Leaving on a jet plane

Denver, CO
March 8, 2014

Today we leave on vacation! Tom Delaney is going to be at our house at 6:15 a.m.; we’ll leave the house at 6:30. That’s the plan, anyway. Last minute stuff… turn off our home wireless, empty the dishwasher, turn off the water. We travel enough that a lot of this is simply routine, so why do we always feel as though we’re in a mad rush? Tom is right on time – it takes a good friend to drag himself out of bed on a COLD Saturday morning to drive someone to Denver. Thanks, Tom!

Despite the fact that last night Denver was predicted to get 4-6 inches of snow, the roads are clear and we’re at DIA (Denver International Airport) in no time. We leave our coats, hats and gloves in the car, (pretty sure we won’t need them), bid Tom farewell and scurry into the terminal.
We’re flying Southwest and paid them to do our boarding numbers for us, so we are in the “A” group. We get our seats in row 6. We always sit window/aisle in hopes that no one will choose to take the middle, but this flight is completely booked, so we offer up the window seat.

We’re leaving right on time…well, hmmm…our plane appears to have a mechanical issue. A light in the cockpit isn’t working. Unfortunately it is the light that among other things tells the pilot that the landing gear is all the way down. Maintenance comes, 20 minutes later we hear the dreaded “This plane is not making this flight.” We all grab our carry-on – there is a young couple with a little boy and two very tiny twins, so Jeff and I help them with their stuff – and off we troop.

Good grief – you would think we had been cast away on the seas. Some folks are definitely not ‘go-with-the-flow’ sorts. Southwest is going to try to find another plane for us. They make it sound like they just need to go to the “spare airplane” closet and dust one off. We go to another gate. These gate attendants look a little frightened when they see 300 some people descending on them en masse. “Don’t get comfortable – this is not your gate – we’re looking for your plane”. Sounds like they just misplaced it.

Eventually we do get a gate and an airplane; but when we got onto our original flight they took our boarding passes, you know, the ones that tell you the numerical order in which to line up? Please, people, it’s not like this has never happened before. The gate attendants have put all the boarding passes in numerical order, they call the names, you show your id and board. It was actually quite a nice way to do it as there were only a few people at a time in the airplane’s aisle.
Jeff and I had bet that people would try to get “their” seats from the original flight. I did have my heart set on row 6 and there was the little family in our seats. Hahaha!

Off we flew to Orlando. The poor flight crew. They were great and it wasn’t their fault but sometimes people need to vent and they are a ready target. While we were wandering like the Israelites looking for the promised plane, I bought a box of See’s candy for the flight attendants. I think they were pleased to receive the appreciation from someone who expected nothing in return.

We’ve flown into Orlando plenty of times before and knew just where to get the hotel shuttle. We waited and waited and waited for our luggage which finally appeared on the carousel. All the passengers on our flight had the same worried “they did transfer our luggage to the correct plane, right?” look.

Then we waited and waited and waited AND waited for the hotel shuttle. Jeff took to waving down every Holiday Inn van that went by; finally we called the hotel again. “He’s right there.” Really? Turns out that one of the drivers we spoke to right when we got there WAS the right driver! Communication issue. We had watched him pass us at least 3 times in about 90 minutes. Finally, here we are at the Holiday Inn! Free room (using credit card points), free breakfast, we know where the supermarket is so we get our wine and bouquet of flowers for our cruise cabin and have a nice relaxing margarita and Mexican dinner at Pepe & Carlos.

Tomorrow we start our 20 day cruise!

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