I already posted a short video condensing the two day trip into two minutes, but I’ve added a soundtrack now and it works a bit better:
I didn’t really know what to expect during the trip, and if I’m totally honest, part of me wondered whether or not the whole thing was just an elaborate joke. In fact, part of me wanted it to be an elaborate joke. That would have been perfect. To go to all of the trouble of hiring a car and driving someone all the way to the airport, just to tell them “Actually, there is no trip” and then make them go all the way back home, confused and carrying a suitcase full of clothes getting pointlessly creased. I know that airports tend to take security quite seriously, and so once I’d actually checked in, I felt like it was less likely to be a joke. Once I’d boarded the plane, I felt a bit more comfortable still, but it wasn’t really until I’d gone through passport control at JFK that I felt I could truly relax.
The check-in itself was remarkably smooth. I’m used to queuing up for ages while crying children get barked at by their exhausted parents and Ryanair passengers gradually put on more and more clothes as they realise they have packed too much while Michael O’Leary laughs in their faces. This time, the car went in through some secret Batcave-style side entrance and pulled up alongside two Virgin Atlantic staff waiting outside. One took my luggage, the other gave me my boarding card and that was it. I was whisked through security into the Clubhouse, filled with complimentary food and drink. I liked it.
After a while, I went downstairs for a little wander. Here I was among my own people again. People tired and looking for somewhere to sit so they could eat the sandwich they’d just bought from Pret a Manger. I went into WHSmith and bought a Twirl.
I went back to the Clubhouse and met the other people going on the trip. They were all lovely. They were mostly a collection of proper travel writers, which made me feel like a bit of an imposter, as I am essentially an idiot who spends too much time on Twitter. Oh well. We chatted about what we wanted to see in New York. I said about trying to find Cadbury’s Twirls and that there were a few stationery shops I wanted to check out. I tried not to sound like a lunatic, but may not have been entirely successful.
We boarded the plane.
Part two is here.