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Snaking Through the Airport

27 March - Leaving Miami

View 2008 Med Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

27 March 2008 - taking off

We left the house at 3 for a 6:20 flight, with my daughter Barb in uniform (she's a pilot with AA) so she could help us if help was appropriate. First she dropped my granddaughter off at a friends house. Then there was a traffic accident on the other side of the highway which had us in a long creeping backup of rubberneckers, but we got to the airport by 3:45.

She didn't think we could do curbside check-in. I wasn't sure because I think even for international flights, I've done that (although printing a boarding pass is not as possible because they have to check your ID/passport), but our problem was that she made the reservations for MIA/MAD and I made the reservations for MAD to Barcelona, and they weren't on the same ticket. I wanted to be sure that the bags were checked through and I was pretty sure it would have to be an AA agent to do that.

The airport was a zoo when she dropped us off. We eventually ended up in a six snake line (after asking several of the AA herders). By a six snake line, I meant that the line snaked back and forth six times the depth of the airport at that point. My daughter went to park the car, and when she got back to the airport on the crew shuttle, she couldn't see us, so she phoned my grandson on his phone, and eventually I took his phone and walked out from the snake to the concourse (where there was another bigger snake on the other side that was wrapped around ours) and she saw me.

In the line with us were MANY people of course, but also people with MANY MANY bags including people with dog carriers. The sign in line said "One bag under 50 lbs free" and that the maximum per person was two checked items and that bags over 50 lbs and bags over one would be $50. So all those people with multiple big heavy bags were holding up the line writing checks.

We stood in line for over an hour. From before 3:45 until almost 5 o'clock. Someone tried to jump the line saying that he had 7 minutes to make his flight, but his flight only left 20 minutes before ours, so that wasn't true. Eventually we got to the counter and my grandson's bag weighed 44 lbs and mine weighed 34 lbs. She did manage to get them checked through, although no one could explain to me whether I would have to get them to go through customs and recheck them in Madrid.

Then we had to take the bags to the processing line, where they scan the bags before they load them. One of the guys saw Barb in uniform and took our bags quickly to process.

My daughter said that the security line was out of the airport as well, so she walked over to the crew check in and asked if we could go through there, and they allowed it. They also let her carry on my water bottle. Parenthetically, she said she didn't know why all the cleaning staff and all the gate agents and the duty free guys that deliver to the planes etc. all have swipe cards so they can get into the planes, but the pilots do not, and have to have someone let them in.

Our gate was D47 (I think - might have been 49) which was quite a long walk. But we were there before they started boarding. My daughter bought her son a water and a sports drink, and she also saw that one of the flight attendants was someone she knew and has worked with. The flight attendant said she would take care of us.

She left us before they started boarding and went home to pack to leave for Cancun the next day. She said it had been quite a long time since she had flown as an ordinary person with tickets, and she was appalled by the scene at the airport.

They handed me an immigration form as I got on. Somehow before we got to our seats (22 A and B on a 767), I managed to take a tiny chunk out of my skin next to my thumbnail, and so I was bleeding. I don't know how I did it and I didn't notice it until I saw the bloody prints on the immigration form. I asked my grandson to get me a bandaid, and he came back with one plus an iodine wipe. They had given him two forms, so I discarded the one I had with the bloody fingerprints. We filled out the forms.
x100_3930.jpgtaxi out to take-off

taxi out to take-off

Taking off

Taking off

There was a school trip on our plane - all girls with red T shirts which said Espana 08. They were all in the back. When the pilot ran the engines up and we took off there was a concerted cheer/sigh from those in the back, which was repeated when the pilot banked the plane. There were quite a few clouds so we couldn't see much of the ground.

We got two services of drinks (they offered me wine as part of taking care of me), but I was really fine. Dinner was lasagna (which I got)
or chicken which my grandson got. The seats were not as nice or comfortable as the ones on the BA flight I took with my other grandson. There were no seatback screens. The first movie was the Bee Movie, which my grandson watched and also played with his new video game.
Grandson with electronic toy

Grandson with electronic toy

I spent my time reading the Barcelona guidebook. I'd done the crossword on the previous flight.

He said he wouldn't sleep, but he did - at least a couple of hours. The flight wasn't very smooth - the captain had the seat belt on part of the way.

The pilot and plane information said we would land at 7:45 Madrid time, so I set my watch, and camera ahead 5 hours. I had to go to the bathroom about 4 according to my watch, and so had to wake my grandson up. He then watched the very end of the second movie.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:23 Archived in USA

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