on june 19 we woke up at 4 am and travelled to orlando to go to nicaragua. everyone was giddy, we are on our way. good bus trip, checkin was fine (they said the flight was delayed an hour and the flight to nicaragua was delayed 2 hours) ok we are flexible so we hunkered down, ate lunch and headed for the gate. the flight went from delayed to cancelled and we were not going to make it out. 3 hours later after waiting in line and calling parents as well as calling the airline to rebook the trip, we rescheduled for 4 days later. we were forced into adding a day to our trip as well.
on july 22nd we went to the airport and the plane was delayed again…wonderful. we sat, waited and wondered will we actually be going on this trip. the plane took off and headed for miami 2 hours late. we were fortunate that our plane was delayed as well. 3 flights now…one cancelled 2 delayed for hours! we hit the ground running for the plane and barely made it they held the plane for a half an hour at the gate and after we boarded held it for another 45 minutes to load our luggage. we were on our way! the adventure continues.
on saturday june 28 3 of our team members left managua on a delayed flight and when they boarded they’re connecting flight they sat for 2 hours while they attempted to fix a compartment door. a luggage door that would not close in the plane. ultimately they cancelled the flight and they were given vouchers for $40 and a hotel room. now that was nice, keep reading! they were scheduled to fly out the next morning at 7 but when they got to the airport the flight was cancelled and they eventually left at 9 am. american airlines…6 flights now. 3 cancelled and 3 delayed for hours.
on tuesday july 2nd our team of 28 went to the airport to leave the country. we were ready to go home. here is where the adventure gets weird! we checked in and the light was 2 hours delayed and we would not make our connection. needless to say we were just thankful we were going home. immediately when we all checked in the ticket agent came over and informed us the plane left early and we would make our flight. our team was ecstatic! we went to the gate and it turned out to be delayed for about 45 minutes but we were told we would make it we had 1 hour after landing to catch the flight. we sat on the plane and sat and sat and sat. then they put on some eye on america shows and started to pass out water. it’s never a good sign when they do this. we were stuck on the plane 2 hours later the pilot announced the plane had a fuel pump problem and they were fixing it. unfortunately we would not make our connection…well at least we would make it to miami. we sat some more and the pilot announced the plane was fixed, BUT due to flight restrictions the faa would not allow them to fly, they were over the limit and a radar was down over cuba and we were scheduled to fly over it. we were told to american airlines would take care of us. everyone scurried around grabbing luggage and pressing to get off the plane, but they would not allow us to leave. 15 minutes later, the pilot announces they were able to extend their flight time due to international flying and we would be leaving shortly.
we left managua 3 hours late. we arrived in miami, went through customs and immigration and it was 11:45. American airlines gave us food vouchers for our kids $10 for dinner and $5 for breakfast and a hotel we had to catch a shuttle for. 28 people pushed cart loads of luggage to burger king and by the time we ate it was 1am. oh did i mention our flight was at 7am and we needed to be at the airport by 5am. so we had 4 hours to travel to the hotel, check in lay down for a few minutes and then travel back. we chose to find some carpet space and camp out in the terminal of american airlines. we slept for and hour and some of our kids played capture the flag all night. at 4:00 am we got in line to check in and fly to orlando just to catch a bus and come home…we checked in went to the gate and guess what the flight was delayed 45 minutes. Nice. american airlines…9 flights-5 delayed,3 cancelled and 1 missed connection.
the image american airlines has on our team is not a healthy one. i do plan on writing american and returning the vouchers. i have been on 28 missions trips and have never ever been through anything like this. this post is not meant to be read like a complaint, but rather a tale of being held captive and hostage by american airlines. oh yah we few 2.5 hours from nicaragua after waiting for 3 hours and they served us pretzels and a soft drink and gave us food vouchers. american airlines…are you kidding me?