For the past few years my family and I have been goin off on vacations to warm climates during Thanksgiving and Spring Break. This time we weren't able to go during Thanksgiving because of the start of my varsity basketball practices, so instead my dad booked a one week stay in Cancun, Mexico on Funjet Vacations. Funjet Vacations is a vacation company that gets Ryan International to charter flights for them down to warm climate destinations. The flight would be a non-stop roundtrip from MKE (with a bit of a twist at the end that you'll find out about ) operated as a charter by Ryan International Airlines. I was starting to get a bit sick of this charter, especially since this would be my 3rd straight time flying it and 4/5 flights overall, but I guess its better than sitting at home in the cold! This would be my fourth time flying into CUN but the first time actually staying in Cancun because previously we stayed in Playa Del Carmen. Anyways, on with the report...(Dec. 30 - Jan. 6)
Previously, all of my flights had been leaving from MKE at 6 in the morning, so this 8 AM departure was a relief in that I didn't have to get up as early as before. I woke up a little before 5:30 AM, got dressed, and before long my grampa arrived to take us to the airport. We live in Racine so it was about a 20 minute drive to MKE. At about 6 AM we pulled into a pretty crowded departures drop off zone at MKE next to the ticket counters. We went in and had to go up a floor since Funjet Vacations has their ticket counters away from everybody elses, as they have them up in front of Concourse C.
The line was actually kind of long so it took a while for us to get up to the desk. Our flight was one of three Funjet flights leaving that morning with another one departing an hour before ours to MBJ and then another one departing one hour after ours to PUJ. After getting our boarding passes and getting our bags checked, I went to grab some breakfast at Cinnubun and Starbucks like i usually do here before a flight while we waited for my aunt and uncle to show up (They were also coming along on the trip). After they showed up and checked in, we began heading to gate E61 over in Concourse E. Previously, Funjet flew out of Concourse C, but once the hammerhead was completed, FL moved from E to C and Funjet moved in and took over their E gates. Security was a breeze and we were at the gate in no time. While walking to the gate I was able to see out of the corner of my eye a NW 757 with winglets taxing for takeoff. My first time seeing a NW 757 with winglets! Boarding had already started by the time we got to the gate so I had to hurry up with the spotting. First I took a look at our plane, which was a 737-800 leased from Futura. I was hoping that it would of at least had the Funjet Vacations titles on it and the winglets, but nope, just a plain white, untitled fuselage.
I went down to the NW gates at the end of the the Concourse and all of the gates were empty except for a few CO ERJs. Before heading back to board I looked across the tarmac to Concourse D and took a shot of some YX connect aircraft waiting for their departures.
When I got back to the gate, I was able to catch another Funjet 737 that going to go to PUJ pull into gate E60 .
After taking those pics I was ready to get on the plane. We boarded and I made my way to my seat which was in one of the last few rows of the plane, but I can't remember exactly which one. The leg room actually seemed better than the previous Funjet flights and this must've been an older 737 since there weren't any TV monitors. After a few minutes the captain announced that prior to departure we were going to be de-iced at the gate and eventually the de-icing truck came around and sprayed down our 737.
After smoky engine start up during pushback, we starting taxing to runway up to 19R for departure. Once we reached the end of the runway, there was a short wait while a FL 737 took off before us and then we turned onto the runway and took off into the low lying clouds/fog that was around the airport.
I was already dealing with a dirty window and the de-icing fluid streaming off the sides didn't help either so that's why those pics didn't turn out too good. Anyways, after making a smooth climbout through those clouds/fog, we continued going up until we reached 35,000 feet.
About half an hour after takeoff, the flight attendants came through the aisle with breakfast. The only option was a warm breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon, which was a great improvement over those worthless snack boxes I was offered on my previous flights. I passed on the sandwich however since I wasn't that hungry and just took some chips and coke instead. No TV monitors meant no movie so I was stuck with looking out the window and listening to the new Ipod that I just got for Christmas.
As we flew over MSY and into the Gulf of Mexico, there were some periods of light/mild turbulence, but nothing that bad. The flight started to get kind of long and slow towards the end, but eventually the Yucatan Peninsula came into view and we started descending into Cancun.
As the flight made its way over land, the flaps and gear started to come down as we went through the clouds.
After passing over a bunch of forests and a few roads/houses, we landed smoothly at CUN on runway 12.
After exiting the runway, I got my first glimpse of the newly completed Terminal 3 at CUN. I think its primarily used by US carriers.
