Monday, April 23, 2007

Day 1: Our heroes leave for a vacation in Florida

Our friend C gave us – me, Better Half, R and Z - a lift to the airport on Saturday. We got there two hours before our flight was to arrive, and encountered the Longest Line I Have Ever Seen. Hmm, I think, we should be able to get through this line in an hour. It started out promisingly. R had his Gameboy, Z was happy to people-watch and try to read signs. A group of sorority girls in front of us ask me to take their photo – they are on our flight to Ft Lauderdale but then are heading to the Bahamas for spring break. An hour comes and goes, and we are only about halfway to the front of the line. A harried-looking AirTran rep calls anyone in line for Ft Lauderdale to come to “an expedited line”. About 20 of us comply…and find that AirTran has massively overbooked this flight and we will not make it on. They ask us to step aside and a customer service agent will try to help us make alternate arrangements. However, they warn, it’s school vacation week, a long weekend, and there’s a Nor’easter storm heading our way.

Better Half gets in the customer service line, while I herd the kids and bags off to the side and call my dad to let him know we may not be able to make it to Naples after all (we hadn’t been able to get a flight to Ft Myers, so were planning on driving from Ft Lauderdale). He says he’ll see what he can do and hangs up. I text back and forth with BH as he waits in line. I pray that neither kid has to go potty because there are no bathrooms in sight and I can’t carry the bags alone. I envision TSA about to perform a controlled explosion on our seemingly abandoned car seat bag, with me running in yelling “Wait, wait! Z had to poop!” I start doodling mean-spirited things about AirTran on one of their free luggage tags. Being bumped off a flight with my 2 small kids on the day before my birthday turns me childish. I tell myself it’s consumer-oriented civil disobedience.

My dad calls back and has tentative seats for us tomorrow on USAirways to West Palm Beach, for $1600. Is that each, or total? I ask. He isn’t sure and goes to check. I text this info to BH, who tells me to bring him the bags and head over to the USAirways counter to find out more. The kids and I set out, only then learning that USAirways is in a different building. We eventually get there and the clerk is pleasant but firm that because of the weather they have no way to get us to Florida in the next 24 hours. Dad calls again…the tickets are $1600 each and he thinks Air Tran should pay. BH tells me AirTran has been offering double the ticket price back to people, but this would be quadruple. He then says it’ll still be some time before the customer service agent gets to him (he’s still helping the beleaguered sorority gals) so we get snacks at Starbucks and chill for a while. I read books to Z, let her do the jigsaw puzzle I brought, then invent games for her (can you find a T on that sign? Go touch it and run back here! Now find an N! Let’s use this scrap of yarn in my purse to make shapes. Can you make a triangle?). R is electronically anaesthetized by his GameBoy and then by dad’s video iPod.

BH texts again – AirTran is going to pay for the $1600/pp tickets tomorrow and give us vouchers for roundtrip travel. Yay. However, the flight tomorrow is due to leave during the forecast Nor’easter. Boo. We rejoin BH over at AirTran while he fills out the paperwork. We decide that, since we’re here, we may as well get our USAirways boarding passes now to save time tomorrow. We head back to the other building, and Z “helps” by holding on to the luggage strap and occasionally pushing the rolling bag from the back. Ineffectual but highly cute. We got the boarding passes and C phones to say he’ll come get us. However, ten minutes later he calls again to tell us he got a flat tire. Great googly moogly. OK, we try our neighbor up the street, who picks us up, and we get back to the house about 6 hours after we’d left. BH runs out and gets us a pizza and me a chocolate birthday cannoli. We all collapse into bed.


Blogger Unknown said...

Happy belated birthday! At first I thought BH was "Beloved Husband".

11:59 AM  

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