Going Home. Well, Sort of but Not Really

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July 20th 2016
Published: September 6th 2017
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Geo: 42.3585, -71.0596

Its been six weeks since we left for Copenhagen and now we're back in the USA! Boston to be exact. I ordered a wake up call for 6:30am last night. Add in the extra hour of sleep by setting our clocks back an hour and that made for a restful night. It does for me but Karen is up well before 6am putting together the toiletries, medicine and the last of things that need to be packed. She's anxious to get home. Our four checked luggage bags were set outside our door last night and they're already waiting for us down in the cruise terminal. All we need to carry off the ship is our personal items, basically our carry on luggage. I delay the inevitable and lie in bed while Karen finishes packing. Right at 6:30 the phone rings, signaling the alarm and ending my peace and quiet.

With clothes laid out already, I'm dressed in no time. Phones and iPad charged. Off to our last breakfast we go. I know it's boring but it's cereal again for me with the usual five prunes, juice and coffee. I don't like to miss the prunes since things have been working right on schedule so I prefer not to mess anything up now. After our breakfast, I try to print our boarding pass once more with no luck. Checking the room for anything we may have left, we leave for the last time and hang out on deck 4, waiting for our call, pink 2. We scheduled to be the last group off the ship and for good reason. Our flight is not leaving Logan Airport until 3:05pm so there's no rush in getting there.

At 9:30, we're called to exit. They scan our room keys for the last time. We give our customs form to the office and exit the gangway. Now we get in the taxi line. Remember the taxi line in Copenhagen? This one's not quite as bad bit still requires a half hour wait. We get our taxi to the airport - $20 plus $5 tip. Exactly what HAL predicted. The skycap curbside prints our boarding passes with no problems but can't take our luggage yet. We have to wait 45 minutes until 11:05am, four hours before our takeoff before they'll accept it.

We hang out for a while in the airport coffee shop, getting a couple of coffees and waiting for 11am. Finally we head to the counter to check our bags. First bag up is 57lbs, 7 pounds over. Second bag is a duffel style, only 30lbs and well under. Since no one else is checking in bags, the Southwest lady lets us leave the two bags on the scales and transfer at least seven pounds right there. This takes some effort but we make it. I can't believe that they counted right down to the last pound. Those two bags are good. Third bag is a carry on size and passes right through. Fourth bag 60lbs! Now we have to transfer 10 pounds out of that one into the duffel bag ending up with all three large bags right at 50lbs each. One was 1/4 lb over but she let it go. I guess our hand held scale no longer works or Karen cheated and got caught. Good thing we're 4 hours early with no big line behind us. Now to security.

I roll through pretty quickly although it's a thorough check. Mom gets hung up, first with a body pat down then they don't like her Halifax maple syrup products. They were in her checked luggage but somehow came out during the luggage fiasco. The security agent tells Karen that she can put it into her checked luggage. Ya, right. It's already gone. She loses her maple syrup and maple butter. I guess they'll be having maple syrup pancakes for lunch. We get to our assigned gate, #19 and sit. Mom sees her friends Sue and Sue from the ship and visits with them for awhile while I type this blog. Their flight to Baltimore leaves and we get some fish and chips at a restaurant nearby. Returning to our seats, we wait but no one is calling anyone to line up. Finally, they announce that the computers are out system wide and no planes are taking off anywhere.

It's boarding time, 2:35, and not a word. At 3:05pm, our flight time, they announce that the problem is ongoing and please have patience. When asked about connecting flights of which we have one, they say, "No problem. All planes are delayed so your connecting flight will be there for you." We wait for 2 1/2 hours before boarding and another half hour in the plane before finally leaving Boston at 6:15pm, over three hours late.

The flight is a nonevent and all goes well until we enter the gate in Kansas City and our connecting flight is not on the departure board. The SWA lady says that our flight has already left and we need to get in line to rebook. The line is long and getting longer. It doesn't move much. Mom sits with our stuff and keeps asking me about our luggage. We have no idea where our luggage is and neither do they. People are getting pissed and the system keeps crashing. Finally, one of the Southwest attendants says, "The system is down. There's nothing we can do. All you people need to go home."

Oh boy. That did it! The people went crazy yelling, "What about a hotel? Where are we supposed to go? It's your fault, not ours." Now the cops are called. When I get to the counter I'm told that I can get a flight to LAX on standby. I ask, "What if our checked bags are on the flight and we don't make it, what happens?" She says, "Well, your bags will go to Los Angeles and you will still be here". Forget it. I need to find our bags.

I search at the baggage carousel. Bags are stacked everywhere. I don't see ours and ask. The baggage attendant says she has a cart bound for Oakland outside and will check. A few minutes later our bags come up on the elevator. That's good. At least we haven't lost them, a fate imposed on many others here tonight. I take a quick walk down to the Alaska Air ticket counter. It's closed and fully booked for tomorrow. Besides, our flight with them if we can get it will cost us $1300. Southwest is already paid for so Southwest it is. I leave the luggage to get Karen, we return to retrieve our luggage since it takes two people to move it around and head to see the SWA ticket agent at the front check-in counter. He has one flight available tomorrow night at 8:15pm to Oakland via Phoenix. "We'll take it!" At least now we have a flight.

It's after 11pm and all the hotels in the area are full by now. If we take a taxi, we'll need to travel a good hour to find a room. Milton, our ticket agent from SWA, suggests we go upstairs to the restaurant. "It's not open now, it's dark and you can lay down up there, maybe get some sleep and no one will bother you or your stuff," he says. We take him up on it and go upstairs. There's other travelers in the same situation up here too but we find a spot. Mom pulls some big puffy chairs together to make our beds, we find an outlet and put our phones on charge and settle in. No mints on the bed tonight. I just hope no one snores. I wonder what time this place opens?

We will soon find out. Very soon.


20th June 2016


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