A traveler on an airport train.
How CAA Members worked with their travel consultant to find a way home during the pandemic.
During a pandemic, being stuck in paradise may not seem like a bad thing. But it's not home.
When COVID-19 shuttered borders around the world, CAA Members Rudy and Sonja Paas found themselves in the oceanside town of Garopaba, Brazil. Though the senior couple was staying with family, they both wanted to return home to Canada as quickly as possible.
With flights filling up fast, the Paas turned to CAA Manitoba Travel Consultant Vicky Reimer. They'd booked this and previous trips to Brazil with her, so she was familiar with the flights they needed to return home. But with airlines cancelling and rescheduling routes on an hourly basis, the couple relied on Reimer's expertise even more.
As most repatriation flights had already been completed, she had to map the trip from the closest city with an airport—Florianópolis—to São Paulo. From there, the Paas would have to fly into one of a limited number of U.S. cities. But she couldn't guarantee a flight into Canada from those locations, since Canadian airlines were being grounded.
"Imagine doing all that on your own," Rudy says, adding that while they knew Reimer had other clients, she treated them like they were her only concern.
What would normally be a 27-hour trip ended up requiring three days of travelling. The near-empty flights and airports were eerie, Rudy notes. But they never felt stressed, thanks to the constant contact they had with Reimer throughout the entire process.
"We've made a terrific connection with Vicky and CAA," he says. "It's so good to have someone looking out for you when travel trouble starts."