OK, a small intermediate update on our (planned) flight to the US. Written from… Aruba!
So as we made our way to the airport of Aruba, we were very concerned whether we would be able to get our bikes on to the plane or not. The rules are quite clear but vary greatly per airline, so before we left the Netherlands we had a bike-box packing exercise in our backyard, to make sure we would abide by the rules of all the airlines we were taking. The end result were 2 big boxes that were 23 (ok maybe almost 24) kilos, and fit the measurements of 320cm adding up all the sides of the boxes. All the parts of the bikes that were over this weight, we spread across our luggage. In our checked luggage (1 bag) on the way to Aruba, as the hand luggage had a weight restriction of 10 kilos, and now flying on the reverse, as hand luggage on American Airlines is not restricted in weight, but the checked bag is.
In Aruba we did not unpack the bikes, just to be sure we would not mess up weights and sizes while there (and frankly, Aruba is too hot to even consider biking with little kids). The result of all this effort is that the cost to bring the bikes is only 30 dollar each for a one way ticket = same as a regular checked bag. As we ploughed our way through the check-in line the attendant told us the bikes are 150 dollars each…!!! So we looked up the AA website, asked for a supervisor and out came the measuring stick and scales… to conclude that we were right and we would only owe 30 dollars each… HURRAY!!
14 days… or 14 days?
Unfortunately the luggage excitement was short lived, as the next snag presented itself. There was a verification needed of the 14 -day period before entering the United States, as stated in the presidential proclamation. Happy to let you all do the math, but if I leave a place on Thursday morning (not even considering the time difference here) and arrive in the other place Thursday evening… that’s at least 14 days right? WRONG!
See the first day of arrival does not count, you have to start counting the days as of the next day, and then only travel AFTER the 14th day… Go figure. The attendant was also utterly confused and had to call homeland security in the US several times to explain the situation and how we were beyond the 14 x 24hrs, but they would not budge…
So there we were… on the airport with all our stuff and no flight to catch. In hindsight, we are happy it happened here and not being refused in when landing in the US, but that certainly did not register yet at that airport counter. Thankfully the bike episode did not faze our attendant and he and his supervisor spent a long time typing away at the computer to finally come with the verdict: They found us 4 seats on a flight the next day via Miami, at no extra charge and booked us on there.
In the meantime, with free airport WiFi, we set about taking care of all the other arrangements. Our apartment in Aruba had room for one more night and were happy to pick us up again (my goodness Kris from Punto di Oro apartments has been such a trooper hauling these boxes everywhere for us!) . The Airbnb we booked in Seattle could facilitate our change to one day later and are OK to now pick us up around midnight. And after a good cry from the boys (the buildup to a flight is always there for little ones, and the disappointment of not going really needs the relief) and us assuring them it will all be fine, we added another day of Aruba. Of course with nothing more than laying by the pool and relaxing…
Up next: Will we really make it to the US? Watch this space!