Day 5 was a study in the need for (extreme) patience when we put our fate in the hands of the airlines — and mother nature.
Remember that wintry weather I mentioned on my Day 4 blog? I called Delta as soon as I was back in cell range, but didn’t have any luck getting put on earlier flights. Nevertheless, I hustled to get my bags ready and get off the ship with the “self-assist” disembarkation group, which left at 7:45 am. This is the term for when you take your own bags off the ship rather than using the ship’s luggage assistance (when they collect your bag the night before you depart and deliver it to you in the terminal building). If you have an early flight or just want to get off the ship early, self-assist is the only way to do it.
Just as in my last experience at Port Canaveral, I was off the ship quickly and on a shuttle to the airport around 8 am. When I arrived at 9 am, I asked again about earlier flights, but nothing was available. I decided I had no choice but to hope for the best. I checked my bag, went through security, and settled in at the Delta Sky Club, a perk I get from my American Express Platinum card (while its annual fee is rather pricey, this card certainly has some advantages for frequent travelers like myself).
It started innocuously, with a 20-minute delay to my first flight (Orlando to Atlanta). But as time wore on, the situation worsened quickly. First, the flight was delayed for 90 minutes, as was my connecting flight from Atlanta home to Greensboro; then the delay went to over two hours. I had a small bit of hope that I might make it as far as Atlanta when they actually boarded our flight (about an hour after we were originally scheduled to depart), but that hope was short lived.
Through a long sequence of events (that would make this post infinitely long if I detailed them all), my flight from Orlando to Atlanta was cancelled. I jumped on my phone and hustled to find a hotel room in Orlando for the night; fortunately, I was able to get a room at the same DoubleTree we’d stayed at when we came for our Majesty cruise in August. With the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to sleep in the airport, I was able to rest much easier while I waited in line (for quite some time) to find out what flights I’d been reassigned to.
Here’s where the story has a funny ending, albeit a happy one. You see, I live right in between two airports – Raleigh-Durham (RDU) and Greensboro (GSO). It’s about equidistant to drive to both, but for this trip I’d chosen Greensboro. Well, when Delta reassigned my flights, they had me routed from Orlando to RDU to Detroit and then back to GSO! Fortunately, I was able to talk to an agent and they easily changed my schedule to the first flight only (Orlando-RDU), and I talked the hubby into coming to pick me up at RDU since my car was parked at GSO. (This was very nice of him, seeing as how I’d left him at home while I went on this cruise by myself!)
As a bonus, I looked at the boarding pass the agent handed me for my flight the next day – and I had been put into first class! What a treat!
So while I thought that Day 5 would be the last day of my vacation, it turned out that the travel gods had another plan for me. So here I am in a hotel room in Florida, while it snows back home – I’m a little disappointed to miss the snow, and not looking forward to clearing off my car (parked in a surface lot and not a garage, sigh) when I get home. But I do remember that ultimately, I will get home – even if it’s a day later than I’d intended. I just wish I’d remember to pack an extra pair of underwear….