After I heard of my aunt's passing a deep sadness set in as there was no way I could afford a trip for $1000. I cried everyday dreading the thought of saying goodbye via a live-streamed video but there was nothing to be done. I cried and cried and then my brothers both found tickets for half the price and I was finally awarded funds that I had been waiting on for months. So on Saturday September 2nd I bought a ticket and everything felt right. Buh nothin in my life does go easy so Irma come n mash up errybody plans. Leh me tell yuh bout mah slaveship journey.
Hurricane Irma seemed harmless at first but by Wednesday my family on St. Thomas had decided to postpone Auntie's funeral as there was simply no way to get everyone safely there with not one but two hurricanes on the way. The rebooking process began and as I called the travel agents I would keep getting new and different stories. After two days and 13 hours of working on the tickets for my three siblings as well I was done. I felt as if I had just run a marathon. Could nothing good happen? The answer was a simple: no.
It turns out that St. Thomas was devastated by Irma and that everything would become more complicated. The airport having lost all contact with the outside world would not be open to commercial flights. So now we had tickets to a place we could not fly to. Yet American Airlines did not enlighten us about this fact. We were scheduled to leave Amsterdam in the afternoon, catch a flight from London to JFK, sleep there one night and then fly on to St. Thomas. As luck would have it the North Sea began to churn out its own storm, thus all Schiphol flights were delayed. When we finally arrived at London Heathrow our connecting flight was long gone and this is where the drama truly began.
By then I was positive that there were no flights to St. Thomas and that I needed to fly to Puerto Rico where my uncle would pick us up with his plane. When I told the British Airways agent this they insisted that their were flights available and was booked on a flight to Atlanta and from Atlanta I would travel to St. Thomas. Please note that this was an America Airline ticket and up to that point I had never spoken to an AA ground agent. So when we got to ATL we were put up in a nice hotel and I thought that everything would be fine, until I checked my flight before I went to bed. The flight that would be operated by Delta had been cancelled. The next morning Delta explained that American Airlines was still selling tickets knowing that there is no airport. If you have lost track of what day we are on it was day 3, Friday. Delta informed us that there were no flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico but after much, crying and begging they found us a seat for Saturday morning. Stuck in ATL for another day we met up with our mom's good friends and had a wonderful day.
We made it to Puerto Rico and my fabulous uncle picked us up and flew us over to St. Thomas but there is much more to this story. Stay tuned for part 2.