Departure from JFKTypically lousy JFK departure experience. We arrived at Terminal 7, which had our Iberia/British Airways flight. As usual, there was a long line through security. The security check -- taking off your shoes, all metal, separating out electronics - is easily the most stressful and aggravating part of travel for me. It's all just security theater and a waste of eight billion dollars of taxpayer money. We waited around our departure gate for a few hours but got onto our flight on time.
The Iberia flight was the best flight that I've ever been on. American carriers are all about the bottom line; everything costs money and they try to upsell at every possible opportunity. Emergency exit seats with more legroom, drinks, upgraded meals, movies, bag checks -- it's all available for a price. The Iberia flight was not like this at all -- we got a great free dinner and then a great breakfast a few hours later.
|Dinner: hot stew, garden salad with dressing, bread and butter, and a cheesecake. SO good.|
|Breakfast: croissant, muffin, candy, plus a sleek box.|
|They even had lemon slices for the tea. AWESOME.|
Our flight had a layover at the Madrid-Barajas Airport. Our connecting flight was 6 hours after we had arrived, so I had plenty of time to explore the airport. I liked what I saw.
The terminal for our departing flight was of modern construction; it had no ugly low drop ceilings like in JFK. The construction materials were exposed and the environment was built around them, like many other modern designs. At first I thought that the airport was underutilized because it wasn't overcrowded like JFK, but I realized that it was actually correctly sized by design. There were tons of gates and the terminal was organized in a way that traffic flowed without any major clogs.
|Metal and Concrete. Source|
|Awesome main hall of T4. Source|
The connecting flight to Nice was on a much smaller turboprop. For whatever reason, our flight was filled with teenagers. Like the entire plane. The flight experience wasn't nearly as nice as the flight into Madrid, but it was only two hours long. I really enjoy flying; when the plane takes off, it feels like as if it's taking off because of the collective wills and hopes of everyone onboard. The first sight we saw of the French Riviera was beautiful, and this terrible phone photo does it no justice:
|The phone really can't capture how brilliantly blue the water is...|
The apartment that we have is nice - it's a block away from the beach and close to major attractions. The city is small -- 400,000 people in the city proper -- and you can walk along the major diameter in a few hours, easily. After settling in (it was 8PM local time at this point; and probably about 18 hours from when we had departed JFK), my parents and I went to bed early.
Day one tomorrow.