Barcelona and Transatlantic Cruise 2008 – Day 20 – Flight Home

Today, the vacation really came to an end as we flew home from San Juan, Puerto Rico ending a wonderful cruise and overall vacation. We had a lot of great family fun on this trip and had many chances to increase our bond as a family. Cruising has been really wonderful for us. Of course, the trip home was not without some events.

We arose from our sleep at the Old San Juan Sheraton about 6 AM in order to head to the airport around 7. Our flight was at 9:45 but we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time. The day before Suzanne had run out to a local Marshalls and bought an additional suitcase to make sure we had plenty of room and that all luggage made the weight requirement. We didn’t want any extra airlines fees coming home.

After getting up, we noticed that the Carnival Victory was already docked across from the hotel. They hadn’t yet begun letting passengers off so getting a taxi for the ride to the airport was a snap – all of about 10 seconds. A brief 15 minute ride and we were at the airport.

While checking in on those wonderful (sarcasm intended) electronic check in machines, the machine tried to tell us that we owed $100 for luggage fees. The machine and then two agents tried to tell us that only 1 bag per passenger was free and the it was $25 per bag after the first. Well, that’s certainly true today, but since we booked our tickets long ago, we were supposed to be exempt from the policy change. In fact, we did not pay any fees in Tucson for luggage when we departed.

It appeared that the system was thinking our date of booking was incorrect. After booking our tickets, Continental canceled our original flight out of San Juan and moved us to another flight. It appears that the system thought our date of booking was the date that Continental made those changes to our tickets. Anyways, Suzanne couldn’t convince the agents they were wrong and it didn’t help that they really didn’t speak English well either. Hello! We were in the United States!!! Your representatives should at least have working ability in the National language!

I wasn’t in a mood to spend much time arguing about $100 and potentially darken a wonderful vacation especially since it was obvious we would have more luck with the travel agent and Continental directly after getting home, so I paid the $100 and we moved through.

Chalk it up to another bad experience with Continental Airlines though. I really miss it when I don’t get to fly American Airlines. I have so much better luck with them and the extra leg room on their flights compared to other airlines makes a big difference too.

The flight to Houston was uneventful and we settled in for a long lay over. Continental had again canceled our original flight after booking and moved us to a later flight. We now had a five hour layover instead of the planned 90 minutes when we booked. Thanks again Continental.

The layover did give us a chance to grab some lunch and for the kids to finish some of the school work they had not done on the cruise ship. Mainly, they had to update their pre-cruise presentations and reports with actual accounts of what they had done.

The flight out of Houston back to Tucson was also uneventful and we landed on Sunday about 8 PM. Originally, we had planned to be back around 2:30 which would give us some time on Sunday to rest before I had to go back to work on Monday and the kids back to school. Now, it was after 9 pm before we arrived home. With the flight times, layover and time changes, it made for an exhausting day.

Still, we count the overall vacation as a wonderful time. I hope to do a wrapup post in a day or so.