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Trip report April 4-21 2015 #51634
04/23/2015 09:56 PM
04/23/2015 09:56 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
2015 St. Martin April 4-21

Saturday….April 4….We got up at three am to drive to the airport...we dropped off the car at the parking spot…rode the bus to the terminal....and went to the USAir ticket counter. I handed the agent our passports. She looked at the passports and said… Steve...your passport is expired. He said...what? She said...it expired February 25.....
We looked at each other and said….Omg...what do we do? She said…let me make a phone call. A few minutes later she said…Ok ...you can go. SXM will accept you. You are cleared all the way through to SXM. We went to the admirals club to wait for our flight.

We had used Frequent Flier miles to book first class all the way to SXM.

We boarded the plane...landed in Charlotte...went to the gate to board the flight to St. Martin. The ticket agent said….Your passport is expired Steve. You cannot go.
Steve said yes I know it is expired but they called in St. Louis and cleared it all the way to SXM.
She said...Let me get the supervisor. Mr. Supervisor came to the desk and questioned us. Finally he looked on the computer and there was indeed a note that said we were cleared to go. He made a call. As we listened ...we heard him say…so you are telling me they can come? Well… you put your name on it because I am not going to be responsible for sending these people out of the country on an expired passport. He turned to us and said… I am sorry...you folks are going back to STL. Give me your luggage tags. I gave him the tags for our three bags.

He got our luggage off of the plane and booked us back to STL….coach of course. I thought it was rude of him to not ask us what we wanted to do. I could have gone on to SXM alone…my passport was not expired. Or we could have stayed in Charlotte and had the passport expedited there. But he made the decision for us.

So…We went to the admirals club to wait for our flight back to St. Louis....I called our travel agent, Jim Ruos to tell him what had happened. I called Alain Arnell at the rental car company in SXM. I called Fast passports…a company I found online that expedites passports...and I talked to a man named David…located in Miami.

I started the process to get a new passport. I filled out the paperwork on line…gave him my credit card number and downloaded the form and the address label for FEDEX. He promised delivery of the passport for Tuesday morning. I paid $345 plus $170 to the government. So Steve went back to USAIR to rebook the flight for Wednesday. They booked us coach and said there were no first class seats available.

We landed in STL at 12:15 pm. We went to pick up our luggage. NO LUGGAGE! We filled out the paperwork for the three missing bags. We took the bus back to the parking spot…picked up the car and headed to FedEx. We had until 3:00 to get a passport picture taken ($16) and to mail the paperwork.

We picked up the dog and came back home….heartbroken but hopeful.

About 7 pm…the phone rang. It was USAir in SXM. Our luggage had arrived and she wanted to know what I wanted her to do with it. She would hold it or send it home. I told her to send it home…..HUGE MISTAKE!

Sunday April 5…About 3:00 pm….SXM airport called and said our luggage had been put on the 2:40 flight to Charlotte and would arrive in STL at 8:59 pm. We drove back to the airport to get the luggage. Once again…..NO LUGGAGE.

Monday April 6… About 8 am…I called David at Fast passports. He was panicked….I had failed to send the federal application for the passport renewal. Steve went to the government site…filled out the application and printed it and we headed back to FEDEX. It was another $80 fee to send the application overnight.

STL airport called and said the luggage arrived and it was delivered at 2 pm. We had some missing items…and a broken zipper…but we were glad it had finally arrived. We went to Walmart and bought new luggage. I repacked…removing 4 days’ worth of clothes.

Tuesday April 7…I called David at fast passports. He said all the paperwork had been delivered to the state department and he would not know that the passport had been processed until about 5pm. The only way we could make our 7:50 am flight the Wednesday morning was to have the passport sent Southwest cargo for $145. So we booked the Hilton at the airport. We dropped off the dog and drove up to the Hilton and checked in about 3:00. We sat around the Hilton honors executive lounge drinking. About 5:00…David texted that the passport had been released and would arrive at the southwest cargo terminal at 12:15 am. We went to bed about 10 to sleep a little before going to pick up the passport. We arrived at the cargo terminal and were very relieved to open the box to find a brand new passport. It took us 4 days and $1000. We went back to the hotel and went back to bed.

