Upon arriving at my gate in Seattle’s airport, I found that our departure would be delayed as another jet liner was “incapacitated” and blocking our plane from reaching the gate. It only cost us a half an hour and all else seemed to go smoothly. I was connecting through Cincinnati, Ohio and upon landing there, realized that my next flight was departing in less than 30 minutes. The horror!
To make things even more intriguing, my flight to Newark was in another terminal and I’d have to catch a bus over there. All I could think of was my luggage … not making the connection, ergo not arriving in Portugal with me again. I ran to where the bus was and found a long line of passengers waiting. I figured there was no way in hell that I had a chance to catch my flight, no less my baggage joining me.
How wrong I was. Zipping through the other building with a large carry-on bag in tow, I finally arrived at my gate to find that the flight to Newark was delayed nearly two hours. YIKES! The good news is that more than likely my luggage would now be able to catch up with me and head to NJ and on to Portugal. Fortunately, I had an original layover in Newark of 4 hours, so with any luck, I should still make my original TAP flight to Oporto. This would almost be comical (due to my insane track record of lost luggage on three of my last 5 trips to Portugal) but even with “my plan” to arrive a day early to err on the safe side -- nothing is guaranteed.
A case in point, there was an announcement on an overhead loudspeaker five minutes ago that the flight to Newark was delayed an additional 3 hours. There goes my flight to Portugal, or so I thought. The gate attendant quickly got on the horn and let us know that there was another delayed flight to Newark and that ours was still only delayed by 90 minutes. My relief was short lived.
Ten minutes later, they announced that our delay was now going to be extended by an additional hour and a half. My heart sunk and in the midst of typing this up … saved the .doc and walked over totally dejected and was first in line to speak with the attendant. The bubbly gate attendant tried to sell me on taking a different flight into JFK and then finding my way with my luggage to Newark. Having worked at JFK and knowing the nightmare getting to Newark from there, especially on a Friday during rush hour, I decided my best option was to rely on divine intervention.
I asked what was causing the delay and he said it was due to “air traffic control issues with weather.” He added that there was a light rain with a light cloud cover. I had heard enough. Sickened by the news, I am now back in the waiting area … knowing the odds of me heading to Portugal on tonight’s flight is about 50% at best. I hope you are getting a good laugh out of this. Like I’ve said many times before, “don’t fly with Roy to Portugal!”
I decided to hedge my bet and call Alberto Veloso from the travel agency Departures and Arrivals as he gives clients of FTLOP that book with him a private cell phone number for instances such as this. He took my call and said he’d call me right back. He called TAP at Newark airport and had them “take care of the situation” knowing I’d have to leave the secured area too. Miraculously, as soon as we hit the tarmac, I met with a TAP official five minutes later and he expedited my way through security and made sure I’d make the flight. Alberto, you are the man! Thank you for this. He could not guarantee that my bags would join me for the flight but that is why I had taken well stocked carry on.
Disaster avoided, I am ready for a stiff drink. I left my house at 4:30 a.m. and we are boarding at 8:30 p.m. and without any further debacles, I should arrive in the mother land in about 13 hours (Portugal time).