The Romance of Travel
Friday, 5 am. London. My phone rings. It’s American Air, telling me my 12:35 flight will be delayed. Gee, thanks.
9:30. Dressed, packed and ready, I call for an Uber Lux, supposedly a luxury car like a Mercedes S class or big Audi or BMW. The screen says it will be here in 7 minutes, but when I click on it the arrival time instantly goes to 16 minutes–just a little Uber bait and switch. Still, I’m not in a hurry so OK. In the next 8 minutes the car doesn’t move and the arrival time stays at 16 minutes. Not good.
I cancel the ride and try an Uber Select, still a nice car. It say 6 minutes and I see the car moving. I see the car drive right past our hotel and go around the block. The driver works it out on the next pass, we climb into his nice Jaguar sedan and off to the airport.
Often, when a flight is delayed there will be another delay but not today. We takeoff right about when they said we would. I’ve messaged Beth, the Travel Goddess™ to change us to a later flight from Miami to Orlando so everything should be fine.
Lunch is served. Couldn’t get my first choice of entree, settle for the pasta. For the first time, my meal is not hot. Service is not very good on this flight.
Nine hours later, we arrive in Miami when they said we would. Except that because we are an hour later than scheduled, there is no gate. We are in a Boeing 777, which can only fit into 5 gates at the huge airport, and they are all full. We sit for 45 minutes, then have to be towed into the gate because the slot is so narrow and the plane is so big. Finally get off, an hour after we touched down. Our time to make the connection is slipping away.
Passport control is in another county, or so it seems. We have to walk 1/2 mile, take an elevator to a train, ride two stops, elevator down and walk another 200 yards. Thanks to Global Entry, we get through control in seconds and go to retrieve our bags.
Bags are up, we go through customs, but the place to re-check them for the next flight is closed for the night. We have to walk another 15 minutes and go upstairs to American Airlines check-in, and by now there is no hope of making the flight to Orlando. It takes another 30 minutes of standing there for the clerk to figure out how to get us a hotel voucher and book our flight for the morning–we aren’t going anywhere tonight.
The airport hotel is OK. Not great, but clean and close. We take the meal voucher they gave us to Margaritaville and have the fish tacos. The dinner bill is $70, the meal voucher is $24. I guess every little bit counts.
The free WiFi in the room doesn’t work.
Saturday morning we get up and get going. We have a handicapped accessible room, for some reason. I notice the seat in the shower says it is safe for people up to 250 pounds–haven’t they noticed that many of the handicapped people are 400 + pounds?
The airport is very busy on the first Saturday of spring break. We aren’t worried about lines because we always get the TSA pre-check (it’s part of Global Entry). Except this security check in a major airport on a busy day doesn’t have a pre-check line. Can’t expect efficiency from the government.
No problem, we get through, sit in the Admirals Club for a bit and fly to Orlando. It’s a 39 minute flight, the seat belt light never goes out. Gail trades seats with a pilot who is flying to work, except he can’t get his tray-table down and needs help. Doesn’t quite instill confidence….
Arrive on time, go for the bags. I watched the agent put big orange PRIORITY tags on them, so this shouldn’t take long.
ALL the regular bags come off the line, then the priority bags arrive. Perhaps the baggage handlers in Orlando don’t quite understand what that word means.
Susan picks us up. I put the bags in the car and she starts to drive off. Without me.
Ain’t travel relaxing and wonderful?