Airport Adventures

A little over a year ago I was on a week-long vacation in Costa Rica, and while I got there just fine, and had an amazing vacation, coming home was another story. On a related note (I promise) as many of you know, I just moved in to a new apartment and while unpacking I found quite a few of my old journals, including the one I took with me to Costa Rica. Lo and behold, in all of its color-coded glory, I found my original account of how my thirteen hour stay in the San José airport went down. I couldn’t possibly keep it to myself:

My flight has been delayed. By 5 hours and 58 minutes. I’m pretty much guaranteed to miss my connecting flight, unless that flight also gets delayed. This line doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter, though relatively speaking I am pretty high up in the line. Maybe I’ll try and read or something.  

In a stunning turn of events, my flight delay has led to missing my connecting flight, and I am now spending the night in Panama. The airline is putting me up in a hotel, and hopefully I will have a little bit of time in the afternoon to see the city. It’s not something I was planning on, but getting delayed going home is not nearly as bad as getting delayed on the way to vacation. It’s more of an extension on it actually, and seeing as I am me, I even have the spare clean clothes and allergy medicine that I won’t have to go without given the extra night here. I am sad to be missing another day with the doggies, but on the other hand they will still be there when I get home & this way I get to see a little bit of Panama! 

This has been a time, let me tell you. The delayed flight was delayed again, and now we aren’t leaving until 3:19, and I got here at 4:30am. Which is just shy of 11 hours in this airport. I won’t actually get to see Panama other than my hotel room. I mean, it’s another stamp on my passport, but I’m still iffy about the whole thing. Meanwhile, I desperately want to clip my fingernails because they are getting annoyingly long.  

On the plus side, free food via these vouchers that the airline keeps handing out have kept me from going hungry, so there is that. I admit that I am still annoyed about my seat change. I went from window seat in row 8 to aisle seat in row 33, which means it’ll take forever to get off the plane, and if the people next to me don’t want to wait it out getting off the plane then I’ll have to get up anyway. If it is solely my choice though I don’t intend to get up fast and dart out; I have spent the whole day waiting, and I will be taking my sweet time on this, let me tell you. I hope they have hot water at my hotel, I really want to take a shower.  

Okay, it’s 2:19, which means boarding is soon – dare I to dream? Who knows? How will the tides turn? I did have a nice little power nap earlier, and I bought some little gifts from my cousins. There was a delightfully soft sloth toy, but there’s no way I would get it for the price that they were asking, no matter how plush. 

The plot thickens. The flight is purportedly on time, but it is 3:05 & we have not boarded, and many people are clustered around the personnel at the desk for this terminal. My Spanish is not good enough to discern the exact topic, but the crowd seems uneasy. Some disappointed, some angry, and some resigned to their fate. Me? I’m just going with the flow. As long as I’m home by Friday I am good. I’m debating going to the bathroom again, because I’ve stayed so hydrated that it is a necessity. That said, the flight is scheduled to leave in 10 minutes. Even more people are starting to get angry, but I don’t really see the point in that. I wish my phone was charged, but it’s not, so in the meantime I’m just gonna stand back and let all the other people do their thing. I’ll find a place to sleep at some point, and if not these benches are comfy.  

So my new flight is cancelled, and I’m spending another night in Costa Rica. The more you know.  

“I just want to go home…” 

“I want to sleep in my own bed.” 

“I miss my dog!” 

“I miss my mom…” 

“I even miss my neighbors…”

                                        —– Overheard at the airport 

I’m really hoping that they can un-check my bag, because that is where all of my clean underwear is. At least I put my toothbrush and toothpaste in my carry-on, so I’ll have clean teeth. Thank Godric for the little things. The hoard surrounding the people at the terminal is getting thinner, so I’ll let my phone charge for a little longer and then brave the crowds. It’s not the biggest deal that I’m not going to Panama extra, because that was never part of my original plan. And they cancelled these flights because of mechanical issues. Personally, I’d rather be stuck in a foreign country for a couple days than die in a fiery crash because of a lacking in proper safety procedure.  


The plot thickens (again). I have been scheduled for a 5:40 flight. Will I reach Panama? Who knows? I think this one is actually boarding though. Huzzah! 

It’s official. I. Am. On. The. Plane. Oh happy day! I was in that airport for thirteen hours. For a 57 minute flight. At this point I just want food and a bed. But honestly I never thought I would be this happy to be on an airplane. And yet I am. What a day. What a day. I know that it is such a first world problem to have, which is why I am trying to stay chill about it, and I’m glad that I did. There were a bunch of people shouting and pitching absolute fits, and they all stood there for 20+ minutes being angry. I knew it wasn’t any use, so I went off to the side, charged my phone, and when everyone was done yelling I walked up and just by being nice I got a seat on this new plane in five minutes. 

Uh-oh. The customs forms are completely in Spanish, and they have a ton of spots I don’t understand/don’t know how to answer. I hope someone at the airport is nice enough to help me. [There was, he gave me a form in English and helped me fill it out]. 

Omg, this hotel is so brilliant I can barely handle. I’ve got this huge, soft bed and lush pillows and I took a shower and the towels are so fluffy! And I ordered room service! And there’s a giant TV that I can’t figure out how to work, but it’s shiny. And there is a mini bar that’s locked up, but it’s there! And the lights! There’s fairy lights in the shelves and reading book lights attached to the headboard and bedside lamps and there is stationary and three telephones, including one next to the toilet?? Ad there’s a comfy chair and light-dampening curtains and the shower pressure is amazing and everything is just so nice and clean and comfy. I investigated this hotel and this room is something like $200 a night list price. This is awesome. I’m going to just lie in bed and enjoy this until I fall asleep.  

panama hotel

Thus concludes the saga of my airport adventures. I’m headed to the Bahamas a week from Friday, so here’s to hoping that the airlines are a bit more cooperative this time, and that if they aren’t, that all my troubles come on the return trip.





Note regarding featured image: I could not find any pictures of the airport, so I substituted a picture of the Arenal volcano near our rain forest tour.

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