Day 9 was our departure day, with a flight scheduled to leave Cancun airport at 2:15 p.m.
- Finished packing
- Breakfast at Laguna
- Photos by pools, beach, around resort, hotel room, returned towels
- Took luggage to lobby, changed bills
- Shuttle to airport with family from Montreal
We had set up our shuttle run earlier in the trip with the BD Travel people, and we were set for 10:30. So once we finished packing in the morning, we grabbed some breakfast and then started snapping some final shots as we did a last walk around the resort. We had to return our towels and get our “towel cards” back, so we headed down towards the big pool and beach, snapping away as we went. Many of the places we had been during the week were ones we hadn’t snapped pics of since we didn’t take our camera or phones when going to the pool or dinner. So we got some shots of pools, front desk, some of the restaurants, etc.
We did a video of the room, but like most cameras in small rooms, it’s hard to do it justice (one of the reasons real estate people use the fish-eye style lens).
I saw lots of people dragging luggage all over the resort during the week and I remember thinking, “Really? You’d rather do that than tip some guy a couple of bucks to do it for you?”. Yet for the final day, it’s funny, but it was just easier to go down when we were ready and take the luggage with us rather than calling someone to come get it. Plus we weren’t far from the lobby.
Lots of different groups departing, multiple shuttles coming and going, some pretty close in time to ours, bit of confusion. But then ours finally came and we climbed on board with another family. It was officially over. We handed in our express checkout tickets to the baggage guy, they cut the straps on our resort bracelets, and off we went.
- Checked in to airport, no baggage tags, bought souvenirs (Delfin), pizza for lunch, got on plane as scheduled
- Montreal – quickly through immigration, technical delay for our bags – about 40 minutes, through customs, no problem
- rechecked bags, thru security, went to gate, got snacks
Once we were at the airport, we tried to check in using the kiosk, and for some reason it printed our boarding passes but not our baggage tags. So we had to get help with that as we were checking in, a little slower than anticipated, but no issues. We bought a couple of souvenirs, including a stuffie for Jacob (another dolphin!) and headed through security. We paid extortionary rates for lunch at a pizza place, but it was a busy area and we wanted to eat. Afterwards, we found a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant that had better food offerings for almost the same price as the pizza had been! Andrea’s stomach was a bit off, so it wouldn’t have been our choice, just confirmation that the pizza rates were high. Bit of a wait, we expected that, played on tablets etc and then it was time to board. Very sad leaving.
The flight home went smoothly, under 4 hours from tarmac to tarmac. We got our special food offerings again, although the timing and the choices were more limited. When we arrived in Montreal, we knew in advance there had been weather problems, but everything seemed to be continuing. We went through immigration quickly, the connecting line way shorter than the arrivals line, yet as soon as you exit that area, all the bags are in the same place. Weird. LONG delay, 40 minutes, for our bags, some technical delay, but eventually everything came out, we went through customs, got our bags rechecked and headed for our gates. Grabbed some snacks; a long day but we were nearing the end of the journey. Or so we thought.
- Plane late arriving, boarded about 45 minutes late – waited at gate because of congestion at de-icing area — after about an hour (10:30ish), flight was cancelled
- waited a long time for luggage – wet
- Andrea booked hotel, needed credit card – no shuttle – took taxi to Comfort Inn, arrived around 1:00 a.m. – nice room, main floor, comfy beds
- rainy and icy outside
- Paul’s phone almost dead
- Air Canada no help
- Trip Central didn’t call back
- Jacob was SUPERSTAR
This is where things started to go off the rails, but not for the obvious reasons. Not really. They were playing with flights, and merged another flight with ours, and since it was late arriving, we were about 45 minutes late to board. But we were at least boarding. Then, once onboard, and all settled in, they said, “Oops, there’s congestion with de-icing” and so we sat. And sat. And sat. Then they cancelled all flights and the airport shut down.
