Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Brian from ICE limos picked us up - we love Brian and Ice the owner and recommend them highly!  They feel like family and I actually stopped myself from giving Brian a goodbye hug when he dropped us off at the airport...and so began the wackiest 24 hours...
Checking in went fine, the Premium Lounge was very nice and the plane was scheduled to leave on time - 6:10PM.  And then we got to the gate, in time for boarding BUT lightning struck and all airport staff scampered off the tarmac - none of the luggage could be unloaded from the plane we were about to board and so we waited and watched nervously for the blinking lights (lightning alerts)  to go off. We had 4 hours to  wait in LA before our connecting flight with Air Pacific so we weren`t worried...yet.

And then some flights were cancelled-but not ours!  We pulled up the LAX airport plan on Dan's laptop to be sure we understood where we would have to run to catch the Air Pacific flight at the Tom Bradley Terminal - not too far from the Air Canada gate...just another terminal.

7:50PM We board the plane and wait for passengers who have been enjoying the bar (My inner voice wants to scream)   and some who are late arriving in Toronto because of this weather.

8:10PM The pilot announces that we need to remove luggage from the plane for those passengers who have not made it.

8:45PM We are waiting in line for a position to take off...a long line... because of the back up!

I have read a few chapters of my book and we are still on the ground.
Are we ever going to leave???????

9:00PM Yayyyy we are in the air...but the scheduled arrival time on the live seat map reads 10:30PM, the time they close the Air Pacific flight in LA (1 hour prior to the flight taking off). I am not sure how many times I checked the live map hoping the arrival time was going to change...hoping that they would keep the desk open as other people were trying to get on that flight.

We were set to run as soon as it landed and were very close to the front of the aircraft allowing a quick exit. I called Air Pacific immediately to advise them we had landed and we were on our way.  Our baggage had been checked through to Nadi so we didn't have to worry about it.

Dan was faster than me, so I ran barefoot behind him.  We got to the Air Pacific counter in record time,but it was  10:50 when we got there - and the flight was closed...the flight was not leaving for 40 minutes. We were upset, along with others, but the response from the agent was `too bad`. I waited for the Manager to return from the gate after the flight departed.  She told me that those were the rules and the next flight was Saturday, in 2 days..and it was oversold.  She put us on a waitlist.

Where is the luggage?
Because it was checked all the way through, we figured it would be with Air Pacific, but they told us to check with AC, so Dan went back to the other terminal to talk with Air Canada.  

12:00 I went to meet Dan at the Air Canada terminal, hoping to find him with our luggage and a hotel for the night, but no luggage and Air Canada said they were not responsible for helping us get a hotel or assisting us wth re-routing because of the way our tickets   were issued.  We would have to ask Air Pacific about our bags.
In fact, they did say that a Microsoft convention was in town and every hotel was sold out...Feeling bad for us, they gave us each a toothbrush and deodorant and wished us luck.

12:30AM We return to the Tom Bradley terminal and the Air Pacific staff has now gone home and won't be back until Saturday since they don't have flights the next day.  We are told they are the only ones who can give us our bag.  I have not cried...but I really want to at this point...We are about the only ones left in the terminal...

1:00 AM  We call our insurance companies.  Dan has a policy with Manulife (Deluxe Annual) and I have one with RBC (Deluxe Annual)
We are told that we would have coverage for our missed connection and the hotel would be covered up to a maximum  limit.  We could also book a flight with another routing in order to  get us to our destination, as we were on a waitlist presently with no guarantees that we would get on that flight.

1:10 AM We call EVERY hotel near the airport and they are ALL sold out!  The security guard now feels bad for us and recommends some hotels which may have rooms left. He is suggesting other cities.  We finally find a room at the Mariott.  They won't take a cc over the phone to hold it.  We run for the shuttle and get the room! Yayyyyyyy!

Breakfast at the hotel was entertaining.  A pole dancing convention was taking place and  many of the girls were talking  about the new techniques they learned. Dan wanted to ask them if they were all Polish...I had to explain.....

We called Carl to ask his advice and he strongly suggested we look at alternative flights since we were only on a waitlist. He looked up some options and found us a flight at a reasonable cost with a forced overnight in Honolulu. He booked it for us so now, we could feel assured we would get to Fiji.

Once the flights and hotel in Honolulu were out of the way, we headed back to the airport on the very convenient hotel shuttle to see if we could retrieve our luggage.  Luckily we convinced the baggage handlers who work with Air Pacific to take a look in their storage area and lo and behold it was there.

By now it was early afternoon and we took the Big Blue Bus to the Santa Monica Pier. 

We had a great afternoon- cocktails on the pier at Bubba Gumps, dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant.

We even watched a skateboarding dog!

This was one of the most stressful travel days that both Dan and I have ever experienced.  Yes, we weren't happy that we didn't get on the flight, but immediately realized that this was our vacation and this set back was definitely not going to ruin it.  We looked harder for the solutions rather than at the problems.  Thanks to Carl for assisting us from LA to Fiji and the Pacific Destinationz group for modifying our itinerary. We are on our way tomorrow.

During this afternoon, we realized how fortunate we are.  This was more than just about a destination-  it was about being together and sharing special moments.  At the end of the day we laughed together and that was what was important.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Great blog post Penny! You are my blogging inspiration!


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