At this point I was crossing my fingers and hoping that we wouldn't taxi over to Terminal 1 (I'll talk more about why later on) and it must have worked because after waiting for a few minutes for an Air Transat A310 to clear out, we parked at on of the stands next to Terminal 2! We got off the plane through the forward airstair and got on the bus to go to the terminal. I got one more look at our plane as we drove away.
Then it was spotting time! CUN (Besides MKE ) has to be one of my favorite airports because there's such a big variety of traffic here coming in from all over the place! I was able to get lots of shots on the bus ride over to the terminal including Air Transat, B6, Champion Air, Skyservice, Copa, and a few others as well.
After the bus pulled up in front of the terminal we headed inside and cleared through immigration/customs which didn't take too long because there were many booths open. As I went over to the carousel, the bags from our flight were already coming along with luggage from another Funjet flight from DTW. After grabbing our bags we made our way to the bus. Surprisingly, I didn't get heckled as much as I thought I would as I headed for the bus to the hotel. Got on the bus and then it was off for a weeks worth of vacation!!!
Unfortunately, the vacation in Cancun itself wasn't all that great...Half of the time there it was cloudy, cold, and very windy. There were only a few days there that were suitable for going to the beach and swimming in the pool. Our hotel was called the Grand Oasis Cancun. There's a few ways in which the hotel could've been better. First of all, around 2/3 of the bars at the hotel didn't have any blenders, so when I asked for a pina colda or what not, I got a cup full of ice cubes and pineapple juice instead of a blended drink...Like I said before, when I flew into CUN before we vacationed in Playa Del Carmen and this was my first time actually in Cancun. If you look at my other trip report of a year ago, you'll see the the beach was very nice, wide, and had lots of palms trees and what not. But in Cancun, the beach itself was only like what, less than 50 feet wide? It was practically that you go down the stairs from the hotel and your in the water! Maybe its just that I'm somewhat spoiled from all my other vacations being so good, but that's just a few of the things I thought that could've been better.
Anyways, enough negativity, now I'll show you the good side of the vacation. As I said, when the weather was bad it was awful, but when it was good it was great. Walking up and down the beach a few miles in each direction, I thought our hotel was the best one. Aside from the buffet, there were several other restaurants at the hotel for lunch and dinner including Italian, Mediterranean, a sushi bar, steakhouse, and a snack bar down by the pool. Now time for some pics. Here's a view of the front of the hotel looking from the street:
This is the main lobby area:
I think that was probably the coolest main lobby I've ever seen, especially with all the vines hanging up around the rooms and the fountain down in the middle. And then here's the back end of the hotel with the pool area and the
On New Years Eve, we went into town to do some shopping to buy some shirts, gifts, and other souvenirs. (That's me BTW)
The New Years Party at the hotel was kinda of mediocre. In Mexico its kinda of like your either an adult or your a child and I'm 15 so my interests didn't exactly catch on to the whole adult party thing. Then it was just like some guy coming in with a microphone saying that it was midnight/New Years with out any countdown or anything so that was kinda lame.
Another cool thing about the hotel is that there are wild peacocks/iguanas that live around the hotel. You could
literally be like five feet away from the peacocks and they wouldn't get scared and run away. One of them even ate bread out of my hand! I forgot to get a shot of the peacocks but I did get one of the Iguana.
Sooner than later, my weeks time in Cancun was up and it was time to head home.
The hotel was only about 15 minutes away from the airport so our ride to the airport wasn't supposed to pick us up until 9:55 AM for our 12:45 departure back to MKE. Instead of a bus like last time, this time we took one of those van/truck kinda things with another family to the airport. As I mentioned earlier, I was again crossing my fingers hoping that we wouldn't get dropped off at Terminal 1. In case you don't know, Terminal 1 is the building in the foreground in
Photo © Ricardo Morales Centeno - APM
When I came to CUN a little over a year ago, we went through that terminal and it was probably the worst terminal I've ever been in. The air conditioning inside was on full blast so it felt like it was 55 degrees in there, the spotting was
awful, and there was no food except some extremely overpriced cold sandwiches. I was able to breath a sigh of relief as we turned off the highway and pulled up in front of Terminal 2 instead.
When we got inside the terminal to check in it was packed in with people everywhere. We made our way to the end of the long line leading up to the Funjet ticket counter. There were only 2 desks checking people in for our flight to MKE and the other Funjet flight to DTW so it took a good 20-30 minutes before we got up to the front. After checking in, we made our way over to security. The line was long ,but it moved by pretty quick so we were through in about five minutes.
