I knew flying through Miami was a bad idea.
The first time I flew to Miami airport, I was fifteen years old and on my way to meet Aunty Leah, Uncle Benny, and Grandpa for a week-long vacation. It was my first time travelling alone; I’d been assured that Aunty, Uncle, and Grandpa would meet me. They didn’t. After inquiring with their airline and discovering that their flight had been delayed by five hours, I cried. I had no idea what to do with myself. I called Dad for guidance. He reached out to Mum’s Aunty Doris, and I soon had an address to give a taxi driver. I stayed at Doris’s house until Aunty and Uncle came to collect me.
The second time, Mum and I were on our way to Florida a few months before my wedding to shop for a dress for Mum (and to meet up with Aunty Leah and Uncle Benny.) The first leg of our flight—to Washington, D.C.—was delayed on the tarmac by several hours; by the time we got to Washington it was late at night and there were no more flights to Miami. The airline put us up in a hotel overnight and rerouted us through Charlotte, NC. Twenty-four hours after our original flight time, we arrived in Florida for our truncated shopping weekend.
I was starting to feel like maybe Miami airport was just bad luck. Or was it that meeting Aunty Leah in Miami was the problem? This isn’t confirmation, strictly speaking, but after Aunty Leah died and they were bringing her to Toronto for burial, her body got delayed in Miami for a while. Of course it did, I marvelled. MIA had struck again.
By now, you understand why flying through Miami on our way to Galapagos (listen to me saying “on our way” as if Miami wasn’t in the exact opposite direction) felt like a bad idea to me. The only better options involved paying an extra $1500 and flying through Panama. We reasoned that we had far better ways to spend $1500 and the extra flight time wasn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. So we booked.
Our flight from San José arrived in Miami on time. We were fully prepared for a tightly-timed transfer, and to their credit the kids moved quickly and without complaint through customs and the security re-check. We made it to the gate area only two minutes after the boarding time on our tickets, stopped to check which gate we were going to, and saw this:
AA927 GUAYAQUIL CANCELLED
Our flight was cancelled. Over the next two hours we learned that we’d been rescheduled to the earliest possible flight: 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Two days late. We’d miss our flight to Galapagos. We’d miss the first three days of the Worldschooling retreat.
Then we learned that there were no hotel rooms available anywhere in Miami because of an arts festival. The airline was very sorry, but all they could offer were complimentary paper pillows (you know the ones) and tiny fleece blankets.
All I can say is, thank God for in-laws who have a condo just north of Fort Lauderdale.
Please excuse me while I go to sleep.