Our final day on Maui. Beautiful blue skies all day long.
After breakfast (this was our view) we spent a couple of hours by the pool(s). The grounds (not just the pools, but the landscaping, etc) of the hotel really were stunning. We stayed at the Grand Wailea in case anyone is interested!
At about 9.30pm we set off for the airport. Everything was going smoothly, we boarded the plane and were all set to start our long journey home (with three flights, two of which had VERY, VERY tight turnaround times giving us just 30 minutes between one flight landing and the next taking off - yup, craaazy town) when the pilot announced that we wouldn't be able to take off. Okaaaay. Well, not until seven people got off. It turns out that the pilot had set a weight limit for the plane, taking into account wind speed and direction and the shortness of the runway at Maui. Apparently the ground crew had ignored this weight limit (reassuring, hmmm?) and so the plane was too heavy. Unless seven people got off. (Not sure how they came up with such a precise figure seeing as how different people can weigh vastly different amounts, but who am I to question the wisdom of an airline pilot?) And so the minutes ticked by, and the likelihood of us making our onward connection in San Francisco got less and less. Finally, when the offers made by the airline reached $900 per person, plus accommodation (back at the hotel we'd just come from!), food and transport, seven people volunteered. Cue the big cheers and we were able to set off, nearly an hour late. Of course, the chances of us now making our onward connection were virtually nil and, indeed, we landed into San Francisco at almost exactly the time that our flight to Washington DC was taking off. We still ran to the boarding gate, just in case, but no joy.
There ensued a rather lengthy queuing session followed by an equally lengthy discussion re the options for getting home at the United Airlines Customer Services desk. It would seem that seats on flights out of San Fran were few and far between. Finally we settled on the option of a 7.25pm flight to London and further onward flight to Manchester. That was about 9am. Yep, nearly ten hours in San Francisco (we preferred that option to the other on offer which was seven hours in Frankfurt.) What to do? Well, get out into the city and explore, of course!
There follows a very small series of not at all inspiring photos of San Fran - we didn't see the Golden Gate Bridge, we didn't see Alcatraz, we didn't see Fisherman's Wharf or pretty much any of the major tourist attractions (hubby and I have both been to San Fran before). Bear in mind that we were pretty exhausted, it's a miracle that we managed to get anywhere at all really. We did find the shops
we found a fabulous little place for lunch
Then it was back to the airport, a flight from San Fran to London, a couple of hours layover in London and then an onward flight to Manchester, arriving at about 6pm (just about 12 hours later than we should have.) You won't be at all surprised (we certainly weren't) to learn that our luggage didn't join us. But it did turn up two days later following a further flight to Exeter airport and a courier van to our door.
The joys of travel, eh?!?