Wednesday…April 8 our 43rd Anniversary (Yellow day)…we got up at 5:30….took the car to Parking spot…rode the bus to the airport and checked in at USAir. The passport worked GREAT! We flew to Charlotte….got there just in time to check in and board the flight to SXM.

We arrived in SXM at 3:15….got the luggage and TRIPLE AAA was there to meet us to take us to get the car. We got the car, drove to the resort, and checked in….room 152…. We unpacked and went to dinner at Papagayo. We had chicken cordon bleu. It was dry.

Thursday…April 9 we got up and had almond croissants on the patio. We set up our chairs on the beach and went to simply in Grand Case for groceries. We came back and had cheeseburgers and onion rings at Papagayo. Nancy told us she is leaving July 5. We were very sad to hear her news but were very glad for her. We laid on the beach for a while until it started raining. Our friend …Grey cat showed up. We had cat food waiting for her. I swear…this cat remembers us year to year. We came back to the house…cleaned up and went to le Testivan for dinner. Steve had scallops and shrimp and I had escargot in a puff pastry and foie gras. It was all very good. (Orange day)

Friday…April 10 we got up and had toast on the patio. We also had sandwiches for lunch on the patio. We went to Papagayo for dinner. I had penne bolognaise. We booked a motor boat ride with Phillippe from the tiko tiko to St. Bart’s for Wednesday. (Aqua day)

Saturday…April 11 we had toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We went to Tibuchon for diner. Steve had shrimp and I had foie gras and duck. Mo Mo is always a wonderful host and the food is always very good. (Blue day)

Sunday…April 12 we had toast and sandwiches. We went to Bistro Caribe’s for dinner. I had foie gras and duck. Steve had stuffed chicken. It was ok. (Black day)

Monday…April 13 we had toast and sandwiches. We went to Sunset Beach Café. We had a disappointing sunset. It was nice to see Phillippe. I had foie gras and duck confit. They had a special …two appetizers and two entrees received a free bottle of merlot. (Pink day)

Tuesday…April 14 we had toast. We went to Papagayo for cheeseburger. We went to the managers wine and cheese party. It was well attended. We had dinner at a friend’s. (Silver day)

Wednesday…April 15 we took a motorboat to St. Barth’s. On the way we saw a whale. It was a 45 minute ride. I did not get sick…but it beat me to death! What a ride! We went to Gustavia. We had a cheeseburger and fries at le select. We shopped. We went to Saline Beach. The water is beautiful! We came back to St. Martin about 5 and had dinner at Papagayo. We both had shrimp. Every year we have said we are going to go to St. Barth’s…and this year we had no intention of going…but we are so glad we did. (Red day)

Thursday…April 16 we had toast and sandwiches. For dinner we went to Oceans 82. I had foie gras and duck…Steve had escargot and shrimp. We had a beautiful sunset. It was our best meal this trip. (Gold day)

Friday…April 17 we had toast and sandwiches. We went to papagayo for dinner. I had penne bolognaise…Steve had chicken kabob. It was ok. (Lime green day)

Saturday…April 18 we had toast and sandwiches. We went to Papagayo for dinner. We both had Sirloin steak Oscar. It was mediocre. (Brown day)

Sunday….April 19 we had toast and sandwiches. We went to Ill Nettuno. We shared Lobster ravioli and I had spaghetti bolognaise. (Green day)

Monday….April 20 our last day…we had almond croissants on the patio, a cheeseburger and onion rings at papagayo, and dinner at sunset beach café. We had a spectacular sunset. I had foie gras, and beef bourgeon and Steve had sea bass. (Purple day)

Tuesday…April 21…We got up at 4:30 am…took the car back to AAA…checked in at American at the airport and argued that because Steve is executive platinum…he is allowed three bags free. This is an every year occurrence. We waited for our flight. We boarded the plane and sat there for 90 minutes….no explanation.
We got to Miami late. We waited in the admirals club for our 6:35 flight and we got home about 10:30 pm. We drove to pick up the dog and came home and crashed.
It was a wonderful vacation despite all of the obstacles.

