Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In the Spirit of Things....

Sunday afternoon we said our goodbyes to Barbara and Richard...
They live in the house next door - have lived in Costa Rica for around 25 years and were very helpful and informative.  It was good having such nice neighbors!

Later that evening Vanessa stopped by..
Vanessa is a student at the University of Peace which is in Cuidad Colon.  She lives in the house just down the lane from us.  Vanessa is from Costa Rica...  she speaks Spanish, English, French and Chinese.  She made several reservations for us during our month here, including calling for a taxi to take us to the airport on Monday.

Packed and ready to go...
Our cab picked us up at 9am Monday morning.  We knew the driver didn't speak English, but Vanessa had already told him that he'd be taking us to the airport.  It took about a half hour for the drive from our house to the airport in San Jose.

Our flight didn't leave until around 12:30, but we didn't have a printer for our computer, so didn't have tickets or our boarding pass.
Every person departing Costa Rica has to pay $28 (American) for some kind of tax. 
Of course the lines are long...  
and the wait can seem to take forever.

One funny thing...  after Bill paid our tax money, we walked over to stand in the Spirit Airlines queue.  LONG line!
The attendant at the end of the line took one look at my passport and took us to a very short line...  only one other person ahead of us.  We had to wait a few minutes for that person to get finished...  and during that time the attendant rolled up a wheelchair ...  a lady with a broken leg was in it.
It took me a few minutes for me to realize that when the attendant saw my passport he checked my age.
Seems the elderly and handicapped get priority treatment.
Guess we qualify ....  but I did feel kind of guilty...  like I jumped the line.  But...  not too guilty.

Here's our plane...  arriving from Panama or some such place...  

Now...  you know if we got this far that we've already gone through security...  had our bags gone through...  walked barefoot through the magic doorway...  been patted down..  had the wand all but violate our dignity.  Got rid of our water bottles...  made sure we didn't have any lethal weapons....

Yep!  Done all that...  

Let me add right here that Spirit Airlines is a NO FRILLS way to fly.  You pay for checked luggage...  you pay for a 2nd carry-on.  You pay for a snack...  you pay for a beverage...  You pay if you want a blanket or pillow....  You get the picture...

We bought a bottle of water just before we got on the plane.  That cost us $3.00, but figured it was cheaper than buying it on the plane.

Boarding starts...  
Our zone is called....

Big log jam (people jam?) getting on the plane...
Guess what?
Another pat down...
Another wand waved around your body parts..
Another search of our carry-ons...
They made everyone dispose of any beverages...
Includes soft drinks, water bottles, juice...

There went our $3 bottle of water.

It was only a 2.5 hour flight to Ft Lauderdale...
The flight was full...  
this shouldn't be too bad...

There were some children on the plane.  Now I know how difficult it can be to travel with kids.  There were several cranky kids in the waiting area.  In fact, as we boarded we saw one mom with a little girl about 2-3 years old and the kid was unusually loud and boisterous.  Uh Oh..... hope she isn't sitting close to us....

About an hour into the flight, a man who is seated about 5 rows in front of us stands up and very distinctly says

"I asked you to make your child quit kicking my seat"

It got pretty loud...  the guy was really hot and said exactly how he felt.  The two stewardess walked up to that area, but didn't do a thing.  

For about 5 minutes it looked like a real mutiny, but as far as I could tell, the mom traded seats with the little girl, and things calmed down.  You know, I feel bad for everyone involved here... what an uncomfortable situation all way round.

Things were pretty quiet for the rest of that flight....

Touched down in Ft Lauderdale...  had to collect our checked luggage, then go through customs and immigration... then go back to the Spirit check-in counter...  recheck our luggage and go back to the same gate we'd got off from.

But we had over an hour wait for our flight to Dallas/Ft Worth.  

Apparently someone had collapsed in-flight or something, because the EMS people had a guy on a gurney...  oxygen, IV... the works.  They worked on him about a half hour before wheeling him off.  

Bill got a $20 bill out of his bag and went for sandwiches.  He came back real soon...  for more money.  
Two sandwiches and 1 Coke cost $21

It's finally getting close to boarding ...

Overhead....  "Will passengers in rows 9, 18, 22, 23, etc ....." please come to the ticket counter.

Not us... we're in row 27...  in a 30 row plane.

Next announcement.... "Is any passenger is willing to give up their seat for a flight out tomorrow?"....

After several times of this, they kept upping the ante...  got up to 2 round trip tickets anywhere that Spirit flies, overnight accomodations, and I think maybe a meal.

