Never anywhere did we learn that a Trump Presidency would affect our vacation plans, or that, at the very least, it would alter our arrival or departure. It seems that the President of the United States has been weekending at his Mar-a-Lago Home in Palm Beach for the past couple of months causing havoc in the air, on the runway and the the streets of Palm Beach.
We touched down at Palm Beach International Airport at around 4:00 pm on Sunday afternoon. Our flight had been delayed an hour (nothing too terrible) and we were eager to get to our hotel about 15 minutes away to bask in the warmth of the sun's late afternoon rays and enjoy a cocktail overlooking the ocean.
If the 3 oz. liquid rule hadn't been an issue I most likely could have packed everything in a carry-on. But not wanting my bottles of sunscreen confiscated by the FAA, I decided to check my suitcase. As I always tend to board at the very furthest possible gate, a checked suitcase, to me, means less to carry across the miles inside the airport. I also have a bad record of having my luggage lost. So with this in mind, a bathing suit and cover up were in my carry-on. (We would learn that with the Delta App the airline notifies you when your bag boards the plane. A feature I quite like indeed!)
Before we knew it we were boarding our plane. Palm Beach is such an easy trip from New York and just over two hours after takeoff we were at our destination. As the plane slowed to a stop and veered in the direction of our gate, a familiar plane stood in the distance and caught my attention. I recognized it immediately but had never seen it in person. It was Air Force One. I snapped a picture with my phone.
Not long after we were at the baggage claim when the carrousel halted to a stop and all the airport doors shut. The airport was under a lockdown (lock-in) of sorts and this had become all too routine. The POTUS, it seemed, was getting ready to leave his Weekend White House and heading back to the one in DC. The runway had to be secured. This affected not only our luggage, but those waiting to take off, as well as those waiting to land. You see, it's not enough to wait for him to board the plane, but we all had to wait until he was safely airborne and in the sky. Ugh. Another reason to hate him, I muttered not exactly under my breath which did elicit a few laughs around me.
It was the sunscreen, we joked! If I hadn't insisted on bringing the sunscreen we would be well on our way to the hotel, even possibly checking in. And so my sunscreen was stuck in the underbelly of our narrow Boeing 717 and we were stuck inside the airport unable to claim it. Eventually Air Force One was in flight and a safe distance away, I had claimed my bag and we went off to find our Uber.
That's where our inconvenience ended, luckily. But if you're planning on traveling to the area you should expect more. Last week China's leader, President Xi Jinping paid the Palm Beach Area a visit as well, further complicating travel issues by closing parts o South Ocean Blvd (south of Mar-a-Lago) as well as on Southern Blvd. While this didn't affect us, I'm sure this will happen again when certain dignitaries visit the area.
Please use this as a note of warning and be sure to do your research. In our case, I do think that the folks at Delta Airlines as well as officials at Palm Beach International Airport should have given us the head's up. It would have been the right thing to do.
We would also learn that President Xi Jinping chose to stay at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa where he took up 80% of the hotel. This was where we were headed - how fortunate we were to have missed that! My review of Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa to follow shortly.
* Addendum/correction: I had read someplace that sunscreen in spray form was not subject to the 3-1-1 rule but that was erroneous. ALL liquids and lotions must be 3.5 oz or less in carry-on luggage.