Last edited by Cathyg; 04/23/2015 10:13 PM.
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Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51635
04/23/2015 10:14 PM
04/23/2015 10:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 1,947
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PelicanPirate Offline
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What an experience. I'd think USAIR has some explaining to do over the allowing the trip to begin and changing their mind.

Good thing you had a long trip as I read it looked like the 4 days missed turned into a pretty good SXM visit with almost 2 weeks.

How was the beach at Club O?

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51636
04/23/2015 10:19 PM
04/23/2015 10:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 7,360
SXMWendell Offline
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SXMWendell  Offline
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Glad you finally had a good vacation.

We also had problems in CLT. Boarded in STL got to CLT. The gate agent didn't understand the paperwork. Pulled the luggage. When we went to book back to STL the woman looked at my wife's paperwork then called the gate to see if our plane has left so she could put us back on it. It was gone. Anyhow after a free nites stay in CLT courtesy US Air we arrived in SXM a day late. The consistency of the training of airline employees leaves alot to be desired.

SXM??? Wendell

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: SXMWendell] #51637
04/23/2015 10:24 PM
04/23/2015 10:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
The beach at club o was wonderful. We had two days of heavy seaweed....but the beach was in good shape.

there is a big rock wall in front of papagayos now.

Wendell....i HATE USair...and I doubt they can do ANYTHING to change my mind at this point...lol

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51638
04/23/2015 10:35 PM
04/23/2015 10:35 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 670
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What a fiasco you endured for the first four days. I commend you for even being able to write about it, but I am guessing it will never happen again. Glad it turned into a good vacation once you got there. I understand your colors, what surprises me is that you and your husband are color matched. That takes work too. Also -- surprised you can eat so many bread products, I would gain weight like crazy if we did that.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51639
04/23/2015 10:35 PM
04/23/2015 10:35 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 7,360
SXMWendell Offline
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SXMWendell  Offline
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Luckily my schedule was flexible and I called everyone in SXM to move our 7 day stay dates up 1 day. The supervisor that rebooked us to SXM put us in first class going and coming. So lapping up a bunch of free booze on the plane helped us forget ( a little). Hey, so the honeymoon started a day late. At least we got to SXM.

SXM??? Wendell

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51640
04/23/2015 10:42 PM
04/23/2015 10:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Cathy--wow, how disappointing to lose those days of vacation AND spend all that extra money!! Such an awful lession for you guys to learn!! I personally would have gone on to the island, with a valid passport for myself and let the hubby come on later.. Glad it sounded like you eventually enjoyed the trip overall..


Carol Hill
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51641
04/23/2015 11:38 PM
04/23/2015 11:38 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,265
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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Well come to the expired passport club. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" /> Couple of years ago my wife kept asking about my passport expiration date. I kept insisting it was OK and quit bugging me. Nobody noticed it was expired when I checked in at SEA to MIA. But when i when to recheck in at MIA for SXM I was told it was expired. Wife could go but not me. It's a Saturday and the Fed building would not open till Monday. AA was very helpful. Printed a fake boarding pass for Monday so I could show I needed an expedited renewal and directed us to where we could get fast pictures to have ready to go. Spent two nights at the Embassy and Monday morn went to the Fed building. Renewal went quick and only paid 55.00 for the expedited process and once I got the passport I called AA and was booked on that evening flight with no rebooking charges. Arrived in SXM at 8:00 and started the party. Spending two days in Miami with my wife was a joy. She could have gone without me and I followed but having her with me was great for both of us. The couple that were traveling with us went ahead, picked up the car, checked in and were waiting for us at the airport with drinks in hand. Coarse being there for three weeks helped with only loosing two days. Loosing two for a weeks stay would be rough.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51642
04/23/2015 11:48 PM
04/23/2015 11:48 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 2,546
Spain and SXM
Sungoddess Offline
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Sungoddess  Offline
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Posts: 2,546
Spain and SXM
what do the color days mean in your report?