We're not interested..... We've already decided that we don't want to fly Spirit again...  and finally board the plane.

As we walk down the aisle, we see "SEAT Broken... do not use this seat" posted on several of the seats.  Hmmmm...  guess this is why they wanted people to give their seat up.

Okay...  we're finally ready to leave!

Nope...  departure time comes and goes....

Seems there was an electrical problem with the interior lights (I think that's what they said was wrong...  but.... ????)
And finally, an hour after schedule we depart.

We'd called Celeste to tell her about the delay...  so at least she knew what was happening.

The flight was smooth...  but I think people were getting restless, even though it was only a 2.5 hour flight we've all been seated here for about 4 hours.

The guy in front of me pulled out a deck of cards and was showing magic tricks to his seat partner.

Now 2 things here...
We're in the back of the plane...  seems that's where the party people always sit.  
And...  if you use your imagination just a little bit, you know what it sounds like when someone is shuffling cards...

Okay...  now the jokester starts...  Remember, this guy is already right next to the lavoratory...  he's listened to the "no congregating at the restrooms" announced overhead...  made his jokes about that...  Yeah, he's a real card.

I guess everyone is a bit punch-drunk by then and acting kind of silly.  I doubt if anyone is actually inebriated... it would cost a small fortune if you bought enough booze on the plane.

Well, only an hour or so behind schedule we land at DFW...  collect our luggage, Celeste picks us up and we head back to Glen Rose.
We get back around 1am or so...  finally get to bed around 2am.

It's been a

We had a great time in Costa Rica, but we're glad to be home again. Time to start our next adventure.

That's all for Today....


  1. Sometimes flight days do seem to go on and on and on.... :(

  2. Geeez...what an adventure with that airline. I'd never fly with them again. Welcome home!

  3. I guess if you want to travel to other countries, you have to put up with the airlines. The last time I was on a plane was in August 1976. I have driven or taken Amtrak everywhere since then. Maybe someday I will fly again.

  4. Welcome home; luckily you have lots of good memories of your trip to overcome the bad flight experience.

  5. We went through exactly the same thing in Costa Rica. Bought the expensive bottle of water after passing through security, then turned it in as we boarded the plane. I wonder if they just sell the same bottles of water over and over?

    Welcome home!!


  6. That Light problem.... I think it was the Check Engine Light.

  7. What an awesome vacation you had! Thanks for all the great pictures and travelogs.

  8. Isn't international travel fun?? Being there is great, it's just the getting to and from. I think we all have similar stories to tell. It's good that you're home safe and sound.

  9. Welcome home. I think I will stick to traveling wherever I can take the Motorhome!!

  10. Welcome back.
    The whole Costa Rica part was pretty awesome. The discount airline part? Not so much so.
    Thanks for the reminder why we don't do that.
    I think the closest we've come to flying anything like a discount airline was on "Fly Niki" between here and Palma La Majorca, (hour and a half) where we then switched to another discount airline, "Fly Berlin" on to Barcelona. (about an hour)
    BUT, there were no extra charges. I was shocked! They even fed us a sandwich on Fly Niki, which I didn't even expect. My wife turned it down since she thought we'd have to pay, but I was hungry enough that I wouldn't have cared. Turns out it was complimentary. The seats on Fly Niki were spaced for midgets though.
    But some of the American discount airlines like "Flying Blue" (ya, I'd be "blue" alright) or some of those? No way.
    Oh, and that whole "not allowed to congregate around the restrooms"? I've never understood that one. So whatcha gonna do, take a number?? Some mental midget at the TSA must have got Employee of the month for that suggestion. Idiots.

  11. After a 25 year career in the Airline industry, today's post reconfirmed that filling up our motorhome with 100 gallons of diesel really isn't that bad afterall. I was hyperventilating as I read your blog ....LOL!
    I have enjoyed following your wonderful month. Welcome Home

  12. Wow, that sounds like such a long travel day! My daughter went through the same thing when leaving Chile with the water bottle. I thought that was strange too. I'm glad you made it home safely! :)

  13. I discovered the 'old folk's' lines are here in Honduras at the banks as well. My corporate hand holder said that we were lucky he was with us while getting my local drivers license as he qualified for the old folk's line - over 60. We had to pay tolls at 2 different banks. I think it is pregnant women, handicapped, and old folks. And we have to pay $35 (I think) to leave Honduras as well, and get a final pat down, going through carry on luggage and dispose of beverages, too. I tend to fly Continental.