We were sad to leave Aruba yesterday, but mostly felt apprehensive about the travel day before us. It was the last day of the busy holiday travel season, and we were booked on Southwest, the airline that had experienced so much trouble during the recent big snowstorm. In anticipation of potential problems we had packed light, so we would not need to check bags. We figured that if we ran into cancellations or other snags, at least our clothes would always be with us.
We made it through the multiple layers of Aruba airport security and U.S. Customs without a hitch, but when we got to Orlando things started to turn sour. We got a text that our flight home had been delayed, and when we entered the airport the departure board was showing lots of delays and cancellations. The food court area in our terminal was jammed, and the only sit-down restaurant was not seating new diners. In the meantime, we feared getting the dreaded second text announcing that our flight had been cancelled.
But the travel fates were kind. We noticed that an earlier flight to Columbus had also been delayed, and we were able to switch over to that flight, without having to worry about the impact on any checked bags. The flight left shortly after we made the change, and we actually arrived at John Glenn International earlier than if our original plans had gone forward without delay. As we rolled through the baggage claim area of the Southwest concourse we noticed many pieces of luggage along the periphery of the room, in groups like that shown above. We didn’t know if they were the glum remnants of last month’s travel hell, but the scene made us even more glad to have gone with the carry-on approach and to be homeward bound, having dodged the bad travel bullet.