Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Will Smith Can Keep Maimi

Last week I shared about how awesome vacation was. 6 ½ days of unadulterated bliss. But on the 7th day, reality came a knocking.

Our very last day on the island was speedy and sad. I was up at 6 and sat outside to watch the end of sunrise.

I went back in to get ready to head down to breakfast one last time. After enjoying a crepe and fresh fruit we headed back to the room to finish packing. Our housekeeper for the week, Angela, shows up. She stopped by to give me a hug and say good bye {cue the watery eyes}. After that, reality started to seep in.

We made our way back to the main lobby/bar area and lazed about. The shuttle back to the airport was leaving at 10 so we wanted to relax and soak up a little more of that irie attitude. We boarded the bus and I got teary-eyed. I’m certain I pouted the entire way there, although I tried to just soak it all in. We got to the airport at 10:15 and hauled our luggage to the AA kiosk. It was all downhill from there.

A friendly AA employee assisted us with the kiosk. It’s a good thing because when I told him what time our flight was he told me that wasn’t possible. Turns out our returning flight, which was scheduled to take off at 1:04pm Jamaican time {they don’t observe DST so they’re an hour behind us} was actually taking off at 4:40 pm. Remember when I said we got there at 10:15? Do the math. If you're math inept like me, that's 6.5 hours.

If I’m being honest, this was the highlight of the trip home because, oh, it gets worse. We meandered around the duty-free shop for a bit and I picked up some goodies for myself. I love how easy I am to buy for.

We  were sitting around letting my phone charge when we ran into a couple who were at the same resort we were, and who are actually from my home town. We chatted with them for an hour or so. It was nice to hear someone else’s POV and kill some time while doing it. 

We eventually made our way to the food court and to Air Margaritaville where I did the only thing I knew how to do and hung on to my Jamaican vacation for as long as I could. Red Stripe for lunch!

We sat by the gate for the last half hour and sadly boarded the plane. We take off around 4:40 as scheduled and arrive in Miami 90 minutes and 1 time warp later. {It’s now 7:05pm}

I would bet that 99% of the time, when your plane lands you taxi into your gate, deplane and then head to customs. Lucky us, we were finally part of the 1%! We sat on the runway for close to an hour for who knows what reason other than MIA is organizationally inept. We finally got off the plane at 8pm. We now need to get through CBP, recheck our bags, go through security again, and make it to the gate for a flight that is scheduled to depart at 9:05p.

We hastily made our way from the gate to CBP which went as smooth as US customs could possibly go. We head to the “connecting flights” area only to be told that this area is closed and we need to go “downstairs and to the left”. Real fucking helpful. We somehow make it “downstairs and to the left”, which, for the record, is actually down the ramp, out the door, to the left, down the hall to the elevator, up to the 2nd floor and then to the right. But yeah, down and left.

We attempt to get in line to have our bags rechecked and the multi-colored bearded man in his snazzy red blazer tells us word for word “you’ve missed your flight, get in line and rebook”. Oh Miami, you’re amazing at customer service! We grudgingly get in line and as we’re moving I go back to the departures board to see what’s leaving next. The next flight home is at 6am. SIX IN THE MORNING!  

Screw you R. Kelly

We’re moving along in the line trying to be patient when a different AA employee spots the tag on K’s bag and practically yells at us that our flight hasn’t left yet, points to the weigh station at the counter and tells us to “throw your bags on there and go!” Seriously?! I want nothing more than to punch the multi-colored bearded man. Now we need to get through security {hooray for no major line} and get to gate D31. Of course this is allllllllllllllllllllllllll the way on the other end of the airport. If you ever thought this was fun…

...I assure you it’s not. But it’s exactly what we did. Barefoot I might add. There is no time to put on shoes when you’re facing the possibility of sleeping in an airport. The thing about running barefoot on granite flooring – it hurts. K ran on ahead and I started walking. We ran into another couple who were coming from Jamaica who were also headed to EWR. Her husband was even farther behind so I walked with her with the thought that K was at the gate and would stall for us. Success.

Long story shortish, we made the flight. And the gate attendants let me go to the Starbucks a few feet away to grab drinks and snacks. They, and only they, receive all the snaps.

We finally land around 12:30am and make our way to baggage claim.  After what felt like days I see my leopard treasure coming toward me. The carousel spins, the bags dwindle, and then the carousel stops….

K's bag is still in Miami. Because why wouldn’t it be? 

What was your worst travel experience?

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