Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Miami sucks

It's been a while since my last confession...I mean post.

I went to Miami on business a couple of weeks ago. The business part of it was fine; good actually. I had to speak in front of people some and I did so without fainting. I also drove around Miami by myself and didn't cause any accidents. Miami drivers like to honk their horns a lot though, for no apparent reason.

It was hot there. I'm not talking a little warm, I'm talking walk outside at 10 a.m. and you melt. Miserable. I only saw the ocean when I was driving over the causeways to get to my hotel even though my hotel was on the beach.

I should have known it was going to be a bad experience when I first got to the hotel--one that claims every room has an ocean view. The desk clerk gave me my room key and told me I had a lovely view of the island. (We were staying on Key Biscayne.)
I got on the elevator to go to the 8th floor. It stopped on 4 and the doors didn't open. It hung there for about 10 minutes after I pushed the emergency button. The doors opened and I switched elevators. I got to my room and neither one of the key cards worked. Back down stairs, luggage in tow, for a new key. During the whole trip only one of my keys worked. My lovely view of the island turned out to be the front parking lot of the hotel with some palm trees.

I was to leave Miami at 8 p.m. Friday. I proudly walked into the airport around 6 p.m. after returning the rental car, a nightmare of it's own because of all the airport construction. The car return place had to be about 20 minutes from the airport it seemed.

I found my gate, which was conveniently located right beside the only smoking area in the airport (and it was an outdoor smoking area rather than a closed off room). Around 7:45 p.m. I looked up from my Suduko game and thought, hmm, shouldn't they be boarding my flight now? The gate in front of me, which I thought was mine, was empty. I got up and walked around a bit and realized my gate was downstairs!
I made it there in time to get on the shuttle to take us to the plane.

The shuttle was packed full of people, standing room only. A couple with a young baby was in front of me and did not realize the meaning of personal space. I think the man stepped on my foot about 10 times and rummaged in his bag so much I could have identified everything in it.

The bus driver said we'd have to wait on the bus until the pilot ok'd everything. He didn't. The bus driver took us back to the terminal and said maintenance was working on an intercom system problem. Back at the gate three other American Airline flights had also been delayed.

8:30--flight still delayed.
By this time I'd met a fellow passenger, a woman from Miami who was flying to my city to visit family. She was perfectly nice but petrified of flying; the last time she'd flown was in the 70s on an American Airline that had terrible turbulance.
To calm herself she'd had a few drinks earlier, thinking the buzz would last her through the two hour flight to my city. She was not drunk or beligerent at all, but talkative. I learned a lot about her as we sat and waited for the 1/2 hour updates saying they were still working on the plane.

Finally at 11:30 p.m. the flight was cancelled (the other delayed flights had since taken off). AA arranged for rooms for everyone, my new-found friend cancelled her trip and went home. We were instructed to pick up our luggage at baggage claim and come back in the morning for a 6:20 a.m. US Air flight, which had a three hour layover in another city.

Walking to baggage claim I was immediately struck by the emptiness of the airport (it's a huge international airport--where are all the people?), and all of the vendors that were closed. I fell in with some fellow passengers--a troop of senior girl scouts and their moms who were on their way home from a cruise and a nice lady from Bogata who spoke no English and followed me around like I knew what the hell was going on.

We waited at baggage claim for awhile--nothing was happening. One of the girl scout mom's asked the baggage claim attendant where our luggage was. The woman didn't know. I went up to ask and the woman, who was standing there cutting up handmade signs, said, "Ma'am, if there are other people on your flight you should all come up here at the same time because it's inconvenient for me to tell you all one by one the same thing--your luggage will be at your final destination."
Me: Uh, you REALLY do not want to talk to me about being inconvenienced right now. I just want to know where my luggage is. Where is your supervisor?
Her: She's not here and if she was she'd tell you the same thing--it will be at your final destination and if not you can file a claim at your final destination.

So, around 12:30, with no luggage, we got the shuttle to our hotel. After calling home and having a mini-breakdown over the whole thing I went to sleep for a couple of hours. I caught the 6:20 a.m. flight and the captain was nice enough to tell us our luggage from the cancelled flight made it on board. I breathed a sign of relief.
I sat through the 3 hour layover in a city less than 2 hours from home and was happy to be in the same state.

When I arrived at my final destination my luggage did not. The baggage clerk in my city was so nice--she said the luggage would be on the next flight because the one I was on was over it's weight limit. They delivered it to my house that evening.
I will never ever fly American Airlines or visit Miami again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The last time I was at the Miami airport, a server in a bar called me ma'am. Now I wouldn't mind that if I were a ma'am and I'd have to accept it if I looked like a ma'am, but I would'a thought that my heavy five o'clock shadow would have given me away as a sir. But then I looked around me at all the overly-tanned leathery faces of people in shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops and wash-and-wear haircuts and realized it's pretty dang hard to tell the ma'ams from the sirs down there.