In all of the travels I’ve done in my life, I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience like the one I had for my flight to the Caymans. Atlanta had a freak winter storm the day before I left, but the weather report showed that the weather was going to improve the day I was flying through there, so I thought I’d be OK. Famous last weather report! Turns out that the Atlanta airport was thrown into utter chaos by the storm and it was still in utter chaos by the time I arrived at 8:30 AM on a Wednesday morning. At the gate for the Cayman flight, we were kept anxiously waiting as the flight was constantly delayed and lulled into a false sense of hopefulness by encouraging promises from the gate agent that a crew was on the way and then we could be on ours. Until 6:30 PM that is. Then they decided that the flight was cancelled after all.
There was a mad rush to the help desk where I was unfortunately not ahead of the curve on the stampede, so I ended up close to the end of the line and waiting for 4 1/2 hours to speak to the Delta reps only to find out that they would send me to Miami in the morning and then on to the Caymans on American Airlines from there. Of course, there were no hotel rooms to be found by then. I was going to have to sleep in the airport …something I’ve never done before. Everyone in line was in the same boat and so there was a lot of chatting while we were waiting. After I was told where I’d be going next, I decided that a beer was in order and when I found the nearest bar, a couple that had been in line behind me (who were also going to the Caymans) had already snagged a table and so I invited myself to join them. They were very nice and we had a nice conversation while enjoying being able to sit down after hours of standing in line. After that, we went our separate ways to find a nook or cranny to curl up in for the night. Fortunately, the international terminal was fairly uncrowded and I found a spot on the floor off to the side at one end to call home for the night. I dozed off and on…(I didn’t think I’d sleep at all) and the next morning I started part 2 of my trip to the Caymans.
What a day it turned out to be! The flight to Miami was supposed to leave at 11:00 AM. Delayed… Delayed some more… We finally loaded the plane and after everyone was on and settled, they announced we didn’t have a crew! Then, a few minutes later they announced that operations notified them that the wi-fi on the plane we were on didn’t work and they wanted us to disembark and change planes…going to one that was in an entirely different terminal… so off we all went in a mad rush again. Only to end up waiting at the new gate for another hour or so -getting on the new plane and being told again there was no crew. About 1/2 hour later, the crew showed up (to wild applause) and we were finally off. Of course, the delayed flight meant we missed our connecting flight to the Caymans. By we, I am talking about myself and the 6 or 7 other people on the flight with me that were all going to the Caymans.
Some people got to the help desk fast and got their tickets changed before the Miami flight left, but once again I wasn’t ahead of the curve and didn’t. I was told that I could do it in Miami… so when we landed I found out that we had to leave the secure area to change terminals for American and I RAN through the airport to get to the front check-in counters and ask to have my ticket changed so I could be on the next (and last) flight out to the Caymans, which was leaving in about an hour. The lady at the desk told me that American couldn’t change the ticket because Delta issued it and that I would have to go back to Delta to sort it out. I think she could tell that I was about to have a meltdown of epic proportions and she said she’d check to see if she could do anything. She was away for several minutes and when she came back she told me it was fixed…. She was now my favorite person in the world! Not only did she help me out, she gave me a priority pass through security and for boarding the flight. After a terrible 24 hours, something finally went right.
I wasn’t going to relax until the flight was in the air. Funnily enough the couple I’d had a drink with the night before (and been talking to throughout the day’s ordeal) ended up sitting in the same row as me.
We landed on the island at about 9:30 PM -YAY! However, I’m sure you can guess that my luggage didn’t arrive with me -BOO! My condo neighbors, the Walls, had been following my ordeal on Facebook and even though I had a rental car waiting for me, it was wonderful to see a smiling face when I walked out of the airport. They were so concerned that they’d driven to the airport to pick me up (and had dinner waiting for me at their place). How nice is that? They talked me into riding with them to the condo and they’d bring me back the next day to get my luggage and my car.
When our tenant left in December, she mentioned that she’d left clean sheets on the bed (which isn’t usual) and boy was I thanking my lucky stars she did. By the time I arrived at the condo it was so late – and if she hadn’t done that I would have had to unload the owner’s locker until I found the tub with the sheets …and the other tub with the pillows.
The next day, the Walls dropped me at the airport car rental office around the time the Delta flight should have landed. Surprise, surprise, it was delayed. When I went to check about my luggage the rep told me that the flight would not arrive until around 5:30 (normal arrival time is around 2:00).
I passed the time buying a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. (After wearing the same clothes for 3 days -even though I’d washed them that morning- I was ready for something new to wear. I also went grocery shopping.
And finally -around 6:00 PM, I got my luggage. It was wonderful to finally have it both for peace of mind and because I’d carried the bare minimum in my carry-ons. All of my devices were either out of power or perilously close to being out of power because I’d packed the chargers in my luggage.
I definitely learned some new lessons over those couple of days and will always pack differently in the future!
Categories: Cayman Islands 2014