Tales from the Runway features stories of air travel terror and delight from the Fly&Dine community. Here’s Jess Kapadia, associate editor at Food Republic, on her experience flying into Newark during the biggest snowstorm of the year:
Speaking of jump-starting your New Year health thing you’re totally going to stick with for the next 361 days, I unintentionally had a 24-hour fast up until I dove headfirst into a steaming hot bowl of, well I don’t want to reveal that yet. But while you were all cozy hibernating during the storm last night I had ludicrous failure of a travel experience.
I flew into Newark from Costa Rica’s San Jose airport yesterday morning, after scaling a foggy, rainy mountain in a sketchy RAV4 that had immediately blown a tire on the way out. We accidentally ran over a frog. My friend Tomer and I were literally on the last flight bound for the Northeast (one friend’s flight was canceled; we left her behind), but honestly the ride was as smooth as could be. We landed in Newark, taxied and stopped. An hour later we were released to go wait four hours for our luggage, seeing as they had five cargo holds to… I don’t know, blow-dry free of an alleged foot of ice before unloading ours. We almost didn’t check our bags, but did at the last minute because you know, why not if it’s free?
Here’s what I did have: a three-pack of Stoli I’d judiciously acquired at duty free. Two regulars and a jalapeño. I really love that stuff in Bloodies. I went vodka shopping instead of acquiring food, breaking my own number-one travel rule. And as punishment from the travel gods, the plane was out of everything.
Oh my GOD my bug bites are itchy. Ughhh, don’t scratch don’t scratch don’t scratch.
One of the thousand or so travelers trapped at the international baggage claim (most of whom were coming from lovely tropical locales like Punta Cana with their kids) who happened to have a commanding, booming British thing going on, decided he’d be the boss and started aggressively questioning the cops. New Jersey airport cops don’t care for their kind round those parts. An asinine standoff ensued, a small riot of about 50 people started yelling and trying to rush the gate to Customs (like that would even work) and when order was semi-restored I jokingly but not at all jokingly asked if I could open my duty-free booze. The cop smirked and said “sure.” So…I did.
And then another cop took it away. A mean-ass cop took away my open bottle of vodka I was sharing with my traveling pal who absolutely loves and totally needed vodka after the gastrointestinal wretchedness he’d recently experienced. (Also, all of us.) We also made friends with Björklund, this random attractive Swedish guy who had transfered through New York a million times but never actually seen the city, so we’d put a dent in the bottle and were in better spirits. Get it? That’s how drunk I was from several swigs of spicy vodka on a totally empty stomach fresh off an international flight, drunk enough to make that joke, then laugh hysterically at myself. And try to get that guy to come home with me. You know, see the city.
With not a taxi in sight, Tomer and I (sans Björklund) boarded the Airtrain, which had frozen over completely and kept moving backward and forward. A recording informed us we had not yet arrived at the station — over and over again. The very last train to Penn Station was damp, leaky and packed, then the jerk cabbie outside the station refused to open the trunk for some jerk reason, so we crammed our soaked bags into the back seat, hung out with them, then dragged them up my four flights of stairs. Then Tomer left, and I broke my fast with…
MACARONI AND CHEESE! When I signed on this morning I saw that the guys in my absence suggested you eat the same thing to weather the storm. That is what I would have posted, guys. Awh, twinsies. Missed you.
So that’s how my night went. Costa Rica was fun, there were sloths. Macaroni and cheese is very good. And I am ready to tackle this year.
(reprinted with permission from Jess Kapadia/Food Republic)