March 10th, 2009
03:41 PM ET

The captain has just turned on the no celebrity light

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TRAVEL/03/05/airports.stimulus/art.sanfran.luggage.gi.jpg]
Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

The thing about living in New York is that every time you go to the airport you invariably notice there’s some movie star sitting at the gate, waiting to board.  And take my word for it; the novelty quickly gives way to annoyance.  Because if we’re going to hit a flock of birds and crash land in the Hudson River – and, let’s face it, we probably are – then the last thing I want to have to worry about is Susan Sarandon stealing my limelight on the rescue boat.

That knowledge notwithstanding, less than 24 hours from now I will find myself at John F. Kennedy International Airport.  I will arrive there as I always do:  heavily medicated and clutching a passport that identifies me as Anderson Cooper.

I will proceed to the self-service kiosk and print out the airline boarding pass that I paid for with credit card points I accumulated by purchasing large quantities of Snuggies.  Snuggies that I later sold on the black market in Chinatown.  I will hope that my boarding pass is mislabeled First Class but will remain stoic when I see it’s marked the usual Steerage.

I will then go through security – a pat-down being the closest thing I’ve had to a date in months – and then head to the gate, where I will see which Academy Award winner and/or People’s Choice nominee is waiting to – in the event of the aforementioned water landing – reduce my heroism to a blurb, buried way back in the newspaper between Dear Abby and a massage parlor coupon.

But that’s tomorrow. In the meantime, I wait.  And I wait alone.  You see, in preparation for my trip I dispatched my dog, Sammy, up to New England to enjoy a vacation at my mother’s house.  It’s weird not having Sammy around the apartment.  Although it’s nice not to have all those drug dealers calling in the middle of the night.

I am not a huge fan of air travel so I’m trying to calm my nerves.  I take deep breaths, inhaling the impending arrival of spring.  I look around, trying to determine if the mild weather has pierced the all-consuming economic angst.  I see a woman with a look on her face that says, “My 401k is gone, I might as well have a mojito.”

I fret about waking up on time.  I double check to make sure my alarm clock is functioning properly.  I suppose by now most of you have set your clocks ahead to Daylight Saving Time.  Show offs.  Frankly, the whole thing would have been a bigger deal for me had I bothered to set my clocks back an hour last fall.   I mean, seriously, hasn’t this whole “fall back/spring ahead” clock routine always struck you as kind of optional?  Like adhering to the 10 items or less rule at the grocery store or wearing a shirt when you go into Dunkin' Donuts.

Or offering to hold Susan Sarandon’s Oscar while she stows her carry-on bag.

On that note, goodbye until next week.


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Filed under: 360° Radar • Jack Gray • Travel
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Paula Vergara, Boston, MA


    It's always nice to hear when people go on vacation – hope you enjoy it, or at the very least - get a good tan. Maybe send a tweet or two as you sip a frozen drink with a tiny umbrella on top. Good thing you have Anderson's passport – that'll keep him away from any more war zones.

    Safe travels.

    March 10, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  2. Don, WA

    Have fun on your "Confiscation of Towels Around the World Tour." (I think Sammy would've been a huge asset on the "vacation").

    March 10, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    Hi Jack

    No Jack for a week? How will we live? Your posts always leave a smile .... I guess we will have to muddle through but think of us while you are gone.

    So if you go as Anderson does he go as you? Those must be some disguises, although I'm sure Anderson's is a vast improvement over your disguise as him. And don't let Susan Saradon steal your thunder – you can do breaking news in the lifeboats or while you stand on the airplane's wing....I mean after all if you are either of those two places you are breaking news.

    So Sammie is off to Grandmama's house in New England for a vacation. Your mother will probably never be the same after this. She may join Sammie in her life of crime and then you will have two to drag out of the beer halls each night and double the phone calls. My, won't your life get interesting.

    Have fun on your vacation and come back with some funny stories about it – we will all want to hear all about it. And take plenty of pictures – just be sure you don't pose with some other dog – Sammie will never forgive that.

    March 10, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  4. Stacy from NJ

    Have a great trip Jack! We will miss your wit while you are gone.

