On our last day, we were granted 6PM late check-out upon my request at Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort. I spent 2.5 hours listening to the vacation home ownership pitch starting at 8AM:
I signed up after being assured of a 10-day cooling off period which I noted on the paperwork just to experience the entire sales and marketing machinery from start to finish. It was an excellent job all around. They really know how to tug at the heart strings but conveniently glanced through obvious loopholes in terms of annual maintenance fees which they can increase at their whim and fancy. I also found the association with the hotel properties a bit misleading. Anyway, I can see how many would sign up and be a "owner" under this innovative programme.
After another bout at the outlet store we met our Uber at the lobby around 530PM and made our way towards the airport for our MCO-JFK flight. Did some repacking to adhere to Delta's 52lbs max per piece of baggage and we were on our way. Got through immigration and had a horrible dinner at Nathan's:
After dinner we made our way to our gate, oblivious to the ordeal I was about to endure for the next few hours:
Not a superstitious guy by any stretch but I had a bad feeling about this flight from the start. The fact it was rescheduled twice even before our trip began may have something to do with it.
The original plan was to arrive in JFK around 7PM, check into our clubrooms at the airport hotel, have some food at the lounge before getting a good night's rest in readiness for our 9AM JFK-HKG flight the next day. After 2 changes we were scheduled to arrive in JFK at 1025PM. I had a bad feeling about this and nearly changed to an earlier flight.
If I had followed my gut feeling, we would have avoided Delta Airlines "crippling computer outage" which occured at 630PM, just when we were supposed to board our flight.
Initially, everyone thought it would be a short delay, so out came the gadgets to while away the time:
Minutes passed. I was increasingly fidgety especially after being told by a fellow passenger that this was not the first time Delta had a systems outage and the last time they did, it took TWO DAYS to recover.
I had already checked alternate flights and the last one took off around 645PM. There was a very strong likelihood we will miss our JFK-HKG flight at 9AM the next day. The thought of flying 20+hours on economy with 4 kids in tow haunted me for the next few hours.
Everyone was anxious, a few tempers flared up but it remained relatively civil as the poor boarding agents and FAs tried to give as much information as they could to everyone:
It was an agonising few hours as I went back to the kids and told them to just take a nap. No biggie, I said. We should be fine.
In the end, after nearly 6 hours in MCO we boarded our flight. The same seat on Comfort + gave me excellent legroom while the boys were knocked out, it was close to midnight before we finally took off:
I have never been happier to see JFK as I took some hurried shots:
Made it to the airport hotel around 3AM, plenty of time to rest for our 9AM flight. Thanks Delta.
NEXT: AA International First Class Lounge JFK