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Rotten end to a great trip! #59478
06/24/2015 10:04 AM
06/24/2015 10:04 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Central Florida!
Well, we're back home. Got back home at midnight last night. Our second to last day, our laptop crashed. In general, that wouldn't be a big deal, as it was old. But I had copied all my pictures from this trip onto the laptop and wiped my camera cards! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" /> So, other than the few pictures we uploaded here (smaller versions anyway), I have no pictures from the trip until the final day and a half.. We will try to see if we can resurrect the hard drive or not, but I'm not at all certain, since there's nothing else on there that's worth saving, so it's not worth putting a lot of money into.

AND...Miami was a freaking ZOO last night.. Our flight left SXM about 40 minutes late. Kind of weird, they held a TOTALLY full plane for 40 minutes, something about getting a medical clearance for someone to fly. We had no problem getting right to a gate and there is now a tram which took us from the gate to immigration, which was a very short walk. That's when things fell apart. The electronic kiosks weren't working right, as probably at least 1/3 of people were getting an "x" through their picture. Eric again was a lucky one and got the "x". Probably 15 minutes in the "x" line, and we waited maybe 20 minutes after that for luggage and then there was CUSTOMS. OMG!! We have never seen customs like that before. I honestly don't know how long we waited in the customs line but it was forever. It was 1 hour and 45 minutes from when our plane landed until we were through immigration and customs. Lots of people were missing flights. We were happy to 'only' have to drive 3 1/2 hours from there. The 'mobile app' thing was in place there, but I never actually saw anyone using it..


Carol Hill
SXM Sponsors
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59479
06/24/2015 10:27 AM
06/24/2015 10:27 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,427
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
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pat  Offline
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Brookfield, CT.
Well that all really does put a sad ending to an otherwise good vacation. Sorry to hear of all the issues but I guess you'll just have to schedule another trip to make up for it. Promise him anything, but give him frites fancais? Or you could always make them yourselves and I hear LGM has a great sale going on!! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" />


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: pat] #59480
06/24/2015 10:28 AM
06/24/2015 10:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Yeah, I never did get those frites! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Smile.gif" alt="" />


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59481
06/24/2015 10:29 AM
06/24/2015 10:29 AM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 84
East Central Florida
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Marcheall Offline
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East Central Florida
Same Miami situation for us last week. The kiosks were working fine, but the lines were all long. We had the same 1:45 time from landing to immigration/customs clearance. Were you on the same 3:00 AA flight to Miami that we took? I'm thinking there must be a ton of international flights getting in....all around 6:00. At one point, I was even thinking it would be easier to go SXM to Charlotte to Orlando. Just to avoid Miami.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: pat] #59482
06/24/2015 10:32 AM
06/24/2015 10:32 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 11,582
Eric_Hill Offline

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The kiosk seems to work great, fast, etc.

What appeared to be happening is that one person in the family would end up with the X, which then made everybody have to do the regular line. Saw very few families that made it to the non X line. Singles seemed to make it to the clear line fairly often.

I don't know what they were doing at customs -- as normally you walk up say Hi they glance at you and send you on your way. Last night they were actually asking questions of "everybody". Saw more people being directed to the additional section (additional baggage scan/duty payment area) then I have ever seen before.

That is where the hang up on the whole process was.


Eric Hill
TTOL Sponsors
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Marcheall] #59483
06/24/2015 10:38 AM
06/24/2015 10:38 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Central Florida!
Yes, we were on the 3 PM flight. We were on that exact same flight in December 2014 and had no problems..


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Eric_Hill] #59484
06/24/2015 10:46 AM
06/24/2015 10:46 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 17,814
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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I wonder if it has something to do with the resent TSA scandal with immigration/customs putting more emphasis in screening people so as not to look complacent.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: SXMScubaman] #59485
06/24/2015 10:53 AM
06/24/2015 10:53 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Central Florida!
Customs is supposed to be for control of what people are bringing into the country, like drugs or meat or fruits, etc., not security per se. Last night was craziness though...


