Oh my god, we cannot believe we made our connecting flight. Let’s set this up.
Our flight from Havana was scheduled to leave at 540pm and land in Tampa, Fl with a 3 hr layover for a connecting flight to Hartford, Connecticut at 1040pm. Let me back up a little bit more. We have 6 C.U.C. left. Each C.U.C. is equal to $1 USD. Cuba also does not accept US debit and credit cards so you can’t just walk up to any ATM and pull money out. So once you are out of cash, it’s over. We were down to our last 6 C.U.C. We cannot afford to stay in Cuba one second longer.
Let’s get back to the flight now. Because Cuba doesnt have the normal wifi like us in the USA and our phone service does not work, we didn’t get the notification of our 3 hr flight delay. This also meant we lost our chance to jump on our connecting flight. We were bummed, but we dealt with it. While we are sitting at the Havana airport we found out that the Hartford flight was also delayed. We thought we may be able to catch it. We finally boarded our Havana flight to Tampa. We settled into our usual row 8 and started watching movies on our phones provided by Southwest for free. Time went by and it was taking a while to pull away from the gate. 40 minutes later, the flight attendant got on the intercom and nervously informed us that a passenger had to get off the flight and it is FAA regulation that they have to look for his bag under the plane and give it to him. You have got to be kidding me..okay fine, get it done. All of a sudden a woman started hyperventilating because she was feeling claustrophobic and wanted the flight attendant to open the door so she could get some air and the lady in front of me didn’t help the situation because she was yelling, “get her some air, she is dying! Bring down the oxygen masks!” I thought, “No, no, no, stfu lady because of this lady asking for medical attention, this is going to delay us even further.” We all started to try to calm this lady down and a nice woman behind me pulled out some Bath and Body Works essential calming oil. It does the trick but it was too late, the flight crew had the airport bring the freaking stairs and opened the doors, which only meant “you are getting the fuck off this plane, no exceptions.” Our chances of catching our connecting flights was dwindling with every second that went by. We were now getting worried. The flight crew had to keep telling the woman, “sorry, since you said that you needed medical attention and we opened the doors for you, you now have to get off the plane.” She didn’t want to get off and the back and forth between the passenger and the flight crew was taking up some time. We now were were surrounded by a lot of mad, hungry, and frustrated Cubans telling and screaming for her to hurry up and get off the plane. She also had her elderly mother with her. If there was any kind instrumental music, it would’ve sounded like a Spanish speaking novela. It was actually pretty entertaining. At this point, I figured I would have some fun with it and pulled out my phone and started recording. After all, it was literally happening right in front of me. While this woman was finally getting off the plane, not before her very strong angry monologue directed to the other people on the plane (including tears), another woman four rows in front of us started having a medical issue. Oh fuck my life. Keep in mind, they also have to go below the plane and search for their bags. Vanesa and I are pretty much dealing with the fact that we are not making our flight. If we had left at that very moment, we would only have 30 minutes to go thru TSA, get our bags, go thru customs, go back to the main terminal to check our bags in, run back thru security, and jump on our flight. Wishful freaking thinking. Instead at this point, you have all these guys who sound like Don Omar and Daddy Yankee yelling and screaming about getting this plane in the air to make connecting flights. I think to myself, what do Cubans like? They like music. Enter Deeeeee Jayyyyyy Michael Freaking Lopez, (club sound fire engine noise). I pulled out my portable bluetooth speaker, cranked it up, and while they are wheeling some poor lady off the flight, I get the whole plane to start singing, “Vivir Mi Vida” by Marc Anthony. It went from these passionate Cuban people starting a new revolution on a Southwest flight to everyone singing their lungs out and having a good time. It was hilarious. The party came to an end because after a five hour delay we were ready to push back.
The story is not over. It gets better. A majority of these people are lost causes, they have lost their connecting flights. They know that it’s a lost cause. Guess which family of four still has a 45 minute window? That’s right, we do. We quickly get off the plane as fast as we can. There is a lovely Southwest representative waiting for us to let us know she will do her best to get us on the flight because we learned that is got delayed another 30 minutes. Yes! Guess how long it took for our bags to come….25 minutes. You have got to be freaking kidding me. We finally have all bags but we have plenty of more hoops to jump thru. We find out, we have to take a tram to the main terminal to recheck out bags. You ever see that Home Alone movie, the part where they are running thru the airport like mad men? Yes, that was us. We finally made it to the main terminal check in area and we were so surprised to see like six employees waiting there for us to help us out. When they saw all four of us coming in hot, they yelled out, “Hey Lopez Family!” They got us all checked in as fast as possible. They even had our boarding passes printed out and ready for us. They also had a motor cart to get our bags to the plane as quickly as they can. The whole process literally only took 1 minute. We felt like race car drivers driving into the pit crew to change a tire because they quickly sent us on our way. Off we went! We still had to go thru security. Luckily, TSA precheck meant no shoes off. Wow, we saved 10 seconds. Meanwhile Nico was having a great time flying all over the Tampa airport on his scooter while the rest of us were running and sweating like animals. Did I mention we have to take a tram back to the plane terminal?? Yup, we missed one by 2 seconds. Had to wait for the next one. We finally ended up the our gate with 5 minutes to spare. We are starving, thirsty and overall, a freaking hot mess. We made the flight. Thank you so much to the Southwest employees who helped make this possible. This is why we stick with Southwest. I write this while on our flight to Hartford with a drink in my hand and our kids sleeping next to us. Let’s just hope our bags really made our flight.
The video of the party on the Southwest plane is on our IG account.
How do I keep a bunch of very mad Cubans on a 5 hr delayed flight from starting a revolution on a plane? I pull out my portable bluetooth speaker and play some #marcanthony #salsamusic. Let’s see if this works. @southwestair . . . . . . . . . . .
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