Stand-by fun

Central America, Costa Rica 2014, International

The thing about standby is you have to hope for the best while always evaluating what the back up options are, quick on your feet.  Especially these days with airline travel is tough and not as fun as it used to be.  The thing to remember is go with the flow and move on from the disappointment; I mean, you’re on adventure so make the best of it.

We made it to Atlanta without a hitch but missed the San Jose flight by 3 seats; so we were there for the night.  The morning flight to San Jose looked a little tight and in speaking with the ticket agent we decided to change course slightly and list for the flight to Liberia with an in country connection via Sansa Airlines.  We didn’t want to risk missing the San Jose flight since the evening option was already oversold and we didn’t need another repeat of Asia 🙂

A key piece to flying standby is to always carry on your luggage – if you want it with you at your destination.  We packed our (uber) nice backpacks, headed off to the airport and after a slight distraction getting checked in we proceeded to check bags without thinking.  What a rookie move, ugh.

Strategizing Delta
Katie Strategizing Delta

First thing the next morning we were back at it and at the gate; we were back and forth between the two flights leaving within 15 minutes of eachother and debated about transfering back to the San Jose flight.  Once it was confirmed there were in fact seats on both we wanted to keep course and stick with an SJO arrival.  Struggling to connect to the WiFi we were about 90 seconds short of confirming the change, so Liberia it was.  We pressed on and just glad to know seats were available.  We finally arrived, waltzed through customes and proceeded to the Sansa Air counter to get checked in – all looked a go.

With a couple hours on our hands we went to find some lunch, which turned out to be one of our most expensive meals of the entire trip.  Chicken tenders, fajatia lettuce wraps and a single glass of white wine ran us $82, yikes!  I guess the airport tax is substantial when it’s the only option.  What it did do, was get us familiar with the currency conversion.

It had been advised that any air travel we book, we should plan on morning flights as the weather in the afternoon can make for a sporty ride.  With little option on this one we just watched the clouds roll in and hoped for the best.  The 8 passengers headed out and vied for position to choose a seat upfront, not that the back was that far from the front but every little bit helps.  On take off, we were amazed at the jade hills and vast rivers as we ascented to through the clouds.  It didn’t take long for that little plane to be engulfed and before we knew it the windows were being pounded by rain and lightning was flashing all around us.  This was one of the most intense storms either of us had ever flown through and we were glad it was only about 45 minutes.

Upon arriving in San Jose we wandered over to the main terminal looking for international arrivals so we could find the Delta counter and collect our bags.  It was ‘downtime’ between flights and there wasn’t a Delt agent to be found.  Someone finally showed us the back office and said they should be back within a few hours.  We settled in to the coffee bar that had WiFi, slow is better than nothing.  After repeated attempts at the office trying to find someone to assist we discovered our bags had been taken off the San Jose flight and put on our Liberia flight meaning our bags were sitting in Liberia waiting to be claimed.  I will skip the frustration and mutliple conversations around how this could happen and what it would cost to have our bags delivered. So we just had to suck it up, move on and consider it an excuse to do some shopping in Manuel Antonio to get us through the next couple of days.

After two full days of traveling and aware that we would be driving at night we rented a car and were finally on our way to Manuel Antonio, about a two hour drive South West of San Jose. After a few hours of tight roads and not knowing exactly where our VRBO was we made it to the condo and had to talk our way past the gate attendant who seemed like he wasn’t expecting us.  Relieved to finally be there, we settled in to the condo, cracked a bottle a wine were thankful to have arrived.