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Aruba Nights Island Guide
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Thread: We are back in the USA!

  1. #1
    Senior Member coldsteel337's Avatar
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    We are back in the USA!

    I was going to post this yesterday but after reading about the plight of the people from Argentina, it did not seem all that important. I received a few messages to keep everyone informed so here it is.
    First of all, the trip home went more smoothly than I ever expected, although there were a few bumps along the way.

    The property manager for our rental house, owned by SkiChris and her husband, came over on Mothers Day morning to check us out. She was a delight to work with during our stay.
    I had made arrangements with Econo car to return the car to the airport. However, at their suggestion, I met them the day before we left at the la Quinta location. This worked out well as i spent about 30 minutes having the car inspected, signing forms and having my credit card processed. When we physically returned the car on Sunday it took only 3 or 4 minutes. I drove that car ( and another one I had only for a week ) just over 3,000 miles. I have always enjoyed driving on Aruba and this trip was no exception. Econo car told me they still have one other car out for rental. The driver is a manager at one of the hotels and is living there.
    The airport was like a scene from the Twilight Zone. EMPTY! Instead of going thru the USA terminal, we were directed to the last terminal, close to the new hotel. We had been instructed to be at the airport 3 hours before our flight. We walked into the terminal 2 hours and 45 minutes before the flight and found ourselves the 3rd group on line to check in. We waited about 20 minutes for the Spirit people to show up and and get ready to process everyone. By then the line was getting longer but since it was only for a single flight it was not a big deal.
    Checking the bags went quickly and even though we were only allowed 40 pounds per checked bag, I did not see them actually weighing any of them.
    We did not go thru US customs in Aruba, as this flight was first going to Colombia. That made the trip thru the airport faster. Nothing was open inside the airport except the restrooms. The water fountains worked and we filled up empty bottles to bring on the two spirit flights we would be taking. We took off on time and arrived in Cartagena an hour later. I had secured 2nd row seats for us that were wider and had more leg room than the normal seats. While we were on the ground in Colombia the crew allowed a few people who asked to step onto the top step of the pull up stairs so they could take some photos. That was a nice gesture. The flight to Fort Lauderdale was uneventful and on time. It helped that we understood Spirit would not be providing anything but a seat and transportation. We had bought cold cuts and rolls from Super Foods and ate well on both flights. Having I-pads and a lap Top loaded with Movies was a plus.
    Our trip was the 2nd one Spirit operated from the ABC Islands to fort lauderdale. After the first flight I had a PM conversation with someone who had taken it. He had told me the only hick up his family had was transportation to and from the airport hotel for the overnight stay.
    I made a reservation at the Hampton Inn and then called the hotel directly from Aruba ( on SkiChris's free telephone ) to inquire about transportation. Sure enough, the shuttles are not working. However, the manager, named Kim, arranged for a private service to pick us up in a van and return us to the airport the following day. The hotel paid for this as part of our $99 room rate! We had two rooms. The hot breakfast the hotel had on the website was shut down. There was a MacDonalds right next door and a sausage biscuit with cheese never tasted so good.
    The United flight, first to DC and then to laguardia was uneventful and on time. Both the Spirit and United flights were not overcrowded. The Spirit flight that came to Aruba to pick us up seemed crowded by the amount people who got off.Our car service limo was waiting and even though we went thru customs in NY and had to go to baggage claim I think we spent no more than 20 minutes getting thru the terminal. The driver is someone who we all know well and he took us for a quick stop at one of our children's homes so we could experience the new normal of waving to our Grandchildren from the car!
    We arrived home to a surprise consisting of a large Welcome Home sign, a table full of Mothers Day flowers & gifts for Gina and our daughter Kim, a fully stocked refrigerator and enough toilet paper for months!
    The only issue I had with the trip was caused by American airlines. There were no non stop flights on any airline from Fort lauderdale to any of the New York airports. I booked first class seats on American with a change of planes in Charlotte. The prices were less than normal. We had 2 seats together and one across the isle. The flight was leaving Florida at 1 PM. There were also 2 earlier flights at 6AM and 9AM. I chose the 1PM so we did not have to get up and rush in the morning. AA cancelled our flight, via email, 3 days after I had made the reservation directly with an agent, using a combination of miles and money.
    They put me and Kim on the 6AM flight and Gina on the 9AM flight. The flights would arrive in NY 3 hours apart. That was going to cause a logistical nightmare. I tried and could not cancel the tickets for a refund on line. I could only get a credit and did not want that. I called AA and after an initial "no", they gave me a refund. Both the 6AM and 9AM flights had available seats but I was told the planes were crowded and we would not sit together.
    All in all, the trip home worked well.
    We will not see our Grandchildren for who knows how long & I sure miss the 51 wonderful days we had on Aruba.

    We cannot wait to go back!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Thank you for the update on your experience. Glad that you are home safety with minimal aggravation. Plus you got to wave to your grandchildren! How wonderful. Stay healthy

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  3. #3
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    Thank-you for the update. I am glad everything went well and you are home.

  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    Wow a pretty good experience indeed!!!
    welcome home And time to
    plan the next trip.

    special kudos to skichris
    ​In a world where you can be anything, be kind!
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator WaltVB's Avatar
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    Glad you made it home. Your return flights remind me of some I took years ago for work... if you know going in what to expect, they aren't too bad. Sounds like Chris is another unsung forum hero.


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  6. #6
    Senior Member LisaGrn's Avatar
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    Wow! That seems to have all gone much more smoothly than I thought it would! So glad you were able to see your grandchildren across the lawn! Our new normal...


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  7. #7
    Senior Member coldsteel337's Avatar
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    I cannot say enough nice things about Christine and her husband. One example...They have a locked storage closet in the house. Just before Easter, we were running low on paper towels. They contacted us and had me go to the closet. They then opened the closet remotely and directed me to the paper towels. I took what we needed. Then she directed me to where some bottles of Prosecco were and told me to take a bottle for Easter. Who does that? So nice
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldsteel337 View Post
    I cannot say enough nice things about Christine and her husband. One example...They have a locked storage closet in the house. Just before Easter, we were running low on paper towels. They contacted us and had me go to the closet. They then opened the closet remotely and directed me to the paper towels. I took what we needed. Then she directed me to where some bottles of Prosecco were and told me to take a bottle for Easter. Who does that? So nice
    There are still good people in this world!! Especially nice to hear that she’s a forum member.

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  9. #9
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    So glad all went well!! Your house rental in aruba sounds lovely on all fronts!! Hope you return to Aruba real soon!
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  10. #10
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Glad you made it back safely and without incident!
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