Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Trip to PA - Part I

Hello - my dear blog friends!  I finally decided after more than 3 months, I'd better catch everyone up with all that's going on in our world!  It's been exciting...!

I may have to break up this story into three posts, because it's a LONG story!  And, I'll try to make it as short and sweet as possible!  =)

Let's start at the beginning with our originally planned, month long visit to PA...


April 16th dawned bright and early in southern Mexico.  We arrived at our little airport in Tapachula around 5:30 a.m.  The line checking in was a little long, but we gradually arrived at the ticket counter, received our tickets, and headed towards our gate.  On the way there, we had to stop by an immigration counter where the agent checked our tickets and passports.  Since we had never traveled abroad with our FM2 visas, we asked if there was anything else we needed to do.  His answer was 'no," so we continued on our way.

We were off the ground around 6:40 a.m. and enjoying our short flight to Mexico City.  Upon our arrival there, we found our next gate with no difficulty.  Since our layover was two hours, we settled in, ate some snacks, and relaxed.  During this time, there was an official walking around handing out tourist visa papers.  He asked Michael if we needed one, and since we had our FM2 visas, we assumed we didn't need one.

Around 11:00 a.m. we got in the line to board our flight to San Antonio.  When we handed our tickets and passports to the agent, we were told we each needed one of those papers (that we had not been given in Tapachula when we asked and that we assumed we did not need and so had never filled it out...) to be able to board.  Oops!  Now what?  The agent told Michael he would have to fill them out and then return back through the airport to get them stamped.  Ok.  I stayed at the gate with the boys while Michael did a mad dash back through the airport.  About two minutes before Michael came dashing back, they closed the gate.  We politely asked if the airplane door was still open and if we could board, but the agents simply looked at us, told us "no," and went about their business with no inclination to try and help us out!

From this point on, things started getting frustrating!  Because we had made an intelligently incorrect decision while booking our flights - by scheduling two different trips on the same day because it was cheaper - we now realized until we sorted through this mess and got our next flight rescheduled, we were going to miss our next trip in San Antonio and that there would probably be fees involved!

Now on the agenda was to try and get our flight out of Mexico City rescheduled.  That was almost a joke.  Every place we stopped to get help, we were sent to a different place within the airport!  We finally found an AeroMexico counter that would help us.  After much talking, they got us on another flight.  And unbelievingly, we were able to retrieve our luggage which had not been sent on.  Thank the Lord!

We were also thankful that I have a Verizon phone with a plan for both Mexico and the U.S.  It became very useful to us now that we had to contact travelocity and make new plans for our trip out of San Antonio to Harrisburg.

When we first called them, we were given information that we could change our trip flights for $180 a person.  Michael said he would talk to his wife and get back with them.  I then called my sister to see if she could check online and find any flights that would be cheaper than the change flight price.  She wasn't coming up with anything better, so we called travelocity back, only to have them tell us that we must have misunderstood and it would be over $500 a person to change our flights!  WHAT?  Well, we didn't want to do that, and our flight was getting ready to board, so we decided not to do anything until we arrived in San Antonio.

Upon our arrival in San Antonio, we gathered our luggage and went through customs and received a nice "Welcome back to the good 'ole USA, kids!!!!"  We were so glad to be there that we went out into the terminal, sank down in some chairs and breathed a sigh of relief!  Now to figure out the next plan.

We quickly decided it was getting too late in the day and we were too worn out to be trying and getting a flight to PA yet that same night.  So we got online, found a decent hotel with shuttle service and headed there first.

We checked into our room, got online again, and found tickets for the following day for about the price of the original "change flight" price we were quoted.

Next was to try and find some food!  With free shuttle service in a 5 mile radius of the hotel, we decided on Cici's Pizza.  Yum!  And all the kids got to eat free too!  =)

Once again, bright and early Tuesday morning, we were in the San Antonio airport and finally on our way towards Philadelphia with a layover in Charlotte.

And without any more complications (except a MAJORLY bumpy airplane ride!) we made it to PA and were greeted by my family!

Now we only had a few days to tie up loose ends in preparation for my sister's wedding!  Stayed tuned for Part II and some pictures!

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Sorry you had these setbacks! It's never easy when traveling with small children. So glad you made it to PA, and I'm looking forward to "the rest of the story!" Appreciate you folk and pray for you!~~Marilyn M.