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jebntez
Traveler


Joined: 05/20/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Texas
PDC...good...Continental...bad...
      #660806 - 03/20/07 08:30 PM (192.91.172.36)

Here's a riddle....how many boarding passes does it take for three people to get from Dallas to Cancun and back on Continental Airlines? Well, the answer lies in this Good News/Bad News account of our Spring Break Adventure.

Good News...Sunday 3/11/07 arrives and we are off to Playa Del Carmen for 6 days BEACH TIME... it is only a total of 3.2 hours of flight time from Dallas to Cancun…so there is no worry about jet lag or numb butt problems. We get 12 boarding passes ( 2x3 Dallas to Houston to Cancun…2x3 Cancun to Houston to Dallas)

Bad News…our departing flight from Dallas to Houston…is delayed over three hours…causing us to miss our 2:20 pm connecting flight to Cancun. While we are still in Dallas, we get boarding passes for the next available flight out of Houston…my wife and son get a 6:43 flight the next day…I get a 10 am flight the next day….3 boarding passes are issued. I am pissed!

Good news…I call Travelocity and bitch loudly. My wife and son are rescheduled to a 6:43 flight today…I get a standby boarding pass for the same flight…3 more boarding passes are issued plus I retain my boarding pass for the next day, just in case. We finally get to Houston about 2:45 pm…

Bad News…the incoming flight for the 6:43 departure is delayed….

Good News… as another connecting flight is late, thus freeing up many seats…we get boarding passes for a 5:40 flight instead…3 more boarding passes are issued…I am number one on the stand-by list for this flight.

Bad News…the flight arrives almost one hour late…5 minutes prior to boarding the flight is cancelled due to mechanical problems.

Good News…They arrange for a replacement flight at 8 pm using a plane coming in from Belize…we all get seats on the 8:00 pm flight to Cancun…

Bad News…the 8:00 pm flight arrives late (from Belize)…we finally leave the ground at 9:40 pm

Good News…going through customs in Cancun is a breeze…and amazingly our ground transportation is still waiting on us (since 3:30 that afternoon…it is now 11:45 pm)…

Bad News…we don’t get to the hotel and in bed until ~2 am…so much for that first half day of beach time…

Good News…next morning, the hotel is clean and well appointed, and the breezes are warm and inviting…

Bad News...the beach erosion is so severe that essentially there is no beach in Playa Del Carmen...especially in front of our hotel (Viva Wyndham Azteca)...in the area we stayed the water was about 100 yards closer to the hotel than just a few months ago…there is almost ZERO open beach…and giant ( 6ft diameter x 20 ft long) ugly sand bags to look protrude from the beach everywhere…it is a six foot drop-off from the “beach” to the water…

Good News…there is enough beach for some beach chairs…

Bad News…you have to get up at 6 am to claim one.…

Good News…the hotel has 4 catamarans to use…

Bad News… I can’t use the catamarans because they are dredging sand out of the boat access lane in an attempt to rebuild their beach…

Good News…day 2…they have moved the dredging equipment…I can finally sail one of the catamarans…

Bad News…which requires 20 minutes of my explaining how to fix the rudder locks…only two of the boats are useable… none of the staff have any clue how to maintain the boats…

Good News…we can also use the Viva Wyndham Maya facilities three resorts to the south of us…

Bad News…there is no safe way to walk to the other resort via the beach…erosion has caused crumbling walls at a number of resorts…broken and rusted re-bar lurks under the surf…and while trying to walk down the beach we encounter a young couple doing the deed in the surf…guess they thought they were hidden…we had our 10 year old son along…the explanation was…taxing…

Good News…the people doing the massages on the patio are very good…

Bad News…the people doing the massages are very good…at up-selling my wife…$$$$$$$

Good News…we walk down Fifth Avenue in Playa Del Carmen and my wife resists the temptation to buy a single thing…

Bad News…our 10 year old son starts reading the T-shirts hanging in the shop windows…Chihuahuas are doing strange things with burritos…”FBI” has something to do with anatomy inspection…many little turtle stick figures are…well, you get the picture…

Good News…our son buys our lame explanations...yeah, right…

Bad News… I buy a margarita…later it sends me to the bathroom…very urgently to the bathroom…

Good News…I make it…

Bad News…the problem turns out to be microbial…not chemical…and lingering…for the rest of the trip…

Good News…the nightly shows at the resort are enthusiastic…

Bad News…the nightly shows belong in a high school auditorium…not in a well appointed resort…

Good News...last morning up at 6 am for a 10 am departure…and we make the airport with only a few persons in front of us at the ticket counter.

