I arrived safely Wednesday morning (6 Sept. 2017) at Madrid airport. Here is a picture from my window in the airplane as we descended into Madrid. Quite a beautiful site.
The journey started out a little rough. My Uber ride picked me up at 5:30am and I arrived at the San Diego airport without any difficulties. Check-in went smoothly and I was seated on the plane by 7:20am (for 7:45 departure). Well, I was barely seated when I overheard the flight attendants talking about a 2 and a half hour delay because the FAA would not let us take off until an open gate was identified for us to land at JFK!
Sure enough. 5 minutes later, we were invited to leave the airplane and they would keep us posted on status of departure. My 3-hour layover in New York might not be long enough for me to catch the flight to Madrid. I had signed up for text alerts from American Airlines and got a message at 7:45 that the plane was going to depart at 8:15am. I had not gone far; just walking around nearby, so I went back to the desk to see what was up. I saw the Departures board as I walked back which said that the flight was “On time.” 🙁 Not good information there.
The staff at the gate laughed when I told them about the text from AA and said that I would keep getting those very 20 minutes. There was an update on departure from 2.5 hours to 2 hours and they were trying to get it down to just a 1-hour delay. Sure enough, every 20 minutes I got a text stating the flight was departing shortly. Fortunately, a gate was identified and, just a little over an hour later, we were back on board and ready to leave. We arrived in New York with an hour and a half to spare before the flight to Madrid.
The Madrid flight was uneventful and not too long (under 7 hours). I am staying in a hotel (Artiem) which is not far from the conference center (IFEMA) where the first meeting is. It is also quite close to the apartment where I will be staying for the rest of the time I am in Madrid. I will check in on Thursday after I set up the booth. More on that later.