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Old February 24th, 2007, 08:54 PM
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Default Have Airline Problems Caused Cruise Problems for You?

The Department of Transportation has reported that the on-time rate for airlines dropped to 75.4% in 2006. This was 2 percentage points lower than 2005. Mishandled baggage events rose to 6.73 per 1,000 passengers for the year. So that got me to thinking. (A dangerous thing, some would say!)

Have airline issues/problems caused you problems when getting to port for a cruise? Has a delayed/cancelled flight ever caused you to miss your ship? Have you not gotten your luggage for several days into your cruise?

I guess we are very fortunate. We have never had an issue with getting our bags or getting to port. Of course, we almost always fly in at least one day early so we won't get caught short if something happens to a flight or connection enroute.

Do you have any white-knuckle moments or horror stories to share?
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Old February 24th, 2007, 08:57 PM
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I have always had good luck too but as I get older I have learned to just go the day before and not worry. There have been so many horror stories told about missing the ship or almost missing the ship I think why get upset. And being from Chicago we have a lot of bad weather.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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We have always flown down to the port city the day before. Also, we have never lost any luggage. I guess were pretty lucky then. But tomorrow, were flying out to Fort Lauderdale to catch a cruise and our flights might be delayed due to bad weather affecting the DCA airport. Hopefully not!
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Old February 25th, 2007, 02:14 AM
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Stuff happens, that's why if you can you fly in at least a day early which will give the airlines several opportunites to recover but also gives you the chance to call home and have your neighbor federal express you a back up bag
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Old February 25th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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I've told this story before ... on that "other" board ... but I'll repeat it here for those who haven't heard it.

My very first cruise ... a writer's conference taking place aboard the Rotterdam. I work in a data center and have to work in vacation time around others. Taking the night off before the cruise was impossible. Someone else was off.

I fly down to Fort Lauderdale the morning of the cruise. I'm not worried. I'm on an 8:00 or so flight out of Philly. So, I know I have more than enough time.

Our troubles started before we even lifted off. The pilot has us sitting on the tarmac for close to 45 minutes. Finally he comes on the intercom to say that a "light that shouldn't be lit is" ... so he says he's basically gonna reboot the computer that controls it ... because he thinks the problem is with the light and not with the aircraft. So he hits control, alternate, delete and all is finally well. We take off.

Not 30 minutes later, the good captain is back on the intercom. Ahhhhh, darned ... that light was right after all. We just lost an engine. We're diverting to the Baltimore Airport where a maintenance crew will meet us to repair the jet. I happen to be sitting next to an airline employee way back in coach. I ask her "does this normally take very long?" She tells me that it could. The maintenance staff will have to be brought over from Dulles, so it could be a while before they even get there.

About three hours later ... I'm on my cell phone to the travel agency for the writer's cruise. What do I do? HAL told me it's not their air arrangements and therefore not their problem. The ship sails at 5:00 and if I'm not on it, so be it.

Bottom line ... we take off again from Baltimore en route to Fort Lauderdale. Only problem is that it is now after 3:00. There will be no way we'll make Fort Lauderdale in time for a 5:00 p.m. sailing. I'm getting more worried by the minute. There are also five other passengers on this flight headed for the same ship. They are pretty worried too.

The pilot gets on the intercom to allay our fears. He tells us that he has been in radio contact with Holland America and they know about our plight. They will have someone waiting at the gate. Immediately, I sense relief. I figured that this person would be charged with loading us and our luggage into a van and rushing us to the pier. We would settle up for the transfer once onboard. I think we all relaxed at this point.

We get to Fort Lauderdale at about 5:15. No one is at the gate. We're told to proceed down to the baggage claim area and someone from HAL will meet us there. Well, yes ... HAL didn't lie. There was someone there ... and it was his job to tell us that we all missed the ship. It had sailed on schedule. We were all livid ... especially since HAL knew of our problem.

The ship's first stop was three days later ... Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. Basically, we had to meet the ship there. We would miss a full three days of our cruise in the process, not to mention the added expense of flying to San Jose, Costa Rica, lodging, transfer to the port (four hours), etc.

Thank God I had a good travel agent on that trip. He made it all easy by doing everything for me. To make matters even more difficult, he couldn't get me a room in Fort Lauderdale. A big convention was in town and all hotel rooms were booked solid. So, since the flights to San Jose went out of Atlanta anyway, we decided I should spend the night there and then fly to Costa Rica in the morning. He then had me put the Holland America guy on the phone and he told him what airline counter he wanted me escorted to. I had a flight to Atlanta in less than 30 minutes.

Believe me, it's no fun to miss the ship ... and thank God nothing similar has happened since. As it turned out, I spent two very pleasant nights in Costa Rica and got to see a bit of the country. I boarded the Rotterdam when it ported for the day at Puerto Limon.

