Tampa Riverwalk

Skyline from the Tampa Riverwalk

Our trip to Texas was booked using a flight credit from a spring break trip we canceled right when everything was shutting down due to COVID. At the time, Spirit told us we only had six months to use it (they have since pushed that as many people have not yet felt comfortable getting on a plane) so we booked a trip to California last summer. That was canceled and we booked this trip to Texas after Christmas. Initially, we booked a direct flight but of course, with fewer people traveling, the direct flights were canceled and we were routed through Florida. On the way down, the trip was great, we got to spend time in the Fort Lauderdale airport and eat some Cuban food and we made it to Austin without issue. In the past, I have not had a great experience with Spirit and this went so well, I was singing their praises.

After our final day exploring Austin, we headed to the airport. Security was smooth but our flight ended up being delayed about an hour because Jacksonville air traffic control was shut down to be cleaned due to a COVID outbreak. This wasn’t really a big deal, we had a long layover ahead of us in Orlando. By the time we deplaned in Orlando, the terminal was jam-packed with people waiting to get on delayed flights. And not to mention there was only one restaurant still open in the terminal. We sat there and watched our flight get pushed back and pushed back. Eventually, it was saying we wouldn’t arrive back home until 7 AM.

Not long after that, we got a notification that our flight was canceled. We went up to a gate agent at a nearby gate. She was as surprised as us and directed us back through security to the check-in counter. Somehow, we ended up being the first people from our flight to reach the counter and no one working there had any idea. They directed us to the international check-in desk where a very surprised employee dealt with a planeful of angry, trapped people. To make matters worse, the earliest flight they could get us on was two days away and because they claimed it was “weather-related” they didn’t have to give us hotel vouchers or anything, just replace the flight.

We were lucky in that we had family in the area so, at about eleven o’clock at night, we got a rental car and headed to Tampa, about an hour drive away. It was nice to have somewhere to go and to see family we hadn’t seen in a while and the weather was beautiful, but it was stressful being because we were both supposed to be at work that day. That night we had dinner at Disney Springs (you can’t get me that close to Disney and not let me step on property), got a hotel close to the airport, and caught our uneventful, early morning flight home. It ended up working out OK, but we had booked another trip for the winter that we ended up canceling because I didn’t want a repeat performance of being stranded at the airport for several days.

I’m not trying to complain. I don’t want to get anything from this post. I’m just sharing the story of the stressful end of our Texas trip. And if you are planning on flying for your summer vacation, be aware that even though COVID cases are currently low, this could still happen and derail your plans.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Texas Hill Country Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.