Australian Journal Redux: Day One

On Sunday I began thinking that my connection to Sydney in LAX today would be too tight, since LA was getting some turbulent weather. I called Amex Black Card, but they couldn’t come up with any good alternatives, and told me a flight out of New York which I found on my computer while talking with them would cost an additional $1500 (not that that was an issue).

Ironically, Black Card boosts me to the top of all the private air programs, so I called a special American Airlines number, and a terrific guy told me that the flight I was looking at was available and would only cost $220 more (go figure). So, I booked it, called my driver, and told him we were going to New York, not Boston, Monday morning.

He got me from Rhode Island to Kennedy Airport in a record-setting 2.75 hours (it was President’s Day, light traffic). A very nice supervisor took me around a very long first class line to a kiosk, where I swiped my passport, she inserted a magic card, and I actually had boarding passes all the way to Sydney.

I went up to the Admiral’s Club where they ushered me into a sanctum sanctorum within the club. Two women there took a look at my boarding pass and offered me an earlier flight. I spun on my heel and headed for the plane, arriving at the gate as they called early boarding. A woman handed me a card announcing that in-flight internet service was available and I sent my first email ever from an airplane not long thereafter.

The flight attendant was so great that I gave her one of my rather dusty American “special acknowledgment” cards, where they expect their best customers to reward their best employees. I’ve now spent quite a few hours in the Qantas first class lounge at LAX, but I finished two columns, plus Balancing Act, and over a chapter in my new book, Thrive! (I’m into the fourth chapter.) American Airlines has had a real good day.

Beau Bridges, the actor, is sitting a few rows away from me in the Qantas club here. Another couple of hours and I board, losing a day, and arriving in Sydney on Wednesday morning and in the summer! So far my plan is working to stay up, sleep for eight hours on the plane, and face Wednesday morning as a new day without jet lag. We’ll see about that.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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