EPILOGUE TO THE CARIBBEAN ADVENTURE

EPILOGUE TO THE CARIBBEAN ADVENTURE

We had another night of rough seas getting to San Maarten. The worst of the seas yet. There were winds the whole week we were on the ship. The food and the service on the Seabourn is like none on any ship we have been on. It is beyond excellent. The places they stopped at Seabourn before arriving at Stan Maarten I would have paid not to visit they were of such little interest. But, we missed the snow, had a good time and enjoyed our Christmas.

Our adventure wasn't over yet, however. We got our luggage and headed to the airport for the Delta flight to Atlanta. We have done a great deal of traveling all over the world, but for some joyful reason we have not had to get on or off an airplane at the Atlanta airport because it is like a colonoscopy – sometimes you must experience it, but you won't like it at all.

We landed on time and then sat on the tarmac for an hour waiting for a ramp to be available. Once we got off we had to clear customs. That meant waiting for our bags to arrive. After we collected our bags we experienced another Homeland Security Alice in Wonderland requirement – a full security clearance. Even though we had been screened before we got on the Delta flight and after landing were in a secure area where you aren't even allowed to open your suit case, they made us take off shoes, coat and go through the entire screening process just as if we were boarding a plane. This madness even though we were not getting on an airplane but leaving to go to town. Worse, and most insane of all, they confiscated the bottles Lita had purchased as gifts as too large. This, even though we were not getting on an airplane and left this area directly into the public area. Explain that logic if you can.  

Next, we loaded our bags on the belt customs requires to run them through a scanner, just as the do at all major airports. We went from there to a train which carried us from one end the airport to the other – a trip of about 20 minutes. When we arrived, the baggage area was full of people – crowds of people everywhere. When we finally located the right place to wait for our bags nothing happened. A plane full of people waited more then 45 minutes for baggage to arrive. There were lots of irate people who had to collect their baggage before they could catch their next flight and who missed their flights because of the delay. On our way out we saw a line about one block long of people waiting to report missing luggage. It was unbelievable.

At the curb waiting for our car to pick us up there was so much bumper to bumper traffic continuously going by it was another half an hour to pickup. From there we drove to the hotel arriving about 11:30 pm from a flight that touched down three and half hours earlier.

We left the hotel at 7:00 am Sunday morning back to the Atlanta airport chamber of horrors. We had to go inside to check in because the curb check in computer didn't list us on a flight. Like Christians facing the lions we followed our bags with Atlanta a porter went into this Roman Colosseum. The place was absolutely packed. It looked like a Super Bowl of people. We got into a long line at the first class area. There were only three agents and it was a long line. Some people kept sneaking around the line.

After getting the ticket problem fixed we headed for security. There was a huge crowd slowly moving along to go through security. After some false starts we found a another first class security line which was much shorter, but then discovered we had to take a train to another terminal. We had arrived at the airport a full two hours ahead for a nonstop from Atlanta to Seattle, but by the time we got to the gate we had only thirty minutes to spare.

I assumed it was because of the Christmas season there was this mess, but I questioned the drivers who drove us, the Delta representatives and the porters, all of whom assured me this had nothing to do with the season. This, they said, was the Atlanta airport situation, as they said "three hundred and sixty five days a year and twenty four hours a day."

We arrived in Seattle a little late and went to the baggage area where the Delta experiences weren't over yet. The baggage didn't arrive for another forty five minutes after the passengers arrived. When it finally started, after about fifteen minutes the baggage stopped coming. We all waited again. After waiting thirty minutes there was an announcement that baggage would be arriving soon, but no reason given for the delay. Finally, the baggage started up again and we got all of our bags except one – mine, but that took over an hour and half. So, we had to wait for the last bag to come off and then go the delta baggage desk and report the bag missing. The clerk assured me the computer showed my bag had been loaded on the plane. I said it either had to still be on the plane or in the airport. She suggested it might have been taken by someone else. I told her that was impossible because I watched every bag come off. No bag, so we got home Sunday about 2:00 pm very tired and very certain we would avoid the Atlanta airport at all costs in the future.

P.S. That evening my bag was delivered at our home without explanation so I'm thankful for small favors.

One thought on “EPILOGUE TO THE CARIBBEAN ADVENTURE

  1. Bonnie! How good to hear from you. Thanks for you note. Lita and I talk
    about the two of you often. I even mentioned you in a recent talk about
    running a law office with great paralegals.

    Yes, damn frustrating. I’ve never seen an airport situation like that
    before. Not in NY or LA Rome or London. Not enough staff to handle the
    crowds of people and a system that wasn’t functioning.

    Lita and I have fond memories of you and our office in MV. Give my best
    to my friend Gil. Stay well. We are still stumbling through life and are
    well.

    Best regards

    Paul

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