Staff photographer Brenna Neghaiwi has been stranded in JFK Airport since Saturday afternoon. We imagine lots of other Yalies are in the same boat. Below, through photography and written account, Brenna documents her suffering.
After eight hours on the plane from JFK to Amsterdam Schiphol, I finally disembark – in JFK.
Eight hours waiting on the ground in a plane is indeed a very long time, especially squished between two large men cramping my style and without any real food. (The masterminds of airline regulations know that serving warm meals while standing perfectly still is a safety hazard.) Only after we had been sitting around for about three hours did it occur to the gods of air transport to cancel the flight in blizzard-like weather conditions.
Fate, of course, would not let us off so easily after our foolish ways: by the time the airport reached this decision, it was no longer possible to pull back into our gate, and in the ensuing five hours a whole host of setbacks presented themselves. There were no free gates initially, then a plane in front of us broke down, then the available gates were not equipped for our sort of plane and, lastly, as we stood 40 meters away from the glorious portal to the vast indoor world, the airport staff wasn’t able to clear that last bit of ground. At 2:30 a.m., we finally walked through the (literally) snow-filled gateway to end up where we had started.
Back in the sweet refuge of the indoor world, we passengers looked forward to cozy hotel rooms courtesy of our air gods. As you may expect by this time, such divine fortune was not in the cards for us. Road conditions prevented this: literally, we were stranded in JFK.
Bodies of sleeping vagabonds lay scattered across the airport floor. Everywhere, drifters forlornly sought grasp of time and destination. As we stood around like a tormented herd of cows, we were told that our flight was rescheduled to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. One girl virtually reached tears, panicking about a surgery that she was scheduled to receive on Monday in Norway. Presumably the poor girl missed it. Another man began a (verbal) fight with a flight attendant after demanding to receive an updated itinerary. This disintegrated into a slur of personal attacks and a great deal of sass back from the attendant (and no success on the man’s part).
Although we were denied new boarding passes, we were given two $5 coupons to sustain our eating needs over the next 24 hours. Joy of joys! Just enough for two burgers at McDonald’s or 2.5 Odwalla Superfood smoothies. (My choice: one smoothie, one apple and one slice of Sbarro’s mozzarella pizza. Juicy.) I soon had the stroke of genius to check out the airline lounge, which was available for passengers on canceled flights. From this point on, my fate decidedly improved. In the lounge, couches, tables, food, coffee and a place to plug in my computer awaited. To add the ultimate icing to the cake, I was given two extra $5 meal vouchers — little did they know that I had already received my allotted 10 bucks.
I remained camped out in this “Oasis” (indeed, this is the name of KLM’s lounge) for the next 16 hours, before finally taking off. Now, in Amsterdam, I await notice of my connecting flight from Schiphol to Zurich in a queue longer than the list of my facebook friends. Oh, cruel fate! Fingers crossed I make it back before Tuesday.