    March 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  5. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Stay safe. Be well. Enjoy the ride life takes you on while you travel...And try not to do anything that will warrant a State Department intervention, UN sanctions, or cause Anderson to have to mention you on the show because you are the headline.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  6. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    Hi Jack, my comment wishing you a safe trip was lost in cyberspace, so I'm trying again! Hope you're going somewhere warm and sunny, and have fun whether it's work or vacation. My sympathies for having to navigate through JFK airport; just looking at that photo makes me tired. Wish I had an Anderson passport; I'd keep it close to my heart lol! I'll miss your blogs the rest of the week. Wishing you clear coasting all the way.

    March 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  7. vanessa, El Paso, TX

    Hey Jack, so your leaving us?? I hope it's for vaca...you know, its not a vaca if CNN buys you a coach ticket one way...just thought you should know. I hope you have a good time and remember to carry a fanny pack so that you can be identified as a tourist..lol 🙂 And that Sammy needed a vaca too, you know. It's not easy being woken up at all hours by drug dealers. I'm sure she's still recooperating form the dog show. I've never been on an airplane or airport for that matter, yea, I know...sad. But I'm told in order for it to go smooth, you gotta pretend that you are a celebrity, so channel your inner "Susan Sarandon" and bon vogage... 😉
    Have fun Jack and I'M sure we'll find something to do while you come back, maybe I'll take up a hobby, like watch paint dry or watch a round wheel of cheese or something fun...whateve 🙁
    Lots of luv and try your best to have fun...REALLY, and if we don't hear from you, well....lol

    March 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  8. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    P.S. If you end up in the river, just tell the rescuers you are Jack Gray. Nuff said. I am sure you have given them a smile or two! Hop aboard! 😉

    March 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  9. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    Von Voyage Jack!
    You've got a lot of nerve leaving us for a whole week! What is a handicapp gal suppose to laugh about, huh?
    To make matters worse, my boyfriend was off last Friday and he took me to get a manicure because my nails were dreadful! I put my contacts in and since I have not been wearing them I left them I forgot about them and left them in for two days and lost my vision! It's coming back just about the time you are leaving me! Shucks!
    You know, I lay here in the bed on meds, with pink lipstick, jewelry, crystal champange glass and my gay friend swears I was a drag queen in another life. I think he might just be right!
    I'm so fancy that my breath glitters and my poo smells like blooming flowers.
    Anyway, I see you are leaving the country and I want a full report when you return! Poor Sammy. Be sure and smuggle in a cuban cigar for her.
    That is the least you can do for your best addicted friend.
    Have a great time and don't do anything that I wouldn't except have an accident!
    XO's and Tail Wags!

    March 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  10. Krista

    hahahahaha...hilarious as usual. I'll be flying out of boston on friday. while i dont need a passport(unfortunately) I too will be rockin the snuggy on the plane and praying for a first class switcheroo. if you see any celebs, make sure you give them my card.

    March 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  11. xtina, chicago IL

    LOL – Thanks for the great post!

    March 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  12. Dee from CT

    Don't drink the kool aid!
    Buy Sammy a nice gift!
    We'll miss you for the whole week ... 🙁
    Bring back good stories.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  13. Isabel, Brazil

    Hi, Jack!

    Yesterday was nice having you in the liveblog!
    And the IPhone is already mastering?
    I'm addicted to my IPhone.

    Airport is almost always tenebrous! When the trip is longer, after hours stuck in the chair, still have to face immigration is surreal! In my case, I got the impression they are thinking that I'm a wife of drug dealer or that I'm a trafficker, or whatever, but never anything good. I am not afraid of flying ... lol ... I'm afraid of immigration, despite being one of the good girl and never had problems. 😉

    And the overbooking – that delicious, huh!
    But once I gave luck with that and I got an upgrade to class.

    By the way, in these times of crisis instead of using the passport of Anderson Cooper, it would be best to use his credit card ... lol...
    Poor Anderson! It is funny to implicate with him (and with you too)... lol...

    The DTS left me close to you ... Now we are only 1 hours away. Yes!

    Hmmm, a week without you ... I'm so sad ...
    Hmmm, a week without good laughs...

    Good trip for you! Enjoy!


    PS. Take photos with the IPhone and let it join the local picture (with GPS, I think)... Then on Google Earth be marked and it is cool!

    March 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  14. dessel graves


    Thanks for starting my day off with a laugh!

