Comes With Sprinkles

Because everything is better with sprinkles

And Then I Was 30

I have to admit, a large part of me was looking forward to turning 30. I was excited about a new decade. I was looking forward to being taken seriously now that I was no longer a twenty-something.

And then I woke up on August 5th and realized, hey, I’m 30 years old. The harsh reality of what being 30 means rolled in and I was a miserable grouch for the entire day.

I was mad. I was mad that I’ve made it to 30 and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything. I was mad that I still work entry level in a job where I can’t even get a single weekend off through the summer and that I’ll have to put in ten years before I can get Monday through Friday and daytime hours. In ten years, Ana will be 13 and she won’t really much care if I finally have weekends off to spend with her and her dad, now will she?

I was furious that I weigh the same number that I did last year. And the year before. I’ll have to write up an entire post about my food struggles one of these days, as fascinating as it is to NOBODY except myself.

I guess I just hit 30 hard. I feel like I’m in the exact same place that I was a decade ago and, quite frankly, that’s damn depressing.

I’m still mad. I feel a lot like I’m drowning.

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Don’t Fly Sunwing. Ever.

I usually take poor customer service experiences with a grain of salt. Meh. It happens. Things get screwed up. The company does what it can to fix it- or should- and if not, you rant a little angrily and you move on. This mistake? Cost me huge. And this company? Has made  ZERO effort to fix the problem.

Here’s the story.

Back in September (2010), my husband and I won an all-inclusive trip to Mexico. Our rep from Molson, who we won the trip from, set up our reservations at a family resort called Sea Adventure in Cancun. We were a bit hesitant about the resort as this was very clearly a very family oriented resort and we were traveling child-less for the first time since the birth of our daughter two years previous. Whatever, it was a free vacation. We printed our flight information and settled in to wait for our free vacation in February.

On February 12th, the day before our flight was scheduled to leave, we double-checked our flight time, like good little travelers. Our original departure time was at 9:55. When we checked our flight time on the website, it showed 7:40. We arrived at the airport at 4:40am as the website indicated for international flights that you should be there three hours early. The desk was closed. The monitor at the airport showed the flight time as 9:50. What? We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, at 7:00 am, the counter opened. We walked up and asked about the flight time. The girl said, “Yeah, yeah, it’s leaving at 7:40.” We kinda raised our eyebrows and looked at her and went, “And you’re just opening your counter now? The board over there says 9:50. She gave a nervous laugh and said, “hold on, let me look.” She looked at a few things and goes, “Yeah, huh, our website shows 7:40, but it’s actually still 9:55.” We rolled our eyes, but in good humor still, and groaned about being at the airport not just early, but RIDICULOUSLY early, because of the misinformation on the website. We even joked about how lucky we were that the times were posted incorrectly early instead of incorrectly late.

We get all checked in and then we went to our gate. We got called up a few minutes later and were “bumped up” to their special seating. Which, FYI, is not special. It’s about 6″ more leg space (if even that) and uhm… bulkhead seating. That’s it. So… thanks, Sunwing? Whatever. We accept the bump up gratefully and go back and sit down. We’re approached a few minutes later by the girl who checked us in and she asks me if I’m expecting a child. Wow. Thanks. Yup, I’m going to feel REAL confident in my swimsuit in Mexico now! Whoo! I’m chunky, yes, but god. And you know what? Airlines don’t actually have to know if you’re pregnant unless you’re about to burst. When I WAS obviously pregnant I flew to Boise, Idaho without a single comment. Ugh. That’s okay. Again. Brush it off, we’re going to Mexico! For free!

A side note, because this is important, there was NOTHING in our paperwork about provided transportation. Our paperwork gave us our flight times and it gave us our hotel information. When we landed in Cancun, we paid for a cab ($40 US). We went to our resort and checked in. It was kinda awful. The rooms were drab and plain and had no bottled water and no fridge. The pool and the lobby were infested with bratty children. And the vacation company got our room wrong. On our paperwork we were booked for a junior suite, ocean-view. We got a regular room, garden-view. It took three days and three different rooms to get it right.

