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Thread: Dadís Taxi Fills The Bus - Florida 2018 - Part 1

  1. #1
    Florida Chatterbox Dads_Taxi's Avatar
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    Dadís Taxi Fills The Bus - Florida 2018 - Part 1

    Part 1 - Getting Here

    I will warn you now, this is a lengthy journal, it was a lengthy journey.

    2017 saw our 30th wedding anniversary come and go, with the idea of a family holiday put on hold as our next grandson would likely be born during the holiday, which would get in the way of shopping, eating and theme parks. Consequently the 31st wedding anniversary is getting extra special treatment, and here we ALL are in Orlando.

    Getting 13 seats from Manchester to Orlando (and back) at a reasonable price proved difficult, and that is an understatement if ever there was one. After hours of playing with various flight comparison sites, I found myself with just 5 flights with Aer Lingus via Dublin, and an amazing price - less than £450 each, completely within school holidays. However, we were still 8 seats short!
    One of the travel agents that I had tried to book more Aer Lingus seats with got in touch and said they could find alternatives, and in fact after a lengthy phone call I got the rest of the gang on an American Airlines flight via Philadelphia landing in Orlando just 20 minutes different to us, and then we all could fly home together Aer Lingus. Result.

    These flights were just over £100 each more expensive than the original flights, but at least we are all able to get there now.

    Several months passÖÖ.

    Aer Lingus decided to tweak their flight time, both outbound and inbound, so we would no longer arrive at the same time as the AA gang. No big problem, just a pain getting ourselves insured on both the hire cars (booked, of course, from US Car Hire). Plus we now have a 4 hour wait in Dublin on the way home rather than the original 90 minutes which was a much nicer plan.

    Seats were chosen on the appropriate websites, and on the whole that worked quite well. EXCEPTÖ.. after we had booked the flights, Molly (offspring #4) had a baby, who had to be added to the booking. Somehow during this process Lydia (offspring #2) was taken off the booking and rebooked as a single passenger, with her own booking reference. No one told me this, and I had a major panic attack when I was reminding myself of the seat allocations and found Lydia had vanished from all the flights. Eventually I spotted that on the new booking Lydia had a different reference number to all the others, and logging into the airlinesí websites using her reference number showed her sitting there, exactly where we had chosen. Panic over.

    Advanced Passenger Information - how difficult can it be?
    Well, with Aer Lingus, piece of cake, type it in, thank you thatíll do nicely.

    AA - oh my goodness, it was painful. I tasked myself with entering all the info, by now there are 10 of them on these flights - 8 seats and 2 infants, so I plodded through them, gave a sigh of relief and left the website. Three days before we fly, Jack (eldest son) received a voicemail and email stating that passenger information needed to be completed. I check on the AA website and most if it was correct but some was totally missing - both the passengers travelling with infants had no info, one of the infants appeared twice and one appeared twice but once with his own passport info, and once with his cousin's info. Totally bizarre.
    Good old Dad types the whole lot again, checks each one again, I logged out, logged back in, exactly the same corrupted state as before.

    I phoned AA customer service, where a very nice lady somewhere in the USA kindly types in all the information again, checks it all, logs out, logs back in and tells me ďaaand, it's all incorrect againĒ. She consults Tech Support who tell her it will take them so long to fix it that we will have flown before they have sorted it, so she adds a note to the booking explaining to the check in staff that they will need to enter the info at check-in, and it wasn't our fault!

    The day arrives, and at a very civil 8am we set off for the airport to fly to Dublin.

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    Meanwhile the AA Gang receive a voicemail and email in the night informing them that their flight to Philadelphia is delayed by 3 hours and therefore they will miss their planned connection but they were all booked onto a later flight arriving in Orlando a couple of hours after us.


    This doesnít sound too bad, but it doesnít end there, oh no.

    When the AA gang are checking in, they are told that there is no record of youngest grandson Ezra, he isnít on the flight. Panic calls to Dad (we are happily checked in and waiting to board our Dublin flight). I confidently tell them that he is on the booking, so once again it is AA that have messed up. A supervisor makes some calls and they acknowledge that Ezra is, indeed, booked on the flight.

    We take off confident that we will all meet up in Orlando later that night.

    Our flight Dublin to Orlando is then delayed a couple of hours, and we realise that we should be all arriving at Orlando about 2130 - 2200 local time, things are looking up.

    A quick review of our flight - Aer Lingus DUB-MCO is an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, and is wonderful. We were economy but didnít need any better. Seat-back entertainment was plentiful, worked a dream, even had a USB charge point to charge your own devices. Headphone socket was a standard 3.5mm stereo jack so you could use your own headphones without an adapter. In-ear headphones were provided, but were rubbish, but we all had our own so didnít worry about that. Food was lovely, I had veggie chilli and potato wedges, there was a chicken roast and a pasta bolognese dish available too. Hot wraps were served (chicken or veggie) about 90 minutes before landing. Soft drinks were all provided, and you could buy alcoholic drinks in Euros, US dollars or pounds. I think my beer was $7.
    If you really needed it, maybe for a laptop charger, there was a 110V US mains socket between every two seats, I donít know if they worked, I didnít see anyone using one. One slight down side was that leg space was restricted in width every second seat by what I assume was the entertainment control box. We swapped seats half way over to share the inconvenience. WiFi was available at a cost, for those who cannot breathe without connectivity. For our group there was so much choice on the entertainment menu it was difficult to decide what to leave out.

