(Note: the majority of this was written while I was on vacation, towards the end I got lazy and stopped writing, and just jotted down notes- but it should be a pretty good, and long, account of my vacation. This particular post was put on Cruise Critic in the Roll Call forums on Dec 31)
It was a hell of a day, but we made it to Fort Lauderdale eventually.
The day started with us planning on going to the airport ridiculously early- our ride has a dentist appt, so it was the only time we can be dropped off. Getting up too early is the best thing that happened all day- we are about to load up and leave and we found out our flight had been canceled- and the airport is closed, at least for most of the day (it may have reopened in the evening, but I have doubts).
We had a ton of snow the last week, and a warm front is melting it all- the fog is horrible.
So we get on the phone with American Airlines- and they tell us nothing is going out- want to take our chances for tomorrow? Nope! So we ask for other airports, and there is a flight about 110 miles away (in Des Moines) that we can make- good thing we got on this early, or else we wouldn't have had time to make the drive. We get to that airport about 1.5 hours before the flight, plenty of time to spare. The fog on the drive over is the worst I've seen, but it lightens up by the time we get over there.
Another positive surprise of the day: 2 free checked pieces of luggage. We figure it's a gift from the lady who did the rebooking. This $50 savings will help defray the now $60 in parking expenses we will incur (not to mention the gas for 220 miles... thank you Civic, it's only about half a tank...)
The other random surprise- 5 jets taking off as we walked from the parking lot to the airport. I think that's more jets than I saw the whole time I lived at Wright Patterson Air Force Base- and we lived right below the flight line! (Of course, it's not really a jet base...) Kevin took a picture. Kevin took A LOT of pictures throughout this- most all of them I show will be courtesy of Kevin.
So at that airport, they are asking for volunteers to give up seats, because the pilot wants extra fuel. We try to see if they can rebook us (overnight- everyone who has gone up to the counter hasn't been able to get a flight to their final destination today) to DFW where I have family, but they can't (Detroit is the offer) so we keep our seats. It's a good thing the pilot wanted extra fuel, we circled Chicago for a long time, then go to land, but pull back up and circle even more. I was worried we'd turn around!
This photo is me at the Des Moines airport. I'm tired, as people often are at airports. There should be rules against these photos. Or I could just not share it, so I guess it's my own fault. But this post didn't have many pictures.
So we land in Chicago, I don't know if we are actually late or not, but no one is too antsy. We play the O'hare game of going to the gate to then find out that the gate changed to the other side of the airport, then go to that one (this happens everytime). Kevin and I also get Chinese food, as is our other O'Hare tradition.
Flight to FLL is completley full, but goes out on time and lands on time. But then we get to our gate and it's taken by a plane that had an emergency landing. They announce a 25 minute wait, we wait over an hour instead. People are yelling at the flight attendants- yeah that will help! They want to get off the plane too! Imagine being held hostage like that at your job, I know I wouldn't be happy.
Finally get to baggage claim and we pick up our two bags very quickly. Hampton Inn shuttle comes and gets us, and takes about 45 minutes- apparently we were waiting in the wrong place, and I don't know if she told us wrong, or we went the wrong way. Still who is to complain? We get a free ride for a $2 tip. (Don't know if that is cheap or not, we just tipped $2 everytime we were in the shuttle- some people didn't tip at all, so I assume it's fine)
We check into the hotel- very nice room, very happy. We go downstairs to get directions to food, and a group in front of us takes their sweet sweet time getting everyone settled (seriously about 10-15 minutes longer then they needed) and finally we ask for directions to Olive Garden. They insist on us using the shuttle, but first the guy has to run towels upstairs. We get to olive garden 1 minute bfore they close. Damn. Same for Red Lobster... nothing else on that side of the road, so we come back (walk- don't want to spend another $2 tip to get a ride home when we can walk easily)- to bed with no supper
It was a LONG day- tomorrow we rest! It's time for vacation!