Bad News…dozens of flights are cancelled because of a blizzard in the northeastern US…in less than 15 minutes, the airport lobby becomes a mad-house…

Good News…Continental offers to put us up in Cancun at a really nice All Inclusive hotel for free...if we will please stay till Tuesday…and offers us first class seats on the return flight.

Bad News…there is simply no way my wife can miss that much work.

Good News…they offer to throw in $1200 of flight vouchers…

Bad News…my wife simply can’t miss that much work…

Good News… they allow us to eat breakfast on their Continental’s nickel while we talk it over…

Bad News…the food voucher does not include the tip…and I’m out of cash…the ATM machine next to the bar refuses to give me any cash…or a receipt of attempted transaction for that matter…and it does NOT include an option for English explanations of what it is doing…the waiter glares at me…

Good News…we compromise and Continental agrees to allow us fly out on Monday instead. We a hotel reservation for two more days, transportation vouchers from/to the airport…and we get 6 more boarding passes. (note: it is now 9:30 am)

Bad News…people who were in line since 8 am finally reach the ticket counter…they have boarding passes for the 10 am flight to Houston (our original flight). They are told in no uncertain terms they have missed their flight…and can not get a flight out of Cancun for at least two days…and they must pay for it themselves since the missed their flight. It becomes an ugly situation...

Good News…my wife and I look at each other and thank our lucky stars we were there just 15 minutes ahead of the people…

Bad News…thank Heaven my wife looks closely at our boarding passes and realizes that they are for Tuesday…NOT Monday…can you say bait and switch!

Good News…they change our flights to Monday without too much argument…we get 6 more boarding passes…

Sorta Bad News…having taken so long to make up our minds we only get one first class seat…

Bad News…the couple next to us see what just happened…and they are not amused…we leave quickly…I don’t know if anyone is jailed or not…

Good News…the hotel they booked us into is stunning (Grand Caribe Real)…with beautiful marble floors throughout the hotel...

Bad News...the hotel did not have a reservation for us...which we did not discover until after the shuttle driver had left…with all the transfer voucher papers…including the hotel form…after a long phone call to Continental…which the hotel insisted we pay for at 50 cents per minute…and arguing with the clerk…who was not happy to begin with…we finally figured out that Continental had made the reservation under the wrong name...

Good News...during the mix-up, we also got the alcohol inclusion in our meal package (not part of the original Continental-made reservation)...and a free room up-grade to an "ocean view" room....

Bad News...the hotel was filled with hundreds of really drunk teenage Spring Breakers talking at the top of their voices and slamming doors constantly...

Really Bad News…marble hallways echo severely…and…it is St. Patrick's Day...at four o'clock in the morning I finally had enough and went down the hall and told the idiot kids to shut-up and go to sleep...

Good News…which fortunately they did...without retaliation…

Really Good News...I called their rooms the next morning at 9 AM and woke them up...!

Bad News...I only got to do that once, dang it!!!

Good News... Continental finally got us out of Mexico on Monday...two days late…

Bad News...our flight out of Cancun departed over an hour late, so we missed our connection to Dallas...and only one of us got a first-class seat…that being my 10 year old stepson…not his 6-foot tall mom or dad…Son was not happy when Mom preempted the seat…

Good News…upon arriving at Houston at 3:45 pm, the Continental flight attendant informed us that they had already rescheduled our connecting flight and that new boarding passes were waiting for all of us in baggage claim.

Bad News…only our 10 year old son had a boarding pass waiting for him.

Good News...we finally got 3 boarding passes on a flight from Houston to Dallas at 5 pm

Bad News…the flight was delayed while they changed a flat tire and fixed the brakes…

Good News...we finally took off…one hour behind schedule…

Bad News...our baggage did NOT arrive in Dallas with us...

Good News…Continental promised they would deliver our bags to our home that night…

Bad News…I believed them and stayed up to 12:30 AM waiting for that delivery…

Good News…our baggage finally arrives…16 hours later…

Bad News…I had to argue with the delivery guy because our baggage was listed as belonging to my step-son (different last name)…this was despite me telling the airport baggage claim guy the night before that my name, not my stepson’s, should be on the baggage claim form….I told him that three separate times…

Good News...Continental gave us 3 free flight vouchers worth $400 each...

Really, Really, Really Bad news... we can only use them on Continental Airlines...

And in closing…If you have been paying attention…you will now realize that it takes 33 boarding passes to get to and from Cancun….and 54 hours of flight delays!


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