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Missed the Millennium today - Reminder to NEVER fly on the day of the cruise!


Tapi
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Not only do we fly a couple of days early, we also arrive at the airport with lots of time to spare. We like to get checked in, have a meal, find some water and snacks for the plane. We once had family members who arrived an hour before a flight and missed it because of long TSA lines. They were on standby for three more flights before they finally snagged one. Kudos to the Disney Cruise airport team for finding their luggage from the missed flight and getting them to the cruise ship before we sailed.

 

My sister once got got stuck in a terrible traffic jam in Atlanta and missed a flight to Europe prior to a cruise. They were flying in a day early, stayed at an airport hotel, and caught a flight the next day but still had a near miss. (They were actually able to provide newspaper documentation of the unusually difficult traffic problem and get their travel insurance to compensate for their extra expenses which surprised me.}

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We're so risk averse that we go down the day before a cruise because of what should be a three to three and a half hour drive to the port.  There are occasionally accidents on major highways that tie up traffic for hours at a time, so why take the chance?   Even if you're in town the night before you sometimes hit one of those clogs near the port that sometimes becomes absolute gridlock, which is still a stressful way to start what should be a fun and relaxing vacation.  This is why I hate going out of the Port of Miami or Port Everglades and reeeeeally wish Celebrity would expand their Florida footprint to Port Canaveral.

 

I also don't fly to away football games the day of the game!

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Oh gosh now I’m worried. We’re on the Millennium next Saturday and I booked flights through Celebrity day of thinking the 10pm

sail time would be okay. Our first flight leaves DC to Charlotte at 6am then we’re supposed to be in St Maarten at 1:20pm. If it’s a Celebrity air booking and flight out of Charlotte is delayed causing us to miss the cruise, what happens? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Citymom92 said:

Oh gosh now I’m worried. We’re on the Millennium next Saturday and I booked flights through Celebrity day of thinking the 10pm

sail time would be okay. Our first flight leaves DC to Charlotte at 6am then we’re supposed to be in St Maarten at 1:20pm. If it’s a Celebrity air booking and flight out of Charlotte is delayed causing us to miss the cruise, what happens? 

AA has a second flight leaving CLT at 11:30am and arriving in SXM at 3:33pm.

 

Flights by Celebrity makes lots of empty promises like "we got your back" and "we'll coordinate with the ship" but they're not obligated to pay to put you on another airline (which is moot out of CLT because AA is the only game in town) or fly you to the first port (which you can't do anyway on this itinerary because Celebrity isn't allowing downline boarding), or to make the ship wait for a delayed flight.

 

Two weeks ago someone posted on here that they missed their SXM cruise (the first Millennium sailing) because the separate line to get their EHAS documentation checked before they could check in in CLT was so long.  After they missed their flight, they wasted over an hour on the phone with Celebrity who wound up not being able to do anything in time to get them on the second SXM flight.  Their mistake was not first talking to an AA agent at the airport, who has a lot more power to get you where to need to be than a Celebrity agent.  If there's a line to talk to an AA agent, at least get in that line while you're on the phone with Celebrity.

 

If you don't already have travel insurance, I'd advise buying a policy that will cover the cost of your missed cruise should airline delays or cancellations prevent you from boarding the ship in SXM.

Edited by DallasGuy75219
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Now I’M worried. We ALWAYS fly the day before. This time we have a direct flight from Boston to SXM on the day of because when we booked it, they said you had to go right from the airport to the ship (St. Maarten COVID regulations) and could not stay overnight.  Is that not true now?  We arrive at noon and the ship leaves at 10. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Glendakayself said:

Not only do we fly a couple of days early, we also arrive at the airport with lots of time to spare. We like to get checked in, have a meal, find some water and snacks for the plane. We once had family members who arrived an hour before a flight and missed it because of long TSA lines.

That was the problem yesterday. At 5:00am, there were massive lines everywhere. At the ticket counter, and then at the TSA security checkpoint. There were so many missing passengers at departure time, that the airline decided to hold the flight until they could get everybody through. That obviously spelled doomed for people making tight connections, including the lady headed to St. Maarten. 
 

And for people saying that they won’t worry unless it’s during a time of year when there are snow storms, etc, yesterday was a perfect sunny day, both at origin and destination as well as along the route. It was also the first flight in the morning so the aircraft was there overnight. 
 

