When booking a cruise vacation, plan for the unforseeable.


I recently flew to Ft. Lauderdale from Sacramento on American Airlines to catch a Princess cruise. With the tight security at airports, flying certainly has changed. I had a morning flight at 8:20am, and had issued my Boarding Pass the night prior to avoid long lines at the airport.  I gave myself at least 2 hrs at the airport. The check-in process was pretty quick and my flight was scheduled to depart on time.

As we were preparing to take off, the pilot informed us he was having engine problems and he would have a mechanic look at it while we waited in the plane.  After 45 minutes, the crew allowed us to get off and wait inside the airport lounge. Fifteen minutes later they announced they were going to get a mechanic from SFO and the flight would be canceled. (Makes you wonder why they don’t have a senior mechanic here in Sacramento.) It was time for Plan B.  Having a cell phone handy helped. For those not traveling with a cell phone, you must immediately speak with the check-in agents at the airport.  You can imagine the next few hours were very stressful. There were approximately 170 passengers trying to get on the very next flight at 12:15pm.

Avoiding the lines, I called American Airlines and advised immediately it was very important we leave that day since we were connecting to a cruise the next day. After 45 long minutes the agent confirmed my seats.  This made me feel better. Word to the wise: I would highly recommend flying a day ahead of your cruise vacation. Imagine arriving at the pier and your ship has since departed without you!

I hurried back to re-check our flights and had a sigh of relief when my flight took off at 12:15pm for Ft. Lauderdale. All airlines overbook their flights and checking-in early helps. Also, for anyone taking a cruise or a tour, it is very important to advise the airline of your travel arrangements. I recommend taking books to read, or IPODS etc.  It is always a good idea to take a light blanket if travelling with children since the airlines doesn’t provide these. Lesson learned, always prepare for the unforeseen!