    March 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  15. Bill Chaffin

    It's a tough world out there but someone has to suck it up and just do. it. Enjoy your flight.

    March 10, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  16. Jacqueline, NY

    Hi, Jack!

    So, where are we headed? I love to travel but I, too, am a nervous flyer. But you'll be fine.

    I was wondering, is Sammy allowed to drink at your mom's? If not she will be going through withdrawal until you get back. LOL!

    No dates? Hey, welcome to the club, buddy!

    Safe travels!

    – Jacq

    March 10, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  17. Adriana Atlanta

    How long will it take for Anderson to know you took his passaport ?

    March 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  18. Helen, Reading, UK

    Rikki, so sorry, I forgot you! The curse of middle age, they say the memory is the first to go.. Big love to ya x

    March 10, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  19. Renee

    By a Lottery ticket before you leave NYC and for the Saturday before you return. I am not a gambler and have never been to Vegas but I always put $2 bucks on LOTTO coming and going from the airport!

    March 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  20. Dianne

    I just happened to stumble upon these blogs and now I think I'm hooked; this was really funny and I look forward to reading more. I'm already in love with Ali, Sean and Anderson, maybe I'll add Jack too.

    March 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  21. Heather

    You dare to say and write the things I am too afraid to think about. I thought it would bring bad luck. As if flying into a flock of birds was dependent upon me thinking about it. Matilda can do it with a glass of water for Mrs. Trunchbull so why can't I? Anyway, I need some laughs and you provided many for me. Thanks.

    March 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  22. Lilibeth

    I hope you’re going somewhere fun. I’ve done air travel lots of times; have the security routine down pat. I don’t usually fly first class, but did so during the holidays, and it was nice! I got to wait in the Board Room with free drinks, snacks, and wi-fi. It just made the experience nicer, that’s all. OK, have a lot of deadlines to meet, so gotta go. Have fun and we’ll see you next week.

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  23. Rikki, Fargo, ND

    Jack, I just returned home from work after having closed at 10:30 due to the blizzard that we are about to get here (I don't know whether to be excited that I have the rest of the day off or to be annoyed that they made me come in for an hour and a half before finally deciding to close), I sign on and find yet another of your day-brightening posts only to be more than slightly disappointed that we wont hear from you for the rest of the week! Don't let the flying get to you just close your window and pretend you are on a bus (which is more dangerous than flying I might add 🙂 ) Enjoy your trip and safe travels...I hope you are going some place warm! 🙂

    March 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  24. Helen, Reading, UK

    So let me get this straight, Jack.. You're leaving us? For a whole week? What are your groupies gonna do without our regular dose of your worldly wisdom? I'm having withdrawal symptoms already! So if you're travelling coach, does that mean Sammy went First Class? I have a mental picture of her drinking the bar dry and snapping her paws at the flight attendants for more pretzels, ha, ha! Does Coop know you've forged his passport? Would have thought that dropping his name casually into the conversation at check-in would get you into First Class, heck, they'd probably let you fly the darn thing! Failing that, try the whole 'don't you know who I am?' speech. Your own fame surely precedes you by now, honey.. As for those pesky superstars, they're no better than any of us! You have as much right to a fully flat bed in the cabin and as many Kahlua mudslides as you can throw down your neck. I can sympathise on the lack of a date. Many times I've volunteered for a pat down from a strapping young security guard, all to no avail. If you weren't so nervous about flying, I'd invite you over to England for a quick pat down! If you can't make it, feel free to send Coop on your behalf. I'm off for a cold shower on that note! Have a wonderful holiday, don't forget to send us a postcard. Big love to my fellow groupies and Cooperites, Megan, Brandy, Esma, Gayle, Betty Ann, Glen, Cristy, Pati Mc, Presley and Chris – think that's it, sorry if I forgot anyone! Huge love and tail wags to you and Sammy, see ya when you get back, safe journey x x x x

    March 10, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  25. vanessa from silver spring, MD

    Funny blog jack. I've never been on a plane before and I am so nervous of getting on one when I start to travel after college.

    March 10, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  26. Anna, HK

    Oh.., by the way....... 'clutching an Anderson Cooper passport'....?? Does it serve as an amulet? It's function is to ward off whatever???Would it protect against having stuff confiscated.....? Would it ward off people that snore on planes (or worse)? Where can I get one?