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51643
04/24/2015 01:08 AM
04/24/2015 01:08 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,865
Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
Biturbo Offline
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Biturbo  Offline
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Royersford, PA (30m NW of Phil...
I'm sorry that you had the passport snafu, but glad you finally made it to Club Orient. I know what the different colored days mean - remembering your past photos. Hopefully, you'll have some more to share this time. Thanks for the nice report.


"In a yellow El Camino, listening to Howlin' Wolf" - Lucinda
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51644
04/24/2015 01:51 AM
04/24/2015 01:51 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,832
Portland, OR
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You do know how to make lemonade from lemons! So sorry for the rough start, but you obviously ended out having a great time anyway. Thanks for the report. Pictures coming?


[Linked Image]
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51645
04/24/2015 06:29 AM
04/24/2015 06:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 12,790
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Cathyg,

Sounds like you deserve a gold star for perseverance and positive outlooks. So many might have paled at all the extra effort and aggravation involved (not to mention the additional expenses....) and thrown in the towel and rebooked the whole trip!

And shame on the airlines for thinking they could circumvent the rules and regulations - nice they were willing to try to help but in the end, had it been me, I would surely have been totally disappointed and furious at their broken promises and assurances as well as all the additional expenses involved.

Happy it all turned out well. The Devil's always in the details, isn't it!. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/handshake.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Biturbo] #51646
04/24/2015 08:32 AM
04/24/2015 08:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 817
Oshawa
BGH Offline
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BGH  Offline
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Oshawa
Sorry it took you 5 days to arrive in Sxm ....at least you arrived safely and enjoyed your time on sxm ...Happy 43 ... However ..There is really no excuse for an expired passport ....if you can plan a trip that should include current passports ... Good luck next time ...

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: pat] #51647
04/24/2015 08:33 AM
04/24/2015 08:33 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
the color mentioned is the color of the day...i am a tiny little bit ocd....lol

We shed tears...we were angry...we were frightened....and very sad....but thankfully now we can laugh and look at the beautiful pictures and remember the wonderful time we had.

a couple of things i want to mention...the gravel road to club o is in need of some repair....the potholes have returned.

The beach beyond club o is FULL and i mean FULL of seaweed. IT is disgusting!

Phillipe bought a new motor boat in October and now does a St. Barth's trip on Wednesdays. He has also changed up the tiko tiko trips.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51648
04/24/2015 08:39 AM
04/24/2015 08:39 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
BGH...I take complete and full responsibility for not looking at our passports. They are not due at the same time...however...i just grabbed them and did not look at them. I am not blaming anyone but myself.

The errors made by USAir...however do fall on them. We should never have been sent to Charlotte....we should have been given a choice about what to do....our luggage should never have gone to SXM....and they certainly should not have broken the zippers. We should have been put in first class. I do not take responsibility for any of that crap.

By the way....American Airlines refunded the miles for moving us from first class to coach yesterday. That alleviated a bit of the pain ...lol

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51649
04/24/2015 08:45 AM
04/24/2015 08:45 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 788
Toronto Canada
moxie Offline
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moxie  Offline
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That was quite a report-I actually read it aloud to my husband-good for you to persevere so well-not sure I could have. I remember the colours from last year. I'm surprised that you keep going to Papagayo when you find the meals 'dry' or 'mediocre' or have no comment. Thanks for posting.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: moxie] #51650
04/24/2015 09:10 AM
04/24/2015 09:10 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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Posts: 1,033
missouri
papgayos is CONVENIENT....and we do enjoy the entertainment (most nights)

Sometimes it is nice to just throw on a coverup...have dinner at papagayo and drink without worrying about driving and dance a little before retiring.