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59486
06/24/2015 11:03 AM
06/24/2015 11:03 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 17,814
Auburn, WA
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Auburn, WA
Maybe they were just flexing their muscles so not to be in the same boat as the TSA.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: SXMScubaman] #59487
06/24/2015 11:11 AM
06/24/2015 11:11 AM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 84
East Central Florida
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Marcheall Offline
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East Central Florida
Once it was our turn.... getting through only took a few seconds. The problem for us was the long lines and the time it took waiting in them.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59488
06/24/2015 12:13 PM
06/24/2015 12:13 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 145
Chappaqua & Southampton, NY
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annS Offline
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Chappaqua & Southampton, NY
When we arrived at JFK from Rome June 10 I got the X. The line with people getting the X was LONG and they put me thru the third degree with questions. When I finally said we were visiting our son in Rome all was good. She wanted to know who he worked for and did he like it there. Go figure. She would love to visit Rome. LOL

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: annS] #59489
06/24/2015 12:32 PM
06/24/2015 12:32 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 17,814
Auburn, WA
SXMScubaman Online content
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SXMScubaman  Online Content
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Auburn, WA
Global Entry makes life a lot easier. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Thumbsup.gif" alt="" />

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: SXMScubaman] #59490
06/24/2015 12:36 PM
06/24/2015 12:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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We only travel internationally about two times a year now, so it probably wouldn't be worth our while, but one begins to wonder!


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59491
06/24/2015 01:17 PM
06/24/2015 01:17 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 4,957
New Brunswick & Quebec, Canada
MarcG Offline
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MarcG  Offline
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New Brunswick & Quebec, Canada
We are going via Miami on our return in a few weeks, with an overnight. Do they have a line for non US citizens? Would like to make it out of the airport and at the hotel in 90 minutes so we can catch a Miami Marlins baseball game



[Linked Image]
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: MarcG] #59492
06/24/2015 01:22 PM
06/24/2015 01:22 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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I believe the "x" machine is also for Canadians, so I think that won't help you. I don't know if the lines now are always as bad as they were last night, but last night, I was counting from when the wheels touched down until we were through immigration and customs and it was 1 hour 45 minutes. (Our plane was 25 minutes late landing, so I did not count that time in there.) Your mileage may vary. Before last night, we had often been through immigration and customs and out the door within around an hour. Last night we did have to wait for checked luggage, so without checked luggage, you could do it in 90 minutes.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59493
06/24/2015 01:29 PM
06/24/2015 01:29 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 122
Trinidad/Houston
Trinigerl Offline
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We had the same problem in Miami last July on the way back from Curacao and then this past January on the way back from Port of Spain. We got the X the immigration lines went fast. When we went down to custom to pick up our luggage to recheck to Houston it was at least 2 hours wait. The lines were long and there was no order everyone was cutting and total chaos. We decided after that to get global entry itís good for 5 years. As our route from Houston to and from the Caribbean is thru Miami .

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Trinigerl] #59494
06/24/2015 01:33 PM
06/24/2015 01:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Wow, 2 hours for customs??? Ridiculous!! In December, we didn't have much delay at all in customs, basically walked straight through and just maybe 5 minutes for the 'x' line, and we were all through in less than an hour from when we landed. If this is going to be the case for Miami all the time, we may go for Global Entry also.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59495
06/24/2015 01:57 PM
06/24/2015 01:57 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 4,957
New Brunswick & Quebec, Canada
MarcG Offline
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MarcG  Offline
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What is the "x" line?



