Liz and John's South American Grand Cruise 2014 travel blog

The flight didn't leave until 11.45pm which was was nearly 45 minutes late but at least we were comfortable. There's always concern about late departures causing problems with getting later flights. Still we had quite a lot of time to deal with things at LAX so we weren't worried. Our seats were comfortable on the plane and it was a real bonus having the ability to lie out flat in the seat, which converted to a full length bed at the press of a button when it came time to sleep. That has spoiled us for travelling cattle class on long distance flights! We were both tired from the early start but I wanted to delay sleeping a bit so I could get my body clock sorted. At least that was the intention! The staff were friendly and efficient and we had lunch pretty quickly after getting to cruising level. It was served on real plates with real knives and forks - what luxury!

As soon as the meal was cleared away, the cabin staff got everyone ready to sleep. They even gave us wooly pyjamas to change into as well as toilet bags with a few basics such as socks, hand cereal and toothbrush and toothpaste. I wanted to delay sleeping until about 5pm Brisbane time but John was already fast asleep by half three! I slept fitfully until we were woken at about four LA time (10pm Brisbane time) for breakfast. In no time we were on the descent to LAX and we arrive at about 6:30am. We were both quite jaded by that time but knew we had another 10 hrs before we eventually reached Fort Lauderdale. Our bodies had no idea what time it was. We had to go through Immigration first, then retrieve our luggage before going through Customs. That took quite along time although being in a wheelchair speeded things up for us because they always prioritise you. That's one bonus I suppose. We then had to book our luggage in again and find the Delta Airlines Terminal which was some 400m away. Then we had to go through security again to get on our connecting flight to Atlanta. However on that occasion the personal check and check of the scooter took an awful long time as it did last time we went through LA. John had to open up our inflight bag and they ended up confiscating my lovely body butter, that Bev had given me for Christmas! There had been no problem at Brisbane! They said the container was too large! I was sorry about that because it was really luxurious stuff I was looking forward to using. Our late departure from Brisbane and the time it took to get through Immigration, Customs and Security, we didn't have much time to actually get to our next departure. As we have always experienced in the States, staff were very helpful and we were put on the plane as a priority. I was able to drive to the gate in my scooter and the put it into the hold intact, which always makes it so much easier to deal with.

Delta wasn't so luxurious; it was very crowded and the seats were cramped and uncomfortable. The first leg to Atlanta seemed to go on forever but at least my scooter was waiting at the gate and the staff were again very helpful. At Atlanta, we weren't rushed in getting to the next connection but we hadn't been aware of the size of the Atlanta Airport. It even had a 'plane train' in between the different terminals! We had to go from E to A but the train was incredibly fast and running continuously. Acceleration and deceleration nearly flattened us on the first stop! But then we were pretty tired by that time. We got to the terminal in good time and we shared a rather unpleasant chicken sandwich for lunch cum tea! The plane left on time for Fort Lauderdale and got in about 15 minutes early. Our transfer guy was ready and waiting for us and thankfully helped us with all our luggage. He chatted about Florida and the many similarities between Brisbane and Miami climate-wise. It was a quick run to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Pier 61.

That's when our efficient though long day deteriorated! The hotel had no record of our hotel booking at all. The room with handicap facilities and the upgrade weren't available either so we ended up in a lesser room for one night only while they try to sort it all out in the morning. The Hotel Clerk assured us that we wouldn't be out of pocket, but the last thing we wanted was to have to change rooms (or even hotels) after one night when we were so tired and jet-lagged. Still at least we have free WiFi so I was able to catch up with all our accounts, emails and send off a quick email to Kia at Flight Centre. John ordered a room service steak burger for dinner but I just collapsed into bed. We've got some sight seeing tomorrow!!

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