Monday, January 21, 2013
35º F to 35º C
December 25, Christmas morning, pouring down rain, we take an Uber out to Sea-Tac airport to catch a flight to São Paulo Brazil. One of the most direct (quickest) ways to get to Brazil is through Dallas or Houston, this time we'd fly through Dallas. We left a little early so we would have plenty of time to get some breakfast while we waited for our 1 pm flight. Check-in at the airport was a breeze and the TSA security screening went smoothly. Heck, it's Christmas - no one travels on Christmas day, do they?
On our way to breakfast we just happen to pass our American Airline's departure gate and I noticed that there was another flight leaving for Dallas in a few minutes. I thought to myself, "hmmm, I wonder if we should have taken an earlier flight?"
We continued walking down the concourse on our way to breakfast and I glanced at one of those Departure/Arrival display boards - Guess what, our flight to Dallas is delayed 30 minutes. OH, oh! That will give us less than an hour between flights in Dallas. Inconvenient, but not impossible.
About 5 minutes later I hear over the PA: "If you're on flight 1962 to Dallas (our flight) and would like to leave earlier, we have 2 seats available on Flight 682". WTF? I've never heard them give an announcement like that before? I took it as an omen that we better try and get on that flight. I glanced at my lovely wife and she gave me the deer-in-the-headlights-look and said one word: "RUN!" So I ran like a madman all the way back to the other side of the terminal, got to the podium huffing and puffing and said to the gal: "I'll take those 2 seats!" I was lucky, there was another couple right behind me at the podium that would have gladly taken those seats as well.
Anyway, we arrive in Dallas somewhat early for our next flight, so we needed to try and get a bite to eat. If you've never been to DFW, it's a pretty frickin big airport. Well, you'll never guess what was broken when we arrived? The Sky Train. That's the monorail system that will take you to the correct terminal, kind of like the one at Sea-Tac, only much, much bigger. Luckily, or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, you can actually walk to your terminal, it's a million miles away, but it can be done.
We grabbed some dinner/lunch and just kind of hung around for a while. I noticed on the departure/arrival board that our plane to Brazil was "on-time". However, as time went on, that would change many, many times....
Skipping way ahead - our 8:30pm departure time is now 11:10pm. You see, this was the first time in 38 years that Dallas has had a "White-Christmas", basically just a dusting of snow, but for these guys it was their worst nightmare. Most of the flight are being rerouted or delayed.
Finally we board our aircraft, only to sit there for hours and hours at the gate. We were waiting for more connecting flights to arrive. In fact, the flight that we were originally supposed to take from Seattle to Dallas was diverted to Oklahoma City, sat there for a few hours, then finally made it to Dallas. There was one person on that Seattle flight that I knew and they were also traveling to Brazil on the same flight as us. She was the very last person to board our plane, then they closed the door and pushed back the aircraft.
Just one more little problem: DFW is not prepared to deice that many aircraft. Yep, we sat there waiting in line for another 3 hours. I kid you not. I've been sitting on this plane for 5 hours and we haven't even got off the ground yet. MOTHER-FOCKER! So my 10 hour flight from Dallas to São Paulo just became a 15 hour flight!
We finally arrive in Brazil late in the afternoon, our driver has been waiting for us since 10:30am - poor guy. We clear immigration and head over to pick up our luggage. Seemed like I stood there forever watching those stupid bags go by, but none of them were ours. Yes, how could the trip get any worse? It just did. We checked 4 BIG bags too. You see when you travel to Brazil they allow you to check 2 bags per person, each can weigh up to 70 lbs. Yes, all our bags were 70 lbs too (wifey-poo never travels light). The worse part was that ALL my cigars were in those bags. OMG!!!
Jeez, standing in line for another hour at the lost baggage counter with 30 other angry people is quite refreshing, especially after such a short flight. Yeah, right...
So, for the next 5 fun-filled days we had no bags. Can you imagine going on a vacation and your first 5 days you have no clothes or toiletries? I must have called American Airlines a billion times. They finally offered, or authorized us to buy what we needed and they would reimburse us later. Didn't really change my mind about American Airlines. You see, the last time I flew on American through Dallas the exact same thing happened, only the last time we were without bags for only 3 days, not 5. It was truly a comedy of errors on American's part. Will I fly American again? What do you think?
Other than that, the rest of my vacation went pretty good, oh, other than my Canon camera breaking. Apparently it doesn't like the high humidity and extreme heat. I'll have to send it in for repairs. Damn...
I've got to tell you though, when my cigars finally arrived, my whole attitude changed for the better... Thank God! It's a bitch trying to find cigars (fine cigars) in Brazil...