Today we spent the day trying to get to Fort Lauderdale.
We got up at 3:20 am and caught the airport shuttle at 4 am.
The airport wasn’t very full and we got there in plenty of time for our flight out of Phoenix.
Now… just to back up a bit, yesterday we got an email saying there was a big storm heading through Dallas and if we wanted to change our flight for no fee we could.
I phoned the airline company and they didn’t seem to care one way or the other and thought it should be fine.
Looking at the weather it looked like the storm would be passed Dallas by the time we flew so we went ahead.
Back to the plot…
We got on the plane in Phoenix and headed for the runway.
Then the captain said there was a paperwork problem and we had to go back to the gate.
An hour later, we were finally off the ground which put us in a bit of a pickle as we only had a 1-hour layover in Dallas before we had to catch a connecting flight.
The couple behind us on the plane were in the same position and we could hear them discussing it.
We finally landed and they let everyone with a connecting ticket off the plane first so off we went and found the gate we suppose to go to.
But… the gate wasn’t in the section of the airport we were in. It was across town.
When I say that I mean it literally. Dallas airport we were told is the size of Manhattan.
So, you get on a train (sort of like a roller coaster) to goes up and down hills and finally made it to the other side of the airport.
When we got to the gate the check-in people were still there but the airplane doors had been closed and they wouldn’t let us on it.
We missed it by about 3 minutes.
The couple that was behind us on the plane was there as well and we were all sent over to the customer service counter back at the original gate where we had gotten off the plane.
Back on the train and across town.
Found customer service and a long lineup.
You know it’s a good thing we only have carry on luggage as the other couple were going on a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale and were worried about where their luggage was going to end up.
After a good 3/4 of an hour in line we finally made it up to the ropes and now there was just another 3/4 of an hour left to go.
They only had two customer service people working and on passenger had been at the counter the whole time we were there so in fact there was only one person taking new people.
We noticed that other people were leaving the line and upon asking were told that someone had found a number to call to change flights.
The couple that we had been talking to found the number, called, rebooked their flight, turned their back on us and gave the phone number to someone else.
Finally, we got the number from another person and rebooked our flight to go out at 1:30 and we headed across town on the train to get to the gate.
We couldn’t see the destination on the gate board so we went and asked the service person.
Oh, they said… they just changed the gate number. It’s on the other side of the airport from the area we just came from.
So, back on the train and made it to the gate just as they were ready to board.
The other couple was there as well and greeted us with open arms so glad we had made it too. Not thanks to them 🙂
On the plane, our seat companion was a pilot on JetBlue airlines and it was interesting talking to him.
He was taking a commuter to work as he lived in Dallas and his flights left from Fort Lauderdale.
Apparently airlines have reciprocal flights for air personal but they have to sit in the back of the bus with us.
The next thing we heard is that the flight wasn’t going to take 2.5 hours as planned but there would be an extra hour added onto it.
The pilot bought up a chart on his ipad that showed the weather system that extended through our original flight plan.
So what they needed to do instead was to fly around the storm going up as high as Indianapolis to get around it and then flying south.
Needless to say it was a bit of a bumpy ride in some areas but a good flight overall.
We arrived at the airport after 7 pm and took the car rental shuttle to get the vehicle we had rented.
But… the company that we rented from only had a sign that said they were under construction so we asked around and it turns out you had to take another bus to get to them as they were currently offsite.
Hop on the next bus and over to their lot.
Got a nice bright red Grand Cherokee and some vague instructions on how to get out of town as they didn’t have a map.
Now the car has a GPS but unless you know where you want to go, it doesn’t tell you how to get there.
What we were wanting to do is to get out of town and find a hotel.
After a few wrong turns (did I mention it was dark?) we finally found Hwy 95 which is a major highway and headed south only to find that in reality, Fort Lauderdale runs into Miami.
We head past Miami and finally found a place to stay in Homestead, FL.
I’ve left out the details about trying to find a Walmart, water and dinner but if you fit that into the mix with a few wrong turns and trying to find a hotel at 11 pm on a Saturday night you’ll know we had a full day.
Exhausted… we crashed for the night.