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sandyss

Safe Time for Airport Departure in Fort Lauderdale

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We need to make a reservation for our flight home from Fort Lauderdale in mid December.  It looks like there will be two other ships in port that day.

 

We're debating between an 11:55am flight and a 2:15pm flight that day.  (The 2:15pm flight arrives home 4 hours later than the 11:55am flight - both have a connection in Atlanta.)  Will we be able to make the 11:55am flight, or should we play it safe and choose the 2:15pm flight?

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If you walk off the ship early with your luggage the 1155 flight is no problem.

 

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The 11:55 is doable. If available I would use Luggage Direct that should be offered via HAL. 

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January 4th, this year, I easily made an 11:40AM flight even taking the HAL transfer and American Airlines being the last stop. 6 ships in that day but I was on the Prinsendam which has only 835 passengers so debarkation was quick. Unfortunately, Luggage Direct was not offered as the Prinsendam did not go to Ft. Lauderdale very often. If you are on a ship that does got to Ft. Lauderdale often you should be able to use that service which I highly recommend. 

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Thanks for your input.  We definitely prefer the earlier flight at 11:55am which gets us home around 6pm (rather than the later flight which doesn't arrive until 10pm).

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I don't seem to have a copy of my luggage direct form.  I don't remember if the earliest flights could depart was 11:30A or 12 noon in order to participate.  That may be worth checking.  Self assist with luggage at Port Everglades wouldn't be that bad though, biggest issue is if you'll need to wait for an elevator once shoreside.  

 

We did Luggage Direct and were to the airport by about 8:30 AM (Luggage Direct debark was immediately after self-assist), although hustle off and get to security, the lines were already forming with the LD disembarkation happening).

 

Even with a delay on the ship being cleared to dock you should have plenty of time to make an 11:55 flight.

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We sail in December and have flown out as early at 11:30 with no problems.  Last month there were so issues with disembarkation, so you never really know.  But if you ask for an early departure time, you should be fine.  Enjoy!

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We have left the ships, with our own luggage, and made flights as early as 9:00 a.m. and this was RC Oasis class ships.

 

You should be fine with the earlier flight, I have waited in the airport for afternoon flights and it was not fun.  FL airport is not that big with pretty much nothing to do.

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Definitely do the Luggage Direct program.  It will make disembarking a lot easier for you.  If your airline allows you to use it you put your bags out the night before and you don't see your bags again till you arrive at your home airport.  Easy peasy and no stress.   Love that program.  11:55 am is certainly doable.

 

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Would we be able to make the early flight if we don't walk off with our luggage, and for some reason are unable to use luggage direct - if we just left out our luggage the night before and picked it up in the terminal?  (That's my DH's preference.)

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I would ask when you are travelling. If it is a month or so away, hopefully the federal shutdown will be over.  If not, look for longer lines at immigration and later at FLL TSA. 

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1 hour ago, sandyss said:

Would we be able to make the early flight if we don't walk off with our luggage, and for some reason are unable to use luggage direct - if we just left out our luggage the night before and picked it up in the terminal?  (That's my DH's preference.)

If there's only the two other ships in port that day, it should be easy to make that flight. The airport is very close to the pier.
Now, if there's several other ships in, or, if the government shutdown goes on that long, all bets are off on this advice.

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19 hours ago, sandyss said:

We need to make a reservation for our flight home from Fort Lauderdale in mid December.  It looks like there will be two other ships in port that day.

 

We're debating between an 11:55am flight and a 2:15pm flight that day.  (The 2:15pm flight arrives home 4 hours later than the 11:55am flight - both have a connection in Atlanta.)  Will we be able to make the 11:55am flight, or should we play it safe and choose the 2:15pm flight?

 

I think you'll be fine with the noon-ish flight, and we live in Fort Lauderdale, so we have a reasonable amount of experience with the airport. I doubt you'd even have to do self disembark. 

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Just got off the Zuiderdam in FLL yesterday, and saw one other ship in port.   Docked about 6:45 AM.   We did do Luggage Direct, and were instructed to be prepared to disembark at 7:45.   Flights out of FLL must be after 11:30 to use Luggage Direct.   We weren't called until 8 am and literally walked off the ship.   Customs took 2 minutes, but it seemed like it took ~15" to walk from our cabin to that point (perhaps I exaggerate).   The cab to the airport took 10-12" and TSA was very efficient (we do have Pre-Check).   My husband had to wait for special screening, and that took extra.    We were at our gate by 9 am for our 11:55 am flight.   

Our friends eat breakfast in the Main Dining Room, so they are already on Deck 2 and have a very short walk to the gangway.  This would save a few minutes.

If you choose to do the more traditional way of leaving luggage outside your room, there "should" be plenty of time to make the flight.   Of course, no one knows about delays and special problems that come up, but I wouldn't hesitate to book an 11:55 flight, even if not using Luggage Direct.  

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Thanks again for all the advice.  I will book the earlier flight.

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On 1/17/2019 at 4:38 PM, sandyss said:

Thanks again for all the advice.  I will book the earlier flight.

 

If you have luggage taken ashore and you're going to collect it yourself, do yourself a favor and buy a bright colored luggage strap and run it vertical.  It'll make it 10x easier to pick your bags out of a crowd both in the cruise terminal and at airport baggage claim.  I bought a 2 pack for $9 and it was money well spent!

 

luggagestrap.jpeg

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I was concerned about flight times with 9 ships in port (24,000 passengers off and 24,000 on that day), so we did a four hour history/boat tour and were delivered to the airport at 1 PM for our 3PM flights. It was interesting.

 

And regarding the luggage straps--we've used strips of fabric usually bright orange or some odd color, tie them to the luggage handle and cut them off leaving a 4 or 5" tail. Super easy to find all our luggage--and occasionally find all the family bags grouped together.

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My DH has "decorated" our suitcases with wide strips of tape.  It's very easy to find them.

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Another version of question-arrive Fort Lauderdale Feb. 3, with 2PM flight out of Miami, will use Hal's transportation. Assume this is a safe bet. Ship is Koningsdam

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We had problems embarking this past Sunday. All the power went out in the terminal!  Then they had to move the ship because the gangway wasn’t lined up properly. Then they had to stop embarkation again because the terminal was too full!

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I also encountered the same issues on Sunday. I didn't get off the ship until close to 9:30, had trouble getting through security due to electronic boarding pass not scanning, went back to ticket counter for paper boarding pass. My flight was scheduled for 12:05 which was delayed. Even with all the issues I would have made the flight if it had been on time. My suggestion is to request the first departure time (we requested the second one, because we had to get one more breakfast in) and I think you will be fine unless the shutdown continues. If it does continue then you may want to carry your luggage off. 

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