We were downstairs at 5am with our luggage! There were just two other couple and one elder - The Hansons (Guayaquil) and the Hendersons (who was in our group the first week at the MTC going on a medical assignment to Bogata, Columbia) and the elder was going to California - waiting there for his visa to come through so he can go to Brazil. The shuttle bus to the airport was an 8-passenger van which should have been OK for us, but turned out to be a challenge, because the Hendersons had 9 bags and we had 7; the Hansons had 6 and the elder had 3. It took quite a while to get it all in, but we made it in the end! Poor driver. The Hendersons and the elder are going for two years - the Hansons and Brent and I are going for 18 months! We had difficulty when we tried to do our electronic ticket - we are no techies and I think we must have been the last ones to do it as our seats were in the last row which was right by the bathroom and there was always a line-up. Brent was in the aisle seat and was constantly getting shoved and bumped by irate passengers who thought there should have been more bathrooms. There was a group going to Tel Aviv on a Holy Land tour - most of them LDS, some of which eagerly visited with us regarding towns of origin, places that we were going etc. - it was fun. It was only a four and a half hour trip, but in those cramped quarters, it seemed to take forever (we were flying on a Boering 737-800 series carrying 190 something passengers.
We arrived at JFK about 3pm, but were sitting at the gate for about 15 minutes waiting for the gate person to receive us. That resulted in us having no time to do anything as we had to walk "miles" to get to the boarding area where we presented our ticket and got a boarding pass and was told that the plane was already loading!!! Our plane was an Airbus A330- 300. It sat 8 passengers in a row - it was a wide-body jet - we were in the middle row and it seemed a lot roomier than the other plane. The man beside Brent was Greek, but had been living in the States for a long time. He and Brent visited a lot and struck up a nice friendship. I was beside a lady who seemed to be hooked in to, either music or the TV or sleeping the whole time. Supper and breakfast were served and the flight crew were really nice, but trying to sleep was not great. It wasn't until the last hour or so of the flight that we got any real sleep only to be woken by breakfast feeling gross.