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Ever been "stuck" in Cuba?

Went down Dec 20-27, 2012 but if you live on the East side of this great Turtle Island, you will have heard of a little snowstorm. We had gone to the airport on the 27th, checked in, done the duty free booze purchases, paid for VIP, and were into our first rum’n’coke, when we were asked to come down to customs. The Sunwing rep said the flight was cancelled (MTL airport was closed) so we reboarded a supertiny Yutong bus and drove an hour back to the hotel - they tried to put us in Playa Pesquero but there were only four rooms. We held out for Paradisus Rio de Oro as we had come from the Royal Service there; around 11 30 at night we were given a room. Got the regular rooms, but we were fortunate to get the first block 42 right next to the lobby. We were treated so well by Paradisus. We were told to meet the rep at 9:30 and by 10:15 a waiter brought us the message that the bus was coming at 2:30. Bus came at 2:50 and we picked up the Playa Pesquero people. Our Sunwing rep at the airport was EXCELLENT as he fixed our two problems: 1) I had 3 bottles in my carryon and nowadays they are sticky about that when formerly it was not an issue and 2) we had paid for VIP and were told we had to pay again.

Sunwing rep smoothed it all out with some diplomacy and the bottles came through (they were sealed in their bag, which helped), and also we were escorted back up to VIP without having to pay again. First world problems, I know, but good to know these things can be resolved with smiles and diplomacy.

We joked about being “stuck” in Cuba because who minds an extra day in paradise? But you know, it didn’t feel as good as you would imagine. My travel partner missed an important meeting so her new rule is: no work the day after arrival, in case this happens again.

Another lady on the trip needed rx’d pain meds and had only brought enough for one week. I would suggest to bring a few days’ extra or maybe another week’s worth. Try also to keep a few extra pesos by the end of the trip, just in case.

Has anyone had a similar experience with snowstorms and cancelled flights?

Glad all went well. (ish)… You could have arrived in Montreal and been grounded there …Better to be delayed in the sun than the snow… We always pack at least 3 days extra on important items and RULE from year one traveling … is to pre book your day back with “Appointments” but not any where other people are involved. No way anyone can book appointments if you have already. And as we all know there is always paperwork waiting patiently for you upon your return

Glad it turned out OK for you and your travel partner… some good tips …thanks for sharing …we will now adjust meds and other pertinent stuff… after more than 25 trips south we have never been lucky enough to get to stay a little longer…Must of felt good to go back to the PRDO…

A couple years ago we took friends with us - the 1st time they’d ever been south. Our luggage was in the Lobby of Breezes Jibacoa at 5 p.m. then heard from the Front Desk to go and have dinner as departure delayed 4 hours due to bad storm in Toronto which caused, of course, a domino effect ! Had dinner and watched the Olympics for a while. Finally left for Juan Gomez , paid departure tax, etc., etc. then watched as each delayed flight finally departed. Only one left on the Board and it was ours. Everything in the Airport closed so we lay down to catch “40 winks”. At 2 a.m. they woke us as the Airport was fogged in and they were busing us to Havana but another hour went by before they rounded up enough bus drivers. Got to Havana and they handed out our Tourist cards again as we had to go through departure protocol again ! Finally left Havana after 8 a.m. and got to YYZ at 11:15 a.m. and back home at 2 p.m. Tired ??? Yeah, a little bit. Too bad the delay wasn’t through the day when we could’ve lay around the pool for a while. It was a real experience not only for our friends but for us also. In all my years of flying for business and pleasure I’ve never had anything like this happen - not even close!

Not stuck in Cuba but stuck on the way home from Cuba…A few years ago I booked an Air Canada package to Club Amigo Guardalavaca in December from Halifax via Toronto. I arrived back in Toronto on Dec 21 as planned, but because of a snow storm, flights to Halifax were cancelled. I spent the night in a hotel at my expense and then all the next day in the Toronto airport trying to get a seat on an Air Canada flight to Halifax…no luck…after another night in the hotel the same thing the next day …then Air Canada suggested I take the next flight to Montreal as I might have better luck catching a flight to Halifax from there…I flew to Montreal and spent the rest of the day at the airport but no luck…then a night in a Montreal airport…the next day Air Canada said if I fly back to Toronto they could get me on a flight to Halifax…I went back to Toronto and finally got my flight to Halifax and then a 4 hour drive to Yarmouth…I got home Christmas Eve at 5 pm…Air Canada did not pay for any of my hotels, food or any other expenses even though the trip was booked as an Air Canada Vacations package.

Hey, hossafus. If Air Canada HAD paid for your expenses they’d be deeper in debt than they already are and you would’ve had to carry that guilt 24-7 !!

Hey old grapes,

maybe not…if they took good care of their customers they might have more of them…now if I go to Cuba through Toronto in the fall/winter I take Westjet…they give hotel vouchers if late or cancelled flights cause an overnight delay on a package trip…

I’ve been lucky to have never had to do AC to Cuba (we’re out of Qc City), but geez, all I hear is horror stories. I mean, it’s like it’s not even a friggin’ CANADIAN company anymore, for Pete’s sake.

Canadians just don’t treat people that way! Seriously!

My Acadian friends often use AC and often mention the “no meals” comment, which is beyond me! But then to throw in a lay-over at the traveller’s expense, I am at a serious loss for woids :o

A couple years ago we were at Don Lino in Holguin and found out the night before that there was a snowstorm expected overnight and into the next day in Hamilton. We went to bed prepared to leave our rooms in the morning when we were informed by the hotel that there were no planes leaving Hamilton so they weren’t going to send us to the airport until they got word that a plane was coming to pick us up.

