Published: January 5th 2012August 7th 2009
After spending the previous night at a hotel near the airport we were more then ready to start our adventure....if we would only know that the simplest part will become a story of its own...
Our flight was an early morning connection on American Airline going from Toronto to Miami and then to San Jose, Costa Rica...we were expected to arrive in San Jose at about 11:15 am, but from before even boarding I got the feeling this trip will not go by the book...even with all my planning and careful consideration.
In Toronto we saw the crew and captain board the plane so I knew that we will shortly start boarding....well...no...the captain and crew returned and we were informed that we will board a different plane. No big deal, it was the first flight of the day so the other plane was already at the gate next to us so we were only delayed by 15 minutes....once in the air we had turbulence until we started descending in Miami....the captain was nice enough to give us an aerial tour of the city that was glittering in the sun... we landed early...but at a different gate.
While we only had an hour before our next flight was supposed to take off and Miami has a massive airport...unlike the one in Toronto it is extremely easy to navigate and in less then 10 minutes we were in the opposite end of it without even rushing...but a new surprise was expecting us, they were not ready to board.
After a few announcements of maintenance staff onboard (every 15 minutes) we were finally allowed to board. Once everyone was seated we were informed that we were not ready to take off....it turned out that during the pref-light check an oil leak was discovered and they were awaiting a response from the head office....Being in the industry I knew exactly what that meant..and a bit defeated I turned to my husband and told him..."we are not going anywhere with this plane"....
I have to admit that the staff handled the situation amazingly...the captain made numerous announcements on a calm voice...he had a good sense of humor too....and one of the senior flight attendant was going around making magic tricks for all the kids on the plane...we all know if the kids get board the situation will deteriorate very fast....after the first 2 magic tricks no one cared about the announcements young and old were just awaiting the next magic trick. After a few more announcements and some more magic tricks as I expected we were informed that we will have to deboard and change planes....so we grabbed our stuff and out we went.
Once in the gate area we were informed that the flight crew have exceeded the 8 hours of flight allowed by law...but the flight attendants will not be changed...this got a huge positive response...cheering and applauding...so i was not the only one pleasantly impressed.
When our delay reached the 4 hour mark we received a food voucher of $10/person which may not buy you a dinner but will get you a meal...we used only one of the two and got 2 personal size pizzas and a drink from pizza Hut ...not a bad deal. We did not know how long the delay will be so having the other voucher for later was a good back up.
Shortly after eating our meal they finally made the announcement that we were ready to board. On bard we received free pillow, free headphones, and an open bar....which was definitely abused by some.
Some time later we arrived in San Jose where our transfer has been waiting for us for about 5 hours...we were finally in Costa Rica.
You may ask yourself how mad was I?...well to be honest I was not mad at all...and I can not really understand the few people that we heard complaining about the delay ether. It is one thing to have a delay due to some incompetence or some rowdy passenger, but when the reason is mechanical or weather related you can not blame it on the staff. In our case the staff did everything by the book...made announcements frequently without allowing more then max 15 minutes between them, offered a meal voucher, as additional compensation complementary items were offered on-board...and really would you really wanna fly on a plane that has an oil leak?...I will put up with any delay not to have to be on a plane that has any kind of leak....so even with the disappointment of not arriving on time we took it as a small inconvenience and a good story to tell and not something to ruin our vacation before starting it.