Originally this post was supposed to be about my awesome time in The Bahamas, Freeport on Grand Bahama Island to be exact. But sometimes travel sucks and doesn’t go as planned. With that being said, let me give you a rundown of my fun filled Sunday travel fiasco and then tell you what I learned from the experience.
I realized after I typed it out that the below is kind of a mess but the day was a mess so it seems fitting.
- Saturday the 22nd @ 7:00 pm – drove to Milwaukee, WI and stayed at a friends house (this allowed me to skip leaving my house at 2:00 am Sunday morning)
- Sunday the 23rd
- 3:00 am – wake up and get ready to finish my drive to ORD – Chicago
- 5:30 am – drop the car off with the parking garage and get a shuttle to the airport (I used O’Hare Blue Sky Parking and was actually very pleased with the pricing and how efficient they were)
- 5:45 am – arrive at airport and proceed to the the TSA Pre-Check security line and get through security super fast, YES!
- 6:30 am – board the plane (this was the first time I had flown with JetBlue [normally I fly with American] and it was great – I recommend you check them out)
- 7:00 am – we have lift off (bring on the downloaded Netflix movies)
- 11:35 am EST – land at FLL – Fort Lauderdale
- Sunday the 23rd cont. (here is where things start to go downhill)
- So at this point I have about 4 hours to kill during my layover. I decided to eat at the Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Grill and the meal was average at best but the dessert was AMAZING! I got a chocolate brownie with ice cream and not only was the brownie huge but the ice cream was butter pecan – yum. I also ordered a Blue Moon because I had time to kill so why not have a beer as well.
- At about 1:00 pm I decided to find my gate, easier said than done. Luckily I had time to kill because it turns out that, while I was in terminal 1, my next gate was in terminal 3. All three terminals were separate buildings, good grief. I was told that there was transportation back and forth but no one told me how to find it. Instead I was directed to just walk under the “mostly” covered walkway as it was a short walk. Lucky me, it was raining and by raining I mean pouring. Since I had time to dry off if needed, I made the walk – what the heck.
- I found my gate and proceeded to wait for a good seat to open up. Once it did, I started people watching and observing how this airline, Silver Airways – which I will never book with again, boarded and unboarded its passengers. Honestly, it looked like a cluster f***. At one point they were boarding three flights at once and one of them was boarded via the emergency exit – and yes it was still raining.
- At about 3:00 pm I started getting nervous because several flights were getting delayed due to weather. A plane headed for another part of the Bahamas even turned around and came back because they couldn’t land.
- 4:35 pm rolls around and there is no plane (plane should be leaving at this moment but we don’t have a plane yet so no one has even boarded lol)
- 4:45 pm rolls around they delay my flight to 5:05 pm
- 5:10 pm comes and goes and they announce that all flights to the Bahamas are canceled. They then direct all of us upstairs to rebook our flights – all four plane fulls.
- I stood in line for an hour and a half and in the end had to scrap the whole trip. The woman helping me tried to get me on a flight the next morning but was unsuccessful so I asked her to just get me home. Then my flight home ended up being delayed by an hour so by the time I landed at ORD it was after midnight.
- I took a shuttle to pick up my car and then made the three hour drive home. I was in bed by 3:45 am on Monday morning.
*this day was filled with other unpleasant events but I felt no need to ruin everyone’s breakfast*
LONGEST TRAVEL DAY EVER AND I DIDN’T EVEN MAKE IT TO THE BEACH!
What I Learned From This Travel Disaster
- Always get flight insurance: This was the ONE time I didn’t get travel insurance for my flights so no refund for me. Yes, I know, normally it is overkill but it’s that one time you don’t get it that you will wish you had. Bad things happen in the Bahamas too – or at least on the way lol.
- Research alternatives to the airport’s parking ramp: I was very pleased with the alternative I found. O’Hare Blue Sky Parking had a free 24 hour shuttle to and from ORD, indoor and outdoor parking, upgradeable features and you reserve your space ahead of time and pay when you pick it up. You are guaranteed a spot and don’t overpay of your trip gets cut short.
- Spring for Global Entry: If you travel frequently, and especially if you travel internationally, you should look into getting Global Entry. It is a bit of a process but so worth it. TSA Pre-Check is a life saver! I love being able to breeze through the security lines.
- Always make sure you have time to get to your gate: I already knew this one but this trip reminded me that, unless you are familiar with the airport you are in, you need to make sure you have time to find and get to your gate.
- JetBlue has free wifi on their flights: Need I say more?! Free wifi, a good selection of snacks and beverages – I love pineapple juice!!! – and the flight attendants were all lovely.
- Cheap does not always pay off: I love finding a good deal on flights but sometimes the stress you get from flying with a budget airline is just not worth the savings. Silver Airways had helpful staff but overall the airline did not seem very organized and was all over the place.
- If you want help, be nice: This one is a reminder for travelers. Whether you are looking for your gate, trying to get a table at a busy restaurant during your layover, or trying to rebook a flight, BE NICE! This does not mean be a doormat but there is no reason for you to be rude. I watched several airport employees get yelled at and disrespected. I get that traveling is stressful, especially when things go wrong, but it does not give anyone the right to be rude or demeaning to somebody else. The employees I observed were not being rude, they were just doing their jobs and were trying to help where they could. The women who tried to help me rebook my Bahamas flight was trying to get me on a flight that she did not offer to anyone else. That was because I was calm, considerate and understood that sh** happens but that doesn’t make it her fault. Because of that, she went above and beyond to try and help me and I appreciate that. I wish I hadn’t been so exhausted because I would have gotten her name and contacted her supervisor to thank her or something.
- Remember that plans change: Was I bummed that I didn’t make it to the Bahamas? Yeah. But stuff happens and plans change. The important things in my life were waiting for me at home, like my fiancé. Even though my trip was canceled, I went home to someone who loves and supports me and that is just fine by me. The Bahamas will still be there for a future vacation. 😉