Friday, July 06, 2007


Here was out trip home from Florida. We arrived at the Panama City airport (which is about a third of the size of GR) around 2:00pm. Our flight was supposed to leave around 4:00 but of course it was delayed in arriving. So when we were finally standing in line to board they discovered a mechanical problem for which they had to call in a mechanic. So we waited for that to be fixed. Meanwhile the kids are starving and we only have a few snacks we brought (all but one vending machine at the airport was broken). We finally boarded the airplane around 6:00ish I think. We went down to get set up to take off and the pilot came on and said we had to turn around because the wind changed. So we turn around to get set up again and before we can take off he came on again and said the storm is worse with lightning so we can't take off at all. We had to taxi all the way back to the gate because for some reason some people wanted to get off the flight. So after the storm passes we finally take off around 8:30pm. So we are still thinking at this point when our 1 hour flight gets to atlanta we can run and there is a slight possibility that our connection will still be there because they have told us there were storms in atlanta as well. So we arrive at atlanta and are told to prepare forlanding.....BUT, we keep circling in the air and never go down. Finally, we are told we are running out of fuel so we have to be diverted to Columbus, Georgia to refuel (this city is halfaway BACK to panama city). So we land there around 11:30 at night and get fuel at the teeniest airport ever that isn't open so they can't even get us any food on the plane. The air conditioning breaks here too, so the pilot is working on fixing that and helping refuel. We finally take off about a half hour later and miraculously land at Atlanta around 12:30pm. A one hour flight took us three hours! So as soon as we hit Atlanta we have to wait in a huge line to get our new flights for the morning and for food vouchers and a hotel voucher for the night. Keep in mind we are traveling with 4 adults and 5 little kids. So we finally get new flights but figure out we are all on the 10:00am flight except Simon is on a 12:30 flight. Not really going to work! So as we are sorting out that mess we find out that the voucher they gave us for the hotel isn't any good because the hotel has no more rooms available. So we decide we need a hotel, there is no way anyone will get any sleep if we stay at the airport. We have to call around and find one that has space for us. So with out plans for the night settled we head off to find our luggage which is literally 1 mile away. We walk to get on the tram that will take us there. After sitting on the tram for 20 minutes with a million other people in the same position we figure out the tram is no longer running for the night. So we drag all our carrry-on luggage and 5 kids a mile through the airport at 2:00 in the morning. So get to the baggage carousels and of course can't find our luggage anywhere. We talk to an agent and she lets us know we will NOT have our luggage for the night. So that's OK except James and I are down to having 3 diapers for 2 kids. We decide they can sleep in the one they have on, in the morning get a new one, and then whoever poops first gets the last one : ) Nice huh? So we get a taxi and head to the hotel. When we get there their computers are down because they just went into their nightly maintenance mode and they can't check us into a room until they are done. We finally get into our room and wait for the pack'n'plays to arrive and we go to sleep around 3:00am. At 6:30 we are back up to grab a quick breakfast and head back to the airport where we know the lines are going to be horrible because so many people missed flights the night before. Two good things....we got to cut in line twice through security because we had a stroller and little kids. We get on our 10:00am flight a little late after running around the airport trying to spend our food vouchers on whatever they will let us. Then we arrive in Grand Rapids around 11:50......TEN MINUTES EARLY (according to that flight) yeah Right! It was only a few hours before James' Mom and Bruce arrived home and they drove the whole way from Florida. SO, we had a great vacation but had to take a few days to get over "the worst flight ever".