Date of Trip: December 2007
We booked our two connecting balcony staterooms for the Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship “Liberty of the Seas” while it was still being built for December 15 – 22, 2007. Although we booked our cabins through the cruise line we had decided to obtain our own airfare to and from Florida, motel accommodations and car rental ourselves. We were able to obtain discounted airfare cheaper and better times if I search each way separately. We flew out of Newport News, Virginia on Airtran at 5:00 a.m. and were excited we were on our way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a very short layover in Atlanta, Georgia. We have no difficulty with these flights and our baggage arrive safely too. I had booked the minivan through Enterprise outside of the airport because not only were none available but the pricing was cheaper too. I was also not charged for checking the vehicle at our hotel (Radisson Miami Downtown) on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, Florida. Although we arrived at the Radisson several hours early they were able to let us in our suites. We toured Miami and was able to see many sights especially the Biscayne Marketplace. At 10:00 a.m. we were quickly on our way to the Cruise terminal and after checking in the minivan we were going through security at 10:30 a.m.
On the 22nd of December upon disembarkation, our tour guide took us to the Everglades. This airboat tour is very cool. The kids loved riding in the airboat, seeing reptiles and plants in their natural habitat and even ate frog legs and alligator. We took several photos and after our excursion the tour guide took us to the Fort Lauderdale Airport.
We used Delta on our flight home. This was the worst experience ever. First, they charged us double for our heavy bags. I was expecting a charge but not double the rate. By 4:00 p.m., the flight monitor stated our flight was delayed. The attendant stated it was due to waiting for 3 people to show up for their flight (they must have been important). Since our flight was delayed we already knew we would most likely miss our connecting flight upon arriving in Atlanta, Georgia. Twenty of us were told not to worry since they held enough seats for the next flight for us. The only problem was they forgot to inform the rebooking desk those seats were for us. After standing in line for an hour, the clerk automatically tried to give me a hotel voucher and the next two flights hadn’t even left yet (one to Norfolk, VA and the other to Newport News, Virginia). After some fussing, I was able to obtain 3 of the 6 seats on the Norfolk Flight but she refused to allow me 3 more stating only 3 seats per family even though she knew we were traveling with special needs children who haven’t eaten most of the day. So now, 1/2 the family was going home and the other half (mom and the two special needs girls) were to stay in Atlanta until the next evening. I wasn’t upset about the delay but the constant lying from the Delta clerks got all of us extremely upset. The girls and I decided to follow the guys to tell them good bye, etc. Upon arriving at the gate, the ticket clerk asked us if we were going on this flight. They were holding the plane for the missing 17 people (3 were already on). I told her they refused to allow us seats and booked us all in motels. She quickly went on her computer and secured our seats. She also called the rebooking desk inquiring about the other passengers. After getting off the telephone she then informed me that there were 19 seats available on this flight and 16 seats available on the next Newport News flight (where we really need to go since our truck was at that airport) but it was almost impossible to get to the other end of the terminal in time. So we got on the Norfolk flight. Upon our arrival in Norfolk, Virginia, I saw the baggage clerk and inquire about our luggage. It seems that terrific “rebooking clerk” was sending our luggage to Richmond, Virginia. Why, I don’t know. The luggage was stopped and I would receive it the next day at home. I was hoping that was true. Afterward securing the luggage, she obtained a limousine for all six of us and had it take us to the Newport News Airport so we could get our truck. That was very nice of her. She then asked where the other 17 passengers were since she had their luggage and I told her what had happened in Atlanta. She called Delta in Atlanta and found her missing people and knew she could secure their luggage until the next day. She also suggested next time I should pick up a telephone and rebook your flights yourself then to use a rebooking clerk. These telephones are connecting to the main office which can see all the notes, see who the seats are reserved for and can alter the instructions. All in all the seven day cruise on the “Liberty of the Seas” was extremely fun and most of the travel plans worked out well.
People don’t get upset for accidental delays but they do get very upset when they know someone is lying to them about company policies.