Fort Lauderdale, Florida – July 1, 2014
We were back in the air, bound for Ft. Lauderdale by 13:02. The good news in all of this is we were still in first class. Our lunch was wonderful:
Curried beef with roti and dhal
Roll and butter
Bowl of fruit
We landed in Ft. Lauderdale at 16:36.
Leaving immigration and customs, we went to the Caribbean Airlines ticket counter. We asked for a voucher for a hotel room. We added that we were going to go to American Airlines and try to get out that evening to Colorado. The Caribbean Airlines agent suggested we try. If we were not successful, then the wheelchair attendant could return us to the Caribbean counter to get the voucher. We agreed to that proposal.
The wheelchair attendant took us to the American Airlines counter. Once there we found out the only flight available was to Colorado Springs, but it would cost us an additional $1,600. That proved to us that the best option was to return to the Caribbean counter to get a voucher. We waited for nearly 15 minutes for the wheelchair attendant to return. When we did not see him, we thought he might have abandoned us as an earlier attendant had done. We began to walk back when we finally saw him. He helped us back to the Caribbean counter.
We shared with him that the American Airlines agent said the cheapest way to travel to Colorado was through Miami. That meant we needed a different voucher from Caribbean, one that would take us to Miami by taxi, as well as providing a meal and a hotel room. We arrived at the Caribbean counter just as they were closing. One of the agents voided the earlier voucher and reissued one for Miami. We took that voucher and our luggage out to the taxi cue.
Our randomly selected taxi for the 40-minute drive to Miami was an older model Crown Victoria. I was skeptical that our luggage would fit. Leslie and I each had two large suitcases and a carry-on. The driver was able to get everything in the trunk except one of the large cases and one of the carry-ons. He stashed those in the right front seat.
When the driver got back in the taxi, we told him from the rear seat that we had a voucher from Caribbean Airlines to take us to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Miami Airport and Convention Center. He did not seem very happy at that news. I could not tell if his sour attitude was due to the voucher or the fact that he was not exactly sure where the hotel was located. Regardless, an $80 ride later and we were at the hotel. Once our bags were unloaded, the driver took the voucher with the hotel address and left.
A porter came out of the hotel to gather our luggage as we made our way to the check-in counter. I told the receptionist we were there on a voucher from Caribbean Airlines. He took the two remaining coupons from me. He looked them over and remarked there was not a voucher for a hotel room; they were just the meal and transportation vouchers. That is when I discovered the driver had taken the wrong coupon. Of course, the taxi was nowhere in sight. The receptionist told us not to worry. He would call Caribbean and get the matter straightened out. While waiting, I thought about the rather unhappy taxi driver. I was confident he would be even less amused with his evening side trip when he found out he had the wrong voucher. I hope he did receive his fare.
It was approaching 20:00. Leslie stepped aside to call American Airlines while I continued to wait to check-in. Ultimately, the receptionist came back and said everything was OK. Once I had the key, I went up to the room with the luggage, leaving Leslie in the lobby on the phone. She was still on the phone when I returned. It was shortly after 21:00 when she achieved success in our quest to get home. Our new routing was to Colorado Springs via DFW.
We had a glass of wine, a late dinner, and then retired for the remainder of the night.
On the morning of July 2, as on so many of our travel days, we began early; as in 03:00. We boarded our Dallas-bound flight at 06:00 and we were in the air shortly before 07:00. A couple of hours later we were on the ground at the DFW airport. We only had about 45 minutes to make our connection to Colorado Springs. That turned out to be plenty of time for two reasons; first, the next gate was reasonably close to our arrival gate, and second, we had to wait for the delayed flight crew for our next flight. Once the flight crew arrived, we boarded without any further incident.
The aisle of the airplane.A little more than 90 minutes after boarding, we landed at the Colorado Springs Airport. Unfortunately, we sat on the taxiway for nearly 30 minutes, waiting to taxi to our gate. There was construction underway at the airport. Because of that, there was not a taxiway open to the terminal. We had to wait for other planes to land and takeoff. Once the runway was clear, we used the runway to taxi to the arrival gate. Our trip, door-to-door, was nearly 37 hours.
Back in Colorado at last!!!