This wasn’t surprising. Not fun, but not unexpected. Where we started to go off the rails was the complete lack of any service from ANYONE in our travel team. Air Canada basically said, “Sorry, weather, you’re on your own.” No info about hotels, what we would likely have to do, it was like pulling teeth to get them to even give us a brochure with some basic info like phone numbers to call, etc. I wasn’t that worried, just annoyed, and quite frankly, they had agents at the gates who could have said, “Hey everyone, I know it sucks, but go downstairs, get your luggage, go see the exit area to get hotels if you need one, call Air Canada and they’ll rebook you for tomorrow.” Or said SOMETHING other than, “here’s a useless brochure with very little info.”
Now, as I said, I wasn’t that worried because we had booked with TripCentral. And TripCentral had given me an emergency contact number in case of, well, emergencies or problems with our flight. Being stranded in Montreal with a storm raging and nowhere to sleep sounded like the perfect occasion to call. Which I did. Now I was expecting an answering service, which I got, and a call back shortly. Everybody, and the brochure, was saying you had to talk to Air Canada as soon as possible to rebook, so A was on the phone to them, and I waited for the call back while we waited for luggage. Time passed, no call.
Now I was worried. We needed a hotel room, and we needed it booked soon before everything was gone. I briefly wondered about just renting a car and heading out for Ottawa, or taking a limo or taxi all the way, but that was obviously stupid with the weather. I really just wanted to DO something, DECIDE something, take ACTION, rather than sitting and waiting for luggage. And waiting. And waiting. Almost 90 minutes before the luggage finally came out on the carousel. Soaking wet. Great.
In the meantime, I had dispatched A basically to go find out something about rooms, somewhere, or on her phone, something. I would look after luggage, she’d find us a room. I gave her my phone in case TripCentral called. Off she went. And disappeared into the airport.
She had been gone just over half an hour when the baggage arrived. J and I grabbed it, got it all loaded up, and then tried to figure out what to do. A had my phone, couldn’t call her. It wasn’t obvious where she had gone, and she wasn’t back yet. We deduced she was probably in a line somewhere, which she was, finding a hotel room through an info service. Of course, once she got through, she had a problem — they needed a credit card to reserve, and I had the wallet. She put a temp hold on it, and then came to find me, we called back, gave the number, waited in line for a taxi and then headed over. Roads were terrible, further proof that any other movement that night would be ridiculously stupid. Not to mention it was now past midnight, and I was in no shape to try and drive. Super hyper with all the stress, but not capable of driving.
We got to the Comfort Inn in Pointe Clare, and honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. I didn’t care, we just needed a room. But it was an okay lobby, J curled up on the lobby furniture while A handled basic registration, and then I had to go sign because it was my credit card we were using. Two or three doors down the hall off the main lobby, non-smoking room, while other people had to go upstairs. The room itself? Fantastic. The beds were big, comfy, everything was just right. We got J into bed, noticed some big bites on his leg from the day before, he had been ravaged without noticing it, but no complaints, wasn’t bothering him. Off to sleep in seconds.
Did you notice anything in the list that you DIDN’T see? No mention of problems with J.
I mean, let’s face it, he’s 7 years old, he’d been up since 7:00 a.m., it was after midnight, no nap anywhere in there. I was cranky and stressed…for situations like this, it is mostly about control issues, not the disruption, it drives me crazy faster when I’m “stuck” with no levers to pull. We hadn’t heard anything from TripCentral, and when Air Canada found out we booked with Air Canada Vacations, they said, “Not our problem, deal with them”. Except ACV was just a recording and waiting on hold forever.
So it would be understandable if J had been cranky. Nope. He was a superstar. Wasn’t complaining, except it was a bit cold leaving the airport and of course we had no hats or mitts or extensive winter wear. Other than that, he was just plain awesome. Just as he had been the WHOLE trip. He was even joking around in the airport. Kept calm, stayed happy and upbeat, the perfect travel companion. Too bad he was stuck with Mr. Grumpy Pants.
But we had a room, and the next day we would get rebooked and head home.