One year honeymoon around the world...17th April 2007 to 9th March 2008! Yes we're home!!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Fun at Miami Airport


We're now in San Jose, Costa Rica, we arrived yesterday afternoon - Tuesday

Our adventure began on Monday - plan was to fly from Quito, Ecuador to Costa Rica but via Miami as our ticket limits carriers (we were flying American Airlines)
we checked in at 7am for both flights - boarding cards and bags.
First flight from Quito to Miami was fine and we had about 5 hours till next flight.

we got in queue for immigration... even though transiting you still have to pass through immigration and collect your bags. So we go up to counter together and the lady starts with Ben and asks him when he was last in the states etc....then she asks me to do the finger scan and photo too but no questions... she stamps my passport and the green form and hands it back... Ben's hadn't been stamped....and she says they need to ask him some extra questions, and whilst I've got my passport back i have to go with him because we're together on the customs form!

So we get taken to another waiting room...and there must be at least 50 people in there! lots of different nationalities but also a lot of british men.
we've since heard loads of propaganda that europe is breeding place for terrorist militants and europe can´t deal with it- one random american guy in queue for starbucks says to us -
bad news in england hey, all those muslims! it's shocking how biased the news is and absolutely ridiculous and news stations like CNN speculate its too easy for europeans to get into USA without visa and should they start interviewing us before we get on planes... like they'd revoke the visa waiver scheme..i don't think so!

anyway back to our story....we get in the waiting room and it's looking bleak as an AA (american airlines) woman takes our baggage numbers and asks if we have a connecting flight, "oh you might be lucky." FAB!
anyways... they must have come to their senses that they had a ridiculous number of people waiting and done a quick review because after approx 30 minutes they called our names, handed back Ben's passport and that was that.

So we go to collect our rucksacks... sitting lonely on the floor by the belt with one or two others...and go re-check them....
by recheck all we do is leave them in a big pile by x-ray machines and have to continue through to departures.

a very nice american lady on the aeroplane sat next to me gave us a Starbucks card as a wedding gift after i said i was looking forward to getting coffee- how nice! so we went and enjoyed a latte. (actually my second on our trip as there was a Starbucks at Santiago airport)

so we hang out in Miami airport (pretty rubbish as far as international airports go and expensive!) for another 3hours till our flight. (it's now 3pm---flight to San Jose at 6.10pm)

Turns out flight is delayed as incoming aircraft delayed out of Orlando so we end up boarding at about 8pm. we get on and take our seats. right near the front so we get to go on first. About 5 mins later another couple show up with same seat numbers... Oh dear! the steward is very confused and takes the boarding cards and goes back to desk. He comes back and says the problem is with our tickets... he can't quite understand cos our ticket is really long with Rio and Hongkong on it... (he's very confused but we know that's us) so we reluctantly get off. we already know the flight is full because they've said so over the tanoy to the standby customers.

They told us someone in Quito had cancelled our tickets after we'd checked in and they had reassigned the seats. they were asking for volunteers to miss the flight so we could have seats and so we said what does the "volunteer package" involve.
500 USD AA voucher each, night in hotel and food vouchers. given we were now going to arrive in San Jose late at night, and didn't have anywhere to stay we pretended to reluctantly take the deal and a flight at 10am the next day. Not like we're in a hurry :-)
1000 USD will easily cover the extra flights we need to buy in the States so we weren't too bothered.

Other joke was they didn't know where our bags were...!!! despite them having scan tags apparently Miami doesn't have that technology (ER HELLO!!) and the AA lady said they weren't on the manifest so given we had seen them at the airport they must be there somewhere and she'd put in a note to ensure they got on our new flight.

Turns out our bags WERE on that flight, as were one of the standby passengers who ended up on the Tuesday flight too... so much for the much-hyped security. plus side was we didn't have to wait long once we got to Costa Rica.

So Tuesday morning... queuing again for security check...and same as Monday (I forgot to mention it already) looks pretty much like Brits are getting "special" explosives checks. (The media also keep bringing up the British shoe bomber from ages ago)
Our boarding passes are covered in SSSS and we get sidelined to a different queue which involves us going into a doorway (bit like the retena scanners) which blows air at us to check for explosives. We go through metal detector too, then they go through our bags and shoes checking for explosives... joke again is whilst I thought I'd emptied my bag of all my gels and liquids (same rules as EU) I've just found today in one of my many bag pockets a bottle of handwash and insect repellent so doesn't look like their checks are that great seeing as i went through the special checks TWICE!

So this time we get to the gate and ask them to check our boarding passes are still valid and ask about our bags. This lady can tell me they're already in CR. we get on plane pretty much on time and we take off - yeah!!!

er no.... turns out air pressure isn't working properly - our ears aren't right either so can tell it's wrong. we circle for 10 mins and land again in Miami! We thought we'd never get away! 2 hours later they find another plane and we actually do leave.

So here we are in San Jose, CR - nothing special but not as dodgy as the guidebook makes out. Tomorrow we're going to head to the Caribbean coast to Cahuita for sunbathing and chillling out.

Will be updating blog with galapagos pics later today hopefully.

thanks for reading my rant :-)

can't wait to enjoy more american airports in the coming weeks!

sam xx

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