Thursday, October 28th, 2004
Eugenio María de Hostos Airport - MAZ
AA Flight 5403 (Operated by American Eagle/Executive)
Super ATR - N248AT
Scheduled departure: 7:33 AM
Actual departure: (by my watch) 11:45 AM
Actual arrival: (by my watch) 12:10 PM
Photo © Carlos Vaz
I went to bed at around 11:00 PM on Wednesday, so that I could at least have three to four hours of sleep before I got up to get ready at 3:00. Unfortunately, I didn't get to sleep till around 1:30, so when I got up at three, I had only slept a grand total of 1 ½ hours. Oh, well. I got up, showered and then made sure I had everything. While I was fixing my hair, the car that was going to take me to the airport showed up an hour early. So, I finished up as quickly as I could and off we went. I had forgotten how beautiful it is to drive at night. On the way, the driver -- an old man -- couldn't shut up about how he lived in the US and sold a car there or whatever. I nodded and sent an occasional disinterested "uh-huh" or "oh" his way, but he just kept on going till we reached the Mayagüez airport. I paid him and I went inside the terminal.
Looking east... Sorry about the mysterious red splotches. o.O
"Wow, tiny" I thought as I walked around the terminal building at 5:30 AM. I was one of three people there as I was really early, so there was nothing more to do than wait. I watched as slowly TSA agents started showing up, followed by American Eagle, car rental and USDA employees. At 6:00, the USDA checkpoint opened and I sent my check-in through it. At 6:30 or so the American Eagle counter opened (the only airline that services the airport) and I was third in line. The first two people got the friendly check-in agent, so I, of course, got the bitter, blond bitch. A sign of what was to come. Anyway, she, without once looking at me in the eye and acting like I was an inconvenience to her, checked me in and gave me by boarding passes. After dropping off my check-in to the TSA guys, I sat down at waited some more. At 7:00 AM or so, our passes were collected, passed through the gates 7, 8 and 9 door to security (which is stuffed into a tiny hallway) and then sat down in the boarding lounge. The plane was supposed to depart at 7:33 AM, but that came and went all while we watched the pilot, copilot, FAs and counter employees looking concerned over the Super ATR's door through the huge glass window. At about 8:00 or so, the pilot came into the gate area and promptly told us the plane was grounded. Fuck.
We were schlepped back out of the secured area and to the ticket counter once again to have our connections changed. Of course, this took about 15-20 minutes per person, so even though I was fourth in line, it took me about an hour to get up there. So, my 4:18 PM arrival to San Francisco via San Juan and Miami was changed to an 8:50-something arrival. Oh, was I ever happy. *sigh* But there was really nothing I could do, so there was no point in complaining about it. Through the process of changing my tickets, the ticket counter agent (the nice guy this time) mentioned he had accidentally canceled my return trip, but didn't say anything else about it, so I assumed he fixed it and I didn't really worry about it. So, I got my new boarding passes and waited yet anew for a now 10:30 departure. In the meantime I left a voice mail message to a friend of mine, whom I was meeting in San Francisco, about my new arrival time and walked in, out and around the terminal aimlessly.
Aeropuerto Eugenio María de Hostos.
The old, rusted control tower.
At 10:45 we were called to board again and we passed through security again. I cleared security three times that morning as the only bathroom in the airport was outside the gate area and I had to leave security to go to it. Anyway, we waited for thirty more minutes and by then everyone was pretty much pissed off at American Eagle when a mechanic from San Juan (who apparently drove) arrived and had the problem fixed in approximately three minutes by simply shaking the door. I wanted to kill them. Finally, though, at 11:45, four hours late, we boarded the plane and 20 minutes later, we were in San Juan.
The airside of MAZ from my ATR window.
The beautiful views on the way, though, helped quench my homicidal thoughts a bit as did the bus ride from the prop to the terminal.
Hey, San Juan...
'Sup, Terminal D?
I was in time to catch my flight and buy a sandwich to eat onboard by the gate, but a couple other people missed their second set connections that day. Glad I wasn't them.
Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport - SJU
AA Flight 1350
Airbus A300-600 (new seat covers)
Scheduled departure: 1:10 PM AST/EDT
Scheduled arrival: --
So, I boarded the A300, $5.50 turkey sandwich in row and settled in seat 34A which was a far call from the 10A I had reserved on the previous flight. Oh, well. At least no one sat next to me, so I had that part of the row to myself. Thankfully, this time we actually took off on time and there no problems. The service, however, left much to be desired.
"No can for you!"
The FAs did only one small drink service and then sat down and started to gossip. No, I'm not kidding. When I was done eating my sandwich and downing it with my three ounces of Coke, I waited and waited for my trash to be picked up before I just went into the galley I threw the shit away myself. The FA in the galley barely looked away from her book. Hn.
Airport ID anyone?
"Miami... You're cuter than... an interuterine..."
After we landed in Miami, I had to walk about a mile and a half from Terminal A to Terminal D where the San Francisco flight would de departing from. Lord, that was a long walk. I got a Coke and just sat down and waited for my flight to leave. Thankfully, it was on time, so no complaints from me there.
Miami International Airport - MIA
AA Flight 367
Boeing 757 (old seat covers)
Scheduled departure: 5:55 PM
Scheduled arrival: --
I ran out of film, so no pictures this time. Sorry! Anyway, I had a seat in the back again, but I also had the row to myself, so I was shibby with it. The movie was Spiderman 2 and I love that movie, so I had to get the headset. God, I hate M.J., though. Ugh. Anyway, the flight had dinner which was a choice between chicken and pasta, so I got the pasta. It came with your standard iceberg and tomato salad, oddly unfrozen roll, and a piece of chocolate cake. I must've been really hungry, because for some reason, I thought it was fucking delicious. I wanted seconds, people. Anywho, after that, there were three drink services total, one coffee and one water service and I never saw an FA doing nothing. They actually seemed to be doing their job! What a concept.
When I arrived in San Francisco, my friends were waiting for me just outside the secured area. We smiled, we hugged, we had a weird awkward moment and then we went down the escalator to the baggage claim.
I'll post the second part just as soon as my connection decides it wants so upload stuff again. Until then, later.
[Edited 2004-11-05 04:04:42]