We got to keep our room, as there was no incoming guests to take it. It was an extra 6 hours in paradise; giving us a bonus horse ride, bonus meals, bonus time in the lounger by the pool. Fantastic! Nothing pressing waiting for us at home so was all good.

Maybe the pilot just didn’t want to fly back to Montreal during a snow storm :stuck_out_tongue: :wink: Oddly enough, hubby and his brother had to fly from Vancouver to Montreal on the afternoon of the 27th for a family emergency. They landed in Montreal no problems…lots of snow, though!

We’ve never been stuck to the point of returning to a resort but did have a nail biter on our first visit to Cayo Largo…way back when. We had to fly CL to Havana to Toronto. So, we are sitting in the departure area in Havana and tick tock, tick tock, nothing is happening. We can see the plane on the tarmac and are, finally, told that they are having mechanical problems. Oh yeah, just what you want to hear (Cubana Air). We have a connecting flight to make in TO to Vancouver. Thankfully, we had allowed a 6 hour layover for our connector. We needed every minute of it. The flight was 5 hours late departing Havana and we were totally stressed out the whole flight but, the travel gods aligned for us. :smiley: Our bags were first onto the carousel, grab them, sprint to Customs. They see the panicked looks on our faces and just stamped and waved us through. Another sprint to catch the bus to connect to the terminal for our flight to Vancouver and, oh yeah, wave at hubby’s parents who were meeting us in TO for a short visit…shortest in history ::). We made our connector by the skin of our teeth but, in today’s post 9/11, it wouldn’t have happened. Those were the good ol’ days :wink: That trip was over 20 years ago but I still feel the stress we went through.

By the way, for those slagging ACV, we are travelling with them, for the first time, and are hoping for a good trip (knock on wood).

Hi steffiej,

All the best for 2013…I’m sure Air Canada has satisfied customers as well as dissatisfied ones…as a matter of fact I was always an Air Canada fan before this trip…things usually go well…my lesson learned was to read the fine print…if a delay or missed flight is weather related the airline is not responsible…having said that I think Westjet does more for it’s customers in this type of situation.

Thanks, hossafus, for your well wishes; I wish 2013 a great year for you, also :slight_smile:
We booked with ACV way back in June and things got off to a rocky start right out of the gate. Our TA dealt with the issue and, I must admit, we were impressed at how quickly Air Canada dealt with the situation and to our satisfaction. That being said, we still have to go on the trip so I’ll reserve my impressions until we get home!
Air Transat has taken a nose dive in customer service after our dealings with them on our trip in Feb.2012. Rating them out of 10, I’d grudgingly give them a 1!
Frankly, I doubt any of the Canadian airlines would rate very high for customer service if you run into trouble during a trip.

[quote=@steffiej]Frankly, I doubt any of the Canadian airlines would rate very high for customer service if you run into trouble during a trip.

[/quote]

Very well put. I totally agree with this statement.

[quote=@jetpilot][quote=@steffiej]Frankly, I doubt any of the Canadian airlines would rate very high for customer service if you run into trouble during a trip.

[/quote]

Very well put. I totally agree with this statement.[/quote]

I agree 100%…only people that complain or don’t like a certain airline are those that have had problems. So until something happens to you personally, they are all pretty much the same.

That being said, I have traveled Sunwing, Air Transat, Westjet and ACV and to be honest…ACV is always my first choice even if a little more money. Westjet being my last choice based on a vacation package experience with them, that left a bad taste in my mouth. Probably more so than normal because of how people used to rave about their service.

And I like Air Transat, but only when I can book their “club class”…lol

After a great many flights, the only significant problem we had was on Sunwing flying out of Vancouver on a midnight red-eye. There was a grinding sound coming from the front wheel on the runway. Bad enough that even my wife looked startled.

After an hour of checking, they went back to the terminal, were bused to a hotel for 3 hours of napping, then bussed back for a 7:00 am AC flight out.

For some people, that would be considered a bad experience. I think most normal people would rather get home 7 hrs. late than get home in a box. I was amazed how honest the flight crew was about the problem and commended them for it.

Airlines all seem to suffer from ‘stonewalling’ when there is a problem. There is nothing worse than telling nothing to the passengers (either in the lounge or on the plane) when any reasonable person knows that there is a serious problem.

We feel fortunate that we’ve never been ‘stuck’ in Cuba. Last year, a week after we flew out, a number of flights were delayed a day by fog and suffered significant aggravation at Santa Clara.

BTW, love the ‘sardines’ analogy. I’ve learned to bring my phone with plenty of music, put on my own headphones and ‘zone out’ the feeling of claustrophobic chaos.

[quote=@monctonguy]

And I like Air Transat, but only when I can book their "club class"…lol[/quote]

LOL, we were travelling Club Class when we had our issues with AT :stuck_out_tongue: But, in all fairness, it was one flight and one particular bad apple in the flight crew who was the source of the problem. Other flights we’ve had with AT have been good. It was how poorly AT customer service handled our complaint that was the stumbling block. Customer service is a very important part of any company and failing to provide satisfactory service = customers not returning and bad mouthing the company.

There were some people on our delayed flight who swore they would never fly Sunwing again, like the company did this on purpose to them, when really it was Mother Nature!

On the up side, I have learned from this experience to always pack extra underwear and medication, and my travel pal learned to never book clients for the day after arrival. Travel is knowledge!