Some days are long, and some days are really loong.
We have said lots of goodbyes, and this morning it was our turn to leave. Our flight was scheduled for 10.15, so we caught the 8am shuttle from the hotel. Max & Kerry came down to say goodbye in their jammies & waved us off. And then there were two.
We found our queue for checking in with a little difficulty, and were lined up by 8.15. The queue was long but really didn’t seem to be moving very fast. By 9am there were still so many people ahead of us I was sure we would not make our flight. I tried not to worry as it seemed everyone was waiting for the same flight. Soon we heard a rumour that the flight was delayed until 2.26pm. I checked the board and it still said 10.15. I was sure someone would have notified us if there was a 4 hour delay, and I was getting worried since we only had a 90 minute turnaround in Miami to catch our next flight to Houston.
At this point we remembered Keith has Priority Access so joined the shorter queue and eventually reached the front. The board had finally updated to reflect the 2.26 departure – still no announcement, but it seemed the rumour was true. When we eventually were served the American Airlines staff were very helpful. They had already rescheduled us onto a later connecting flight, gave us a lunch voucher, and even escorted us to an office and made a call to Jan to let her know we’d be late, since she was picking us up in Houston.
We had 4 hours to fill in at the airport – a sleep in would have been better! It turned out the incoming flight had had mechanical problems and was diverted to Panama, so I was glad we weren’t on that plane! We found a cafe with decent food and free wi-fi, and filled in the time until we had to go through security. On the other side we found some nice shops, and more free wi-fi so the 4 hours went quickly enough. The flight was not full and we had an empty seat next to us, so were able to spread out, which makes a lot of difference.
We arrived in Miami International Airport, which is a seriously big airport. We managed to clear customs and negotiate the various queues with only a moderate amount of confusion (Keith’s Priority Access was a huge help), caught the Sky Train to gate 51, found a cafe to get some dinner (It was around 7pm, and we knew there would not be food on the domestic flight to Houston) and then settled down to wait. The flight before ours at the gate was still being called about 30 minutes before ours was due, so we got that sinking feeling again that we were not going anywhere soon.
Eventually our 9.20 flight took off at around 10.30pm. It was a 3 hour flight, and I pretty much slept the whole way, thankfully. We landed in Houston at 11.45 local time (that was 12.45 Quito time) and went to collect our luggage, optimistic that our long day was coming to an end. But there was no sign of luggage, nothing to indicate it was coming soon, and no-one to ask. After maybe 30 minutes of waiting and wondering the bags appeared on the carousel marked with the details of a flight from Chicago – I guess there was no-one still there at that time of night to update the signs. Jan was waiting for us, and we gladly hopped into her blue Prius for the drive to Tiki Island.
By the time we had a cuppa and a bit of a catch up, settled in our room and collapsed into bed it was 2.45am (or 3.45am Quito time). What a long and exhausting day!