Every dinner is not dry ...one dinner was dry...the chicken cordon bleu. Papagayo has the BEST cheeseburgers and onions rings for lunch...ANYWHERE!

By the way....we always gain weight on vacation....there has never been a vacation in the last 16 years we have not. It is a fact of life for us....but hey...we are on VACATION! we eat and drink what we want and worry about getting the pounds back off...or not...after we get home.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51651
04/24/2015 09:14 AM
04/24/2015 09:14 AM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 7,060
St Louis, MO
SXMNorm Offline
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SXMNorm  Offline
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St Louis, MO
Glad you were able to get over the passport problems and enjoy your trip. I thought the "colors" referred to your swimsuit/outfit color of the day that I remember from your previous trip photos.


Next SXM visit - January/February 2021
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51652
04/24/2015 09:14 AM
04/24/2015 09:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
a shout out to TTOL members PeterandAnn....it was great to meet you!

and to old friends PAN and judy slade.....great to see you again.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51653
04/24/2015 09:18 AM
04/24/2015 09:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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Posts: 1,033
missouri
Norm...that is exactly what the colors refer to....

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51654
04/24/2015 09:23 AM
04/24/2015 09:23 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,516
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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Ohio
Sorry for your troubles.

Did you file a claim for the damaged luggage? Not sure what USAir will do but on my recent return from SXM on Delta I had a zipper punctured (not noticed until I got home) and the bag basically being useless. I filed a claim online with Delta, got a response via email 10 days later. About 10 days after that I got a phone call and a check arrived about 2 weeks later. Worth a try on the luggage. I was surprised how easy Delta was to deal with in this case.


J.D.
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: ruralcarrier] #51655
04/24/2015 09:37 AM
04/24/2015 09:37 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
Honestly...at that point...we were so glad to have our luggage back and were so frazzled and desperate to get to SXM...the broken luggage was not a huge issue. So no we did not file a claim.

in hind site....there are many things we SHOULD have done that we did not do. We were focused on the hours of our precious vacation ticking away without being in SXM.

The bottom line is...we will never go on a trip without checking the passports. It was a very costly mistake....financially and emotionally. But it also made us appreciate every moment of our trip that we had left.

SXM ...club orient...is a vacation that is hard to explain to those who have never been there. It is certainly not the most beautiful Caribbean island....but it speaks to us like no other and we count the days until we can return.

Steve is retiring in August....so for the first time since 1997...we have no vacations planned....and i will admit...it is a little frightening to me.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51656
04/24/2015 09:40 AM
04/24/2015 09:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 15,516
Ohio
ruralcarrier Offline
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Ohio
I am not sure what the time restrictions are on filing a luggage claim but you might consider checking. Totally up to you.

I can see where the events would be distressing, not to mention the financial impact. A tough lesson to learn but put it behind you and go forward.

Time to start planning a retirement trip!


J.D.
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51657
04/24/2015 09:55 AM
04/24/2015 09:55 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Cathy--you are kinder in your response to BGH than I would have been. You learned a very difficult lession. Certainly no reason for BGH to beat up on your further.

With regard to US Air, I would have treated that differently. I would have made them leave you in Charlotte and possibly have you go on without Steve, as you were certainly entitled to go on without him. I know you were totally in shock, but sometimes you just have to stand up to them.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Carol_Hill] #51658
04/24/2015 12:53 PM
04/24/2015 12:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
If I can find the name of the supervisor in Charlotte..I am going to send a message to him. I felt he was rude and condescending. He treated us like children instead of mature adults.

I would never have gone to sxm without Steve....but that was my decision to make. Not his.

