Live Blog Day 8 – Heading Home – JFK – London Heathrow Virgin Atlantic

December 8th, 2021

Our final day in New York and it was only a morning really as we had to be at the airport at 3 pm. The first part of the day was spent doing the final packing and sorting things out and any last-minute organization.

We then checked out and left the luggage with the concierge as we hit the streets of NYC one last time. We headed first for our last look at the Rockefeller Tree and did a little last-minute shopping at Kate Spades.

We then wandered across to Sixth for a last look at the Decorations and a look at the Crime Scene that was the Fox Christmas Tree that had been burned to the ground last night. The next stop was a final farewell to Times Square and a visit to the Confetti Wish Station to write out New Year Wishes on the Confetti that will be dropped over the square on New Year’s Eve, no prizes for guessing the most requested wish this year!

Carmines

We seem to have a bit of a traditional way of spending our last day in New York, it has come about a bit by accident but it seems to work, so after we are done with the final sightseeing and shopping we get a good meal in us in one of times squares Italians. This year we headed to Carmines, right on the Square.

We didn’t have reservations but there was a walk-up table available right away. We ordered a Sicilian (Moscow) Mule and Pineapple Punch along with a Garlic Bread Starter. The Cocktails were excellent, but the Garlic bread was enough to feed the entire restaurant, We know the portions here are large but this was an entire loaf sliced up and drenched in cheese. It was amazing but we had to leave so much.

The Entree we ordered was also colossal, the Ragu was a mixture of Meatballs, Sausage, and Pork Braciola. It was incredible, with a really deep and rich tomato sauce, but it felt like we barely dented it despite being stuffed to the gills!

While the bill was not cheap, a family of 4 or 5 could have ordered the same as us and still left stuffed which would be a really cheap meal, it’s a shame there are not smaller portions for couples, etc…

The Second Step of our leaving tradition is to hit an Irish bar and drink away the last hour or so of our trip. There happened to be one right across from our hotel so we propped the bar up until it was time to leave.

Rather than fighting through on the Subway as we usually do we decided that it would just be easier, if a lot more expensive, to Uber our way to the Airport. So we ordered our ride and headed across to collect our bag.

The Journey across to the Airport was pretty dire in terms of traffic, but it took just over an hour and got us there in plenty of time.

JFK – Wingtips Lounge

There was a lot of faffing at the airport to ensure we had all the required tests and paperwork to prove. We had copies and backup of everything so we verified pretty quickly. To head to the UK it was our passenger locator form, proof of Negative Test, and a booked test for when we got back.

Security was pretty quiet for JFK and we were through in no time. It’s a very simple system at JFK with laptops and electricals staying in your bags, which is great for me as I have ALOT to unpack at most Airport security Checks.

As we had made great time we thought we would try out the Wingtips Lounge that is included on our Priority pass. So after a little duty-free shopping, we headed to the lounge. We have to say this one is a little rough around the edges. It’s pretty small and seating is limited. The airport was pretty quiet yet the lounge was almost at capacity. So on busy days, we would imagine this to be pretty heaving.

We managed to snag some Pod Chair by the window that did nicely as our home for the next couple of hours.

Food was extremely limited, there were chicken or veggie wraps, on request, and a few snack items. Juice and water were available at self-service stations and there was unlimited coffee. Alcohol was to order which was a little bit of a pain but seems standard post covid. The selection was limited but not bad. A few beers and Prosecco passed the time while we waited for our flight.

Virgin Atlantic Economy A350-1000 – JFK – London Heathrow.

The Flight back was really short, as we sat on the runway waiting for departure it was clear we were going to be quite delayed but the Pilot seemed unconcerned and said the predicted Flight Time was the shortest he had seen. Sting Gulf Stream winds and direct routing meant we were scheduled for a tiny 5:15 flight!

Once airborne the service started fairly unusually. Masks were still required, and the main meal came pretty soon after an initial drinks service. It was all very much the same as our outbound flight, however, events would transpire that would make this a flight to remember.