    March 10, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  27. Maria

    Happy Day Jack,

    Guess what, they laid me off from my work,
    The Airports are busy these days, imagine you can not find seat to travel, except first class, take it or leave it, for me, I will take it with smile 🙂 but keep always in your mind, when you reached your distination, check out all of your laggues, don't leave anything behind, nothing wrong with asking the officer where is your missing bag.

    It is lovely day here and again I wish to remind you, I don't understand French, step and get you bag.

    Have a lovely day.

    March 10, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  28. Dr Robert Carl Parisien

    Dr. Robert Carl Parisien says: Great post Jack. Have a fun trip

    March 10, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  29. Pamina

    Hi Jack,
    Well, I hope you enjoy your vacation- or is it work? Is Anderson sending you back to the Congo?
    Have fun at the airport too-you can bring your own snacks on board- I recommend it highly!
    Maybe if you hold Susan's Oscar, someone will mistake you for George Clooney and you can make the front page!
    Enjoy your sleep tonight!
    Looking forward to your return!

    March 10, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  30. Jennifer - Michigan

    Hi Jack,
    Hope you have a great vacation! I'm assuming you're going somewhere warm of course. Aruba would be my choice – great vacation place if you like the heat. 90 Degrees and sunny just about everyday, but there is a constant strong wind. I do plan on visiting again some day. There's lots to see and do. Anyhow, have fun wherever you go; I'm sure you will. We will enjoy it vicariously through you. Have a safe trip. Don't worry about the flight – have another mojito and enjoy! Talk to you later.

    March 10, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  31. Anna, HK

    Hello Jack,

    Deep breaths at airports? Ah..., you must be that nervous wreck there who looks like he's carrying something that he knows he shouldn't..... avoiding the eyes of the nice puppies that carouse these places.....

    From someone who has just back from a sunny 'downunder'.., hope you have a great vacation because believe me, after 2 days back at the job, it really does seem like it was a long time ago.....

    Stay safe.

    March 10, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  32. Michelle D. Ontario ,Canada

    Hi Jack
    Now yo've done it stealing Anderson's passport your an indentity thief.
    Spring breakers beware Jack Gray is coming to a resort near you!
    Make sure yoiu don't trash any rooms in the hotel Jack but if you do charge it to Anderson's bill! I don't like air travel either but make sure you sneek into first class section and do they offer champagne ? I would be hammered by the time i got to my destination -ha! I think it's the best way to calm nerves .

    Have a great trip Jack
    See you on the flipside!
    Michelle D.

    March 10, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  33. Julie San Diego, CA

    Jack, you need a vacation when you're looking forward to airline security touching you 🙂

    March 10, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  34. Pati Mc

    Enjoy your vacation Jack. Try to hang in there and avoid panic at all cost. Look on the bright side, maybe the celebrity will be someone fabulous, you will regale them with your rapier wit and snag either a date, or a winning Oscar role of your own. Now just think about how much fun it could be to lord that one over Anderson's head! Heh.

    BTW that woman with a look on her face that says, “My 401k is gone, I might as well have a mojito.”? That was me.

    Bon voyage. This was killer, as usual. Now...GO HAVE FUN !!!! 🙂

    March 10, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  35. Cindy

    Another GREAT post!! You are just on it today!! I love it!!

    I have to tell you that I don't deal with celebs so I couldn't live in NY. I'd be the one giving them the evil eye while I was sitting there at the airport waiting on my flight! LOL But hey...they sure wouldn't try to strike up a conversation with me or try to steal my life jacket when we hit the Hudson! LOL

    You probably spent all night trying to occupy yourself since Sammy isn't there to drink with ya! But I bet Sammy prank called you late last night though huh telling you that your flight plans had changed? Oh..wait..my bad..that was probably Anderson! LOL We all know he loves to mess with ya!

    I can't believe that a pat down at the airport is the closest thing that you've had to a date in months. Geeze Jack..get out there and get to looking! Shoot maybe Sammy can hook you up with one of her drinking buddies owners! LOL

    Have a great week Jack..C-Ya when you get back!


    March 10, 2009 at 10:08 am |