Monday, April 18, 2016
Posted: Sunday, April 17, 2016 10:15 pm | Updated: 10:47 pm, Sun Apr 17, 2016.
I've told you good readers before about the Gouveia Travel Curse. I've regaled you with tales of mishaps, mayhem and mysteriously bad luck. But it's possible you didn't believe me.
In case you thought I was exaggerating, I offer this story about returning from my recent 60th birthday cruise. I'm telling you folks - you can't make this stuff up.
My wife and I had a wonderful week cruising to the Caribbean. In truth, I thought we had at least temporarily beaten the Travel Curse that has plagued me most of my life.
Then we tried to get home.
We got up early Monday morning for a flight from Florida to New York, intending to catch a connecting flight to Boston. Snow was expected back home, but hey - it was April. How bad could it be?
We got to LaGuardia at 11:30, scheduled to fly out at 1 p.m. We plunked ourselves down in the comfortable seats to await our plane, which (this is the beginning of many ironies) was coming from Boston.
An hour later our flight was canceled. We were told planes leaving Boston were seriously delayed. We were rescheduled onto another flight set for an hour later.
Then, in talking to the airline desk person (who we were to come to know intimately), we discovered that flight was also originating in Boston. It seemed a pattern was developing.
When it was eventually canceled, we were booked on a third flight and told not to worry. That aircraft was already here. Our spirits soared, right up until they told us it was also canceled.
The flight crew manning it was coming in from - you guessed it - Boston.
We were booked on yet another flight, and put ourselves on standby for a fifth. We were relieved when at about 6:30 p.m. we were allowed to walk down the jet-way and up to the plane.
But unbelievably, we were stopped by the flight attendant just one tantalizing step from the aircraft. He sadly told us our flight was canceled because - wait for it - Boston had run out of de-icer and was not accepting any additional flights.
Shaking our heads, we went back to our standby flight to be told that would probably be canceled also. At that point we admitted defeat and decided to rent a car and drive home. We marched our tired selves to the baggage office
I asked for our luggage, and was told it had just left on a plane for Boston. I laughed and said that was not possible.
But it turned out right after we walked away, our traitorous standby flight left for Logan - and took our bags with it. To top it all off, they said we would have to pick them up in Boston. Since we were not flying home with them, they could not deliver.
I resisted the homicidal impulses racing through my body, and proceeded to wait for the rental car bus. That took an hour to find us, as we stood freezing outside with no jackets (they were safely flying home in our luggage).
Eventually we got to the agency, and were told to proceed to space 13 - naturally. When we arrived, there was no car in space 13. Somehow we were not surprised.
After more than 8 hours at the airport, we got a car and drove home. We arrived about 1 am the next morning. When we got to our door, we realized our house keys were safely tucked away - in our luggage.
But we have a key in a combination lock-box near the door - which we quickly found was frozen solidly shut. That explains why at 1 am I was banging with a shovel on the side of my house, while my wife laughed hysterically.
The next morning I drove to Boston to get our three bags. Two were actually there, and the other had somehow been put on a plane to Pittsburgh. The airline offered to deliver that one the next day, and later called to say they would drop it off between 2 and 3 am. I'm not kidding.
Then I had to return the rental car - to the airport in Providence.
It's amazing anyone still travels with me.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and longtime local official. He can be emailed at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.