Monday, January 2, 2012

Jamaica - Our Flight

Where do I begin?...

Okay, our flight to Montego Bay (aka Mobay, as locals and many regulars refer to it).
Although I consider myself a relatively frequent flyer, this was my first time flying with Air Transat. The flight started out quite nicely. Having paid for "Option Plus" (I'm still not quite sure what that means, some sort of a bonus on our economy class tickets), we got upped to 1st class! Though it's not much on the Airbus 310, the extra legroom, slightly better food and wider seats were much appreciated. Especially with a 15-month-old toddler! Our flight was direct from Ottawa to Montego Bay, so it only took about 4.5 hours. But boy, did it feel long!!! I've been on 10-hour flights, but this one just seemed to draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag... Maybe it's because we were anxious to get to the beach, or maybe because it took over 45 minutes to de-ice our plane in YOW.

Anyways, we arrived in one piece and so did our luggage, so we were happy to finally get out... to a HOT and STICKY airport... wearing our (relatively) warm clothing.

TIP #1: pack a pair of shorts and flip-flops into your carry-on. (this one a friend shared with me, so we were good to go!) Trust me, even wearing shorts, you'll be sweating buckets in line to get your passport stamped!

Our flight back to Ottawa - to summarize, IT SUCKED and why this is the last time I'm flying with Air Transat! Since we had a baby with us, as per usual airport procedure, people with babies get to board first. Usually an advantage, right?! WRONG! The air conditioner did not work, so it felt like being in the car in the middle of hot & humid summer with your windows rolled up and the A/C broken (apparently, some sort of "connection" didn't work at this airport). We waited like that for 45 minutes!!! I honestly thought that we were going to faint. My poor baby got all red and hot, I don't know how she made it. Of course, I also didn't realize how Air Transat devised this particular route: Ottawa, Canada -> Montego Bay, Jamaica -> Varadero, Cuba -> Ottawa, Canada. So people get off in Montego Bay and those going beck to Ottawa get on.

Meanwhile, people vacationing in Varadero sit on the plane and wait for this switch over to occur. When the plane arrives in Varadero, people get off in Varadero and those going back to Ottawa get on. We were those people waiting for a switch over to occur in Varadero. Only they decided to clean the plane in Varadero (rather than before we got on in Montego Bay), which meant we had to get off AND take all of our carry-on luggage with us. On top of that I had to carry my baby because there was no stroller available (our got sky-checked in Mobay). This procedure took about 30-45 minutes, after which we were let back on the plane, where A/C was not working! Again! I was pissed off at this point, especially since I got some major attitude for one of the flight attendant for standing with my baby closer to the door while people boarded. All I wanted was some air for her! I ended up actually stepping off the plane onto the jet bridge and return after most passengers had boarded.

On we flew, and one person in our group got hit on the head with what looked like a case with those special cassettes that they use for in-flight entertainment. He was sitting just under their overhead compartment and when the attendant opened it to switch a cassette - ironically, to the safety procedures! - that box when straight down!!! So much for them preaching to all of us passengers to open those bins slowly because "the contents could shift during the flight"...

Once we arrived in Ottawa, the airport crew wasn't ready, which added to even more frustration on the part of passengers in general and one in particular - my kid was DONE with this 4.5-turned-6-hour trip! The plane was basically sitting idle, so my hubby stood up with her (the only thing that would keep her quiet) and was told to sit down. So I did the same - and of course, was ask to sit down also.... which I refused to do (ha-ha!) :P Honestly, what was he going to do? Kick me off the plane? PLEASE!!!

Anyways, our bags came out early, but our stroller was nowhere to be found. Finally they brought it out and OUT we went. Our car, which we left at the airport parking lot, would, of course, not start, but after a few boosts we were on out way home... Wow, does it ever feel good to be home after a experience like that!


  1. totally agree with you Nadia on this. I will complain to the company eventhough they will probably ignore us...

  2. Just read all your reviews and went to Bob's place myself before. Very well described by your words. What I question is why take a vacation of this sort with a baby? Sorry but I just don't see how anyone can have fun packing a baby on vacation. Glad the heat in the plane wasn't too much for you all. I know here in the sub tropics the AC on planes when on the ground is hardly running and like you said hot as a car inside almost. IMO boarding a plane first is of zero advantage unless its open seating.

    1. A vacation of this sort would not have been my choice with a baby, believe me! However, as you may or may not relate, this was asked by our in-laws, and we were not in the position to decline, so we obliged. As simple as that.