I have just returned from Ayiti and the Ghetto Biennale Conference. Yesterday morning I was sitting on a beautiful sunny Balcony of the Oloffson Hotel drinking thick sweet coffee.
Last night I was in a taxi cab with a Ghanaian father of six and owner of three houses in Ghana inching our way through treacherous conditions to my friend’s house in Brooklyn. It snowed a couple of feet here yesterday so when we arrived at the airport in Ayiti we learned that Delta had canceled our flight to New York. we were told that we might be able to get out today, but we should call at 8 am to see if that was the case.
I had fortunately made a great friend in a woman named Mimi who suggested that we try to get home with American Airlines. We plopped our credit cards down and for an extra $300, got our tickets (I am grateful to UW Credit Union for making that possible; that’s another story). We got checked in, got our seating arrangements and waited for a couple of very easy hours in a lovely air-conditioned waiting area.
When we got on the plane we found that we had been assigned to a little alcove area with chairs that had footrests, lumbar support and reclining features. Two British guys from the same conference had the same arrangement on the opposite side of the plane. Mimi and I laughed ecstatically at my honorary “white” status apparently since she had given the impression repeatedly that we were traveling together.
My comment refers to well-known practices amongst American Airlines staff to place white travelers as far forward of their planes as possible even going so far as to put them in first class (when they have paid for coach) to separate them from the black people from the country from whose stomachs their families eat.
For many years AA had the monopoly on Ayiti apparently insisting that the government sign a twenty year contract with them locking in the terms of their hostage-taking. Their days are numbered and they’re panicking.
So, it’s a general sentiment that since Delta has entered into the Ayiti market AA has been trying to improve their service. We shall see how this all pans out.
I was a little nervous because the idea of landing in blizzard conditions did not appeal, to say the least. Four hours later, from sunny, hot Ayiti we arrived in New York with snow sweeping across the tarmac and a steady pounding from Mother Nature. I commend our pilot, wherever he may be.
Now I’m in New York debating whether I’ll be able to get back to State College tonight. The snow has stopped and the roads are being cleared so I’ll probably spend the day with Naz and her family then head on back to work.