We were indeed shocked and not thinking clearly....and I see many things we should have done differently. But it is what it is.

American Airlines did reimburse Steve's account for the extra ff miles he used to book first class. So at least that is taken care of.

We plan to put our house on the market in June....if it sells we will move to Florida. If it doesn't..we plan to take a road trip...with the dog..in September to the badlands.
We cannot really schedule anything right now because everything is up in the air. If we don't sell the house...we may return to sxm in November.....that new passport is just about empty and needs some new stamps!

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51659
04/24/2015 12:59 PM
04/24/2015 12:59 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Central Florida!
If the supervisor was the one who treated you badly, I wouldn't send HIM a note. I would send one to HIS supervisor, wherever that person might be. I'm sure it was an extremely stressful time!!

Best wishes with selling your house. We had a horrible time selling our house, before we moved here to Florida. But hopefully the real estate market is good there now.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51660
04/24/2015 02:50 PM
04/24/2015 02:50 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 39
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gln60 Offline
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sorry for your misfortune but at this point I would just let it go..move on

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: gln60] #51661
04/24/2015 04:27 PM
04/24/2015 04:27 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
true Carol....i dont know if i can find out his name but if i see it ...i will remember it. Real estate has picked up here a bit...so we have our fingers crossed.

gln60....we moved on...the day we arrived in SXM...lol
we can tell the story now and laugh....
you cannot change what happened...you learn from your mistakes and don't make them again.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51662
04/24/2015 05:19 PM
04/24/2015 05:19 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
We finally ended up renting out our house for a couple of years, hoping for the market to improve, which it never did, so we just took an incredible beating on the price and moved on with our lives.

Cathy--I think that you have displayed an incredible amount of poise in describing your experience. I think that most people who had suffered a similar experience would be much more angry in their description of the events. Obviously, the original problem was your fault, but you dealt with the experience as well as anyone could expect.


Carol Hill
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Carol_Hill] #51663
04/24/2015 06:27 PM
04/24/2015 06:27 PM
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Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
thank you Carol...Steve and i both held our cool...we just wanted to get to SXM...lol

We put our horses down...ages 29 and 27 march 31...they were getting so crippled. So SXM was to be our escape from our sadness. This place is so empty without them....I truly hope it sells. I dont want to live here anymore without them. This 10 acres and this big house needs a family with lots of animals...it needs laughter and joy again.So I hope Florida is in our future.

Monday I am getting a full knee replacement...so we have had a lot on our plates. In the scope of things....an expired passport is not that big of a deal. We had 13 nights in our favorite place....time to heal and laugh and eat wonderful food and see old friends.

SXM does that for us....so glad we found this tropical paradise.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51664
04/24/2015 06:55 PM
04/24/2015 06:55 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Posts: 71,936
Central Florida!
Wow, Cathy, you have had a lot to deal with recently and the knee replacement will not be easy either. Take care and hope you will get your place in the sun soon!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51665
04/24/2015 07:15 PM
04/24/2015 07:15 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 78
South Carolina
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South Carolina
I hope everything goes well with the plan to sell the house. We too think that Florida may be in our plans after retirement. You know, the warmth of Florida most of the time beckons to us. I have a countdown clock on my I-phone to the retirement date. Unfortunately 3 more years, but time to be planning now. Anyway, my wife, age 58 just had a total replacement of her left knee 3 months ago and is doing great. So great in fact that last Saturday, we went to the fastest and steepest zip line in the country and she had a great time. We did 11 zips and three rappels with a swinging rope bridge thrown in for good measure. We were in a group of 8 and she was the only female in the group. I guess you could say she was our chaperone. I had both knees replace 5 years ago at the same time. Might as well get it over with and learn to walk correct all at the same time. Anyway, I have not let it slow me down. I snow ski every year and have no problems. We are heading down in October for 15 days to celebrate our 40th anniversary. So looking forward to that. Between now and then, we have a week in Orlando the last week of May for my birthday, and then the first week of August, we have a week at Cocoa Beach, Florida and will have all 5 of our grandchildren with us and maybe both our children. Anyway, so glad that you made the most out of you time in St. Martin after the passport issues and travel problems. Good luck on the knee replacement. Do all the PT you can stand and keep active as much as possible.


