Kingdoms Unite – Tour Diary – Day 1

Day 1 – Planes, trains and automobiles. And more planes. And more automobiles.

Have you ever had something you were really looking forward to that just went completely pear shaped when it actually happened? Yeah? Well, that was yesterday for us.

I was awake by 5am, one of those nights where you know you have a flight the following day and you sleep lightly in case you sleep through the 17 alarms you have set and miss it. Looking at the flight information for Dublin airport I can see potential problems already. The overnight flights coming into Ireland from America are all delayed. Some significantly. I’m fly out via JFK at 10:55, the flight in from JFK is not looking like it’s landing until 11:15. But the Live Departures on the website says we’re on time so, what do I know?

I say my goodbyes at home, drop the kids off to school, which is only 5 minutes from the airport, and I’m checking in 2 hours before my allegedly still on time flight. It’s busy in there. The Chicago marathon is on this weekend, there’s extra flights going over. Security isn’t too bad. I see someone in a Kelce jersey on the other side of security as I’m in line. I know Callum is somewhere not far ahead of me, he’s on a different flight but staying at the same place. Good, now I know who to look for.

The queue for pre immigration is long and slow. The guy in the booth is quite amused at my reason for going over. He’s impressed though that there’s so many Chiefs fans over here.

Callum is waiting for me on the other side of we have a quick chat, it’s his first time going over and he’s glad to put a face to someone else in the trip. He heads off to board his flight to Chicago and I wait for Duncan and Aitken who are on their way in from Scotland.

I already know their flight is delayed, if ours is on time they will be cutting it very fine. But we’re not. The first message comes through, delayed by an hour. Best case scenario for the lads as they get escorted through security as though the staff are unaware of the delay.

That meant we had time for a beer. Or two. Or three. Because now the flight is delayed 2 hours. Our layover in JFK is only 80 minutes, but airlines lie all the time about how long flights really take so we’ll be fine. Or so I tell myself. We eventually board 2 hours late and then spend a small lifetime waiting to take off. By the time we’re in the air we’re 3 hours late departing. Chances of making that connecting flight to KC looking bleak, but it’s Aer Lingus problem to rebook us, I’m sure they’ll have it sorted by the time we land.

Narrator – they don’t

We land an hour after our connection departed. Aer Lingus had done nothing about rebooking us. We’re told our only option is to stay in New York overnight and fly out at 3pm the following day. Not really what we want to hear when we’ve the Arrowhead stadium tour organized for 11 in the morning! We look on Skyscanner and find a flight out of Newark at 21:30 that gets into KC just before midnight. Not ideal but not a bad option. They tell us they have to wait for someone to phone back so they can rebook us. I go off in search of my checked bag and leave Duncan and Aitken to deal with the flight.

2 FREAKING HOURS LATER. I don’t have my bag which is somewhere in the airport still, they’re just not sure where. The incredibly unhelpful Aer Lingus staff, well, it turns out they didn’t need to wait for someone to phone back and they could have done everything there and then in 5 minutes.

So now we need to get an Uber across New York city, at rush hour on a Friday to catch a flight from Newark. It’s a 20 mile journey. Google maps says nearly 2 hours. We have 3 hours before our flight. Aer Lingus spaffed up the wall our time buffer. But we have no real choice but to go and hope.

Luckily, our Uber driver was a maniac. Inches away from one crash and yards away from several more we race as fast across New York as he can. A whirlwind sight seeing as we pass 5th Avenue, Time Square, The Empire State.

We make it to Newark an hour before the flight, check in closes 45 minutes before. All the worry in the car and we were fine. Kind of. By the time we’re through security and down to the gate boarding is nearly finished. I find my seat. I felt like Clyde Edwards-Helaire being sandwiched by two giant defensive linemen. Wedged in between them with no choice to move any body parts, I dozed on the flight into KC thankfully. They kept me propped up.

I go to the Baggage Servive while Duncan waits for his checked bag. Aer Lingus have done the square root of nothing with my bag. There’s no trace of it on the system. I have no choice but to log my details and hope they send it on the following day. Or toady as it’s now called since it’s past midnight Kansas City time.

All keen for our beds, we try for a taxi. There are none. Uber? Nope. Lyft? Nope.

A frustrating day takes another turn as we’re stuck at the airport with no way to get into the city. Eventually an Uber becomes available. Hat tip to Gabriel our driver. We arrive at the AirBnb at 1am local time, or 7am Dublin time. 23 hours after I’d set off. 26 after Duncan and Aitken had.

Callum, James and Andrew have been out on the town but arrive shortly after we get there. Introductions are made, plans put in place for the Arrowhead tour. We chat for a while, it’s 3am by the time I get to bed. But I’m happy we made the decision to get here and not stay in New York.

The Kingdoms Unite tour starts now.

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