Monday, November 25, 2013

The Flight From Hell November 25, 2013

Riverton, Utah High 45 Low 28

From reading about Patty and Nancy’s recent trip to Costa Rica reminded me of our trip to go on a cruise to the Southern Caribbean.

I should warn you that this is a little long, but it is all true. (I referenced Cindy’s scrapbook page to make sure.)

We were scheduled to go one a cruise put on by one of my wholesalers on the third of February several years ago (while I was still working). It was an incentive for the amount of sales, so we had no say in our flight arrangements.

It started out innocently enough, but went downhill from there. We had ordered a shuttle to the Salt Lake airport. We expected him about 5:30 AM, but he was a half hour early, and we were not ready. He agreed to wait while we showered and got ready. Cindy remembers that she didn't even get to put on make-up or do her hair. The group of about 100 was divided into two, with half going through Dallas to San Juan, and the rest of us going through New York. Good so far! Except that New York was snowed in. The Dallas group made it with no problems. The New York group was sent to Denver, then to St. Louis, Then to Pittsburgh. We had long delays in some of the airports waiting for New York to open. I might add at this point, Salt Lake would have laughed at the amount of snow that closed New York!

When we finally arrived in New York, I remember it being dark (our flight from Salt Lake was scheduled for 8:30 AM). We had to take a large shuttle from one part of the airport to another, and had moved about 500 feet, when the shuttle broke down on the runway. After waiting 45 minutes, we finally got on another shuttle, and got to our plane. The plane then went to the runway, and sat there for another 2 1/2 hours before taking off. All this time the cruise ship, which was scheduled to leave San Juan at 6:30 PM, was waiting for our group. We were finally on our way…Wrong! 

The plane passed over Bermuda, headed to San Juan, when a child started having trouble breathing, so we had to make an emergency landing in Bermuda. All the delays caused an older gentleman behind Cindy to have the symptoms of a heart attack, because he was so agitated, and he also went to the hospital.  We can say we have been in Bermuda, although only on the airport runway. Since it was an unscheduled stop, we were not allowed to leave the plane.

Meanwhile the ship, having heard about this latest delay, left San Juan without us. We had to sit on the runway, to get fueled, and wait for paper work from New York, for about three hours. We got to San Juan at about 4:30 in the morning and the doors from the plane into the airport were locked. We had to wait for someone to come and open the airport to let us in. All this time, from Salt Lake, we had not eaten, and we all were very hungry. Finally about 2 hours later we got to eat a small amount from one of the airport vendors. At about 6:30 AM, we were divided into 3 groups to take us to the Dominican Republic to catch up with the Ship.

While we were waiting to board our plane, Cindy and some other people noticed money falling out of the pockets of some men in front of us. The airport officials investigated and caught some suspected drug runners getting on our flight. They then had to unload all the luggage, and then had to reloaded ours which we had to identify, before we could continue on our way. This took about another hour. We finally got in the air at about 10:00 AM. This plane was a smaller 50 or 75 passenger plane.

When we finally landed in the Dominican Republic, we were informed that we had to pay a $10.00 tourist tax. For this we were given a nice certificate, which we thought would make a nice souvenir. Except when we got to the ferry to take us to the ship, they took the certificate away. We did get our passports stamped!....Big whoop! 

We finally got to the ship at about 1:30 in the afternoon. By now we were so tired that we didn't do much on the private island. Cindy says it was only 29 1/2 hours to get to the ship, which should have been 14, but from when we woke up, I think it was longer. The cruise itself from then on was excellent, but everyone on the cruise had heard about our troubles and asked us about The Flight From Hell. Part of the group that had taken another flight from San Juan had to take a bus that took over 3 hours to get to the ferry, while we were only 1/2 hour away.

I have come to expect delays and such when you travel, but it seemed like we got them all at once and the cruise line, which had booked the flights, wouldn't do anything for us for our lost day. They said it wasn't their fault, but they should have known better than send 50 people through New York on the third of February.

Because of this happening to us, I can really sympathize with Patty and Nancy.

Thanks for visiting.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty crazy guys!! At some point you just have to say oh what the heck and just go with the flow!!! My blood pressure would have been through the roof!!! LOL