We should’ve guessed that we were waiting our turn while someone rendered unto Caesar. Instead, when gate personnel announced Tuesday afternoon that our El Al flight to Tel Aviv would board an hour late, we St. John’s pilgrims confined our speculations to the commonplace.
Twenty minutes before the announcement, the flight crew had arrived and hopped the shuttle bus from the departure lounge to the aircraft, so we knew the equipment must’ve been there already. Pilgrim Mike thought it might be a delayed connection into LAX, but on second thought, who connects to a 14-hour flight to Israel out of Los Angeles? Still, we kept our eyes peeled for a contingent of vacationing Tel Avivans in Hawaiian shirts and leis.
Then I spotted the gleaming white and blue aircraft emblazoned with the words “The United States of America,” taxiing in a stately fashion toward takeoff position without another plane anywhere near it. Color me Sorkin, but it’s always a thrilling sight. A quick Google search revealed that the vice president had just given a speech at an AFSCME convention in LA, whereupon he boarded the only airplane available that shines as blindingly as his teeth.
We didn’t mind. Leaving an hour late on a sunny day without the prospect of a plane change beat our January 2011 pilgrimage experience – four hours late out of Atlanta after being deiced at two in the morning.
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