An uneventful flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Cancún on our Air France Boeing 777-300ER. Until the final half hour, when things started to go pear-shaped.

Already descended to 20,000 feet, we went into a holding pattern as the captain announced that because of a tropical storm over Cancún airport, we would be unable to land for a while. Time ticked by, and then I noticed the flight map on our screens had changed destination to Mérida, about 200 miles away. Sure enough, the captain came on moments later to announce that we would divert, refuel, then return to Cancún when the storm had passed.

Diverted from Cancún to Mérida
Diverted from Cancún to Mérida

Unfortunately, all other aircraft for Cancún were doing the same, so upon arrival at Mérida we were queued on a taxiway until a refueling space became available. Mérida doesn’t normally handle anything the size of a 777, which meant there was no gate suitable to disembark the plane. Result – we were stuck on the plane for around six extra hours, with no additional refreshments being offered. Rather disappointing service from Air France on this occasion, although I appreciate the bad weather was not of their doing.

Upon entry to Mexico, you need to hand in part one of a two part immigration form, with part two collected from you at the gate on leaving the country. The forms are handed out on the plane and available from the airport, or you can complete one in advance online at the government website as we did. But beware the so-called “official” airport websites offering this form – they’re run by local taxi companies, and must be either harvesting personal data for whatever reason, or charging an admin fee for a service you can do yourself for free.

The six hour delay and our middle of the night arrival also meant that our pre-booked transfer had given up, with no-one answering their phone number, so we resorted to a taxi for the twenty minute drive to the hotel zone. We were so glad to finally arrive at our hotel, in the very early hours of Monday morning, but too late for our planned exploration of the local hotel zone.

Sunrise over the Caribbean, the morning after our late arrival
Sunrise over the Caribbean, the morning after our late arrival

Tomorrow, a boat trip to the Isla Mujeres.