which means a mosque with a small room with a star of David on it. Julie and I made the decision to avoid that particular configuration so I davened in a photo booth. Not as spiritually fulfilling as you might think. And no, no pictures.
Our plan was to hop an RER train (sort of a light rail) into Paris to have some breakfast and lunch (simultaneously) and then jump back on the train and get to the airport before our flight to Tel Aviv left. So we struggled with our phones, paid a company to store our bags, tried to figure out the ticketing line and asked many strangers many questions. Eventually we got to the station (Eau de floret or something not at all like that) and walked down a bunch of streets with names like Rue De and Sauf or Neuf or Sortie or what not. Eventually, we found our way to the Jewish neighborhood and explored the bakery (I had an espresso, Julie had everything else), a falafel place (I had a cup o' falafel, and Julie had one in a pita). Julie insists that this falafel place (World of Falafel, or in French, Vorld Le Falafel, I think) is the best ever. Good, yes. Best, I still hold Moshiko in that spot. Then she bought chocolates at Dam-yell, which is what you do when you have to pay obscene prices for chocolate.
Then back on the train and back to get our luggage, only to find that our flight to Tel Aviv, scheduled variously at 2:30, 2:35 and 2:40 was now listed at 3:30. So I'm sitting -- falafel, 2 airplane meals, a beer and an espresso rumbling their way through my intestinal tract watching, and waiting for the second leg, El Al flight 324 to start boarding and giving me more reason to hate most everyone and everything.