[Linked Image]
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: MarcG] #59496
06/24/2015 02:15 PM
06/24/2015 02:15 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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When you use the automated machine, you put your passport in, answer some questions, then you stand and have your picture taken by the machine. If your picture (or the whole paper, I can't remember which) has an X through it, you have to go through a more thorough screening line. If you have no X (which mine did not, but Eric's did), then you go straight through the immigration line. As Eric said, it seemed like almost every family, at least one of the family members had an "x", therefore of course, everyone would go through the "x" line, because they didn't want to be separated. I have no clue what causes a person to get an "x" on their form, but possibly it's totally random. So, if for instance, the machine randomly picks 10%, say, of people to get an "x", if there are 4 people in the family, now there are four people in the random pool, when they only intended 1. I don't know, it would be interesting to hear if it is a glitch in the machines themselves, or whether it is something to do with the camera or what, as to the reason why so many people are getting the 'x'..

There is a video playing on the AA screen before landing and, while I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it, I believe they said that foreign nationals who had entered the US two times in the past few years could use the automated system..


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59497
06/24/2015 02:37 PM
06/24/2015 02:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 17,814
Auburn, WA
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Quote
Carol_Hill said:
We only travel internationally about two times a year now, so it probably wouldn't be worth our while, but one begins to wonder!

We only fly internationally once a year but domestic more than that. I know it's not a guarantee but we have always had TSA PRE on our boarding passes since getting Global Entry. 100.00 for 5 years is worth it for us.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: SXMScubaman] #59498
06/24/2015 02:41 PM
06/24/2015 02:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Well, that's certainly a different issue, but a valid point. That has been stated here before, that pre-check wasn't guaranteed with Global Entry. But the video from the Customs and Immigration service which was playing on the AA screens sure seemed to say it was guaranteed.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59499
06/24/2015 02:48 PM
06/24/2015 02:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 17,814
Auburn, WA
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I think that coming with the new changes for PRE that the airlines will no longer be able to issue it unless you have been vetted with TSA Pre or Global Entry.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: SXMScubaman] #59500
06/24/2015 04:17 PM
06/24/2015 04:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 837
Florida
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wilsonck Offline
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Florida
I'll be using the app coming back from SXM on Monday though Miami. I'm just doing a quick 4 night trip.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: wilsonck] #59501
06/24/2015 04:43 PM
06/24/2015 04:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,294
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january Offline
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Last Saturday's 8:30a.m. flight had the same problem. I got an "X", asked an agent near by and he told me to take off my glasses and try again. I did so and it worked fine.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: january] #59502
06/24/2015 04:45 PM
06/24/2015 04:45 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,294
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january Offline
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I should have asked him how we could have shortened the time. Maybe if I took off my glasses it would also have been quicker.

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: january] #59503
06/24/2015 05:46 PM
06/24/2015 05:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Eric doesn't wear glasses, so that certainly wasn't it, as far as he was concerned.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: wilsonck] #59504
06/24/2015 05:46 PM
06/24/2015 05:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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I will be interested to hear how it goes.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59505
06/24/2015 06:58 PM
06/24/2015 06:58 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,624
In the woods.
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Bare Offline
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In the woods.
Free advice is worth what you or I pay for it - not for nothing BUT several years ago I went thru the global entry, tsa pre-check etc - cost was $100 for 5 years Carol, or $20 per year or $10 per your bi-annual sxm trip - ya think you could justify $10 TO AVOID your mess in Miami - BTW Miami is what made me say it was the best $100 I spent in a VERY long time. I would easily pay $50 to avoid what you just experienced in Miami and call it a terrific bargin!!!

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Bare] #59506
06/24/2015 07:47 PM
06/24/2015 07:47 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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Carol_Hill  Offline OP
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Before this trip, we had been going twice a year since 2006 (usually from Miami) and usually clear immigration and customs within an hour of when the plane landed. Before this trip, it has not been bad at all. And Global Entry has only been available for what two years?? Anyway, we will closely follow others' reports from Miami for the next few months.

