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HELP - did I book my return flight home too early !?! (Miami airport)

HELP - did I book my return flight home too early !?! (Miami airport)

Old May 5th, 2004, 05:20 AM
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HELP - did I book my return flight home too early !?! (Miami airport)

Hi all,

After our RCCL Explorer of the Seas cruise, I have already paid for our return flight home (out of Miami airport) at 11:44AM, my TA said that she doubts very highly I will make it in time since we must be at the airport at least 2 hours before.

The boat returns at 8:30AM disembark time at the Miami port. RCCL recommends no flight earlier than 12 noon, when I picked this flight I figured "what's 15 minutes"

Did I just screw up royally? (I could have had a 12:50 flight home, but now to change it it will cost us 200.00, don't want to pay that.

The boat is returning on a Sunday in Miami July 25

I'm freaking out now, please advise,

~ Marina

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Old May 5th, 2004, 05:28 AM
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Unfortunately, I think you're in for a $200 disappointment. From what I've heard, that's way too optimistic. Maybe you could call the airline to ask what would happen if you miss that flight. Maybe they'll put you on standby for later flights. If your schedule won't permit that uncertainty, I think you're going to have to pony-up the change fee. If you've purchased the tickets within the last 24 hours, I don't think the airline will charge you anything except any difference in the fare. Good luck!
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Old May 5th, 2004, 05:35 AM
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Which airline? In most cases, if you do not cancel your flight,assuming it is a non refundable type fare,prior to its scheduled departure, then the ticket has no value.If you "miss" your flight and therefore are a "no show" you may get no sympathy at the airport.And I can tell you for sure,Miami airport airlines have little if any sympathy.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 06:18 AM
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I don't think you will have a problem as long as you keep your luggage with you (instead of putting it out the night before). Inform the ship of your early flight and that you will not need to collect your luggage, and they should be able to let you off the ship as soon as they are cleared. Then take a cab.

The ship WILL get in before 8:30 in the morning. They have to offload thousands of pieces of luggage, and the process of unloading and sorting will start in the early am.

My husband travels full time and he rarely gets to the airport more than an hour ahead.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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Happy....Have you done that before? I have never heard of having the option of not peaving your luggage outside your cabin...It is all subject to inspection by Customs Officials.....The ship staff have no leeway as it is a US Customs Regulation..so its not an option....
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Old May 5th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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I have seen people keep their luggage. Customs can still check your luggage, including hand luggage, upon disembarkation, but obviously it would be a disaster if everyone did this (not to mention there being no room in all the public areas, etc.) Ships imply it is a requirement, but your luggage being subject to customs inspection is the actual requirement, not when. This is just my understanding, and an quick google search couldn't find anything to the contrary.

I do believe oceanolympia will be fine, even if the ship requires them to put out their luggage. If they allow flights after 12 pm, it means they are very comfortable that they can get people to the airport in plenty of time. (It is only 8 miles, and takes about 20 minutes). I would definitely not pay $200 to make the change, and I tend to be a worry wart on travel days.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Oceanolympia:
Are you taking an international flight? Is that why your TA said 2 hours ahead of time?

An advantage--you are traveling on a Sunday morning which should cut down on traffic (hopefully a quick trip to the airport!!)

I have found a quick way to get out of the cruise terminal (at least at FLL)---find all your luggage and put it in one location, raise your hand to signal a baggage handler, they will load it all up and wheel you to the door with your customs card in his hand. If all goes well ,the authorities will signal him on through and he will take you to the nearest taxi and load the luggage into the cab for a quick getaway. Now hopefully you won't have any excess in purchases to deal with (liquor, purchases, etc. that they may ask you to open your luggage thus taking up time).

Even if you do get the airport too late, be sure to rebook on that next flight BEFORE your first one departs or you will lose the cost of the ticket. At that point you may have to pay the extra $200. but you are willing to do that now (and may not even need it!)

Hope some of that info helps. You should be okay, but I, too, would also worry the entire cruise about the flight. Next time you will know to take the later flight even if you have to kill some time at the airport or enjoy the ship a little longer.

Is this your 1st cruise on RCCL?

Hope you have a great time. Be sure to report back on how things went!!
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Old May 5th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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Beachboi & Cruiser,

Yes, this is our 1st time on RCCL, can't wait.

We are flying home to NY American Airlines, nonstop to JFK.

I'm just so mad at myself for booking an early flight!

