Take the Long Way Home

Thursday June 30 and Friday July 1, 2016

Time has come to end our long journey. It has been an awesome trip – three trips in one. First Ireland, then Wales/England on our canal boat with Don and Katie and now ending up with Janel and Isam in Barcelona.  How lucky are we?

Our flight is not too early (11:40am) so we can take it pretty easy this morning.  We drag our bags (well, some of us do) through our street and easily catch a taxi to the Barcelona airport.

Rich has been teasing me all along about taking my large bag (hey – a girl has to have her shoes, right?), but then we see travelers who have totally “bag-trumped” me.

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What?  This little thing?

There are some leftover Euros burning a hole in our pocket so we purchase a couple of containers of olive oil.  They seal them and tell us to keep them sealed in order to pass security and customs. Sure thing.

Our flight to Heathrow is nice, but we were delayed taking off and then delayed again upon landing.  We are not sure we will make our connecting flight. Our sweet flight attendant tries to ply  us with champagne and even provides a couple of bottles “to go” in case we have to stand in line..

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Stocking up just in case

When  we land we have about 30 minutes before our next flight (to Denver) departs.  Hmmm – not much time.  Then, the plane sits at the jetway waiting for someone to attach the stairs.  We wait.  And Wait.  Now we are for sure cooked. We are the first off the plane and begin to literally run through the terminal only to find that we actually have to pass through security again.  The line is too long and our flight will take off without us no doubt. Just to top it all off, the olive oil sets off alarms and I am detained another 20 minutes.  I am NOT dumping the olive oil! (Just to be clear – our flight was already gone so we had nothing to lose by waiting in security for the “suspicious” goods to be tested).

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Should we make a Brexit?

We end up getting re-booked and routed through Las Vegas.  Doesn’t seem too bad – our flight will get in Phoenix only about an hour later than planned.  The flight is almost ready to leave and the desk agent tells us our boarding passes for the Vegas-Phoenix flight can’t be printed at this time.

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Musical moment in Heathrow

There is just enough time for us to hit up the First Lounge and down a glass of champagne. We ask for Vegas-Phoenix boarding passes again at the actual gate and are told we will need to wait until we land in Vegas.  Hmmm. We board our flight and get comfy for the long haul.

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The 10-hour flight to Vegas is not bad – at least for me.  Rich has really started to go downhill with his cold/sinus and is quite miserable.  At least we are in first class.

Arrival in Vegas is on time.  I get a notice on my phone that we can check in online for our next flight, but when I try it I am told it is “not available at this time.” Oh well. We have a 2 hour window in which to clear customs/immigration, retrieve our bags and re-check, go through security (again) and board.  Should be plenty of time, right? We easily clear customs, our bags come right out and we are SECOND in line to re-check bags (remember that we do not have boarding passes for our next flight).

It becomes quickly apparent that the baggage re-check process is completely messed up.  There are 6 counters and only 1 (incompetent) employee working.  The people in line in front of us have lost their bags (they should not even be in this line).  The line is growing in back of us and everyone is getting antsy about missing flights.  We wait.  And wait.

Every so often some passenger comes sneaking up to the front just to “ask a question.”  They are quickly sent back with shouts from the line: “GET in the QUE!”  The mob is becoming angry.

We are waiting for more than 45 minutes!  This is absolutely ridiculous.  When the dude finally finishes messing with the lost bag clients, it is our turn.  We try to explain that our bags are tagged “Phoenix” but we have no boarding passes.  Just put our bags through and we will handle the rest.  Nope.  He sends us to the American desk (we flew in on British, but they codeshare with AA for the Vegas-Phx flight) which is IN ANOTHER TERMINAL!

Great.  We now have to go to the other terminal, try to get a boarding pass AND get through security.  Sure.  At this point we are still holding out a glimmer of hope that maybe our flight has been delayed because it is about 5 minutes from takeoff.  Then we realize that the other terminal is 10 minutes away…

Ok.  Take a deep breath.  We are in this for the night (It is about 9:30pm now). We get to AA, explain the situation and are given a choice of flights to take in the morning.  We choose the 10am flight because it is the one in which we can get 2 first class seats.  We figure we would at least like to end our vacation on a high note.  No problem.  She gives us our boarding passes for the morning flight.

Uh…”How about a hotel and meal voucher for tonight?”  We are told we have to check with British Airways for that – IN THE OTHER TERMINAL. We jump through the hoops, take the shuttle to the Orleans Hotel (with some of the other displaced passengers) and check into our room.

Rich feels really bad right now and Iv olunteer to get him some food for the room.  I do so, tuck him in and go back downstairs to visit the Casino for a few $$$ (I mean, a few hours). We have to get up for the 7:30am shuttle and sleep is fitful. We are beat in the morning, but happy to see the shuttle and get to the airport for our final leg.

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Goodbye Vegas!

Nothing else can possible go wrong now – we are free.  There is no line at check-in and Rich gets a kick out of the clerk putting a “heavy” sticker on my bag.

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Wait a minute – oops.  “Did you miss your flight last night?”  We re-iterate the entire story for the agent.  Then he tells us that our tickets on this flight have been cancelled because we didn’t show for last night’s flight !  What???  “We have our boarding passes and seat assignments RIGHT HERE.”  Nope, too bad.  Oh and by the way “there is only one first class seat remaining on this flight.”  The next flight with availability isn’t until 4:30pm.  I tell him give the seat to Rich.

Fortunately, there is an Amex Centurian Lounge here where we can relax and wait for our flight.

 

The flight is mercifully short and uneventful.  The best part is who is waiting for us in Phoenix:

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Missed You!

The ending was shaky, but overall this was an awesome, awesome trip!  Thank you to our loyal readers for taking this journey with us.

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