Keith and I have been together a decade now, and despite neither of us being American, every single year we have celebrated Thanksgiving. We always have worked on Thanksgiving, so a typical day for us would see us teaching til around 2pm, have a couple of hours off – where we would watch on the Webcam the beginnings of the Macy’s Day Parade, go back to work at 4pm until 7.30pm – get home then eat a full blown turkey dinner! Every single year we have longed to be in New York watching it live. In 2019 – we made it happen!
You can read our blog installments from our trip below.
We took advantage of some exceptionally cheap Norweigan Air flights from Gatwick – £150pp each way – when we booked them at the beginning of February, it was cheaper to fly to New York than to fly to Spain during the summer!
We booked an Air B n B in Queens and then sat back and enjoyed the year ahead – knowing we’d got a dream come true to look forward to later in the year.
As the year went on, I read some unnerving reports about Air B n B ing in New York. From what I was reading it seemed that it was illegal to let your flat out in Manhattan and some people were finding they were arriving in NYC to cancelled accommodation. We did not want to run the risk of this happening, so a month prior to travel cancelled our Air B n B and booked a central hotel instead. The benefits were clear from the start – our hotel was opposite Macy’s – so centrally located rather than facing a 30 min train journey each way from Queens each day. The extra money we were paying in hotel fees was definitely going to saved in transport to the city each day and also meant we could come and go much more freely. Something that we took full advantage of!
November 26th soon came round and as we both signed off from work at 7pm we couldn’t contain our excitement! We’d booked a hotel and parking at Gatwick as our flight was at 6am on Wednesday morning. Thank goodness we did.
We had THE WORST journey to the airport that you could possibly imagine.
We set off at 7.10pm and were due at Gatwick it 9.30pm. At 8.10pm we had a nasty blow out on the M11 motorway – 2nd lane and no hard shoulder or safety barriers. We couldn’t move out of the lane as the surrounding traffic was moving too quickly. The RAC and Police were notified and we stood for 40 mins terrified on the motorway with our van in the middle. The police closed the motorway so we could drive at 5mph a mile down the road to the lay-by. The RAC then left us until 1am (despite telling us 45 mins, 45 mins) and we genuinely thought we would miss our flight. We arrived at Purple Parking at 3am, and was turned away as they’d changed it so VWT5s were no longer accepted yet hadn’t informed us. We then had to find somewhere else to park despite check in having been open for half an hour already.
We got parked and to the airport by 3.30am where we checked in for 5 mins at the hotel we had supposed to be staying in and had a £178 shower each before hot footing it to the terminal to check in. But we made it!
Note to self – Never EVER drive straight to the airport always give yourselves PLENTY of time for mishaps.
We’d now been up 22 hours already and worked 12 hours of that so we managed a beer and a bite to eat at Wagamamas before boarding and falling asleep before even taking off!
Unsurprisingly, we slept the whole journey, waking up just in time for a beer and snack an hour before landing. We’ve done a lot of long haul flights, but this was the first where we haven’t had anything included within the flight – we opted for the low fare, which was hand luggage, small personal item only – no food, no drinks. We added one case for the hold on as we had a feeling we may shop – spoiler… we did! By doing this in advance the case was only £35 each way.
I know we were asleep for the majority of the 7 hour flight but the plane, a dreamliner, was nice and new, much nicer than the last BA dreamliner that we were on. The in-flight ordering system for food and drink worked a treat- it was quick, easy and reasonable in price. We took on a sandwich and crisps from WH Smith that we brought in departures. This was more than adequate for us during the flight.
We touched down at 9am, ready for us to start our 4 day, 3 night Thanksgiving experience.