    Our arrival at Orlando was earlier than expected, our luggage was with us in no time at all, and there was only two families ahead of us at the Alamo desk, it went very smoothly.

    MeanwhileÖÖ..

    The American Airlines gang had reached Philadelphia and boarded their flight to Orlando, then sat on the plane for 90 minutes whilst they waited for a pilot, as their pilot was going to go over his allowed hours if he flew the plane. THEN, when the flight was almost ready to depart, the cabin crew announced that they were now in the same situation, and could not now safely attend to this flight as they would be out of hours before they landed - Everybody Off Please!


    I know this is a long story, but I apologise, itís not over yet.

    The kids text us, they have just been taken off the plane. No idea what is going to happen next. Then just to keep us guessing, WhatsApp decides to stop working and we lose contact with our kids.

    I've hit the word-count limit!!!

    Continued below.....
    Last edited by Dads_Taxi; 03-06-2018 at 16:23.
    Dave.


  2. #2
    Florida Chatterbox Dads_Taxi's Avatar
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    Part 1 - Continued:

    So we drive to the villa, and get there about 22.30 in the dark. I get my paperwork out with the lock-box code and the house alarm code, and George (offspring #3) and I go to work out how we get in. We find the front door to the villa open - not just unlocked, actually open, and we both think this probably isn’t a good sign. After a moment Kayleigh (age 9) charges past us and runs into the house, despite us yelling at her to stop, so once she is in we decide we’d better have a look too. It’s quite nerve racking walking into a dark house in Florida when your body thinks it’s 3.30am and you’re thinking there’s a burglar in there. We go to unset the alarm but it isn’t set (we now realise it doesn’t set unless the door is shut when the code is entered) then we put every light on we can find and search the house bottom to top. It is empty, not even a cheeky lizard (or alligator). We get all our stuff in, allocate rooms and then wait to see if we will hear from the AA Gang again. Eventually, just before midnight, we just get “staying in Philadelphia tonight, see you in the morning” so we hit the sack and all have dreadful sleep as the day replays in our heads. Oh yes, and as is the tradition, somewhere a smoke detector with a dying battery goes BEEP at random intervals to make sure I never actually get in a deep sleep.

    Early next morning we hear from the kids - they are now at Charlotte airport, North Carolina, having a row with AA who deny all knowledge of their Charlotte to Orlando flight, despite AA sending them to Charlotte from Philadelphia as the quickest route. Next we hear is 10.45, they have landed in Orlando. At 11.30, they find out their luggage is on the Philadelphia to Orlando flight, so they hang around for that. Then they find cases are missing. One is located in Philadelphia, one has gone AWOL despite being scanned in at Orlando. Eventually they give up, and collect the 15 seater from Alamo and arrived at the Villa at 5pm, about 21 hours later than planned, having slept in the children's play area at Philadelphia Airport with a 5 month old, a one, a two and a four year old. American Airlines is not popular at the moment.

    PHL Camp






    After showers and a change of clothes for those that have some, we go to Target and some clothes and toiletries are purchased, then into Sweet Tomatoes and enjoy a lovely meal, during which Jack receives emails to say that one case will be delivered to the villa at 11.30 pm, and one at 12.30 am.

    That evening everyone drifts off to bed early, except good old Dad, I doze on the sofa until the driver turned up at 11.25pm, thankfully with both of the missing cases. I am very grateful, and finally crash into bed and sleep like a log, happy knowing that tomorrow we can start our holiday.


    I promise the rest of my reports will be much briefer.
    Last edited by Dads_Taxi; 03-06-2018 at 16:13.
    Dave.


  3. #3
    Florida Chatterbox
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    What a nightmare start.

    We are flying AA via Philadelphia this October so really looking forward to it now LOL.


  4. #4
    Florida Chatterbox
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    What a shambles. I've done the change at Philly a few times and had a 3 hr delay. Ours was with US Air though and they paid for accommodation overnight and issued each of us 500 dollar vouchers as an appology . AA sound like a shambles. Have also done the Dublin route and Aer Lingus were very good but the long wait on the return trip is a right killer.


  5. #5
    Florida Expert Gerry Reed's Avatar
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    Your holiday can only get better !
    Gerry and Sue




  6. #6
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    https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/10...cting-flights/

    This article outlines a recent judgement on EU flight delay compensation and seems to me to be applicable here. Note that the €600 payment is due to every passenger irrespective of age.


  7. #7
    Florida Chatterbox Rob Dawson's Avatar
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    What a dreadful start-hopefully it will improve!
    Jan & Rob



  8. #8
    Super Moderator florida4sun's Avatar
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    Ughhh nit a great start for you. I find Aer Lingus are great. Used them 3 times this year. AA use them lots for domestic and proably my favorite over hear. Just done 12 flights with them. I think you were unlucky but I have had the same issue with the advance passenger info. enjoy the rest of it.


  9. #9
    Florida Expert kitch50's Avatar
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    Oh dear.... hopefully the rest of your holiday is amazing and the first couple of days will be forgotten.... look forward to the next instalment ��
    Wendy


  10. #10
    Florida Chatterbox Dads_Taxi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katys Grandad View Post
    https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/10...cting-flights/

    This article outlines a recent judgement on EU flight delay compensation and seems to me to be applicable here. Note that the €600 payment is due to every passenger irrespective of age.
    Thanks for the link, that's very encouraging. They are now deliberating whether to submit the claim to British Airways, as the flights were booked through BA, or American Airlines who the flights were with.
    Dave.


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