After grabbing some Burger King to satisfy my hunger, it was off for some spotting! Our flight was going to be boarding from the lower level gates, but I decided to head up to the upper level gates with the jetways to try and get a better view for spotting. What I found up there included a B6 A320 getting ready to go to BOS and an Air Transat A310 about to push back for departure to YEG.
(Notice the MX A320 landing in the background)
It was getting close to boarding time so I went back to the gate but they announced that the flight was delayed thirty minutes coming out of MKE so I went off to shoot some more pics.
Magni Charters eh? Don't think I've hard of/seen them before. I'm guessing its a charter airline? Are they based in
Lot's of things going on in this shot!
I watched as our flight from MKE landed and made its way over to the stand, but I wasn't able to get a pic of it. I was surprised to see a Finnair 757 come all the way from HEL! I didn't know they could fly that far!
After taking those pics, I went back to the gate and waited there for boarding to be called. And now for that twist I mentioned earlier...While waiting for boarding, they announced that due to bad weather in MKE our flight was going to be diverted to ORD and then we'd be bused up to MKE! While I didn't mind flying to ORD, I didn't like the idea of taking a one hour bus ride after. Along with that announcement they called for boarding and we got on the bus to head over to our plane. Just like the previous bus ride when we arrived, I as able to gets lots of pics of all the different traffic at CUN as we drove over to our 737.
The bus pulled up in front of our plane and after heading up the airstair I took my seat which was behind the wing again but not as far back this time.
As everybody was getting settled in, one of the flight attendants made an announcement about the diversion. He said that at this point it was looking like it was gonna be too foggy to land in MKE so we would most likely divert to ORD, but if the fog were to lift they said we'd try to make an attempt to land at MKE. About fifteen minutes after that announcement we pushed back and started to taxi to runway 12 for departure. There was a couple of aircraft ahead of us as well as some landing traffic so it took a few minutes but soon we turned onto the runway and made a powerful takeoff from CUN. We turned north on the edge of the coastline and continued to climb up to 35,000 feet.
Just like last time, there were no TV monitors so I just listened to my Ipod and looked out the window. This time around they only gave out drinks and no food. I wasn't hungry anyways so I got a coke and was fine. While we were over the water there was on and off light/mild turbulence but that cleared up once we got over land. A little past the halfway point in the flight, the Captain announced that the weather had improved a little bit and there was a better chance that we'd be able to land in MKE.
So at this point I'm thinking its probably a done deal that were going to land in MKE right? Wrong! As we're entering northern Illinois, the captain announces that were going to be diverting to Rockford now! Apparently the conditions must of worsened again at MKE and he also said that ORD was just too congested with other traffic so we were going to RFD instead and then to MKE by bus. Immediately after that announcement we started to descend into RFD.
After the spoilers went up the gear and flaps went down soon after as we lined up for final approach. I've never been to Rockford before and I was surprised to see how big it was from the air. After crossing a bunch of streets and neighborhoods we landed very smoothly on runway 25 at RFD.
For a few seconds it seemed as if we were hovering above the runway for a bit because the landing was so smooth. After exiting the runway we taxied over to and parked at the international arrivals building that is next to the main terminal.
As we exited the aircraft into the small terminal, I got a whiff of some fresh paint they must of just had put down on the walls. As we went into the customs/baggage claim area, I was pretty surprised to find out that portion of this terminal is literally inside of a garage. Anyone know if this terminal was just recently built? Anyways, there was only one booth
for customs so it took kinda of a long time to get past that. As for getting our luggage, there wasn't a carousel, so the airport workers opened up one of the garage doors and started throwing our luggage inside through there. Once we had everything, we went outside to find that the coach buses hadn't arrived yet. I took this time to get a shot of our plane still at the gate and of the international terminal itself.
Pretty soon after I took that picture 3 coach USA buses pulled up in front of the building. We got on and what followed was a boring one hour and a half bus ride up to MKE. When we got to MKE, there wasn't really any fog to speak of and it looked like the airport was in full operation. We got off the bus, got our luggage and met up with my grampa who took us home.
Well that is my 6th trip report and I hope you enjoyed it! Comments are always appreciated since it did take pretty long to write this report! Thanks!
Overall it was a good trip flight wise. It was kind of fun/interesting to fly into RFD, but I didn't much like the bus ride.
The vacation could've been a bit better, but I'm not gonna complain a while lot since it was better than sitting at home.