Now, when I title a blog “A long travel day”, it’s not hyperbole.
Today was one of the longest travel days I’ve ever endured. It took me from the sweltering 28C heat of Havana, Cuba to the icy snow covered streets of -2C Kiev, Ukraine.
In total, I was in transit for 22 hours and it was actually 36 hours between the time I woke up in Cuba to the time I finally rest my head down on a pillow in Ukraine.
So, yeah, a long day…
But so worth it!
Was my decision to switch my trip up and abandon Cuba a rash decision?
It was also a very empowering decision because I was able to just flip open my computer, pick a destination somewhere in the world and fly there on a dime the next day.
Plus, I was able to recognize what wasn’t working and fix it.
Anyway, on to the Havana airport…
When I first arrived in Cuba a couple of days ago, I chose to be adventurous and figure out how to take the bus from the Havana airport into town. This time, though, I wasn’t in an adventurous kinda mood and I just wanted to get outta dodge so I hailed a taxi and paid my 25CUC ($25).
I got to the airport at noon and checked in a full 2 1/2 hours before my flight time figuring the process would be slower cause it’s Cuba.
Well, no line at the checkin counter and, to my joy, the girl there spoke perfect English.
Now, the security checkpoint was another story all together as I turned the corner to find a huge line of people waiting to be screened.
Interestingly, aside from the States, this was the only other country where I had to take off my shoes to be screened.
And then, inexplicably, they let me keep my bottled water in my carryon. First country to do that. Go figure.
I didn’t dare take a photo near the security screening but most of the people working the area were young girls in their 20s wearing short skirts and fishnet stockings. It was such an out of place uniform for security personal but, if I do say so myself, THE BEST UNIFORM EVER!
At just after 2pm I boarded my JetBlue flight to JFK before connecting to another flight to Kiev.
I’ve been on at least a dozen different airlines (I really should look that up) and I gotta say, JetBlue blew them outta the water!
The crew were super friendly and it looked like they actually enjoyed their jobs.
Each seat had an individual touchscreen monitor and along with tv shows, music and movies you could watch LIVE TV while in the air.
Oh, and they had wifi too. And not just the “pay us a small fortune and we’ll connect you” kind of wifi…
It was free!
Considering this was only a short 3 hour flight, I just couldn’t believe it.
No free food but they did come around with free drinks and a basket of different chips for you to choose from.
I chose the TERRA Sweets & Blues real vegetable chips. I had never even seen this brand before (maybe American?) but it was the best chip I’ve ever had. I asked the flight attendant if I could possibly have another bag so she brought me two more.
So, yeah, I love JetBlue.
Coming from a customer service background made me appreciate the experience even more and I’m more than happy to give them a little free publicity here on my blog.
By 5:30 we had landed at JFK in New York.
My next flight wasn’t until 12:30am which meant, yup, I had a long 7 hours in the airport.
I did think of maybe heading into town but didn’t want to chance going into a strange town in between flights with no planning whatsoever.
So, I hung out at the JFK airport instead.
The airport, naturally, is huge and has multiple terminals.
My JetBlue flight landed at terminal 5 which is pretty much entirely operated by JetBlue.
Unsurprisingly, they have free wifi throughout the terminal while the other terminals only have a free 30 minutes on the Boingo network.
The downside to terminal 5 is that the only food there is a Dunkin Donuts so I hopped on the airtram (the free rail line between terminals) and headed over to Terminal 1 which I was told had an actual food selection.
It was a tough choice between Chinese food, Italian food, and McDonalds but ultimately I chose some spaghetti and meatballs.
Considering my system has been rough the last couple of days, it probably wasn’t the best choice but I was starving and it looked pretty yummy.
Eventually the time had come to head over to Terminal 7 where my UIA flight would be leaving from.
Another security check and this time my bottled water didn’t make the cut.
On the other side of security I considered buying a new water but they were going for close to $4 and I just couldn’t allow myself to be extorted so I went without.
Finally, a full 7 hours after I had landed at JFK, my flight took off for Kiev, Ukraine.
9 hours to go til we land…