I'm back online. I won't be able to write too much, but I did take a few notes from second and third legs of the flight.
After a night's sleep at the Ramada, I woke up fairly stiff, had breakfast and much needed coffee and headed out to JFK.
12:15 PM (New York Time): I go to the British Airways terminal and try to verify if my flight from Dublin to London will be honored. Because they were on a "ticket sharing program", the lady can't verify it. However, she tries repeatedly to see if there some way that she can get me to London straight from JFK. Apparently, if I had a paper ticket, she may have been able to. This is a constant refrain I've heard: E-tickets are great if and only if everything goes perfectly. I can't find out if I have a flight to London until I get to Dublin.
12:45 PM: The Delta ticket agent checked me in, verified that my bags would be sent to Dublin and everything's good to go. I may be stranded in Dublin, but at least I'll be stranded in Dublin.
1:05 PM: Security was interesting. One person manning the X-Ray machine called out "what sort of person has coffee (caw-fee) in their bags?" Another security person repeated the question. The lady instructing passengers said "That's whack! Why would someone do something that stupid?" Frankly, I can easily understand why someone would want a pound of freshly roasted Sumatran Mandheling, but I bite my tongue.
Unfortunately, an old lady who looked about 70 did not bite her tongue. After she and her husband got routed to a different line, they came back to ours. The hunched over, sweet-faced grandma said "What? They think I'm a terrorist or something?" Her husband tried to hush her, to no avail. As I breezed through security, I saw they had been pulled to the side for a more thorough search. Terrorists are everywhere. We've always been at war with elderly Jewish grandmothers.
8:00 PM: the flight didn't leave at 7:40, ostensibly due to traffic problems the pilots faced. After everything which has gone wrong on this trip, I just assume more problems by now.
Since I've been at JFK most of the day, I've had nothing much to do. I wound up sitting in a bar with a lady named Andrea who, coincidentally, is sitting one row in front of me. We basically wasted about six hours drinking beer. I'm physically exhausted, a bit tipsy and just want the flight to leave. To make matters worse, I've embarrassed myself by not recognizing the person sitting next to me, a lady I chatted with earlier in the bar. The long trip and a few airport beers are taking their toll on me.
(That was the end of the notes. The rest is from memory).
I got to Dublin and waited for quite some time at the baggage claim. Eventually, a porter came by and removed the unclaimed luggage. Mine had not arrived. After a few questions, I found myself in a queue for lost luggage claims. There were quite a few people there which certainly didn't make me feel any more confident. When I got to the front of the queue, the gentleman looked for my luggage in the system and informed me that he couldn't even find a record of it. However, he recommended that I not file a claim until Gatwick lest my luggage get delivered to Dublin instead. Fortunately, I went to the British Airways counter and they honored my booking, even though they apparently didn't have to.
I landed in London a little after two in the afternoon on Thursday. I know it was Thursday because I was so tired from the traveling that I had to ask what day it was. I went to baggage claim on the off chance that my luggage had been sent on anyway ... and there it was. Lewis (my brother) picked me up and took me to his house in Warlingham, just south of London.
After a couple of days of drinking and celebrating the World Cup (unlike Baseball's World Series, it seems that multiple countries are invited to the World Cup), I've finally caught a train into Nottingham. I'm looking forward to getting out and about, seeing what it's like, but for right now, I'm exhausted. I'm also home.