Bronx, NY Sat. 19 Sep. 2009. I left the Bronx about 3:30a and was at JFK airport at 4:05a paying a toll of $5.50 as I did so. I guess that new mall on the I-87 is where the Yankee stadium once stood? I’m on my way to the Dominican Republic and the flight is at 6:00a from JFK.
I pulled into the Avis lot and a guy came up to the car. I asked him for his ID and he got mad, what an odd chap. Anyway he was a legit Avis employee who walked around the car, checked it out and then noted the mileage on my contract, as if I could not have done that myself. I pulled into the drop off zone, parked the car then went inside to the counter, the guy there charged me more than he should adding that the system always adds the gas charge if you drive under 75 miles.
Avis, this is the worst thing you’ve done, don’t assume the customer has not filled up and charge the money, how about asking first? This caused the transaction to take so much longer and the guy getting mad at me when I challenged the amount he was charging me.
Anyway, we cleared that up (he removed the charge after I showed him my receipt for gas at $3.05 per gallon!) then I headed up to the top of the train station and took the JFK AirTrain to Terminal T5 where jetBlue resides arriving at 4:36a. It was quiet and way too early. I could see the old TWA terminal in the front of the new Terminal 5 and the old jetBlue Terminal 6 off to the left. I wonder what will become of Terminal 6; a testament to jetBlue’s success I guess.
I saw some kiosks, but wanted personal attention so I went to an agent and checked in again. I had erroneously added two checked bags when I checked in online. I had tried to change it, but there was no way to do so. The agent was a bit argumentative when I asked her why did jetBlue send me an e-mail to check-in online for the Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic (POP) to New York-John F. Kennedy (JFK) flight but when I tried it, it said that city is not available for online check-in. I gave up explaining it after three tries. She was visibly annoyed with me as well.
I cleared security which was sparse and entered the terminal. As early as it was, there was quite a number of people in the airport. This flight had a lot of locals on it and Spanish could be heard all over the plane. It seemed a lot of people were returning home. I guess Santiago is a place for locals, not vacationers.
I boarded N595JB, “Rhythm & Blues” an Embraer ERJ-190, saying my good mornings as I did so and settled into my aisle seat. Well, a lady and her young son had actually settled into my seat in error. She was in D & E but was sitting in B & C, C being my seat. So I just took D instead. Soon the young girl for seat B showed up and I told her to sit in E. She did and we were all set.
We pushed back ontime at 6:00a for our 3:30 flight. The manual safety demo was done, we taxied out and was airborne at 6:14a. Beverages and snack were served soon after takeoff; I had some tea with animal crackers before falling asleep as I was so tired.
I was awoken later as I had to fill out arrival documentation; one Customs form and an Immigration form. I helped the girl next to me to fill it out as well since she was having some issues. She was also helping out the lady at the window seat. The girl was quite funny as she could not get her seat reclined earlier as she was pushing the wrong button. She actually thought that the lady behind her was the one doing it. I helped her to find the correct button.
I went back to sleep and was awoken again to prepare for landing. It was 9:04a when we touched down in Santiago which is in the valley, but is about 600′ above sea level in the north of the country. We got to the gate five minutes later. In looking out, we were the only commercial airplane at the airport.
I got my stuff together and headed out. I was glad that we had landed 28 minutes early. I made my way downstairs and was asked my nationality. As I have a U.S. passport I had to pay an arrival tax of 10 USD. I was given a ticket as a receipt then pointed to the next line where the ticket was retrieved.
I then went to an Immigration Officer and was stamped in. I still don’t get why each booth had two Officers, but oh well. I cleared Customs and headed outside.
Yea, new airport number four is accomplished, now I have to get to Puerta Plata right away.
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