Just to give some background to my travels.
I booked this holiday direct with Uschi at Rancho Las Cascadas in July 2009 for the following March . It was a piece of cake really, all done over the internet with Paypal. I even got it at that year's prices as long as I paid by a certain time. This was my first experience of Uschi's customer care - excellent!
The flights were booked direct, Premium Economy from London Heathrow T5 to Mexico City, again, a piece of cake and quite a few juicy Airmiles to add to my freebie to come flight some time in the future.
It was a couple of days before my flight when all my pieces of cake turned to crumbs! BA cabin crew were going to be on strike. Nobody knew which flights would be affected.
I hovered over my computer waiting for an email from BA and then, just about 24 hours before departure, there it was ... ba.com - Flight Cancellation. Most of their 777 fleet were still flying as they didn't need so many crew. Guess who was booked on a 747?
Lots of naughty words and a quarter of an hour on the internet later, I had worked out another route with a stopover so I quickly rang BA and amazingly I got through to a lovely lady who very smoothly moved me over to a BA flight to Dallas with a connection via American to Mexico City, arriving 20 minutes after the direct flight would have done. This was in economy but heh-ho at least I had a flight. Bless her, she even refunded my money I'd paid to reserve my seat.
I stayed up at Heathrow at the Crowne Plaza overnight - sounds very grand but it was a real cheapo - about £40 or so. Mind you a glass of wine and half a dozen olives in the bar were £12.50!!!
Well the day didn’t start too well as my new flight was delayed until 11.30, meaning that I had also missed my connection in Dallas. Ah well, at least I would be nearly there. The flight looked pretty full at the departure gate which wasn't surprising as BA had tried to fit a quart into a pint pot and get all the passengers from the cancelled flights onto those remaining. I did the usual trick of working out who I didn’t want to sit next to – all the super-sizers and the ones with annoying habits.
They called the first six rows and as usual three quarters of the plane load got up and crowded around the gate. I hung back as they hadn’t called mine. When they did, there were only six of us left for 40 seats!!
They checked my passport and then told me that I was to have a comfortable flight as I had been upgraded to Business Class – Result!!
It was a weird seat though, in the middle of the plane all kind of caged in. But I spent the next hour working out how to adjust the seat – It actually goes completely flat and turns into a bed – all very strange with a complete stranger next to you. Well there I lay for a while with my back to the engine. It’s a very strange feeling hurtling down the runway to V2 backwards. The food was good although due to the strike, there was no hot food and not much of a choice –
artichoke salad or chicken salad. They had a fair few artichokes left over!! My travel companion appeared to be some kind of Elf Lord – a keen gamer who spent most of the flight watching children’s films or reading his gaming magazines – BORING!!!!!
here I am in Texas and unable to take advantage of it as I have an onward flight. Ah yes – let me tell you about my Texas trauma. I actually got through Customs and Immigration just about the time that my connection as due to take off – so had to be rebooked. BA had done the ground work for this so I was booked onto the 9.45. Problem was – how do I tell the ranch as they were picking me up! All the phones were out of order but there was a great guy called Lee on the
information desk – wearing the obligatory Stetson who pointed me in the direction of the BA desk. This unfortunately was occupied by one flustered woman and a tricky customer and it looked like it would go on for hours. So through to departures and then looked for assistance from either BA or AA. BA had all gone home for the night and AA were a little reluctant. So I try the phones. None of them like my credit card so I try the internet - $5 for 20 minutes – this time they liked my card but hated me, as nothing would connect.
Bit pissed off now as I needed a beer!! Eventually a lady called Rikki and a Mexican AA guy called Aaron sussed out the telephone number and I got through to Uschi who has promised I will be collected outside Gate 8 at midnight – sounds all a bit Cinderella like but I’ll be there – stinky trainers but no glass slippers.
At this point I collapsed gratefully into a pint of Guiness and started this diary
Got to Mexico City and retrieved my cases only to bring up a red light at Customs which meant a bag search. Just to explain at the airport in Mexico City you collect your baggage and go towards the exit. You then have to press a button, if it's a green light you walk straight through, if it's red they stop you and search your bags .Horlicks!! I was tired enough without that. Managed to fight off the porters outside and made my way to door 8 as instructed – only to find it was locked. So had to trog down to door 9 and then walk back.
The pick up went OK and that’s when I was told that, due to the late hour , I would be spending the night in a hotel in Mexico City – all paid for by Uschi – bless her. By the time I got to bed it was nearly 1am and I had to be up at 6.30 to get ready, have breakfast and check out before I was picked up at 8am.