I woke up Sunday morning at 6am but stayed in bed trying to sleep a bit longer with no luck. I got up, got ready to go and finished packing up all our stuff. I turned on my phone to find only one message on my voicemail. It was from Little Monkey’s Doctor, reminding us we had an appointment with them on Tuesday. Right at 7am (10am EST), Little Monkey called me! That made me miss him even more. He sounded so cute and told me that he was hanging out with Pops at the beach.
We got some breakfast and sat outside waiting for our colored luggage tag to be called so that we could to to immigration and then get off the boat. Big Monkey called United to see if it would be possible for us to get on the 2pm flight out of LA but they claimed it was totally booked. There was another flight leaving at 4:59pm but it was a connecting flight and only got to Orlando 45 minutes earlier than our flight that was leaving at 10pm. Big Monkey asked if we could upgrade to First class or Economy Plus but they said we would have to pay for it and we could not use our miles so we decided to leave things be. Looked like we’d be flying the redeye flight back home as originally planned.
We made it through the Immigration Check point easily and then we waited a few minutes but decided it was okay to go ahead and get in the line to get off the ship. We were in line with Alex and her mom from our dinner table. We found our luggage right away in the warehouse and headed out to find a taxi. There was a taxi that could take up to seven people to the airport for $53+tip but they would not allow us to split the fee with anyone else. So we took a van company that charged $17 per person. There were four other sets of people in the van that also had to be dropped off at different places. First we went to some neighborhood to drop off a lady. Then a couple got out at the Hilton near the airport. Finally we got to the airport and dropped two people off at Delta and the rest of us off at United.
We headed in the airport with our bags to check in. We had to wait in a LONG line even to do self check in. We got through the process and wanted to see about flying standby on the earlier flights but the computer told us there were no flights available. The computer also wouldn’t let us check our bags in because we were too early. Our flight wasn’t until 10pm and apparently you cannot check your bags more than four hours before your flight. We had no idea that this could be an issue. We then got sent over to another line where we could actually talk to a person.
We waited in that line for almost an hour. When we finally got up to the counter, we were told again of the four hour rule (which is not posted in the terminal and was not listed on our reservation). We explained our issue about how we couldn’t go eat because we could not get through security with all of our bags. They told us there was a place in Terminal 4 where you could eat without going through sercurity. (The problem is that Terminal 4 was three Terminals away and we had four bags of luggage to take with us.) We asked if we could fly standby on the 2pm flight (which would allow us to check our bags and our bags would get on that flight and to Orlando whether we did or not). The clerk gave us a hard time saying that if we got to Denver (the 2pm connecting to Orlando flight), we’d be on our own trying to get from Denver to Orlando and she would make that in the computer on our tickets so that no one would offer us extra help of any kind. We really didn’t care about the standby flight at this point; we just wanted our luggage checked and on a plane to Orlando. Finally after talking to another clerk, they decided as a one time courtesy to us that they would go ahead and check our bags onto our flight at 10pm. We just had to hope that our luggage really did make the flight and they didn’t “accidentally” loose them.
As they were checking out luggage, they asked if we were checking any alcohol/liquor. We were, so we told them yes and they asked to see it. Apparently alcohol must be packaged in styrofoam a specific way, not just in the box, so out came two bottles of Crown that we had bought duty free on the ship. The clerk told us there is only one place in town that would package it for us and/or ship it home for us but they are closed on Sundays. Of course they are. (You know if we had been able to get through self check in, this wouldn’t have been an issue I’m sure.) So the options were: 1. Give it away to someone. 2. Throw it out 3. Drink it or 4. They would confiscate it. Well great…there is no way we are drinking two liters of Crown before getting on a plane, so Big Monkey ended up pouring it down the drain. He figured that if he couldn’t drink it, no one else should be allowed. So we poured $36 of Crown down the sink. (I wrote Royal Carribean about this later on but not much became of it. They only called to apologize and said they would pass that information on to the appropriate people. You would think they would know how things need to be packaged to fly home with it. Even Joe told me on his Royal Carribean cruise, they packaged everything for a flight even though he wasn’t flying. They did not do this for us and we had no idea it would even be an issue.)
After all this craziness, we were able to go through security. This was not a well set up operation at all. You go up the escalator and find security immediately on your left but then you are told that you must go to the right, where the line begins…way down the hall on the bridge that crosses the stree back over to the parking garage. We waited for a long time but once we got through security, we breezed right through. We got over towards our gate and stopped for lunch at Wolfgang Express. We both had pizza. Then we headed over to our gate to wait. It was now about 2pm. Only eight more hours till our flight!
I read my book, looked through the newspaper ads that were laying around and we did some walking around the terminal. We had dinner at a little sports cafe and sat and waited some more. At some point, we checked the boards to see if our flight was showing up yet. It finally did and the departure gate had changed. So we headed over that way but it was very crowded with no where to sit. We went back to where we started out and sat around some more. We decided to get Cinnabon before getting on the plane so that we could have a snack and breakfast in the morning. We bought them and headed back over to the gate we had last seen the flight would be at. We got there (it was quite a walk back and forth between these places) and found out that our departing gate was now back over near where we had been sitting all along.
We got back to our gate and had our Cinnabons. About ten minutes before boarding, about fourteen young (middle/elementary aged) Chinese students came running into the area, with no adults. A little odd, but later they were joined by many more young students and a few adults. Since it was a redeye flight (for us) we hoped they would be quiet on the plane. One ended up sitting next to us and he fell asleep before take off! Nice! He did wake up later but most of them were all very quiet the entire flight either sleeping or playing video games. Big Monkey and I were able to sleep a little bit on the plane.
We got back to Orlando around 6am. Our luggage made it to Orlando in one piece! We got our stuff and headed out to the parking garage. We found the car quickly (thanks to GrandMom and Uncle K for dropping it off) and headed back home. We came home and napped for awhile. Then took the rest of the day to mostly relax and start our laundry.
It was a good trip, even if we did have the issues with the LA Airport. 🙂 Sorry it was so long but that’s how it is!