Travel has returned with such a vengeance, that it has caught many travel related businesses with their pants down, from airlines, to TSA, to third party special assist services (like wheelchairs), to food and convenience establishments at airports. Not enough employees to process the huge wave of passengers. Many remain closed. Something for everybody wishing to travel in this early post-pandemic stage to consider as things stabilize and businesses are once again staffed properly.  

Edited by Tapi
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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Sox Fan Cruiser said:

Now I’M worried. We ALWAYS fly the day before. This time we have a direct flight from Boston to SXM on the day of...

The disruption yesterday was caused by staffing at the origination airport. Best piece of advice that I can give based on what I saw yesterday is that you arrive with plenty of time (not exaggerating when I say at least 3-4 hours). Better to get there early and not need the extra time than the other way around. Several people that I spoke to yesterday had arrived at the airport 2 hours before the flight and still hadn’t cleared TSA at departure time. 

Edited by Tapi
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4 hours ago, DallasGuy75219 said:

AA has a second flight leaving CLT at 11:30am and arriving in SXM at 3:33pm.

Unfortunately, the existence of a later flight doesn’t mean that someone will be able to take it if they miss their original flight. Flights to leisure destinations, specially those with Saturday only frequency, are most of the time operating at 100% capacity. The airline isn’t going to bump confirmed passengers off a later flight to accommodate someone who missed their earlier one, even if they are on their way to catch a cruise. 

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8 hours ago, Denny01 said:

And all of those ‘options’ fall apart with bad weather/computer glitches; your ‘direct flight’ airplane is hung up in the prior airport; most flights are fully booked so you can’t move to the next flight; ‘seasons’ all have other delays including bad wx; planning on surviving a 3hr delay means you miss the ship with a 4, 5 or 6 hr delay.

 

In other words, you are rolling the dice and you’ll lose sooner or later with that list. But we all do as we wish. But heard Waaaay too many ‘almost didn’t make it’s’ / ‘so sad her flight was delayed’ / etc. All of them could be avoided. 

 

I’m 6 hrs from Tampa and 10 hrs from FLL/Miami and I Always arrive at least one day prior. But thats me. That way I don’t sit around the day prior intently watching the wx, the flights or traffic issues. I start my vacation 1, 2 even a week prior to a cruise. And yes, I have the options to do so.

 

Den

I get it.

 

I’m a 2 hour flight to FLL or MIA.  There are about 2-3 flights later than the first flight of the day, which I always book (should be no issues with the plane coming in late from somewhere else).  I usually get to the pier well before noon.  Crazies who want to disrupt a flight seem to prefer evening or late afternoon flights and don’t seem to want to get up early enough to take a 7:00 a.m. flight.

 

Weather is an issue.  Matter of fact, if there is bad weather predicted for my flight 2-3 days before it takes off, I will change it to the day before, which is somewhat easier given the more liberal flight changes the airlines are allowing.

 

I’ve flown over 2M miles on 3-4 airlines over the years (2M alone on Delta, which I usually fly). So, while not an expert, have a relatively good feel for when/if flights will be delayed or canceled well before they actually do so.

 

If you can’t get to the pier by noon, if you have connecting flights, if you’re flying anything other than the first flight of the day, if there’s ANY type of weather at your origination, your final destination or anywhere in between the two, fly in the day before.  Or, at least book with your cruise line for your flights so you have them to help you work through any sort of flight delays.

 

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Tapi said:

That was the problem yesterday. At 5:00am, there were massive lines everywhere. At the ticket counter, and then at the TSA security checkpoint. There were so many missing passengers at departure time, that the airline decided to hold the flight until they could get everybody through. That obviously spelled doomed for people making tight connections, including the lady headed to St. Maarten. 
 

And for people saying that they won’t worry unless it’s during a time of year when there are snow storms, etc, yesterday was a perfect sunny day, both at origin and destination as well as along the route. It was also the first flight in the morning so the aircraft was there overnight. 
 

Travel has returned with such a vengeance, that it has caught many travel related businesses with their pants down, from airlines, to TSA, to third party special assist services (like wheelchairs), to food and convenience establishments at airports. Not enough employees to process the huge wave of passengers. Many remain closed. Something for everybody wishing to travel in this early post-pandemic stage to consider as things stabilize and businesses are once again staffed properly.  

Agree.  I have no issues getting to the airport 3 hours early just in case TSA is backed up.  That said, I also have access to the Delta Airlines lounge with free drinks, food, and WiFi with relatively comfy couches.

