Sunday, January 2, 2011

While other passengers snuggled down in their blue Delta-issued blankets, I discreetly pulled a wine bottle out of my plastic duty-free bag.

The dimly lit cabin provided me with excellent cover. Then, I saw the fleur de lis symbol on top of the DeLoach Sauvignon Blanc wine bottle, and I smiled.

I instantly thought back to our New Orleans wedding in the spring. I remembered the three celebratory days we had with our friends and family members. We had a blast. The fleur de lis made an appearance in our invitations, the wedding cake, cuff links and other décor.
Our wedding cake photographed by our Miami Photographer Cengiz Ozelsel.
Now, it was almost midnight back in New York City. It was time to toast to the new year at 35,000 feet in the air.

Luckily, we had bought a screwcap wine bottle. Although I really wanted to have champagne, I was afraid of popping the cork in midair and the noise it would make.

I nudged my dozing husband awake. I poured us two plastic glasses of wine. We sealed the new year with a kiss.

Happy New Year 2011!

I hadn’t planned to celebrate my first New Year’s Eve abroad like this – alone with a few hundred other passengers on an airplane. We had a party to attend back in Istanbul. I wanted to dress up in festive clothes and hang out with our new friends. I wanted to see the fireworks set off over the Bosphorus.

Unfortunately, the NYC traffic, our lack of timing, and the backlog of flights at JFK intervened with our plans. We arrived 55 minutes before our non-stop flight back to Istanbul. We were five minutes too late according to the new Transportation Security Administration’s rules. The gate was closed.

On Dec.30, we missed our flight.

I was frustrated. My head was congested, and I wanted to cry. I felt the beginning of a pounding migraine headache coming on.

We scrambled over to Delta’s ticket rebooking line. I texted friends about our current situation. Jason called his parents and brother. Soon, my best friend in NYC called me and told me to call Delta SkyMiles phone number to see if that would help.

The long line full of frustrated people hadn’t moved in at least 20 minutes.

I called Delta, and the customer service surprised the hell out of me. The telephone rep was supposed to tell me the next flight wouldn’t be available for two or three days, and the flight would include three stops and take 28 hours.

In a couple of minutes, we had a 13-hour flight rebooked for the next day. We did have a short layover in Amsterdam, but we didn’t need to pay any extra money for the tickets. Whew!

We moved out of the line and into the crowded hallway. I sat down on top of my red 50-pound suitcase and waited for Jason to make some phone calls.

Jason and I decided to turn our “lemons into lemonade” as the worn-out cliché goes. We were heading back to NYC to spend the night and hang out with some friends.

Near our hotel in Chelsea, which we cashed in some credit card points for, we met up with my best friend and her husband for NY pizza and drinks. We had missed each other the night before so it was a perfect time to catch up for a few hours. We won’t see each other again until September when they visit us here in Istanbul.

At 11 p.m., we headed uptown to meet two other friends for another drink. I was exhausted at this point but wanted to spend time with old friends we don’t see very often. We had a fun night.

On the next day, Dec. 31, we slept in late. We ate pork carnitas for lunch at Chipotle around the corner. We grabbed some coffee, bought some NY sharp cheddar cheese to take back home and Jason got a haircut. Just a few chill hours in the city.

We grabbed a taxi four hours before our flight was scheduled to take off at 6:30 p.m. We weren’t taking any chances this time. We made our flight and landed at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul about 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 1.

Although we didn’t enjoy a snazzy New Year’s Eve celebration in NYC or Istanbul, we spent the time together. That’s all that really matters.

Our debacle proves that even seasoned travels can make rookie mistakes.

Me in NYC out walking around in the cold weather.

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Hopeful said...
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Unknown said...

Ia m so glad you had a good time and you made it home safely...