How we got here is beyond me, but I’m glad we made it. We managed to make our way ‘across the pond’ even after some epic American Airline failures. Tara and I are fighting to flip our sleeping schedules, so instead of 8:00AM in Florida, it’s now 2:00PM as we cut through the Strait of Bonifacio in between Corsica, France and Sardinia. This is all new to me, as I’m a ‘European Rookie’. But lets start with yesterday since my days are all screwed up.
We’re in the midst of moving from Orlando, so to take a European Vacation while living out of boxes has been quite a challenge. But it’s been fun. We managed to get to the airport two hours before our flight to Miami from Orlando. American Airlines would be our chariot for what we thought was a quick trip to Miami before we boarded a 767 set for Barcelona, Spain. After dining over burritos at ‘On the Border’, I get a text from my buddy in Grand Cayman (who wanted to track our flight) informing me that our flight was delayed. Not to Barcelona, but to Miami. Keep in mind we have a 1.5 hour layover in Miami. So any type of delay is not good news. We find out the delay will be an hour. Instead of departing at 3:30, its now 4:30 as the jet hasn’t even left Miami to come back to Orlando yet. Big problems.
Mid-bite, I stop eating and rush to the gate. A man in front of me has lost his mind already because he’s going to miss his plane to Boston. “Big deal, pal…” I thought greedily. I was about to miss a big flight and a big boat. No bigs, right? But then I talked with Annette, the AA agent at the desk. This woman went as far as to put the fluorescent green vest on, walk down the stairs to the jetway and personally track down our bags so they made it on the next flight. That was after she booked us on a different plane departing at 4:30 so we’d have a fighting chance to make our connection because our original flight STILL hadn’t left Miami. There’s hope at this point.
Stomach knots. As we wait for the 4:30, I nervously check my watch every 5 minutes like its going to do something. I hear our names on the speaker asking us to re-check at the new desk. I’m happy to learn, Annette has called over from the other gate and demanded we be put in 1st Class so we can get off the plane quickly because it’s going to be tight. 2C and 2D. Not bad digs. One Corona later, I start to chill out. We depart at 4:43, wheels up. Urgh, lost 8 minutes.
We touch down in Miami and we’d taxiing to our gate, which feels like an eternity. It’s now 5:49, 26 minutes before our departure and the captain stops the plane in front of a hanger and tells us we’re going to ‘sit tight’ while we let another plane out of the hanger to pass us. Is this a joke? Is Ashton going to pop out of the cockpit? I explain the severity of the situation to the stewardess, who simply says “it should only take a few minutes”. Say whaa?
Few minutes it did, but Tara and I are set like lineman ready for the 4th down. Bags in hand we blast through the door and to the next gate that was relatively close. We made it. All was much better. Almost.
We boarded the massive 767. We were set up in two seats near the back of the plane, row 33. But it was fine with me. Nice and comfy. Tight, but comfy, I guess. But man, it was hot. A woman next to me brought her paper fan and was feverishly fanning her face. She wasn’t dumb.
Then our captain comes on the line saying that there’s a problem with the air conditioning unit and that they’re ‘working on it’. I love that line. It’s never good, but sprinkles in such a minimal amount of optimism that it keeps you motivated and holding out hope. But then he comes back on to tell us that this plane isn’t going to fly despite their best efforts. Grab your backs and head out to the terminal. Here we go again.
Two hours in the terminal wasn’t bad. We grabbed some food and drinks and before you knew it, they had another 767. How they did it was beyond me. Same type of plane…same seats. Barcelona is back on. We boarded about 8:00 and departed at 8:30. Wheels up. Off we went.
We got into Barcelona about 11:30AM. I didn’t sleep much despite my best efforts. Tara was out like a light. So right away I knew my sleep pattern wasn’t going to go well for a while. But we were here, despite several American Airline missteps. But if it weren’t for ‘Annette’…we’d probably still be eating our burritos wondering, “now what?”.
And so it begins.