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Minute Suite

Musings: Re-Entry

I’m recently back from an unexpected trip to the UK to visit family.  It has taken me almost a week to feel truly over my jet-lag.  I guess this is about normal because it is said that it takes one day for each hour of time differential, and there’s five hours between here and the UK.

The first couple of days are usually the worst for me.  My body clock is so off kilter that I’m never sure when I’m going to sleep and when I’m going to be awake.  But this time was different and I thought perhaps I was going to get back on track quickly – but it didn’t happen. 

I didn’t sleep at all on the return flight which was almost nine hours long.  This would have been understandable because it was a “day flight”, leaving London at about 9am.  However, I had only slept for three hours the previous night, the three days prior to departure were extremely emotional, and I was still recovering from jet-lag from the flight over there!!  I felt sure I would sleep.

I got into Atlanta, GA at about 1.35pm local time (already 6.35pm by my body clock!).  I was very pleasantly surprised at the ease and speed of the immigration (I’m a green card holder), baggage claim, customs, and re-check in process for my final flight home to Jacksonville, Florida.  We had plugged in a good five and a half hour layover for me here to allow for any hold-ups, but I was already cleared and through by 2.30pm.

Because we had only had brunch and a snack on the flight from London, and I knew there would be nothing served on the one-hour flight to Jax, I decided to get a decent meal before heading to my gate.  If ever you are passing through Atlanta airport and you’re near Concourse B needing a meal, check out the Intermezzo Cafe.  Great menu choices, excellent food and presentation, terrific service from super-friendly staff. 

Once my tummy was happy I headed over to my departure gate.  There were plenty of empty chairs and not too many people.  I made myself comfortable took out my book and settled in.  An hour later I could feel the waves of sleep wash over me but there was no way I could sleep in an airport chair without ruining my back or my neck – or both!  So I figured I’d take a walk around, get some water, and clear my head a little.

It was coming up on 5pm when I settled back into the gate area and I thought I’d make it through to the 6.30pm boarding and 7pm departure. (Keep in mind that’s midnight by my body clock; I’d been up and on the go since 2.30am!!)  But fate was not working well with me.  A delay announcement was made for the flight pushing it back to 8.49pm.

I was about to get frustrated when I suddenly remembered seeing a sign for “Minute Suites” at the entrance to Concourse B.  I decided to go and check out what that meant. This is another recommendation coming: if you’re passing through Atlanta airport and you have a long layover and want some quiet rest time or just some privacy to do some computer work or watch TV, go and check into “Minute Suites”. 

It costs thirty dollars for an hour then you can add on in increments of fifteen minutes.  You get a small private room with a comfortable pull-out couch with blanket and pillow.  There’s a TV, a work station, an alarm clock, and a white noise machine.  The light is on a dimmer and you can control the room temperature.  It is an absolute God-given gift for the weary traveler.  I managed to get a wonderful 50-minute cat-nap and I was good to go.

We finally got off the ground at 9.30pm and landed in Jax about an hour later.  By the time I got through baggage reclaim, made the shuttle, and got into my car it was 11.15pm.  Thank the Lord attendant at USA Park, which is the parking lot we regularly use at the Jax airport, hands out small bottles of water as you leave the lot.  I was running on fumes by now (4.15am of the next day on my body clock!!) and, with all the windows open, headed home.

I walked in my front door shortly after midnight.  My beloved husband had a plate of fresh fruit ready for me and he put on the kettle and made me a nice cup of herbal tea.  I fell into bed about forty five minutes later and thankfully slept until morning.  But it has taken my body until now, making small adjustments and taking the occasional nap during the day, to truly get back on track.