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14 hours ago, Alsmez said:

This is our policy if we have to connect or it's longer than a 3-hour flight to the destination. If we can fly directly to the port city, we are comfortable with day-of travel as long as we are on the earliest flight out. From NYC, that means we are fine flying day-of for all East Coast and Florida departures, but we would definitely go a day ahead for Caribbean or West Coast departures, probably New Orleans/Galveston as well. Our policy may change once we start traveling again, though, since there are fewer flights available these days.

What about snowstorms? Would you still fly the day of during the winter?

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Usually we drive or fly in a day early.... but next cruise... we used choiceair for our Royal Nassau sailing.. and we went ahead and do it for the same day... in theory we get in around 3:30... so I am hoping that there is enough time in the schedule to allow rebooking flights if necessary... The ship leaves around 9pm and first stop is Freeport... so if worse comes to worse.. I suppose we could fly into Freeport...  at least the cruise line will be aware of us... and I hope.. hope that if we end up delayed that they would hold the ship... a few hours... not sure I can count on that.

We considered coming in a day early..but DH mobility is not very good and I was concerned about his ability to navigate a large hotel..like Atlantis.

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15 hours ago, Tapi said:

So I just wanted to throw this out there, and remind everybody to never fly on the same day of the cruise

To be honest we don't even drive in the same day ..... Too many what if's

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5 hours ago, Citymom92 said:

Oh gosh now I’m worried. We’re on the Millennium next Saturday and I booked flights through Celebrity day of thinking the 10pm

sail time would be okay. Our first flight leaves DC to Charlotte at 6am then we’re supposed to be in St Maarten at 1:20pm. If it’s a Celebrity air booking and flight out of Charlotte is delayed causing us to miss the cruise, what happens? 

Your itinerary is similar to what this lady had yesterday. Early morning flight with a quick connection through a hub on the same day of the cruise.
 

If I were in your shoes, I would protect myself and not wait for Celebrity to do something for me if something happens on the day of the cruise. By then, it will most likely be too late to have an alternate plan to get on the ship. 
 

If you’re unable to fly down to St. Maarten on an earlier date, at least consider taking the flight from DC to CLT the evening prior. Spend the night at a hotel and be ready to get on the nonstop flight from CLT to SXM without having to worry about missed connections due to a delayed or canceled flight. As mentioned above, give yourself plenty of time for check in at the airport. 
 

Best of luck and I hope that everything goes well! Have an awesome time! 

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7 minutes ago, Tapi said:

If you’re unable to fly down to St. Maarten on an earlier date, at least consider taking the flight from DC to CLT the evening prior. Spend the night at a hotel and be ready to get on the nonstop flight from CLT to SXM without having to worry

👍🏼

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1 hour ago, graphicguy said:

 

I’ve flown over 2M miles on 3-4 airlines over the years (2M alone on Delta, which I usually fly). So, while not an expert, have a relatively good feel for when/if flights will be delayed or canceled well before they actually do so.

 

Interesting. 🤔 Hubby is a pilot for AA and he doesn’t even know if there will be a mechanical issue until he gets to the airport.

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6 minutes ago, ReneeFLL said:

Hubby is a pilot for AA and he doesn’t even know if there will be a mechanical issue until he gets to the airport.

Not surprising, but it is sad there isn't better communication between maintenance, flight crew and the flying public.

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15 hours ago, Mike45LC said:

How sad!

 

I've never missed a ship, but flying into San Juan, Puerto Rico, the day of the cruise, one Christmas season, it was close.  There were Christmas tree lots everywhere near the port, and people were double and triple parked to load trees onto their cars.  Complete grid-lock.  I was going crazy.  But we made it.

This happened to my mother once--she was flying from AZ and we were meeting her in SJ. Big weather-related delay in DFW. Thankfully they didn't sail until 11pm and she made it by the skin of her teeth. Very nerve-racking--and I would have so hated to leave her on the island to make her way home and spend Xmas alone. And she missed the famous boat parade--Feliz Navidad, etc...

 

This taught us to never, never fly the day of. (We've also gotten MANY weather delays on the back end, invariably from SJ in the winter--but who cares then? Lol.)

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13 minutes ago, ReneeFLL said:

Interesting. 🤔 Hubby is a pilot for AA and he doesn’t even know if there will be a mechanical issue until he gets to the airport.

