Saturday, February 13, 2010

There's always an airport story!

....and boy is this a good one :)
(a little long, but well worth the read in my opinion!)

So, this is Friday...the Friday before Carnaval. My children have off this next week of school for Carnaval. My niece is getting married in May, and my daughter is the flower girl. My niece was kind enough to have her bridal shower this week when it is easier for my daughter and I to be there to join in the festivities.

We were to leave tonight around 8pm, fly to Sao Paulo and then on to the US, spend a few days at our new house and then traveling on to the bridal shower. We are both so excited for a few reasons:

1. This will be the first time my daughter visits our new house
2. I just can't wait to get back to our house, plus the furniture is being delivered tomorrow!
3. We are both excited to go to Pittsburgh, see the snow, play in it, and most importantly, take part in this fun festivity!

This morning, I went to my favorite flower market to bring home some flowers for my two boys, (my incredible husband and amazing son) at home for Valentine's Day. When I go to the market, it is a bit of a gritty place, so no need to shower and freshen up before. Much easier and better to do that afterwards (thinking: then I will be ready to travel all freshly showered, etc).

Come home around 9:30, my in-laws (who are spending their winter with us as they always do this time of year) went to the beach, the dogs were walked, and I started making the arrangements. They turned out very pretty. I was almost finished with the third one, which my family was going to take to church on Sunday, when I get "the call"....
11 am:
It's from my husband saying that AA called him and said that the 8pm flight to Sao Paulo has been cancelled. If I wanted to get to the airport at 1pm they could get me on another flight to Sao Paulo and then could make my connection (which is at 11:25 in the evening).
He gives me a phone number to call, which I do, and start exploring my options with an agent in Trinidad....
She says that yes, the flight is cancelled, and I am not confirmed on a flight at 1, but they were working on it.

Do you know how far it is to get to the airport....
on a Friday...
on THE Friday before Carnaval?
Plus my daughter is still in school....
at least an hour on a good day...
IT'S ALREADY 11:30 PEOPLE!!

As we continued speaking on my cell phone, I called my husband to figure out what the lady said to him. She stated strongly for me to get there at 1. The Trinidad lady was still working on confirmation with Varig (another Brasilian airline) for the 1pm flight.

I went into a crazy rush mode....
I literally, threw everything that I was going to pack after my shower into the suitcase:
(luckily I had packed most everything the day before):
my cosmetics bag, the bathing suit for my daughter I forgot the other day, a sweater, my computer, the video camera, cables, etc...
I forgot the tooth brushes and comb, but remembered the roll brush to blow dry my hair :)
No big deal...
I throw on clothes, yes, w/o shower, and hope for the best. I figured that I would at least be better off at the airport trying to find another flight, than stuck at home trying. There are many flights to Sao Paulo daily...so surely something would be available before 11:25 at night?!

I run to the car, tell the driver to step on it and call the school...
I tell them, you have 10 minutes to find my daughter and get her to the white gate (it's lunch time where they could be anywhere playing afterwards!) Luckily, she must have been easy to find, and there she was waiting for me. Now, I made the guards a little upset I think. As I ran in, grabbed her hand, said let's go quickly, ran out the door and jumped into the car...
I saw them looking at me evil-y from the rear view mirror. For the record, I called the school back and asked to apologize to the guards.
They take their job seriously, which they should, seeing as the school is next to one of the worst favelas in town!

We were blessed because we actually made it to the airport by 12:15. I ran to Varig/Gol and they can not find any flight for me :( AGH!!
I went to AA and there were only 2 people working, and not looking too concerned. They had on Ocean Air uniforms (another small airline). Luckily someone was standing there that spoke English and must have saw the desperate look in my eyes. She told me to go see these two Ocean Air ladies and they would take care of me!

Boy, they certainly did! Thank you Ocean Air and AA!! I got on a basically chartered flight. There was: my daughter and me, another Mother, Father and 2 kids....
oh and the pilot, co-pilot and 3 crew members.
Yes, 6 passengers, just to help out AA!!
After the short flight we were escorted to the AA service office where they gave us a hotel room and dinner voucher....just for a little inconvenience! I mean, we rushed a lot, I was little nervous with the scenario of not knowing if I was actually going to have to cancel my car reservation and furniture delivery for Saturday...
but it all worked out beautifully!

And here we are now, waiting for the flight to the US!

5 comments:

mythopolis said...

How crazy! My son will be in Pittsburg tomorrow night (Saturday) playing drums for Ben Folds and the city's orchestra at Heinz Hall!

Good luck on your flight. The weather here has air traffic totally confused!

Fabiola said...

I am so glad everything turned out ok. I've traveled Ocean Air a few time to RJ and their crew is always so polite and nice. Have a nice stay back home.

Scriber's Web said...

Oh you jet-setter you! I live vicariously through your fun experiences. Do post photos of your trip. And have fun!

Betty said...

I agree with Sciber´s Web. I live through your traveling experiences! :) I wish I could fly "over" as often as you do. I´m glad everything worked out!
Can´t wait to see some pics of your house with furniture in it.
Have fun!!

Sonja said...

I agree--you certainly have the life! Looking forward to seeing the house etc.