Family US Holiday – Day 7 – Around the country in 12 hours

Well, we thought that the trip over here was a long one because of the delays we had in getting off the ground, but today’s trip – proportionately – was a whole lot longer. We knew we wouldn’t get much done today besides flying from Vegas to Orlando – there’s a three hour time difference as well as the flight times adding up to 5.5 hours and a 45 minute stopover in Dallas because of the way American Airlines structures its flights.

What we didn’t know was that there would be delays on each leg, making the original 6 hours turn into 12, and instead of travelling through a couple of states, we’d be going through a dozen.

It all started in Vegas, when the flight was delayed in leaving the gate by 5 minutes. No problem – 5 minutes is nothing. However, the 14 other planes lined up on the tarmac, nose to tail, waiting for clearance to take off, were. In the end, we were delayed by about 45 minutes in getting off the ground.

Given that our original arrival time at Dallas was 4.10 and the next flight was due to leave at 4.55, this was going to be nigh on impossible to make the connection. However, it turned out the air traffic was even worse in Dallas with many flights delayed because of major thunderstorms. This meant that there was a chance we could get the connection anyhow. We made good time, but when we got to Dallas, we had to fly in circles for another 30-40 minutes before we got a landing time. We hit tarmac about 5.20pm and were relieved to discover the flight to Orlando had been delayed to a departure time of 5.55. We used the Sky Train to get around to the new terminal to find people lined up waiting to board – just made it.

(for the record, I am typing this on the plane, so I don’t know as yet if the luggage made the transfer or not – it was pretty tight, so it’s an unknown)

Anyhow, we got on the plane and it left the gate at 5.55pm – on time. Our next delay was an hour in line on the ground waiting to take off. Then it was announced by the pilot that the routing of all flights went halfway around the country and that if we were delayed any longer in getting off the ground, we’d have to head back to the gate for more fuel. Fortunately, 10 minutes later he came back on to announce that we had been bumped up in the queue and could take off.

Once we got in the air, he came back on for a third time to explain the route we had been assigned took us through Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and more, before finally getting down into Florida. Our ETA is currently (as I type this) set at 11.15pm although apparently traffic at Orlando airport is jammed which could have us circling for a bit before we land.

(Looking at a map of the US, we’re flying north from Dallas into Oklahoma almost up to the northern border with Kansas, then turning east to go through Arkansas just south of Bentonville, skirting the southern side of Tennessee – north of Memphis, south of Nashville – then diagonally into Georgia, around Atlanta and then down south along the coast, flying near Jacksonville, Florida until finally getting to Orlando)

We’ll then need to find our luggage, find the Disney desk, hope that they haven’t left for the evening and get to Disney World. Based on last time’s travel times, I don’t expect us to be getting to bed much before 1am. Fortunately, tomorrow is a recovery day – scheduled to acclimate in the new hotel room and figure out how we’ll make everything work.

update

We got to the hotel room around 1am, ordered pizza for all, unpacked a few things and ended up in bed around 3am. A very late night for the kids!

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