The trip itself was actually fun. I'm not sure exactly how much of the trip 16 remembers, but there's one part of the trip that I will never forget. Like, ever.
The day we were to fly back home to New Jersey was a beautiful Florida morning. Bright and warm and sunny. It would've been a wonderful day to spend in any number of the Disney parks. Or Sea World. Or Universal. Instead, we spent the day in hell.
Our flight was due to depart at 10:00 a.m. So like good little travelers, we arrived at the airport 2 hours early. We had called the airline that morning (here's a hint: our airline rhymed with FEAR-IT) and they confirmed that our flight was, indeed, on time. GREAT NEWS! We'll be home by lunch time! Or so we thought. Upon checking in at 8:00 a.m. the desk agent informed us that the flight was still on time. Yay us! We checked our luggage, went through security with no problems and headed to our gate to wait for our on-time plane! What could possibly go wrong?
At 9:30 a.m., an announcement came over the speakers that all passengers on Fear-It Flight 666 should report to the gate attendant at the desk. We all wandered over and were told that apparently, our plane, (which was due to arrive from Atlantic City after it left Detroit) had not yet taken off from Detroit. Wait, what? Our plane was originating in Detroit, then heading to Atlantic City to pick up Disney World bound Atlantic City folks and was bringing them to Orlando by 9:30 a.m., and then taking us home at 10 a.m. Are you with me so far? Good. Well, the black box on that plane was not functioning properly. So it never took off from Detroit. And they didn't have another plane in the back. Who doesn't have a spare plane on hand for just such emergencies? Seriously.
We asked how long the delay would be and were told "possibly an hour". Maybe it was going to take them an hour to find a spare plane. Or a spare black box. Who knows. The point is, we expected that we were going to be delayed for an hour.
2 hours later, still no plane. At 11:45, they told us that it shouldn't be too much longer. To me, that means that maybe by 12:30, 1:00 at the latest, there would be a plane there to take me, my husband and my 18 month old child, who had not yet had her afternoon nap, back to New Jersey. I could not have been more wrong.
At 1:00 p.m., I was getting more and more aggravated. Remember when I mentioned that it was a beautiful, warm, sunny Florida day? One that could've been spent in an amusement park. Instead, we spent it inside the Orlando International Airport, trying to amuse an 18 month old cranky child. There are only so many games of Patty-Cake, I-Spy and Find Something Yellow that you can play before you're ready to see just how fast TSA agents can respond to terroristic threats.
Every hour that went by, they told us "it shouldn't be too much longer". Fucking liars. They should all be ashamed. Their pants should've all caught on fire.
By 3:00, the 18 month old was so cranky she was physically slapping me from sheer exhaustion. Truly, a slap-happy child, but she refused to try to sleep. At 4:00, they gave us all vouchers for food. We found a pizza place and stuffed our faces with $14 worth of pizza and sodas. At 5:00, I was looking for something flammable to light myself on fire.
At 6:00, new folks started showing up. It turns out there was another flight leaving for Philly at 7:30. Awesome! It totally made sense for them to let US, the 10:00 a.m. flight passengers get on the 7:30 p.m. flight back home, right? WRONG. We watched in horror as those 7:30 p.m. flight passengers were allowed to walk onto that plane while we sat with our noses pressed against the glass. FEAR-IT Airlines policy is: "Why piss off 2 plane-loads of people when you can just doubly piss off one plane-load?" It's a great marketing strategy. I don't understand why more companies don't use it.
Finally after being told all. day. long. that it shouldn't be too much longer before we were allowed to take off, a mere 12 hours later than our original flight was schedule to leave, we were allowed to board a plane at 10:00 p.m. My 18 month old was tired, my 35 year old husband was cranky, and my 32 year old self was ready to stab someone in the eye with a pen. A pencil would do. Or a crayon. I wasn't picky.
On the flight, they handed out pens and paper and allowed us all to write a letter to the management of FEAR-IT airlines, describing our plight. I'm guessing the flight crew used those letters to wipe their dirty asses. We were told that they were going to give us all a $100 credit towards a future FEAR-IT airlines flight. As if I would EVER fly that airline again. If it was the last airline on the planet and I had to get somewhere, I'd put a saddle on my dog and ride him before I'd ever get on a FEAR-IT plane again.
Oh, and one last little nugget. To add insult to an already hellaceous, horrific nightmare of a day, my 18 month old threw up all over herself as soon as she was buckled into her car seat for the 10 minute drive home. Put that in your #tbt pipe and smoke it.