Georgetown, Guyana – July 1, 2014
My birthday began at 01:30 when we woke up to make our last-minute preparations to depart Georgetown on the 05:35 Caribbean Airlines flight. Much to our chagrin, the previous afternoon the motor pool supervisor told us our pick-up was scheduled for 02:30 because the motor pool driver had to pick up another passenger at 02:45 for the same flight. It seems that every time we have shared a ride to the airport, we are always on the verge of being late. Today was absolutely no exception. Our driver arrived at 02:20. We loaded our baggage in the Suburban, locked the door on our home for the final time, and took our seats in the vehicle. By 02:35, we parked in front of the Pegasus Hotel to collect the other person. The additional passenger was due to depart the hotel at 02:45. She did not emerge from the hotel until 03:05. As people that like to be on time, that drove us nuts.
We arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport right at 04:00. We approached the check-in counter and handed our documents to the agent. She immediately told us of the cancellation of our 05:35 flight to Miami, Florida. However, she said the good news is our departure at 05:35 was on time to our new destination of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. As it happened, there was a tropical depression off the coast of Florida, near Miami. I assumed that was the reason for our flight cancellation. We continued with our check-in. We were lucky enough to be able to upgrade to first-class to Ft. Lauderdale.
After checking-in, we went to the diplomatic line at immigration control. Standing there, I suddenly realized I had not paid for the first-class upgrade. I dashed back to pay. At the counter, I paid in U. S. currency, all $20s. The agent refused to take three bills because they were slightly torn or nicked. Luckily, I had some additional bills to replace those rejected.
I made it back to the immigration line just as we were motioned forward to the next window. On the other side, we made it to the lounge, where we finally had our first cup of coffee for the day.
We finally boarded our flight, but the door of the plane did not close until 05:48, 13 minutes late. The aircraft pushed back at 05:52 and we were “wheels-up” by 06:00.
Touching down in Port of Spain at 06:55, we taxied to our gate. While taxiing, we decided we should go to the American Airlines ticket counter. American Airlines had all of our connecting flights to Grand Junction, Colorado. Since we would not make our connecting flight in Miami, we did not want the remainder of our tickets canceled.
Disembarking the plane, we wound our way through immigration and customs. We made it to the American Airlines ticket counter at about 07:30 only to find it was vacant. I inquired at the information booth and found out the American employees would arrive at 09:00, so we waited. Shortly after 09:00, there were still no agents. I went back to the information booth. They told me the new arrival time was 10:00. We stood by, hopeful. Nearing 11:00, with no American employees in sight, we decided to go to the Caribbean Airlines lounge. However, before leaving the ticket counter area, we started hearing rumblings that there was a pilot strike brewing at Caribbean Airlines. It seems numerous pilots had called in “sick,” resulting in multiple flight cancellations.
In the Caribbean Airlines lounge, we finally made contact with an American Airlines employee. That employee assured us our reservations were intact. We found some comfort in that information. As we continued our wait, we saw numerous Caribbean Airlines flights canceled or delayed. Because of that, we began to look into whether or not we should abandon our Caribbean ticket and get a flight out of Port of Spain on American. Every time we were close to opting for American, Caribbean told us they were nearly ready to board our plane. We decided to take our chances and ultimately boarded our Caribbean flight to Ft. Lauderdale at 12:15. By 13:02, we were in the air again.
I did not take any photographs of the flights and the airports. However, shortly before we departed Guyana, we did have several occasions to take some pictures.