The movers came and packed what was left of our things (which was still too much stuff) and we sorted out the rest of the last-minute things, cars, dog papers, and last visits to the vet. Not to mention various things we forgot to have the movers take that had to be shipped separately. Gawd, we suck at moving!
Luckily, I got us the most direct flight possible: Denver to Newark and Newark to Porto, with a four-hour layover in Newark. Our plane departed from DIA at 8:30am so we booked a room at the airport Westin for the night before, to make our 5:30am appearance at the terminal. Spendy, but so worth it. Our friend/landlord for the past eight months, Dennis took us to the Westin DIA in his vintage Rolls. (That’s about how far we traveled in style, suffice it to say!) We should have known it was going to be a bumpy ride when Jiver whined and panted and shivered halfway to the airport.
The night at the hotel was short, with a 4am wake-up call but a bellman took us across to the terminal. “First class? “ He asked…um no, I said, we’re lucky to have economy plus! After waiting in line to check our bags, we got to the check-in kiosk which told us that we would need special handling. (Due to traveling with a service dog, we found out.) We got to the desk and our large bag was 30 pounds overweight. No paying for it either; 50 pounds max or no go! Ok, drag our act out of check-in territory and go buy an extra bag, or throw out half of our belongings! Ugh! So, I had to run downstairs and put down $80 for the cheapest bag I could find that looked like it would hold 30 pounds.
Back to check-in, at least we didn’t have to wait in line again. With a little more finagling, we brought the big bag down to 49.5 pounds. Thank God!
We present our IDs, and the folder full of dog travel paperwork to the agent. After ten minutes, she tells us that there is something wrong. Our boarding passes won’t print out. And it looks like it’s because we don’t have clearance for the dog from TAP, Air Portugal for the Newark to Porto portion of our trip. After an hour of her talking to various superiors and others, I put a call into TAP myself. After waiting on hold for nearly half an hour, it is starting to look like we won’t make the flight. Finally, I get an agent on the phone, and he says we are clear for takeoff with them. At this point, I am guessing that United realized that it wasn’t TAP that was the holdup. (I knew it!) It was United having technical difficulties. Now we have five minutes to make the flight, and the “security” line is about five miles long.
The United agent took us personally around security, and we made a mad dash for the gate. When we got there, the gate agents saw and called out to us. They were holding the plane for us! Thank you, gate agents at United Airlines!
Can you say, holy mother of sweating it out?! Our new bag cost $80, and the cost for an extra checked bag was $120. We paid extra for seat assignments. Due to the delay in getting to the plane, we were stuck with inside seats in the middle of the aircraft. Jiver had to sit on the floor over the engine and landing gear. He whined, shook, and panted all the way from Denver to Newark! Poor guy was probably terrified. And this, after the woman across the aisle threatened to pitch a fit about us having a dog. “He’s a service dog,” I said. (I left out …bitch, trying to be nice!) Let’s just say, if looks could kill, she’d be dead! At least, we made the flight.