Oh Bummer – I got bumped on the way home from St. Croix.
Planes never ever leave on time from tiny islands. There are just so many things that can go wrong – and so little back-up. So color me amazed when my flight from St. Croix (the first of 2 legs heading back to Montreal) left full – and on time. It was a pleasure to watch.
I’m flying American – and the plane from Miami arrived, the folks deplaned (with us watching), and seconds later they opened the gates for us to load. No cleaning needed – or else it was done so fast – who noticed. I should have been alarmed – but nope – not a whisper in my gut that things were going to go badly.
The flight was lovely – nice ladies sitting next to me – not inclined to chat, but I occupied my self with ipad games and a good book. No worries. The Captain announces that we’re arriving in Miami – 15 minutes early – and he hopes we enjoyed our flight from St. Thomas. Ok – not a huge error – and still no worries. We land – and that’s when things went badly.
The plane rolls to a stop – no terminal in sight. Where are we? And why are we sitting on a runway. Is that normal? Is everything ok? Turns out that Terminal D in Miami has had a bomb scare – they have vacated a huge section of the Terminal building, and – as googled by my seat mates – the authorities are investigating. So we wait. Then the engines start, we roll around to the other side of the terminal. And we wait. And then the engines start again – and this time the pilot announces that after 1.5 HOURS of sitting on the runway – we’re clear to dis-embarck.
The guy behind is yelling F**K into his cell phone – I’m guessing that whoever is on the other end of the line has the phone way far from their ear.
But I’m sure that I’m ok. The flight to Montreal leaves from Terminal D – surely if they have held everything for an hour and a half – that flight got held too.
Probably the only flight that left on time had to be mine. I’m stranded in Miami. Now what. Lunch was delicious, but it was hours ago – and I know no-one to call in Miami. Fortunately – I do have a cell phone. So I call American – they rebook me for the first flight out in the morning. Hey – good news – no charge! Bad news – not their problem that my flight sat on the runway – so hotel is my problem.
I’m too old, and too grouchy to put up with sleeping at the airport – so it’s Hot Wire to the rescue. I’ll have them on speed dial – and a pleasant young man tries to figure out what option will work best for me. $60 for 2 stars, but I’ll have to call for the shuttle, $75 for 3 stars – no shuttle, or $100 for 4 stars – with shuttle.
Oh – this is easy – I’m going 4 stars.
If you’ve never used hotwire you may not know how this works. You don’t know the name of the hotel until after you’ve paid – and at that point it’s too late to back out. But you do have a fair idea of what other people think (in this case – 80% loved it), so I figure – for a few hours – who really cares. So I book.
The hotel is called the ‘Pullman’ (nope – I never heard of it before either) – and the young man gives me the phone number to call the hotel for directions to their shuttle. I make the call – and they direct me outside. Just stand and wait – white van will come by.
And it does. Leather seats, free chilled bottles of water – oh, this is nice. Turns out – until 4 days ago – the ‘Pullman’ was a Sofitel – but it’s under new management – and it’s amazingly beautiful.
They offer me a choice of one bed or two – since I’m completely alone – One is fine,
So they check me in, sympathize with my luggage-less state – and give me a tooth brush, a room key – and directions upstairs.
The main lobby is huge – huge, huge, huge! There’s a loung/bar area the size of Sugar Beach Resort – tons of very seriously upscale sofas and chairs, a glorious pool (and me with no bathing suit) – and the rack rate on my room is $1,500. A night. Seriously. The bathroom features granite counters, grohe faucets, a lovely shower, and tiled floors. The bed is a king (I barely muss up 1/4 of it) – and has a wonderful pillow top mattress. The lights are upscale elegant – and I have a marvelous view East to Miami.
Really nice hotel! Very very nice hotel.
Next morning – I’m up early, re-packed – and back at the airport. Clearly not everyone knows about Hotwire – there are ‘sleeping’ bodies all over the airport! Guess mine wasn’t the only connection that just didn’t work. The only restaurants open are Coffee Shops and the Island Grill – I should have gone with the coffee shop. It’s not like I don’t know better. Oh well – what’s a day without food among friends?
I try to chat up the TSA folks to see if they know more than I do – but they all basically say that they just came on shift – and don’t work late afternoons. They were watching on TV, and know even less than I do about the security issue. I did discover that only part of D Terminal was closed down – which explains why my Montreal flight left without me. But alls well that ends well – and I’m on my way again.
I opted for the earlier flight – even though it makes a stop in Philly. Clearly haven’t been watching Amazing Race lately – you never opt to change planes. But I did – and of course the 2nd plane is delayed – and I end up arriving later than had I just hung in Miami and grabbed the non-stop.
What else could go wrong, you ask? Hey – they even lost my luggage.
But all’s well that ends well – I’m in Montreal, my luggage eventually arrived as well – and while seriously tired – I’m finally home.
Signing off to catch some much needed shut-eye – The Soup Lady.