Long wait in Miami on standby

Miami Beach Travel Blog

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Coming in to land at Miami.

Leaving New Orleans

I woke just before the alarm at 0530 in New Orleans, had a quick wash and downed a cuppa tea before summoning my first ever Uber ride to the airport for USD33 (no tips required). At MSY airport, we tried kiosk check-in for our standby tickets but weren’t able to. A check-in agent issued us “No Seat” boarding passes so we could get through security.

We had time to share a breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuit (scone) and gritz (like corn meal I think). We got our boarding passes 50 mins before departure, seated in the last row of the A319 for Miami. The flight schedule was a little padded and the flying time was only about 1h20. We did a U-turn over the white beaches and aqua waters before touching down 15 mins early at Miami.

Coming in to land at Miami.

The wait in Miami

We didn’t have any boarding pass for the next flight to Lima (we were 16 out of 6 available seats, but there were about 60 seats left on a later flight). That meant that we couldn’t go to a lounge. In fact, even if we had a pass, I’m not sure if I could have bothered going through security twice just for a few nibbles and free drinks. My limited experience in the US suggests that they are not too lavish.

With a 4h transit until our first possible flight, time went pretty quickly with a bit of walking, writing, reading, lunch. There’s actually only about 2.5h to kill if you take account the need to be at the gate an hour before hand.
We had prepared ourselves for the possibility of not getting on our flight. American was a better option than Delta or United as they had two flights to Lima through their respective hubs.

Hot pressed Cuban sandwich at the airport. Very generous fillings.
And AA had the most empty seats. But I didn’t expect us to be #22 and #23 waiting for the 6 available seats.

After waiting around during boarding, a handful of standbys (excluding ourselves) got on but the staff assured us the next flight in 2h30 was wide open.  The flight pulled away about 30 minutes late without us. 

I hadn’t been impressed with AA in the past but I have grown to appreciate them now that I see how they relentlessly page for late passengers and check for whether they are connecting or origiating. They cheerfully let them on when they finally turn up without any snarky comments. With another flight departing only 2h30 later, I thought they would have been a little more ruthless.

The waiting continues in Miami

Since we had been assured of getting on the next flight at 18:00, I used my 30 minutes of internet (free allocation at the airport) to book transport upon our arrival.

Chicken empanada. Unfortunately de fritas not de horno. Fried not baked.
Research suggests that it costs about the same as the official taxis.

On the 18:00 flight there were 28 standbys with us being at the end of the list. It was a bit tense even thought we were told it was wide open, because they confirmed people onboard in drips.

On board the 757 there were enough empty seats sprinkled through the cabin for many to have a spare in the triplet.

Unfortunately we were in a full row. The crew were surprisingly nice for US standard (exception of Southwest) the we realised they were Lima-based. I asked one of them and she said that AA has a based in Lima and Buenos Aires from when they bought Braniff Airlines.

Also quite surprisingly, we were served a full hot meal (salad, main, chocolate brownie, cheese and crackers) in disposable ware and then a snack pack before landing. Both were accompanied by a full bar service. Wine came in larger-than-usual bottles which I later realised was plastic.

Thoughts on leaving the USA

Anyway here are some thoughts on leaving the USA this time:

  1. The best “Keep Calm” t-shirt I have ever seen is one in Texas. “Keep Calm and Carry Guns”. I was too scared to ask for a photo from the woman wearing it.
  2. Styrofoam is in widespread use as disposable tableware. I thought it was a no-no as it can’t be recycled. 
  3. Found people in the Texas and Louisiana to be more friendly and genuine than in other areas I’ve visited who may say things out of routine, eg. “Have a nice day!”.

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Coming in to land at Miami.
Coming in to land at Miami.
Coming in to land at Miami.
Coming in to land at Miami.
Hot pressed Cuban sandwich at the …
Hot pressed Cuban sandwich at the…
Chicken empanada. Unfortunately de…
Chicken empanada. Unfortunately d…
Miami Beach
photo by: B-Town