As we tried to keep awake through our chosen film, we noticed the Women in front get up and head to the toilet. She had been acting oddly, dropping things and being overly friendly with random strangers and such. We just assumed she was piddled, It’s fairly normal especially for nervous flyers. However, she was in the lavatory for quite a while. and when she came back progress to her seat was painfully slow. One row at a time as she hung on for dear life.

As she got to her seat, she slumped sideways and appeared unconscious. Most people around were away with the fairies, but we were still battling to stay awake until the end. We have seen people drunk on planes many times and this seemed very different now. So we alerted the Cabin Crew and as they tended to her it was clear they were a little alarmed.

As a few more Crew arrived we decided to vacate our row, which we had to ourselves, to give them a little space. Before long they were reaching up for the Oxygen, and a few minutes later fetched out the Defibulator and heart monitor…

It was clear it was serious, so we just gave them room and kept our fingers crossed things would turn out ok.

We always knew that Cabin Crew are FAR more than “Trolly Dollies” and are in fact a highly trained safety crew, just that most of the time they never need to show this and just delight us with their charming smiles and excellent service. But we always knew underneath this charming demeanor was a cold spring. To see it all spring into action was incredible. The level of competence and professionalism as the battles to save a life was a real eye-opener and incredible t behold.

After a while, the crew had the situation stable so they were able to attend to us. After all, we were the designated homeless. We were more than happy to give the crew some space, but by now the equipment and extra attention she needed meant our seats were not going to be free for the rest of the flight. Luckily this was not a full flight but a lot of people had moved around so getting seats alone and together was tricky. However, they freed up some “quarantine” seats for us and provided us with an extra drinks service.

It did not take long in our new seats until the inevitable happened and we were off with the fairies. The Seats on the A350 are REALLY conducive to good sleep. The adjustable headrests offer a lot of support. And we drifted off into a deep sleep. Unfortunately, it was a short deep sleep.

The Flight was already nearly over and after less than an hour the crew was waking the Cabin up for breakfast. We were served a Croisont, a Musilu Bar, and Cold Blueberry Porridge. None of which went down very well after an hour’s rest.

Once on the ground, we needed to wait while the poorly lady was tended to by the awaiting paramedics. She had perked up a lot and was looking like a full recovery was on the cards. As we exited the aircraft we got a lot of heartfelt thanks from the crew for alerting them as otherwise who knows when she would have got the attention she needed as the Cabin was being prepared for sleep with the light dimming and services ceasing for a few hours. With most people already asleep she may not have been noticed until breakfast and a very different outcome!

If nothing it made for a memorable flight. And watching the crew in action was amazing.

Heathrow is a bit of a blur, the immigration queue was huge but moved quite fast and our bags were basically waiting for us. Stright out and onto the Purple Parking Bus which was chock full by the time we boarded. Back at the depot, it was very busy but we got our keys in no time and back to the car.

Very tired and ready to head home, we still had to get our Arrival test done, We were booked in at Randox and headed over to get probed. The process seemed a bit chaotic with them demanding a booking number that was not on the appointment email! I had to delve into my emails and find the booking number, this all seemed a bit odd as surely the appointment Email is the most valid!

Anyway, the test was painless and fast. It was PCR and had cost £55 each and we had to isolate until the test result came through. The first part of our Isolation was to be a 4-hour drive up the M1. This required a few stops for coffee, after the short sleep, but we stuck to the drive-thru’s to maintain isolation. But it was certainly safer to stop than it was to keep driving without Coffee!

We made it back home without a hitch and went straight to bed to try and catch up on some sleep. We normally try and power through in an attempt to get back on UK time, but there was no way after the flight we were staying awake!

The Tests came back late on that day, negatively naturally.

Walking Total – 6,645 Steps – 3.4 Miles

A really short day on the feet, but still raising around the airport and such still clock up a few miles.

Afterword

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