Monday, June 22, 2009

You Never Know When You'll End Up In Nashville

We're back. The trip was fun, the boys loved it, we all got a tan, and there's lots of stories and photos to share. But instead of sharing them all in one post, I thought I'd give you the trip a day at a time.

And the trip to start the trip was an adventure in itself, so I thought I'd start there.

We were flying to Orlando through Atlanta, the kids were psyched, they had been awesome on the plane ride (thanks to a DVD player with a killer battery), and we were about 45 minutes from landing when I noticed that we were about 45 minutes from landing for about a half hour. The captain came on the PA to tell us that there were some severe storms in Atlanta, so we were going to have to circle for a while. So we circled. And circled. And circled. I was watching on the moving map through the plane's video system, and after awhile I noticed we were heading away from Atlanta. And then the captain comes on the PA again and says that we were, in fact, heading to Nashville because apparently all that circling takes up a lot of jet fuel, and we were getting low.

So, we land in Nashville, with more than 15 other waylaid planes and sat on the tarmac for over an hour and a half, with the captain getting on the PA periodically to tell us he basically had no idea how long we would be there. So we sat. And we sat. And we sat. And I was very happy that we sprung for the DVD with the 10 hour battery.

Finally we took off again for the Atlanta airport, but arrived after midnight, so we had missed our connection, and the first flight we could get on was at 11 AM the next day. We were a little worried that that would be cutting it too close to make the ship before it sailed (and if anyone knows the story of the last cruise we went on with Steve's family, flight delays caused his brother and sister to miss the boat, literally). So Steve stood in line for over an hour trying to find another way to get to Orlando earlier only to find out that we couldn't get to Orlando any earlier, and we were lucky to have a flight at all. At 2:00 AM, the last thing we were feeling was lucky. As Steve was standing in line, I found a way for Jack to get some sleep at the food court:

This whole scene had a bit of a dejavu feel to it because on a trip home from London Steve and I were stranded in the Atlanta airport after missing our connection, and I have a picture of us eating pizza about two tables over from here at 3 AM. Don't you just love it when live comes full circle?

After all that waiting we learned that one of the many things the airlines have cut to save themselves from financial ruin is the free hotel room when you miss your connection, so at 3:00 AM we found ourselves at an airport hotel being charged for our room, where we were only able to get about five hours of sleep before needing to get up to get back to the airport to catch our flight. Not surprisingly, we all fell right asleep and didn't move a muscle until the wake up call in the morning.

There was a (minor) silver lining to all of this. We were in first class on our flight to Orlando, which was pretty awesome when you've only had a few hours sleep, but since it was only a one hour flight, we really didn't get to enjoy it to the fullest.

We did make it to the cruise, without any extreme measures, so in the end it was all good.

But believe me, if I can help it, I will be making no more connections through the Atlanta airport. Two long nights there are enough for me to finally get the message: the Atlanta Airport is the Bermuda Triangle of airline travel.

More of the fun stuff tomorrow...