This is the true story of our unbelievable family trip to Mexico.
You already saw the photos. It looked like we had a good time. We DID have a good time. But it took quite a bit of inner strength not to yell, kick or scream on our way to Mexico.
When Roland and I have these kind of frustrating situations happen to us, one of us usually looks at the other, more frustrated one, and says “Ohh… we’re going to be on the news!” The implication being that one of us is about to lose our cool and do something crazy like take out our frustration on the poor old lady in line in front of us counting out her pennies, when she realizes that she forgot to give the cashier her coupon and she needs to restart counting.
The headline would read, “Woman with baby accosts elderly woman in check-out line over a few pennies, while husband stands by”.
We might have known that things weren’t going to go smoothly when I logged in to add Harrison to the flight and noticed that my mom had booked my ticket under my maiden name. I’ve only been married for three years. Really, mom? Anyway, we got that sorted out, and got Harrison added to the flight, but all in all that was pretty simple compared to what we had coming.
It’s a story of best laid plans. Since we had an early morning flight from Ottawa (an hours drive from where we were staying over the holidays) we booked ourselves into a hotel near the airport and arrived the night before. The hotel offers shuttle service, and parking. Sounds easy enough.
We arrive at the airport in the morning, and get checked in and through security in Ottawa with only the usual rigamarole. In fact, because we’re travelling with Harry, we get to go through the family security line. A walk in the park.
We have plenty of time at the gate.
We board and get settled in.
Then… we hear that dreaded sound. That static that every airline passenger hates to hear, “This is your Captain speaking”. Quick sidebar: Has any Captain just come on and said “Ladies and Gentlemen this is your Captain speaking. I just wanted to tell you you look lovely today. Thanks for flying!” We hadn’t even pulled back from the gate when our Captain came on the speaker. If I were travelling by myself this sound alone wouldn’t put me off so much, but when you’re travelling with an infant whom you’ve woken up at 5 am, who’s
sitting squirming on your lap, AND you’re trying to time his bottle feeding to minimize the impact of pressure changes on his sweet little ears, a fifteen minute delay can seem like an eternity and just cause for a revolt. But we’re assured that we just need to have the ground crew come and check something out because a light has come on.
Why wasn’t this checked before we were loaded, you ask? Good question. We never got the answer.
A fifteen minute delay isn’t going to break us so we just try to keep Harrison from fussing too much over his somewhat overdue bottle, tighten our seat belts and wait. We have an hour and a half layover scheduled between flights so at this point we should have no trouble making our connection.
“Hello Ladies and Gentlemen we just need to (blank). It should only be another 10-15 minutes”.
We heard that message on the ground, not moving, in our seats, for two hours!
As Roland put it, they spent two hours basically saying that they have no idea what they’re doing and they’re just being prompted on what to do next.
That is, “Since we’ve just done X, we now need to do Y and they say it’ll take another 15-20 minutes”. Really, Captain? You didn’t know that? You’re not instilling me with a ton of confidence in your depth of understanding of the operation of this aircraft.
As our delays lag on we asked the flight attendant if there’s any chance they’ll hold our flight for us. She says that it depends on how many people on this flight are making the connection. Sounds promising, there’s 7 of us travelling together, and throughout this delay we’ve met at least 3 other passengers headed to Puerto Vallarta on that flight. 10 people! Surely they’ll hold the plane for us.
When we haven’t even been de-iced by the time our connection was set to depart, I’m not holding out much hope.
We do finally get up and down from Ottawa to Toronto and immediately turn off our airplane mode and check the app to find out if our plane has left.
Wop wop. That flight is long gone.
It’s the only flight leaving for Puerto Vallarta that day. That means we’re stuck in Toronto over night.
We’re directed to a line to make hotel reservations, receive our meal vouchers and get information about our next flight. We’re told on the plane and a few other places that since the delays were the fault of the airline we’d be GUARANTEED AND PROTECTED for the next flight. (This will be important later).
We wait with all the other passengers from our flight who’ve missed their connections. New York, Hong Kong, Puerto Vallarta…
When we finally get to the front of the line we’re given our hotel accommodation cards and our meal vouchers that we need to give to the hotel staff. Just after leaving the line my mom notices that we only have 5 cards not 6 for the 6 adults. She returns to the clerk who assures her that “It’ll be fine”.
Since we’ve been dumped in Toronto, we now need to pick up our luggage which has been circling the carousel for the hour or so that we’ve been waiting in line for the hotel reservations.
Our bags are easy to spot, they’re the only ones left, but they’re not all easy to carry. My dad’s bag has been broken in transit. Into another line we go, to be told that he’ll have to mail away for compensation for the damage to the bag. Did it matter that we still had a week of travel to do? No, you’ll have to travel with the broken bag.
Are you stressed yet? I’m stressed out just writing about it. So I’m going to take a break. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s finale!