The first of my aviation travels for 2016 started on a good note. I departed Raleigh-Durham International on American Airlines on January 4th. The check-in process was relatively smooth, except for an overweight bag which resulted in me carrying my tripod so my bags would meet the 50 pounds limit. TSA-Pre check helped me make up for lost time at the luggage counter, it’s one of the best services offered by airports. It helped to expedite my security check, and get me to my departure gate quickly. I will admit I had my doubts about traveling on American Airlines. I was very skeptical of flight delays or my luggage making it through to my final destination.
As our departure time drew nearer I started getting nervous, I was very anxious to be flying for the first time in 2016. But my nerves were unfounded, the boarding process was seamless and I was able to sit in my seat very comfortably and relax for the 1 hour and 45 minute flight to Miami International Airport. Since this was an early morning flight I was able to try a little night shooting . It was a complete disaster but at least I tried before taking a nap.
As we descended into Miami, I was pretty excited and having no delays so far, I sprinted to my next gate which I must say was about half a mile away and when I arrived they had a gate change so I had to walk back another 4 gates to get to my actual gate. Once there I was able to grab breakfast before my long flight to Port of Spain, Trinidad. While sitting at the gate I noticed we had a plane change, they upgraded from the Airbus A321 to the Boeing B757, which wasn’t a bad upgrade, I was hoping for the Airbus ride, but with the upgrade came my first hour delay. They had to clean the other plane which put us departing during Miami airport rush hour. But it was worth they delay.
With the aircraft upgrade, I was reassigned a seat and got the perfect wing view it was nice departure from Miami, we then turned south and headed for the Caribbean. I was going home for the first time in a while and I had the jitters I couldn’t sleep, so I paid for an overpriced meal and enjoyed the view. I was finally able to take an hour nap before we preparations for landing. I decided to do a recording of my arrival into Piarco International Airport.
Once we landed, everyone just wanted to deplane and head straight to immigration and Passport control. Once we got to Passport Control I realized we were going to be spending a long time in line, a full plane and only about eight immigration officers. Waiting in line is unpleasant in normal circumstance but because of our late departure from Miami I only had about 30 minutes till my connecting flight to Tobago was scheduled to depart. Once I finally cleared customs I ran to baggage claim expecting my bag to be waiting for me, I was wrong, it took another 15 minutes from my luggage to show up leaving me even more stressed out about missing my flight. Once I collected my bags, fortunately when I told the customs agent I was trying to catch another flight he let me go.
Rushing to the other part terminal, I made it to the check-in counter only to be told “the flight was closed”. But the lady working the desk took pity on me and after a few phone calls I was able to check my luggage and get my boarding pass with no more issues. I was very grateful to her for the help. Once I had my boarding pass I headed straight to the departure hall and waited about 15 minutes and then was finally able to board my flight to Tobago. I was relieved that this trip was about to end after starting my journey at 630EST it ended at 1600AST it was a long day.