Sunday, 15 November 2015

Tampa. Newark. Atlanta.

My family members left SRQ yesterday morning after our two wondrous weeks together.

They were scheduled to fly Delta from Tampa to Amsterdam, from where they would take a "puddle jumper" to our home city of Bristol.

Early in the morning I received a text message from Delta, announcing that their flight had been canceled, and  that my family had been transfered to a United Airlines flight.

All well and good,  Even better, when I called Delta I got to speak with an agent within minutes (miracle of miracles), and she confirmed the transfer.

This was very nice, but when my folks presented themselves to the U.A. desk at TPA there was no record of this transfered flight.

They wandered over to the Delta desk, where the staff professed ignorance of the changes.

Back to the U.A. desk they went.  They were told again that U.A. knew nothing about this.

But a stellar U.A. staff member said  "wait by the Delta desk, I will do the research, and then I'll find you at the Delta desk and let you know what I have discovered".

She was true to her word.  She discovered that my folks' flight  had indeed been  transfered to U.A., but that it was in two legs - first TPA to EWR (Newark), and then from EWR to Amsterdam.

All praise and gratitude to this diligent  United Airlines staff member.

And there was a bonus.   The approach to EWR took them over Manhattan, so they were able to enjoy wonderful views of the Big Apple (including the Statute of Liberty).

The U.A. trans-Atlantic flight went well, and they arrived in Amsterdam in good time to catch their flight to Bristol.

In the meantime I, and other family members had had a bit of anxiety because we could not track what we thought would be a direct U.A. flight from Tampa to Amsterdam.  There was no such flight!  But we had no way of knowing about the TPA - EWR part of the flight.

Now my folks are safe and sound in their homes.  They are tired.  But it is a good weariness as they rejoice in the wondrous time we all enjoyed in  Sarasota.


Soon after my family members left my home for their journey to TPA  (using a mini-van taxi @ $112 for four people - a very decent price), I drove to the Sarasota Airport for a flying (24 hour) visit to Atlanta  (more about "why?"  tomorrow).

At one level I thought that I must have had a hole in my head to plan such a trip right on the tail of the visit of my family members.

At another level I knew that it would be better for me to get out of town, than to mope around with sadness in my heart following the departure of my folks.

Early on this (Sunday) morning I emerged from my hotel in Alpharetta GA only to discover that the tyre/tire on the front driver's side wheel was flatter than Florida. I also discovered that the car did not carry a spare wheel.

I called the rental car company for assistance.  The good woman with whom I spoke could not give me an estimate as to when someone or other might be dispatched to take care of this.

I was nervous lest I should miss my flight home from ATL - SRQ, so we agreed that I would leave my rental car in the Hotel's parking lot, there to be "recovered" by "Dollar" Rent a Car, and I would take a taxi to the Airport.

The hotel's front desk clerk was charmingly helpful but the cab he ordered was sans a meter, and the fare was (shall we say) astonishingly high.

Nevertheless, like my family members I am at home, I am safe and well, and I am reunited with my beloved dog who had been with her "uncle and aunt":- my dear friends R and C who live down in Gulf Gate, Sarasota.

Alongside my folks I am very, very tired,  so after a glass of wine and a grilled cheese sandwich I am headed for Sleep Street at 7:00 p.m.

My weariness is mitigated by a huge infusion of gratitude.

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