Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Girl on a Plane



Wednesday 15th April, a day after the Tamil New Year, I woke up bright and happy!  Well, not really full of the cold and flu to travel to Buffalo NY dreading the flight and the full 12 hours ‘on the road’, including the 2 hour layover at Newark. Flight was fine; in fact a better one to Newark than the jam packed one to JFK last year. Wider seats, no one next to me, I could cough away to my comfort and style! I could spread my newspaper, books etc and the girl at the window seat was friendly enough and we shared the middle seat to suit us both. The film was not uploading, vaguely wanted to see Reese Witherspoon in ‘The Wild’ but felt sleepy most of the time.

Arrived at Newark on time. Fabulous sunshine yay! This was good! Then I came to the Immigration queue! Well, Newark Liberty International, to have three, yes three immigration agents for a queue that seemed to be around 500 was not smart! Waited patiently, as security guys hollered at people looking at their cell phones. NO CELL PHONES. Sheepish grins and cell phones back in pockets, bags etc. A couple of ladies beside me were getting jittery like me. Connecting flight to catch. They had 3 hour layover, me just short of two. Meanwhile each person was photographed, fingers, thumbs in both hands screened and questions about their reasons to visit USA. Nearly gave up on making the flight to Buffalo when a kindly security woman saw sense and diverted a few of us nearly tearing up to the  three immigration  agents who were processing the US CITIZENS and Permanent Residents only and were sat twiddling their thumbs. We rushed over and luckily for us another huge passenger load arrived to join the other 300 odd waiting in the first queue. Got myself processed, 20 minutes to the next flight, terminal miles away, needed to take a train 4 minutes between each one! Ran across to the domestic terminal, made it, I thought!

At the security gate I was asked for my boarding pass and the passport. Boarding pass, yes, but couldn't find my passport anywhere. Mad search through all bags, no luck! Guy seeing me cry gets sympathetic and lets me in. Shoes off, get TSA checked boarded plane, worried sick about the passport. Arrive at Buffalo, daughter is looking at a babbling mum who is not quite all there, with flu/cold, eyes streaming in more ways than one and blabbering about lost passport. Waiting at the baggage carousel, to find that suitcase has not made it from Newark but assured by United that the bag will be on the next flight and will be delivered home.

What is the update on the lost passport? Like the book the Girl on the Train, you will have to wait and see. I have called every phone number that I can lay my hands on. Finally, I got through to a very kind gentleman on the Customs and Immigration desk at Newark. He had my passport and has promised to mail it to me. That was last Thursday, 17th April. As of today 22 April and no sign yet of the missing passport.


Hope you enjoyed the ‘journey’ with me.

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