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How I ended up staying in JFK on Shabbos (TR) As per request by some members to hear how I ended up staying in JFK airport on Shabbos after staying in an airplane for 16 hrs…I decided to write it out.  I forgot some details of the story…i’m sorry..its been a while.

It all started out at the end of a week vacation in Italy where I was flying from MXP-JFK in Y (IIRC it was American Airlines).  Flight in MXP was leaving around 9am which got delayed on ground for a little.  Besides for being the only Jews on the plane there might have been only a handful of Americans who spoke English.  Just to preface- Thursday night I got no sleep thinking I would sleep on plane.  So the plane took off and for the first few hours the flight was not bad.  Then came the announcements that we should buckle up because there is some turbulence coming up (first the announcements were given in English then in Italian…so I got a heads up of what the rest of the plane was about to hear and to see their faces/reactions..which were great  :D). Then started the turbulence.  I have never experienced such turbulence in my life.  It was seriously out of control. People were going crazy.  I seriously felt I was in a movie where the plane was shaking so much to the point it would blow up.  People were throwing up…and asking for more drinks.  After a few minutes there were no more drinks left on the plane. By this time I was extremely nauseous.  The turbulence went on for 20 minutes straight then paused for a minute then came again. (this happened for like an hour and a half)

Then we arrived on top of JFK, BUT they announced that due to the weather they can’t land yet and they will have to circle on top for a few minutes.  A few hours (!) later they announced they can land but the problem is they are no longer on top of JFK, rather they’re on top of PHL…with not enough fuel to make it back to JFK to land.  So they landed in PHL to fill up on some fuel which they said will take just a few minutes.

Once we landed everyone got out of their seats from being stuck to it for hours.  We all ran to the front hoping to either get out or to speak to a FA about what’s going on.  I heard a woman telling the main guy in charge that her son needs to get of this plane and get is very important for him.  His reply was “I’m sorry, unless your son is having seizures on the floor, I can’t let you out.”  I explained to him that according to my religion I won’t be able to stay in a plane for that much longer due to the coming of Shabbath.  I told me “Don’t worry, I spoke your God last week about this and he told me in this situation hell excuse you”  :o >:(.  There was no way to budge with this guy. People were literally screaming at this guy to get out.  The only way a person that possibly might have been able to leave was to probably hit the FA.

Went back to my seat thinking were going to be taking off in a few minutes.  A few hours later I realized we aint moving any time soon.  I decided to call my parents. Only problem was I packed my phone in my carry on which I had checked in last minute(very stupid on my part).   So I found an American who I asked if I can borrow their phone. I called my parents who were quite worried and explained to them what’s going on.  My father told me whatever you do stay on the phone till he gets a psak from a Rav what to do.  The problem was NOW is when the plane wanted to take off again…but couldn’t…because I was on the phone and could not get off.  So I had a bunch of people screaming at me to get off the phone so we can take off…after a while the person I borrowed the phone from kinda took the phone from me…without hearing anything what to do from a Rav.

So we get back in the air and fly to JFK.  Now the problem is there was a long line of planes waiting to land.  We circled on top of JFK for another hour until we landed in terminal 4.  Once we landed people were rushing out…I was so sick I couldn’t move.  I was finally able to get up and leave the plane.  Time is now a few minutes before Shabbos.  As I was leaving I asked a FA if there is any way being that I’m jewish if he can get me through all the lines…he told me he couldn’t.
We were on the plane for a total of ~16 hours! Was supposed to arrive in the morning but arrived more like 6-7pm.  (Dont remember exact times).
We leave the plane and run to passport control..wasnt such a long line.  Went to baggage and as we were waiting for our bags we heard on the loudspeaker that we should go speak to a worker there.  We got our bags and went to speak to him.  He told us your parents called us many times and told us that there will be a car service coming to bring you things for Shabbos and after you get everything you should meet them at terminal 8 where you can stay for Shabbos.  I asked how do we get there? Can we walk?  He said only way is drive or train..and that your parents told me the Rabbi said you can’t take the train.  We said thanks and started going out. 

We went outside waiting for them until we realized that they’re probably waiting for us inside.  Being that it was Shabbos by now and the doors were electric we waited till the doors opened and we went in.  We found the car service people holding up a paper with my name on it.  We went to the side and they told us that our parents prepared everything for us..we looked in the bag and there was everything needed for Shabbos.  They said ok lets go home now.  I’m like were staying here for Shabbos…they were not happy.  They said there must be a way out of it.  I said nope..unless someones life is in way out.

They left and we got into a quiet (read: least amount of people walking by, couldn’t get too quiet with music out loud and the tv on everywhere you looked) corner to settle in for Shabbos.  I went to an office to speak to someone about where I can keep my luggage over the night and they told me only in terminal 8.  Then had to wait another who knows how long till someone walked by the door for it to open to leave.

I was to sick to eat anything so after making Kiddush and having hamotzie I was done.  The rest of the night we stayed (2nd night in a row) up out of fear our things might get stolen and because I was kinda sick.  Going to the bathroom was kinda fun being that everything was electric  :).
The next day we ate a little and felt a little better.  We were sitting next to the private door where all the FA’s come and go.  So later in the afternoon we met a FA who asked us what we were still doing there since the morning..waiting for your next flight?  I said no.  He asked oh waiting for someone to pick you up? I said yes.  He said..they must live really far away  ;D
Shabbos day went reallllly slow…it’s very boring to be in an airport on Shabbos.  Wasn’t even a fun terminal…there was nothing happening there.  Just people coming and going.  We got alot of looks (we had our pillows and blankets spread out  :o  ;D).

Finally the time arrived..we thought Shabbos for sure must be over by now.  I turned on my phone and saw tons of voicemails.  It ended up Shabbos was over like 20 minutes earlier and I didn’t know.  A relative of mine then told me hes coming to pick us up from Flatbush and 8 (!) minutes later was at the terminal.
We then found out that the guy working in the airport heard the wrong instructions.  The correct instructions were that the Rabbi paskened we CAN take the train to terminal 8 where we’d have a place to sleep and keep our bags.
After that Shabbos no one was interested anymore in our week vacation in Italy…only interested in our experience in spending Shabbos in JFK airport.
Moral of the story...dont fly internationally on Friday  :D
@mods- If this thread doesnt belong here please move to appropriate thread.

January 06, 2013, 02:34:39 PM