Spending a night (or 2 or 3) at JFK airport in New York City

Had everything gone as planned, we would have left New Orleans about 5:30 on the 3rd and ended up at JFK at about 9:30 that night – with nothing to do at JFK for12 hours!

I already felt like Viktor Navorsky from The Terminal! I just had no idea how much I would come to identify with that character in the next couple of weeks!

As it turned out, there was this “winter storm Grayson” thing chewing its way up the east coast, so our first flight was rerouted around all that and came into JFK from the west-northwest.  It was a mostly smooth flight but it added about an hour. So we expected a 10 someodd hour layover instead of 12.

We were trying to acclimate to Tanzania time on the way over so at about 10am Tanzania time (or breakfast) we drank a cold can of chicken tortilla soup (Yes, TSA will let you carry on canned soup).

But what really does tweak the TSA guys is when you bring a couple of gallon bags full of granola bars.  They are allowed but they have to be individually swiped and scanned by the sniffer machine! INDIVIDUALLY!

We checked two of our bags to NYC so we wouldn’t have to drag them around but we didn’t want to risk checking them to Africa so we had to leave the secure area to pick them up at Baggage claim.

That means TSA is gonna have to swab and sniff each of those granola bars again!


UPDATE to the UPDATE – We did NOT manage to fly out before Winter Storm Grayson flew in!  We boarded our nice, cushy Qatar Air flight and got settled in for a 12-hour flight, hoping for a window in the storm to open that never did.  We sat on the tarmac for 4 hours, had a lovely inflight meal (pretending that we were in flight) and then de-planed into a thoroughly socked-in and closed down airport!

The heavy snows turned our 12-hour layover into a 36-hour layover, which shaved the first day off of our Kili climb.




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  1. Aren’t you grateful for the blizzard that shortened your climb by at least one day? All kidding aside. Glad you had that entire adventure and we get to follow along and see great photos. Welcome home.