St Thomas to Orlando Day 11
Saying goodbye is never easy....
I was up bright and early today. I had to double and triple check everything before we left for the airport. I have to admit, I wasn't in a hurry nor did I want to leave.
Getting up early on our last morning here would send me off with a bang!
It was just so pretty! I didn't want to move at all but they beautiful orangish-pink skies would soon vanish and the sun was coming up.
It soon turned into a bright sunny day and the family was up by now.
I was looking in all of the cabinets, because somehow something might have magically jumped out of my luggage and back on the shelf. Sakari was busy pealing skin from her dads shoulder (this is a fetish of hers) and she peeled the biggest piece of skin off Eekkkk!
We had a couple visitors this morning.
Then we heard a familiar sound and looked down. Yep, the black cat was back! This meant that the girls had to go down and do another visit. I kept my eye on Kiera to make sure when she came back up there wasn't any weird bulges under her shirt. No live animals can be taken back home with us Kiera.
They were up bright and early, working on Sugar Bay and hauling away the mound of debris they had piled up there.
Poor Kiera was forced to pull her bag around with a broken wheel today.
Our flight wasn't leaving until 3:13pm (<-----weird time I know) but we were packed all the way and were getting hungry and I also didn't know what kind of a wait there was going to be at the airport, so we decided to leave a little after 9am.
I'm not sure if I told the story about us finding this stuffed animal when we first arrived and the girls were throwing it up in the air and it landed upstairs. Well, they must have found it as well. I caught a glimpse of it as we pulled out of the parking lot. We had to laugh about it. They had put it out by their entrance way for someone else to find.
This was the last time this dude would be driving in St Thomas and on the other side of the road. He did a good job and kept my nerves down...for the most part. We started down the hill for the last time and it was time to say goodbye to the wonderful, extremely nice, security guards.
There goes the turn off to Coki Beach. I would give anything to be going there one last time.
Time for driving all these hills as we made our way toward the airport.
These 2 speedbumps out of nowhere and so close together always had me scratching my head
We decided it would probably be cheaper to stop for breakfast at Wendy's than to eat at the airport. I found it interesting that they didn't offer as much on their menu as back home. You could get a croissant or a english muffin. Welp, we all got croissants so they made it easy for us.
Fresh food markets on the side of the road.
I found myself taking pictures of every gas price as we went by. You would find a price of $5.33 and a block away it would be $5.09. I guess it really paid to shop around. We never once had to put gas in the car and had a deal with Hertz that they would fill it up for us at $5.29 a gallon no matter what the price was. They had charged me for 1/2 tank of gas at the time of purchase. We had exactly a half a tank of gas left, so there would be no additional charges.
As we were coming up to our turn off to go to the airport, something hit me. If we had kept the original car we rented, we would have to go to that place, do the paperwork and who knows how long that would have taken, then wait for them to take us to the airport and killing a lot of unnecessary time. I was almost relieved that all we had to do now it go directly to the airport.
Down the long road to the airport you would find the parking lot for Hertz where we would be expected to park the car. We figured it would be easiest to just circle around and drop us and the luggage off at the curbside and then the hubby would go back and park it in the lot.
We waited around for the hubby to come meet us at the curb. Before long, I spotted him. He said drop off was easy. Just park the car and the attendant there came and got the keys and that was it. Well, this kind of made me nervous. You just handed the keys to this person? How do you know if he was even an employee? Did you get a paper saying you returned it? What if they try to say we didn't return it? What if they say we were late?
Well, everything was fine and I'm just an overthinker.
We arrived at the counter at Frontier and no one was there. Hmmm. Well, we did get there extremely early so I would ask at the counter next to it where everyone was. I was told that they did not open until 10am. The next picture was taken at 10:38am. Hmmm
There was another couple that was questioning the time they would be opening as well. They were told 11am. We all decided to sit down and wait. Standing is over rated. We seen another family walk up and get in line shortly after that. They would stop to ask someone what time they were opening and they were told 12 noon. Geesh. Does anyone know when this desk opens up? The line was starting to form and we figured we should probably get up and get in line.
