Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hello Tampa!

Today I am scheduled to fly to Orlando for my and Molly’s 10-night cruise to the Southern Carribbean. This was an unbelievable deal she got on a travel agent rate, and we couldn’t pass it up. Well, we could, but why? Anyhow, the plan was that I would fly down today mid-day with our suitcases and she would fly down on the last flight so she could work as late as possible.

All went according to plan, with the exception of having my house clean. Nevertheless, it was picked up enough to escape from being condemned or on an episode of Hoarders, so I headed for the airport on schedule. I left Molly’s car in the parking lot for Adam to pick up, because he was scheduled to arrive in Nashville an hour or so after my flight.
Anyhow, I got the car parked (even though the sign said that all floors were full) and dragged the suitcases to the terminal and checked them.

Now, in addition to not cleaning the house, I also ran out of time to get presentable for the flight. I had on the same capris that I had had on for 24 hours (including sleeping in them) and the shirt that I had worn yesterday (and pulled off the bathroom floor). I had planned to shower and change clothes and attempt to look human. But I ran out of town and left the house as is. Including having my hair pulled up in a bun somewhere on one of the sides of my head.

Luckily looking like a bag lady didn’t impede my getting through security and soon I was on the plane. Even though I had a “B” boarding pass, I managed to secure a window seat. My aisle seatmate and I hoped for an empty middle seat, but soon we had our third, and our plane took off.

Middle Seat Man apparently is even a lesser fan of flying than I am. When we started looking nervous as we were taking off, I asked if he wanted me to close the window – to which he replied no and closed his eyes.

The pilot mentioned that there was “weather” around Orlando, which I already knew but was hoping would blow on out before we got there. This plane had wifi, so I was able to keep track of the weather (which was only getting worse) and our flight path (which was headed to Tampa). As we neared Tampa, I pointed out to Middle Seat Man that we were flying over the ocean, to which he was not impressed. Eventually I noticed we were turning, and looked at the flight path. We were making a circle, and eventually the pilot came on the loudspeaker and announced that due to weather in Orlando, the airport was closed and we were in a holding pattern and going to circle until further notice. We kept circling and circling until eventually we seemed to straighten out and head east. The pilot said that the airport had opened and we were going to head there, but to expect some bumps. It wasn’t long until he came back on and announced that the airport was closed again, and we were headed to Tampa and land, wait a bit, get some gas, and head back to Orlando when given the go-ahead. So we landed in Tampa, and about six other planes headed to Orlando did the same.


Once we landed, about one-third of the passengers decided they would get other transportation to Orlando. Aisle Seat dude left, and Middle Seat Dude stayed, talking to his whomever was waiting for him in Orlando. The pilot came through passing out M&Ms. Eventually he announced that we would be heading back to Orlando, once air traffic control got all the logistics of all the delayed and diverted planes figured out. Of course, there was still weather, and our pilot reminded us that the flight would be very short, and he was going to try to maneuver through all the weather. And lo and behold he did! 

Although the outside looked ominous, there were very few bumps, and soon we were in Orlando – just three hours late.

As we got off the plane, the airport was filled with people who were on late-arriving flight and/or waiting for delayed flights. It was a madhouse, and I felt sorry for all the gate agents trying to manage the situation.

I headed for baggage claim, grabbed out bags, and headed to the Hyatt to check in (it’s in the airport). Once I was settled in my room, I headed to the food court for food, and which was about to close for the night. I ended up with a hamburger and some cinnamon bites and went back to the room. After a nice shower, I began to feel a bit human again.

Molly’s flight wasn’t to leave Nashville until 9:30pm, so all the weather was cleared out by the time she left, and she arrived on time – after midnight. She did make a stop by Starbucks (it’s open 24 hours at the airport – who knew) and brought us some snacks. Now it’s time for bed – we have a ship to board tomorrow!
Blessings today include: eventual safe landing in Orlando; great pilot who worked hard; Middle Seat Dude; weather moving out before Molly's flight

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