Wayne & Lynne

Wishing I was knee deep in the water somewhere
Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: beachbum1313] #51666
04/24/2015 07:17 PM
04/24/2015 07:17 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
thanks!

I love the encouragement!!!!

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51667
04/24/2015 08:41 PM
04/24/2015 08:41 PM
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Posts: 333
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pandpfromcanada Offline
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So wonderful to read reports from such positive people. You took a not great start to your vacation and turned it into a wonderful holiday. All the best to you on your knee replacement. With your attitude I am sure you will come through it problem free. Sending along positive thoughts!

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51668
04/24/2015 10:32 PM
04/24/2015 10:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 12,908
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
islandgem Offline
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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Thanks Cathy for reporting the bad and good of your recent trip.Sometimes life throws us a few curves just to see how well we can handle things! Your days at Club O would help to vanish the few bad beginning days of your trip and turn those lemons into lemonade.

Good luck with your knee replacement and best wishes for a Happy retirement in Florida!




Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51669
04/25/2015 08:31 AM
04/25/2015 08:31 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,303
NJ
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RoryS Offline
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NJ
We plan on putting our house up for sale right after we get back from SXM in May. I knew we couldn't do it before we left and not stress while we were away. My husband had some surgery in April and is recovering nicely, so SXM will be a welcome after the awful winter we had and the stress. We're not going quite that far south, just to the Jersey shore, but it will definitely be a life style change. It'll be nice to have someone take "care" of all the outside chores. We'll still be near the beach - not the Caribbean of course, but can go and hear the waves on occasion until it's time again to hear the "real" waves. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />
Good luck to you!!

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: RoryS] #51670
04/26/2015 10:29 AM
04/26/2015 10:29 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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missouri
Something I forgot to address in my report.
Coming home from St. Martin....we arrived at immigration in Miami.
they have these new kiosks now where you slide your passport and get your photo taken.

The machine either allows you to go through or it marks your face with an X.

Well...both Steve and i got an X.

So we had to go to the REAL person line. Before the kiosks....there were no less than 20 lines in Miami with live agents. Now...there were 2. Very few people were allowed through immigration by the machine...which resulted in a line that was at least 200 people long. Each person took about 90 seconds to get through the line.

Yes....we waited for over an hour for our turn.

So....modern technology is at work yet again. People have been laid off...jobs gone....and machines that were created to make things faster...bogged down the entire system.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51671
04/26/2015 10:45 AM
04/26/2015 10:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 12,265
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Offline
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Auburn, WA
Those I believe are the same machines used for Global Entry. With out GE you get the X.

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: SXMScubaman] #51672
04/26/2015 10:50 AM
04/26/2015 10:50 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 1,033
missouri
Cathyg Offline OP
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Cathyg  Offline OP
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Posts: 1,033
missouri
you are most certainly correct. so why make EVERYONE use the machines only to then be rejected and go to a real person? and under staff the lines?

I don't get it

Re: Trip report April 4-21 2015 [Re: Cathyg] #51673
04/26/2015 10:57 AM
04/26/2015 10:57 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 217
Rochester, NY
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judymike Offline
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Rochester, NY
Miami is one of the few ports of Entry that now accepts the Mobile App http://mobilepassport.us/ system which is different than Global Entry (or Nexus). See the website for free registration.

Not sure if the Kiosks work for both the Mobile App and Global Entry/Nexus.

In PHL there were only six Kiosks for Global Entry/Nexus with no one in their line and we went through in about 10 seconds having previously gone through the hassle of getting Nexus.

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