"YOU can help prevent flight delays!" Take note Frontier!
The desk finally opened up at 12noon and they were definitely taking their good old time with taking the first customer up to the desk. Once they started taking our luggage and weighing it they went down a list to ask if we had any of those items and I stopped really quick when they said the word "vape". Oh em gee! I put my vape in one of the luggage and I had no idea which! Well, luckily enough, unlike checking your luggage in when flying there, they only weigh your luggage there and then you take it with you so I would have a chance to open them up and search for it.
I opened each one up and I couldn't find it at all. I didn't know what we were going to do. Well, the only thing we could do was to just go on. If they found it than they would have to find it and take it. I really didn't care at that point. I looked over and seen a very LONG line. When I say LONG, I mean LONG! It went on and on and I felt like we would never find the end of it.
Well at least I can say that they kept the line moving fairly quickly. We went in through the doors and it's a complete blur to me after that but the hubby states you zig-zag in the lines up to customs where they ask you questions and scan your passport. Then you go to the x-ray machine where they scan your luggage and you have to then put it on the conveyor belt and wave it goodbye. Then you get in the zig-zag line again to x-ray yourself. Then you make it in the airport. Whew!
We were able to find seats and we waited for awhile and around 1:30ish we decided we should probably get something to eat before getting on the plane. We got a couple of sandwiches and the kids wanted fruit.
We found a place to sit just in time and before long, it was getting crowded.
Our plane was here and we were going on Cliff the Mountain Goat!
We headed out to the plane at 2:41pm and the VIP green carpet was laid out. Only this time, for the first time, I would notice it wasn't even carpet! It was painted. Hey, in my defense, if it's not ocean related, I really don't pay attention to those details.
Now I had heard many many times before (on the St Thomas facebook group) that a lot of people were being diverted to either St Croix or San Juan. They were saying that St Thomas didn't have any gas for the planes and they would all be diverted to other places to be able to fill up enough to get to the states. Well, I noticed the gas truck at our plane. Hmmm, obviously they HAVE gas.
Before take off, the captain would come on to announce that our plane would be going to San Juan Puerto Rico for GAS! However, he did offer an explanation and I'm not sure why all the people complaining about it was never told the reason behind it.
So the reason was... they only put so much gas in the bigger planes because the runway is not that long to begin with and there's a mountain in front of it. I mean we want to make it over the mountain right? So this is why they have been diverting there. (Although I don't remember this happening last time we were here nor did I write about it in my report so maybe it's a new change?)
We were now taking off and it was around 3:30pm.
Within a few minutes we were circling around Puerto Rico and waiting for our time to land. One can never get tired of those views right?
We landed at 4:05pm and was ready to fuel up the rest of the way. Now of course the reason people have been complaining about this was because they have a connecting flight, with not much time in between, and having to stop over for refueling is causing them to miss their flight. I was just glad that we did not have a connecting flight and were going to our only destination for the day.
Now I honestly don't remember how long we were there because I didn't take a picture of us taking off after refueling. By the end of our vacation, I start to slack a little bit. I stop taking reminder notes, I take less pictures, I take less videos and although there are a lot of "behind the scene" pictures for time-related purposes that I don't share, the end of the trip is just that...the end. I'm not as enthusiastic about it and I forgot. However, I did find a video just now and I had to do a little digging in the file to find the actual time, and it states we were going down the runway at 5:08pm. So that meant the delay would cost everyone 1 hour! I'm keeping this in mind when I plan another trip in the future.
The next picture I would take wouldn't come for another hour and I just loved looking at the puffy clouds against the bright blue sky.
You have to remember that Frontier is just like Spirit. They do not give you free snacks or drinks like Southwest. So, we managed to stop and get snacks at the airport before we had left. However, everyone wants what we didn't buy of course. So we all purchased Pringles (and a pop for me).
Sakari had just pulled a Kendra move....you can tell they are sisters.
Our pilot taking a break mid-flight
Yes, we have the same super small trays in front of us that you pretty much have enough room for a cup on. The same as Spirit.
