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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Long Night's Journey…

I never thought it would happen to me.
(Nah, it’s not one of those stories!)
The 2 hour weather delay was irritating. But the 5.5 hours stuck inside a plane, 3.5 hours of it 5 feet from the gate, but not at the gate, making a retreat back into New York City impossible… that’s what got me.
The 8:30 pm edt flight landed in Los Angeles at 6:20am pdt… almost 13 hours later.
I could have gone to China.
But the undiscussed horror of travel nightmares like this is not just the hours stuck – we had no overflowing toilets and most of the passengers slept through much of it – but recovering from the experience.
What really struck me was that American Airlines knew that the delay, once we were sealed into the plane, would be at least 2 hours because of the long back-up of planes trying to leave JFK. And instead of informing the passengers, it pretended everything was normal. This was before they decided they needed to refuel the plane after we sat near-but-not-at the gate for the first 90 minutes.
I knew trouble was brewing, but I didn’t want to be “the troublemaker,” which was an issue added to getting out fo a plane at 2:30 am at a near deserted JFK with the goal of, what, hoping to find transportation back into the city to pay some ridiculous amount for a hotel room for 8 or 9 hours before starting the whole process again.
One thing I did on the plane was read Sway, a book about the inclinations we all show in our human interactions. One of the stories was of a KLM pilot who killed a plane full of people trying to stay on schedule and not pay for passengers to have an overnight stay

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15 Responses to “Long Night's Journey…”

  1. scooterzz says:

    in all sincerity, you acted a better person than i….and these situations are just going to get worse before they get better….
    for fifteen years i traveled almost every week-end covering film and television but that stopped a couple of years ago when it just became more of a hassle than it was worth….
    i just don’t know how regular commuters do it anymore…..
    congrats on getting through it….

  2. christian says:

    American Airlines is the worst I’ve ever flown. And everytime I fly, some bad shit happens. I stopped flying them in 97 after the plane almost crashed and their shockingly lame response. They suck balls. Don’t fly ’em, David. Ever.

  3. Cadavra says:

    Just be grateful they didn’t charge you an extra $20 for sitting in your seat beyond the allotted time.

  4. T. Holly says:

    I am not Swayed to belive scooterzz went out of town every weekend on junkets. Who does he think we think he is?

  5. scooterzz says:

    ah, but i did, t.holly…flew twa, never less than first class (and, if you flew first class, you got the chopper from jfk to 34th and the river for seventy-five bucks….jfk to the plaza/regency in 20 minutes)…….
    then twa died….did aa for a while…then jet blue…..
    won’t do it anymore….why would you doubt this?

  6. leahnz says:

    being a royal butinski here, but…
    who are you talking to, t. holly? who’s ‘we’, the secret hot blog police? it’s quite obvious, really; scoot is scooter with two zeds at the end and that’s all your snarky little ass will ever know…(ok, retreating indignantly and sheepishly back into the shadows with my caucasian, burnt ass sufficiently soothed)

  7. grrbear says:

    I had a similar experience last year trying to get from Detroit to Charleston with Northwest Airlines. We sat on the tarmac outside the gate, waiting for two hours, the crew wearing false smiles and handing out cookies and water. We were finally told that the reason for the delay was that the baggage truck had dinged the plane, and technicians were trying to determine whether or not the plane was okay to fly. My immediate reaction, which was mirrored by approximately 100 percent of the passengers, was to demand a transfer to a different flight. There was no way I was going to fly in that plane after some coked-up moron got a little too careless with the baggage truck and smacked into the fuselage. After some deliberation, Northwest decided that it was not worth the risk, and moved us all into another plane. Of course, I missed my connection in Atlanta, and it ended up taking 14 hours to get from Detroit to Charleston – I should have rented a car. I felt great sympathy for the crew, though; I suspect they were a large reason why we did end up switching planes, because I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted to fly in a damaged plane either. The best part was that to make up for all the delays and stress, everybody got ten dollar food vouchers. Thanks, Northwest. I was able to buy one drink with that voucher, so yeah, that definitely made up for all the stupidity.
    I fly JetBlue now, and so far I haven’t had any problems. I just wish they would fly to more destinations, but I guess that’s part of the problem – too many planes in the air, not enough available flight paths.

  8. scooterzz says:

    grr — i love jetblue also but both my partner’s brother (a delta pilot) and a close friend (a flight attendant for alaska) are saying we should expect a grim announcement from jetblue in the not too distant future…
    apparently, too much expansion in too short a time has them in a severe crunch…..
    leah — thanks for the assist….

  9. leahnz says:

    de nada. during the day i’m mild-mannered reporter leah, but at night i’m ‘supermouth’ – defender of those who don’t need my help in the slightest but get it regardless 😉

  10. T. Holly says:

    Thanks scooterzz, I’m selling short.

  11. Sevenmack says:

    Speaking of JetBlow: My fiancee and I got back in town from Las Vegas this morning at 10 a.m. Which wouldn’t be bad if not for the fact that we should have gotten back at 5:45 this morning. The flight, which was supposed to fly out of McCarron at 1 a.m. (EST) didn’t leave till 5:45 a.m. (or 2:45 in the morning, PST).
    Given that I had a 10:30 meeting with one of my clients and my fiancee had to fly out to our old homestead in Indianapolis tomorrow in order to meet with her clients and sell our house, none of us were too pleased with the delays.
    And sadly, air travel is going to get worse before it gets better. Too many airlines with too many systemic problems still around despite being too unprofitable to stay alive.

  12. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Not to mention the jackbooted thugs in the TSA.

  13. christian says:

    To paraphrase Jim Morrison, Southwest is the Best.

  14. Blackcloud says:

    Charles linking to Lew Rockwell? No wonder he’s paranoid. Or does he link to it because he’s paranoid? It makes little difference.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Self-fulfilling prophecy.

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“But okay, I promise you now that if I ever retire again, I’m going to ensure that I can’t walk it back. I’ll post a series of the most disgusting, offensive, outrageous statements you can ever imagine. That way it will be impossible for me to ever be employed again. No one is going to take my calls. No one is going to want to be seen with me. Oh, it will be scorched earth. I will have torched everything. I’m going to flame out in the most legendary fashion.”
~ Steven Soderbergh

I feel strongly connected to young cinephile culture. The thing about filmmaking—and cinephilia—is that you can’t keep hanging out with your own age group as you get older. They drop off, move somewhere. You can’t put together a crew of sixty-somethings. It’s the same for cinephilia: my original set of cinephile friends are watching DVDs at home or delving into 1958 episodes of ‘Gunsmoke,’ something like that. The people who are out there tend to be young, and I happen to be doing the same thing still, so it’s natural that I move in their circles.

In terms of the filmmaking, there was a gear shift: my first movies focused on people around my age, and I followed them for three films. Until The Unspeakable Act, I was using the same actors, not because of an affinity for people at a specific age, but because of my affinity for the actors. I like to work with actors a second time, especially if I don’t feel confident casting a new film. But The Unspeakable Act was a different script, and I had to cast all new people. Even for the older roles, I couldn’t get the people I’d worked with before. But when it was over, the same thing happened: I wanted to work with Tallie again in the worst way, and I started the process all over again.

I think Rohmer did something similar around the time of Perceval and Catherine de HeilbronnHe developed new groups of people that he liked to work with. These gear shifts are natural. Even if you want to follow certain actors to the end of their life (which I kind of do) the variety of ideas that you generate makes it necessary to change. And once you’ve made the change, you’ve got all these new people around.”
~ Dan Sallitt