And, as I said in the original note, part of the rotten end was the laptop dying and --as of now, anyway -- losing all my pictures from the trip. That is a far more lasting problem than the return home.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59507
06/24/2015 09:29 PM
06/24/2015 09:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,728
Portland, OR
jazzgal Online content
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So sorry about the MIA hassles (doesn't make me look forward to Saturday morning when I'll be going through there) but am especially sorry about your photos. I'm downloading mine to my Surface daily but am not going to wipe my card until I get back home. A trip report from you without photos just won't be the same. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" />


[Linked Image]
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: jazzgal] #59508
06/24/2015 10:06 PM
06/24/2015 10:06 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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I am so distressed about the photos. I always seem to have a million copies of the same photos on the laptop and on my camera cards, so this time, I thought I would be more organized... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Mad.gif" alt="" />

Best wishes with your trip home. Sorry that we didn't get together on island.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59509
06/25/2015 01:28 AM
06/25/2015 01:28 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 1,583
Sacramento, CA, USA
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gtaylor Offline
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Quote
Carol_Hill said:
I am so distressed about the photos. I always seem to have a million copies of the same photos on the laptop and on my camera cards, so this time, I thought I would be more organized... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Mad.gif" alt="" />

Best wishes with your trip home. Sorry that we didn't get together on island.


Without any indication of what actually 'died' with the laptop, it's hard to say, but there are lots of programs available to pull data from 'failed' drives and even 'erased' memory cards.

Surely Eric has some ideas to try for recovery?

gary


Look up and wave! smile
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59510
06/25/2015 07:30 AM
06/25/2015 07:30 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 17,094
Ohio
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Treat yourself to some of those big french fries this weekend.


J.D.
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Marcheall] #59511
06/25/2015 07:52 AM
06/25/2015 07:52 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 59
Mechanicsburg PA
Speebs Offline
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Mechanicsburg PA
Last month traveling thru Miami only three of the five kiosks were working, why does Miami only have five compared to Newark, Philly, BWI, CLT................. which have aleast ten!

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Speebs] #59512
06/25/2015 07:57 AM
06/25/2015 07:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 11,582
Eric_Hill Offline

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In MIA there may have been only 5 global entry machines, but there were at least 20 of the other machines at our entry point. There was another entry point into immigration so assume they had the same number there.


Eric Hill
TTOL Sponsors
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: ruralcarrier] #59513
06/25/2015 08:03 AM
06/25/2015 08:03 AM
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Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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<img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Laugh.gif" alt="" /> I almost thought about making some here at home last night!


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: gtaylor] #59514
06/25/2015 08:04 AM
06/25/2015 08:04 AM
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Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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He thinks maybe it is just the power supply, which if so, possibly a fairly easy fix. However, will probably be at least the weekend before he can think about it.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59515
06/25/2015 12:15 PM
06/25/2015 12:15 PM
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Posts: 2,661
MIA
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irina Offline
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MIA
Carol,
I believe the night before your arrival in Miami, there was extremely bad weather in the Northeast. You know that screws us up down here. Even Amtrak was shut from downed trees on the rails etc.
Sorry.
But I do think GE is worth it anyway.
Cheers
irina

Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: irina] #59516
06/25/2015 12:29 PM
06/25/2015 12:29 PM
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Posts: 81,025
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline OP
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I actually don't think that weather had anything to do with it, certainly not weather in the northeast US. Our plane landed without any trouble and we went straight to a gate and the other flights coming in were all international, mostly from the Caribbean. We were late leaving SXM, but that was because of the supposed medical issue with a passenger. I have no idea how security was and whether there were backups of planes leaving Miami, as we drove from there. As far as affecting OUR trip, whatever crap was going on was isolated to C & I.


Carol Hill
Re: Rotten end to a great trip! [Re: Carol_Hill] #59517
06/25/2015 05:54 PM
06/25/2015 05:54 PM
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Posts: 352
Pittsburgh, PA
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If you want to minimize issues there are two failure points, customs and baggage claim. We do global entry and carry our bags, even for 2 weeks. I understand that GE costs money and carry on for that long just doesn't work for most people but we get through every time. It really helps to stay in a place with a washer and dryer, again not an option for everyone.

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