Yes, it is very easy to say head to the port city a day or two before, but unfortunately, that is not always possible. Some of us have jobs where vacation time is limited and must be stretched. The extra night off could be the difference between taking a cruise or not taking it.

So, I still continue to fly into the port on the morning of a cruise ... as early a flight as I can possibly get. It is only when a cruise is going out of a west coast port that I will try to get the night off before the cruise and fly out a day before.

I guess I pays my money and I take my chances. I just hope my experience on that first cruise fulfilled my bad luck requirements in this regard for a long time to come.

By the way ... another good reason to get travel insurance. They did reimburse me for some of those added expenses for my Costa Rica side trip.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old February 25th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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That was quite an adventure, Rita! Just shows that anything can happen ... not just weather problems. And this is why I will continue to arrive a day early. (The exception is when we cruise out of LA or San Diego. There are flights over there from Las Vegas every hour. Although I have gone over there a day early to enjoy some sightseeing.)
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Old February 25th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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I almost always fly in a day ahead of time. There is just too much that can go wrong, beyond my control and no ship is going to wait for me.

I am known however, for scheduling the return flight earlier than recommended. It's a beat the clock and odds game with me. I have a back-up plan and a cell phone, just in case. If I continue to do this, it's only a matter of time before I miss a return flight home. Maybe this is what it will take to cure me of this silliness.

I go out of my way to avoid connections which is where I believe most luggage goes astray, especially on an international basis. I'll book 2 independent segments instead of a connection rather than risk lost luggage.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammybee
I go out of my way to avoid connections which is where I believe most luggage goes astray, especially on an international basis.
When going to Europe from the left coast, a connection is inevitable. I just hope and pray, and so far we've not had any luggage lost or delayed ... except coming home, which doesn't matter. Guess we've just been lucky there, too!
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Old February 25th, 2007, 05:58 PM
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When I had to use the airlines to fly from Houston to Miami to cruise from there, I arrived a day early and left a day later. No problems.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhannah
That was quite an adventure, Rita! Just shows that anything can happen ... not just weather problems. And this is why I will continue to arrive a day early. (The exception is when we cruise out of LA or San Diego. There are flights over there from Las Vegas every hour. Although I have gone over there a day early to enjoy some sightseeing.)
Oh, you don't know the half of my little "adventure." I didn't even get into the bungee jump off the bridge over a gorge. Yeah, they might have made bungee illegal in most of the United States, but they still practice the sport quite extensively in Costa Rica. So, I figured .... ummmmmm, why not?

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Old February 26th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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As a former airline employee I know better than to give them a chance to screw things up! We always go at least a day ahead of time and "cross pack" every thing. That means never pack all of DH's things in one bag and all of mine in one bag. Everything is mixed up so that if one bag gets lost at least we both have something to wear out of the bag that we hopefully have left.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsel
As a former airline employee I know better than to give them a chance to screw things up! We always go at least a day ahead of time and "cross pack" every thing. That means never pack all of DH's things in one bag and all of mine in one bag. Everything is mixed up so that if one bag gets lost at least we both have something to wear out of the bag that we hopefully have left.
Good point about cross packing. That's what I'm gonna do on my upcoming cruise. Even though I'm only packing for one ... spread the different types of clothing over the two bags. This way, if one is lost, at least I've got some casual clothing, a formal outfit, etc., in the remaining bag.

Now I have a question.

For the first time in my life, I upgraded to a first class ticket on my flight from Philly to Tampa. I know I get a bigger seat, but what else can I expect? Priority luggage handling?

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Old February 27th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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Forget the priority luggage handling! Your luggage won't know you are in first class, it will be thrown around just like the rest of the bags. You will probably get a free drink and maybe a free meal. Depending on the airline you will get called by your name (!!) and be served like things used to be. You will be able to get on the plane first and get off first. That is a plus.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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There was a day when a priority tag would be placed on your luggage if you were in first class. It would be the first off the plane and first onto the carousel. That was a nice perk. It helped get out of the airport quicker.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsel
You will be able to get on the plane first and get off first. That is a plus.
Yeah, but if the luggage doesn't get priority handling, then what good does that do me? I'm still gonna wait down in baggage claim right along with all my good buddies in coach.

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Old February 27th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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Yes, and you just get to wait a bit longer too! Can't win can you?
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Old February 28th, 2007, 01:40 AM
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In 13 years of International travelling, I can honestly say our aircraft has always arrived on time or within a half hour of the schedule time and have never lost any luggage. We have flown many miles and used lots of different aircraft in that time.

We always arrive a few days early before either embarking a ship, doing a tour, or just doing our own thing.

Coming from the other side of the world, one learns not to leave everything to the last minute.

Jennie
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Old February 28th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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You're very fortunate, Jennie. All that travel and no major gaffes.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Like almost everybody here , i leave 1 or 2 days earlier.and
always ask for a direct flight . Coming home I ask for a flight no earlier
than 1 pm.sometimes customs can be a mess.
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