Now I had not noticed but was talking with Sakari in front of us and all of a sudden it hit me! Look at HER tray!!!! How can this be? She's in the same seating category as me! I would discover that because she sat in the seat directly behind the bigger, more expensive seats that she would be provided with that large tray. I mean I'm sure they make a bunch of those seats to install on the planes for the front row and they wouldn't be manufacturing a small amount with a bigger chair and small tables. Just too much work. Again, another thing to keep in mind when booking.
Well at least she had plenty of room on there to draw...and draw she did of her aggravating Kiera LOL
Wondering about pricing? Here ya go... Snacks $4.50 and pop is $3.25 (but you do get the entire can, unlike when you are on Southwest and they pour your pop into a cup compacted with all the ice they can get in there).
It was now 7:50pm and we were preparing to land. We had almost made it to our destination. Whew! It felt like such a long flight.
We had landed and it was 8pm. Our flight was supposed to land at 6:49pm so I can definitely see where people would be upset if they had a connecting flight to catch. Thank goodness we didn't (well, for the sake of catching another flight but I really did wish we were going on home tonight instead of having to stay over another night).
It was time to ride the monorail over to the main terminal. Something Sakari always loves to do even though it's a short ride and Kiera hasn't experienced this yet.
We gathered our luggage and we all decided we were pretty hungry. There's tons of restaurants here within the Orlando airport. We decided on Chick-Fil-A. Kiera wanted some Cinnabon but I had no idea that she would be getting this huge 6 pack and I would ask her how in the world was she planning on eating those? But, she figured that she would just have one to satisfy her craving tonight and the rest we'd eat for breakfast in the morning.
We were staying here inside the airport at the Hyatt. We had stayed here before with Kendra and family last time we went to St Thomas and it is super nice. However, the prices have went up drastically...so the price was SUPER not nice! This room would cost me just shy of $400 for the NIGHT! Ouch! But, it was our ONLY option because we had a VERY early flight out the following day and I didn't want to risk missing the flight or having to deal with getting a ride to the airport.
Check in was super easy and then we headed up to our room.
So as you can see, the place is super nice, but $400/night nice? Eh, I would have rather saved myself $300 and stayed at another Rodeway for the night just to sleep. What really bothered me was we were only going to have a few hours here basically. We were going to be up very early so I think they should have a 1/2 night stay rate. ;)
But, we did have a balcony, which we spent less than 5 minutes out on when we first arrived.
Last time we were here, they put us on a high floor and at the end of the hallway. It was a very long walk. However, we made out this time and we were very close to the elevator AND we were a few doors down from the pool. Well, the kids wanted to swim of course. Not like they had enough water time on vacation right?
So, we headed out to the pool for them to do a little "late night" swimming (even though it was only just shy of 10pm...but remember, we were usually in bed by now and it had been dark for a few hours). We had the place to ourselves! I'm not sure why because it was a Friday night and last time we were here there were tons of people out here either swimming or just sitting around in groups drinking and eating. Maybe everyone else had early morning flights as well?
Honestly, I don't know how they were swimming because being up on a rooftop, it was pretty windy out and I was a little cold myself. They said the water was warm. Thank goodness the Hyatt has huge bins full of very warm heated towels. I took about 4 of them and wrapped myself up and was comfortable.
This kids really didn't swim too long and I was telling them it was time to go. We had an early day in the morning and we should actually be asleep now. We headed in and they took warm showers and I was on a hunt for some pop. I walked to the vending area and the card reader didn't work. I tried another floor, still didn't work. So, I went to the front desk to ask where to get one and they had them right there behind the desk. WHEW! Life saver.
Right outside our door and on our floor
It was now 11pm and I didn't know how I was about to get these kids to sleep let alone myself. But we would have to try. I set my alarm for 4am because we had to be on the plane at 5:50am and I know that Orlando is a busy airport.
When we turned out the lights, the under the bed nightlights came on and I would spend the rest of the night tossing and turning trying to get to sleep.
UP NEXT...Going home and are we going to miss our flight?