By the third day and our third room, I’d had enough. I took it to the hotel manager. I brought our paperwork and I was pissed. I asked to be transferred to their sister resort, Temptations, without a cost. He hooked us up and over we transferred. When we checked out at Sea Adventure, the girl at the counter mentioned that we should call our travel company to let them know where we were so that our transportation would know where to pick us up. I said that we didn’t have transportation, that we took a cab and she just nodded and on we went.

Fast forward to Saturday the 19th, the day before we’re scheduled to leave. We figured, again, that we should confirm our flight time. We were told that there would be a Sunwing representative at the counter at 4:30pm and to come by then. My husband went there at 4:45 and nobody was there. He went and played a game of pool and came back at 5:00pm where he came across a guy wearing a Sunwing badge pinned to his shirt and holding the Sunwing flight binder. My husband gave him the number of our flight and our departure date and found the time was slightly off from the original time we showed, but that was not a big surprise to us considering our flight coming in. We had the time of departure as 6:15. The guy points to the binder and shows Derek a departure time of 5:40. He says a shuttle will be picking people up to go to the airport so we should be in the lobby at 2:40pm.

The next day, departure day, we checked out at noon, as required, and we paced. We wandered the resort pretty bored. Our suitcases were packed, we didn’t really have enough time to do anything so we stalled. At 2:30 we went to the lobby. At 2:40 we waited. At 2:55 we started to wonder what the eff was up. My husband went back over to the counter and checked the binder himself as nobody was present at the counter. Clearly marked in the binder was our fight. Leaving at 3:15. In 20 minutes. Apparently, our helpful Sunwing representative had pointed out the flight for the wrong day.

We panicked. We grabbed a cab and FLEW to the airport, arriving at about 3:20pm. We stood in line, tapping our feet and rushed up to the counter. We told the agent our story and he shrugged like, “Too bad. You’re late. Here’s the rep,” pointing at a guy with a big binder near the counter. We approach him, Daniel, and tell him our story again. He shrugs and goes, “We went to Sea Adventure to pick you up. We waited a long time.” Uhm. What?

Apparently, our reservation DID include transportation, but Sunwing didn’t include that somewhat IMPORTANT information anywhere in our itinerary. At this point, I’m sobbing. The guy goes, “Okay, okay, let me call my boss and see what the deal is. We have no more flights into Vancouver tonight.” He calls his boss and they have a rapid conversation in Spanish. He hangs up and dials another number. He calls and talks to someone for a few minutes and then hands the phone to my husband. He has called the guy who was supposed to be at the desk in the hotel lobby the day before. This guy says, “I wasn’t there until 5:30. I never talked to anybody,” and completely DENIES that he ever spoke to my husband. His name was Guido. So the Sunwing manager on the other line with Daniel made his decision. These passengers should be stranded in Cancun. We were on our own to get home.

If you thought I was crying before? I was in hysterics at this point. I had to be at work the next day. My daughter was waiting for us to come and get her. If we wanted to lie about our flight time, wouldn’t we have said we’d had our original flight time? Why would we make up a random time 35 minutes earlier? Part of the reason why the manager made the decision that he did is because our printed itinerary was dated for September of 2010. Well, guess what, buddy. Why would we print a new copy if the info was the same?

$1300 and the last two seats on a Westjet flight a few hours later and we were on our way home.

I want my damn money back. When we got home, we called Flight Centre, the company the Molson rep set up the vacation through. They showed our departing flight as still listed with them as 6:15pm. I thought maybe it was a time zone issue, but we were in a zone two hours from our original spot so that math didn’t line up either.

I called Sunwing and found out that, surprise surprise, they don’t do customer service over the phone. You have to leave them a message and see if you’re lucky enough to get a call back. (I wasn’t.) We went through our Molson rep who contacted them and made ZERO progress. They told him that flights are subject to change and it’s up to the traveler to stay on top of flight times. Except that WE DID. And we were told wrong information by the company and it cost us $1300 in cash.

I want $1300 in cash back. I want half of the vacation value back because someone paid for that flight home that we missed through no fault of our own. I want my cab fare back.

I’m furious that this happened six months ago and that I’m still having to fight to even get someone to listen to me. So LISTEN, Sunwing. This is not how you treat customers. This is not how you get people to repeat travel with you. I can assure you, that unless you kiss some serious ass? I will NEVER fly with you again and I will make sure that nobody I know flies with you either.

So what are you going to do, Sunwing? Balls in your court.