We are definately not doing the RCCL transfers, just jumping in a cab. Hope they are esay to find at the Miami port.

I had heard that they won't let you on a plane if it's too close to boarding time, is this information correct?
(I guess they need time to check your luggage)

~ Marina
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Old May 5th, 2004, 09:59 AM
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I recently talked to AA and they said they will allow stand-by on any flight for the same date at no extra charge. Please double-check with them, but I think you'll be OK. If you do miss this plane, then pay the extra amount for the next flight, if they even charge that. One word of adivce--the morning you dock, if you are running late and you see that you won't make the flight, be sure to call AA and let them know because sometimes they will cancel a ticket if you are a no-show, but they will no do this if you call.

Anytime I've been on a a ship coming into port, there have been plenty of cabs standing by. It is true that if you don't arrive within a certain amount of time before departure that you will be denied boarding, but 2 hours is certainly not the rule. Last Christmas I was flying out and got to the ticket counter 15 minutes before departure, due to very long lines. The denied me boarding on that plane, but put me on the next one, leaving an hour later, at no extra charge. I'm not saying they will do that for everyone, but I think a gate agent who is seeing you face to face will be more sympathetic than a voice on the phone. Good luck.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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Marina, you are ok. My aunt had 11:05 flight and she made easy. And it was also Explorer. They start checking out people at 8 or earlier. You can get off ship by 9 and still have tons of time to kill. Miami airport is 15 min from pier. Just take a taxi from ship to airport and don't wait for cruise line transfers. You have to be in airport at least 30 min before your flight.
 
Old May 5th, 2004, 06:15 PM
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HI It is American's policy for domestic flights to allow free standby for the same calendar day (not 24 hours from the flight, as I learned recently). You'll be fine. Just be ready to hoof it when they lower the gang plank. Save the $200 for wonderful souvenirs and photos.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 09:53 PM
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We have wheeled our own luggage off a RCCL cruise - we just didn't put it outside and no one said anything.

On same cruise, had 1 PM flight out of Miami - spent 3 hours killing time in the airport. No guarantee you will be so lucky, but at least you know it can be done.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 10:41 PM
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Bottom line- there are NO guarantees. They will need to be extremely organized and know where they are going and not waste time. The cab ride is at least 20 minutes with pickup and drop off. My husband worked at Miami airport last year. Cruise "traffic" is considerable and a 2 hour window is a good idea from drop off. If you off load your own luggage- you can encounter a delay with screening (luggage taken off in advance is already screened). For what it's worth my last Miami sailing - the ship did NOT clear until after 11am- plenty of missed flights. Have your cell phone programed with the airline number.
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Old May 6th, 2004, 03:22 AM
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A lot depends on when the ship arrives in Miami (I can almost guarantee you'll be docked waaaaay before dawn) and when the ship is "cleared."

You do not HAVE to be at the airport two hours early..that is the recommendation made by the airlines..if you are there less than two hours ahead nobody is going to turn you away...you may have a greater chance of missing a flight or your luggage not making it and a lot of that will depend on the amount of foot traffic at the airport.

If there is any way you could get boarding passes ahead of time that would help but it probably isn't possible.

You're worrying about something that is now out of your control unless you want to pay a change penalty and get later flights. Spend your energy packing and go with the flow.
 
Old May 6th, 2004, 10:08 AM
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I agree that you should be OK, but all it takes is one non-US citizen who doesnt follow customs instructions to slow down the entire ship.
Another trick to speed things up is to take a cab from the ship to airport. There will be many of them waiting when you get off the ship. The ships transfers can be slow as their buses only leave the ship after they are completely filled. For $20 you get a cab for your entire party (up to 4) that will get you to the airport quickly. These cabbies waste no time because they want to rush back to the ship for another fare.
Good luck!
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Old May 6th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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I would keep the flight. As one poster mentioned, verify you have the right luggage color tags to be one of the 1st groups off the ship. We never tried having our luggage with us, but seems like that would work as well. We have had some close calls, but have never missed a flight. Have a great trip!
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Old May 7th, 2004, 01:33 PM
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We kept our luggage with us on a cruise from Vancouver to San Francisco and noticed we weren't the only ones. On the morning of disembarkation, we went down on the elevator, got out and then couldn't move for all the people. I had still intended on going to the designated meeting spot but then, like water gushing through an unplugged drain, we got swept out the door and were out on the street in San Francisco! It was the fastest we ever got off a cruise ship.
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