Everything started with no problems (most plans often do). I made it to the Logan Express terminal in Framingham on time, thanks to my brother and his girlfriend Cortnee, and it was smooth sailing on over to Logan. I checked in, passed through security, and grabbed a bite to eat. The guy who rung me up was from Brazil (Vila Velha coincidentally!), so I chatted with him for a while too. Once that was done, I went over to my gate and awaited my flight.
All was honkey-dorey until our flight was about to board. An announcement came over the intercom for all passengers going to San Jose, Costa Rica and Managua, Nicaragua to please come up to the podium. Now, in my experiences flying, whenever you are asked to come up to the podium, it's not going to be good news. This would prove to be no exception.
As a group of about 10 of us congrugated around the desk, we were informed that our flights had been cancelled (for reasons still unknown). They were scrambling to get us on another flight with another airline, and in the mean time, recommended that we continue on with our first leg of the journey over to Ft. Lauderdale. All but one of us did, and in retrospect, I'm thinking maybe the one that stayed had the right idea.
So, before getting on the plane, we were promised tickets to Managua for Sunday via American Airlines, transfer from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami airport, and a hotel. However, once we arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, we just as well could have been speaking Swedish, because no one at Spirit customer service had a clue what we were talking about. Oh yay.
We all decided to stay together as a group (there were now 8 of us - 7 for Managua, and one for San Jose), and it was probably this tactic, as well as dogged persistance, that eventually proved fruitful. After about two hours (and customer service reps who would vanish with our boarding passes for literally 20 minutes), we were put up in the Sheraton, promised ground transport to Miami airport, and booked on the 1:05PM American Airlines flight to Managua.
Around 1:00AM we made it to the hotel (to the Sheraton's credit, they greeted us fully prepared, with room keys ready. We just handed our vouchers and went) and since the bar was closed, decided to just head to our rooms and go to sleep. Though it was tough to decompress after the high drama of the day, I did eventually fall asleep, and was up at 8:00AM to catch the 8:30AM shuttle back to Ft. Lauderdale airport to collect our luggage (we were without) and our shuttle to Miami.
Back at the airport, we managed to collect our bags and, after a brief scare (again, no one seemed to have a clue what was going on over at Spirit), we found the shuttle we were promised and it was off to Miami! Once we were there, we were now American Airline's problem. The line to the ticket counter was the longest I have ever waited in, but it did move steadily, and we were at the counters in a little more than an hour. We were all ticketed, checked in our luggage, and once we ALL cleared security and made it to the gate, decided the 7 of us would grab a celebratory beer (or two). Unfortunately, our friend going to San Jose did not join us - they kept her in Ft. Lauderdale.
After that, things went pretty smoothly. The flight was painless, and we all met with our luggage and people. I was very relieved to see the hotel owner waiting for me, since I had no way to contact him to explain what happened except via e-mail late last night. I'm now sitting here, typing this and could not be happier, though I am extremely tired. The pics on this post are from the hotel, and a video is soon to follow!!