Oh boy, what a rough start we had! There was a problem with online check-in, which resulted in group B boarding (for those who are unfamiliar with Southwest: seating is not assigned during reservation, but you are given a boarding position according to when you check-in for your flight. In other words, the sooner you check in, the better/earlier your boarding position). Not ideal, but we could live with it. Perhaps it was due to the trip being international, but upon check in, the system wanted additional information that we were never asked previously, including passport numbers, emergency contact, etc. Then as icing on the cake, the night before our flight, we found out that our flight was canceled! Southwest defaulted us with a new itinerary with a layover and a late arrival. This itinerary would not have worked, as it resulted in a mere 15-minute layover with a plane change and a delay. My husband tried calling Southwest and it took almost an hour to get a live person on the phone to try to figure out our flight situation. The rep put us on a 5:30 AM flight from LAX to AUS with a 2 hour layover, landing in CUN at 4:05 PM. This also resulted in horrible boarding positions (Group B, in the 40s for the first leg of the trip, Group C, in the teens for the second leg), that the rep couldn’t help us with, even though it was Southwest that canceled our flight. We chose to go with this itinerary since we figured that it was better than arriving later, as we had to catch a ferry.
This whole fiasco resulted in staying up all night for me, as I had to get ready and pack, and we had to leave home at 2 AM. We parked at Hilton LAX (will never park here again) and arrived at LAX Southwest terminal to find that the reps have not arrived yet but some passengers were already waiting. We waited for a worker to come and turn on the kiosks manually to print out boarding passes. Since it’s an international flight, we could not get a boarding pass on the phone app, as we usually do. We got through security quickly thanks to TSA pre-check and the fact that it was so early that the terminal was not crowded at all. We filled up water bottles/tumblers we brought with us, which I highly recommend.
AUS did not have a lot of lounge choices, none from AMEX or Priority Pass, so we had to wait at the gate. Food options were slim pickins, so we got sandwiches from Thundercloud, which were much tastier and a better value than pre-made sandwiches that other vendors were selling. We also got Quack’s Bakery’s banana nut bread from Maya Ruta, which we didn’t have the stomach space to eat until on our Chichen Itza trip. My husband and I had to be separated on this longer flight to CUN since our boarding positions were group C. We slept most of the way there.
This was a good example of how things could go wrong when planning for vacation or on vacation, and how some things are just out of our control. Although stressful, we had to accept these changes and adapt to them to make the best out of our situation. Plus, we were determined to enjoy ourselves on the beautiful Playa Norte in Isla Mujeres!
Tip: If an airline company cancels your flight and gives you a new itinerary that does not work for you, make sure to call the airline and ask the representative to help you with an itinerary that works. You don’t have to be stuck with the default itinerary if it causes a problem!