Like all those flights cancelled in the past few days in the west, due to hot runways. A few degrees can make a huge difference on whether they can fly.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Denny01 said:

Ooooh, I know it’s 19N on the B2B, but Amsterdam is to Die For! We stayed 4Ns in a neat little Euro hotel near the park with the art museums and it was fantastic. One of the friendliest and open cities. we got tram tickets and just road all over and will go back as much as possible. I realize I’m saying what you wish you could do, but if at all possible……

 

den

We always do this too! Have made good friends with some of our airbnb landlords (which they have now shut all that down...) And you can never run out of things to do! Take the train to other places, etc. Plus they have luggage lockers all over the city, so you can put up your bags and just schlep your carryon overnight, even down to Rotterdam or someplace.

Edited by sofietucker
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3 minutes ago, rucrazy said:

Not surprising, but it is sad there isn't better communication between maintenance, flight crew and the flying public.

The problem is that an issue can come up at the end of the previous flight. Maintenance might already be working on the issue, but hubby wouldn’t know until he got there. Also, sometimes repairs can take longer than expected. 
 

There is communication between the flight crew and maintenance. What would you have them do with the public? There isn’t a lot they can do except inform them there will be a delay and by that time they are usually sitting at the gate.

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7 minutes ago, sofietucker said:

Like all those flights cancelled in the past few days in the west, due to hot runways. A few degrees can make a huge difference on whether they can fly.

That’s weather related and not a mechanical issue. Like you said a few degrees can make a difference and can change any hour of the day.

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7 hours ago, Citymom92 said:

Oh gosh now I’m worried. We’re on the Millennium next Saturday and I booked flights through Celebrity day of thinking the 10pm

sail time would be okay. Our first flight leaves DC to Charlotte at 6am then we’re supposed to be in St Maarten at 1:20pm. If it’s a Celebrity air booking and flight out of Charlotte is delayed causing us to miss the cruise, what happens? 

We have this itinerary the following week. We normally just fly standby in early but nothing is normal now so this was the best workaround that we could do. I know that the airports will be crazy. Just buying tickets has increased our odds but there are so many things that can go wrong, I can't worry about this that far down the list. 

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Tapi said:

 

If you’re unable to fly down to St. Maarten on an earlier date, at least consider taking the flight from DC to CLT the evening prior. Spend the night at a hotel and be ready to get on the nonstop flight from CLT to SXM without having to worry about missed connections due to a delayed or canceled flight. As mentioned above, give yourself plenty of time for check in at the airport. 

Now this advice is worth the price of admission: had never considered it as an option! We sometimes drive to Richmond, or take the train to DC, if the $$ work in our favor--always going a day early--but this makes the most sense of all. Since Norfolk "International" airport is merely a hub with no nonstops, and we're Advantage, we always fly AA through Charlotte anyway (which, with the newer terminals and necessary shuttles, is getting as bad as the Hellmouth of Air Travel, aka Hartfield-Jackson/ATL). THANKS!

Edited by sofietucker
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1 hour ago, ReneeFLL said:

What about snowstorms? Would you still fly the day of during the winter?

I Don’t fly in the day of the cruise in the Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall. 

 

Yes, there are those that their vacation budget doesn’t allow the costs of an overnight or their time off is too limited. Understand. But being an experienced traveler doesnt mean squat when you’ve limited yourself to few/no options,. Experience doesnt lower the stress watching the wx and hoping, no other way of saying it, that later flights will be available close to departures. 

 

think about the fun and zest of planning a fun cruise and then playing the ‘what if’ game you put yourself in. 

 

Another approach I take when flying to Europe, which of course is day(s) prior, is I book a flight to the connecting hub to Europe Well prior, not the one that an automatic or travel agent sets up arriving an hr or even 2 prior. I arrive 3+hrs at least. And if I use Celebrity Air, you can change your local departure to an early flight out and relax at the major hub. Heck, been traveling more and got a CC that allows me access to a club. Nice!  Yes, more cost, but I won’t need Big Funds in 10-15 years, I’ll be sitting on my porch yelling at the teenagers to ‘Get off my grass!’. 

 

Enjoy and I suggest, yup just suggest, you lower the stress and give yourself options beyond hoping your someday flight makes it or you can jump on a later same day one. Left from a regional through a major hub to a regional last Monday and returned Friday and all, All, airports were jammed and my 6am departure flight was fully booked as was the return midday. So good luck rebooking a day prior or especially the day of departure.

 

den

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