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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Miami to Seattle (The Trip from Hell)

Step by step recap of what transpired:

  • It took me 1 ½ hours from the time I got off the plane to the time I got through all the customs/immigration process!!
  • Miami is the WORST airport when it comes to the logistics you have to jockey through to get thru customs.
  • After walking through lonnnnnng, lonnnnng, endless corridors I finally arrived at baggage claim and customs.
  • I waited and waited for my bag to come through even though I was flying 1st Class which, supposedly, has your bags loaded in priority order so they are first off the plane.  My bag was near-last.
  • I also had a large pet carrier to pick up and waited until all the bags were finished being delivered…but no carrier.  I finally asked someone if there was a special place a carrier would be directed to, and he pointed across the room where, lo-n-behold it was sitting.  How was I supposed to know that???
  • Then I joined a huge crowd of well over 100 people that had to merge into only 4 available lines for  customs…where they checked my passport and took my form.   Then, no more than 50 feet away, there was a man standing in the pathway collecting the same form.  I said I already gave mine to the agent in the booth!
  • From that point, we were supposed to follow colored dots on the floor.  But, there were NO instructions as to WHICH colored dots we were supposed to follow!  I followed the yellow dots.
  • At the end of the yellow dots, I re-checked my bags, but the lady said they couldn’t take the kennel, even though I told her nothing was in it.  She said I had to take the kennel to the 2nd floor, but no other instructions beyond that.
  • I went to the 2nd floor only to find a sea of AA ticket counters with no one in them and ‘Port Au Prince’ on the overheads.  Nothing indicated where I was supposed to hand over the kennel.
  • I finally decided to follow the Domestic terminal signs, which led me outside and another lonnnnng walk to another terminal.  There I found a sign to the effect of ‘baggage drop desk’ and followed it.  No ‘desk’ anywhere, but a man standing next to a conveyor belt.  I asked him if this was the right place for the kennel, and he responded he spoke no English.  In MIAMI, at an INTERNATIONAL airport, performing a PUBLIC function????  So, off went my kennel to who knows where, wondering if it would ever end up with my bags.
  • I looked at the overheads to see what gate my flight was to depart at.  My flight wasn’t listed.  I asked an American Airlines rep who was standing at the entrance to the ticket counter lines, fielding questions, and she snapped at me that my flight was at gate XXX, but I said that flight shows 2:40 boarding time, not 3:40 boarding time that my ticket says.  She said ‘well, that’s because of the time change…one hour back’.   Knowing that my ticket always reflects the real time as of the day of flight and also knowing that it is ‘Spring FORWARD’, not ‘Spring BACKWARD’, I repeated my ticket says .  She looked at her list and said, ‘oh, that’s gate XXX leaving at ’ in a very rude, condescending tone.
  • Ok, so now I have to go back THRU security since I was forced to leave the secure area earlier.  I approached security where another rep was standing checking tickets and ID.  I had to fumble a bit in my bag to find my passport and she snapped at me ‘Sir, you need to get yourself organized because I have a long line waiting behind you!!!’.  I was so pissed off at that point (due to the previous events) that I snapped right back at her that there wasn’t anyone behind me when I first approached her…that a large group just showed up 2 seconds beforehand.  She saw my First Class classification and points me to a special line.
  • At the end of that line was a security agent checking tickets and ID’s, and he too was being very short and snippy with people.  I passed thru to the next stop to have my carry-on bag checked and go thru the sensors.
  • When I went thru the metal detector sensors, the alarm went off.  I had already removed everything from my pockets.  TSA agents started rattling off various things…did I take out my phone?  Did I take out my keys?  Did I, Did I, Did I.  YES, YES, and YES!!!  My wallet was in my pocket but I told them there was NOTHING in there that is metal!!!   In any case, I tossed it in the tub and ripped one ring off my finger and thru it in the tub as well (the other would not come off) and then I passed the metal detector test.   GOOD GAWD!!!
  • After all this S$^%*! I walked up to the flight monitors to look up my flight (to Chicago, then on to Seattle) and what do I find?  CANCELLED!!!
  • I found an AA rep and asked them ‘what do I do’?  She said to go to the Rebooking Center next to gate XXX, which I did, but no one was there.  I found another gate that was staffed and asked them.  They told me to go back to the Rebooking Center and use the phones on the wall.
  • Using the wall phones, I called and got a rebooking agent.  She put me on hold.  The call got disconnected.
  • I called back (at this point, my patience was non-existent and I was furious, to say the least).  Others started to show up and place calls as well.  While I was on the phone with the second agent, Frank, I heard a guy next to me say ‘I got disconnected!’.   I said, ‘that happened to me, too!’.  Frank proceeds to tell me ‘let’s focus on getting you rebooked and not on other people around you’.  What the hell?  I can talk to someone else if I want to!!!!  
  • He rebooked me on a flight to Dallas, then to Seattle which was a couple hours away from departing.  He said my baggage would be redirected, too.
  • When I arrived in Seattle, after waiting for the entire baggage arrival to be processed, my bags and the kennel never showed up. 
  • I filed a claim with the AA agent in charge of missing bags.  This was approximately .  He said the bags would come in around and they would deliver them to me at the place I was staying in Seattle, in the morning, somewhere between and .
  • The next day, comes and goes, but no bags delivered.  I called AA and they called the contracting company who informed them they were running behind but my bags should be delivered in the next 2 hours.  That comes and goes, too.  I call back and again AA contacts the company.  They said they would call me directly.  They never did.  My bags didn’t show up until !!!  I stayed at home all day waiting for them.

This is why people HATE to fly these days and why some go off the deep end!!!

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About Me

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Cuenca, Azuay, Ecuador
This is all about my transition from an American lifestyle and culture to my newest adventure, life in Cuenca and greater Ecuador. I'll be recapping some of my day-to-day experiences (and mishaps) to highlight what it's like to live here.

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