Recently, as I waited to board my flight to Fort Lauderdale, I listened as the gate agent announced delay after delay. Fortunately, I was not sailing that day, nor at all and had given myself additional time to make it to my event the next day. But, I was lucky. Of course, I got in line to see if I might be able to make other flight arrangements. I was frustrated enough that I got up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport on time and wrongly assumed that I might be able to find an alternate flight being that it was so early in the day. Well, I was wrong.
The guy ahead of me in the line was talking to the agent in a panicky voice saying that with the delay, he would not get to Fort Lauderdale in time to catch his ship. I heard the agent ask him why he would fly in to the cruise port the same day as the cruise and warned him that he should always arrive at least the day before.
I don’t know how it ended for this guy and his family, but did hear from other passengers, several also leaving on a cruise the next day, that the best he could do was to fly to Tampa and drive to Fort Lauderdale and maybe reach the ship in time. What a way to start- or maybe never start- a vacation.
I admit that sometimes, I did fly to a port on the same day as my ship left. It caused great anxiety and I thought I had good reasons for flying in the same day – I didn’t want to miss a day of work, pay a Friday evening airfare or pay for a hotel. All good reasons to me.
At some point, I realized that traveling without stress has some value. I considered not only flights that were delayed like the one above – supposedly mechanical problems-but also flights delayed for computer malfunctions, failed inspections and other incidents that weren’t weather related. I also realized that as much as I like to fly Southwest, that they don’t seem to partner with any other airline, so if their flight isn’t operating on time, it is unlikely that passengers will be sent to another airline to continue their travel. Then, I also realized that even if I had insurance, that my flight would have to be delayed at least 6 hours before I would be covered. Well, I could easily miss a connection because a flight was delayed by five-and-a-half hours. Would insurance cover that?
Be prudent and arrive at the port the day before. Make it part of your vacation. Wind down, explore the port city, get into vacation mode and appreciate all the stress that you have eliminated by flying into your departure port the day before your cruise.
Do you have any stories about arriving the day before a cruise?