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We'll be flying from Montreal to Phoenix with a change of planes in Detroit.  Will we have to go through Customs in Detroit?  The flight I was looking at only has about 38 minutes from the scheduled arrival to the scheduled departure to Phoenix.  I'm thinking that wouldn't be enough time.  Any opinions????

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12 minutes ago, maryann ns said:

The more important question is: Are these two flights booked on the same ticket? If so and you miss the connection the airline will have to look after you.

Yes...they would be on the same ticket.  If the gates are close to each other I guess we'll make it.  The reason I'm asking is because our cruise is ending in Quebec City and we thought we'd take the Princess tour that takes you to Montreal and drops you off for a few hours to walk around and then meet back up with the bus that will take you to the airport.  It says you have to have a flight at 6:00 p.m. or later.  There is another flight with 48 minutes in between but that one changes planes in Philadelphia.  I thought maybe the Detroit airport would be smaller but maybe the extra 10 minutes would be better.  I haven't purchased the tickets yet.

Edited by Ferndale Girl
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If it's not booked, consider changing your plans entirely... yes, Montreal is a better airport for US flights than Quebec City, but those cruiseline bus tours are enormously overpriced and lack flexibility.

 

If instead you hired a car (or took the probably-even-cheaper Orleans Express bus), you could: a) choose exactly when you go to the Airport, thus maximizing your time in Montreal; b) save a chunk of cash unless you're a solo traveler (I'm guessing not from your use of 'our cruise' above); c) if you do actually want to see Montreal do it right, add at least one overnight stay (paid for by the savings between the cruise tour and a rental car or bus) and then you can also book a flight at whatever time of day you like without any worries; d) choose a totally different airport if you're only going to Montreal because they have better flight options rather than because you want to see Montreal - e.g. drive over the border instead, fly out of Burlington VT which is only ~45mins extra drive time on paper but avoids the major traffic of the Montreal area, and due to no Canadian border-crossing by plane you will save time and likely money on the ticket, and you add JetBlue to the list of available airlines for potentially more savings...

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I looked into renting a car in Quebec City to take to Burlington or Hartford or Providence (thought we'd tour around for a couple of days) and it seems impossible.  I only found one and it was something we wouldn't want and was $282 per day.  As far as Montreal goes...we were there several years ago for a few days so a couple of hours would be fine.  I guess I could check into renting a car and driving to the Montreal airport but I think the Princess thing would be simpler.  Thanks for all your suggestions though.

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Without knowing your dates I can't verify how many companies in Quebec City have available one-way cross-border rentals, but I'm very surprised that only a single car is available - maybe a lot of folks on your cruise already booked them all!!! If you have a large group that needs a Minivan or full-size SUV that might restrict choices significantly - but even $282 a day would probably be a bargain for a big group of people compared to a cruiseline excursion.

 

Costco, if you are a member, or Kayak if you are not, will let you compare all rental companies in a given city pretty efficiently, and while it's very possible that there would be drop fee involved at a minor airport across the border if you were considering touring around for a few days look at Boston/NYC area airports too where there's much more competition both for flights and car rentals. If you're restricting your choice to one company because you have points, this would be a circumstance where casting your net wider could pay off in leaps & bounds - each fleet has to get their own cars back to their 'home' country even though it's now legal for Canadians to drive US-licensed rentals back into Canada, so it's utterly random who has the most need to move those cars thus who's offering the best deals.

 

An in-province rental will be cheaper and definitely much more available, even for a one-way - in fact Montreal-Quebec City is one of the popular free car 'rental' routes in Canada (rather than pay for a truck or hiring a driver, rental agencies cut deals all the way down to $0 plus a free tank of gas and full CDW insurance for Joe Public to drive cars back to where they want them - the downside is lack of much advance notice, but if you check e.g. Transfer Car close to when you're cruising you might get lucky).

 

Yes, Princess and the other lines make it simple - but simplicity comes at a price 😉

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It isn't until next August and I put in several different dates for a car from Quebec City (not the airport) to those three different airports.  I didn't put in a specific car rental agency but used Travelocity, Expedia, etc. and that is what came up.  I also checked from Quebec City to the Montreal airport and the car rental itself was cheap but there was a ridiculously high drop one way fee.

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33 minutes ago, Twickenham said:

Have you priced out flying out of Quebec City/YQB rather than Montreal/YUL? The price difference might not be worth the hassle of the transfer to YUL.

Yes I did.  It actually cost more but the main thing is that the time from Quebec City to Phoenix was longer than from Montreal to Phoenix.  It'll probably just be fine.  My main worry was the time between flights in Detroit but as long as we don't have to pick up our luggage and go through Customs and then take our luggage someplace else we should be fine.  When we flew from Buenos Aires to Tucson with a change in Los Angeles it was awful.  We had to pick up our luggage - go through Customs - then haul our luggage to another terminal to get it put on the next plane.....

 

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6 hours ago, Ferndale Girl said:

It isn't until next August ...

Ah, that would explain it - I had assumed you were cruising this fall so I found it very odd that just a month or so out the rental agencies didn't have any bargains. Almost a year ahead car rental availability may as well be a black hole, especially for one-way trips let alone cross-border - keep checking closer to the date and you'll get much more sensible quotes and also a better chance of no-drop-fee rates as the franchisees start to figure out how many matching one-way rentals they are looking at (i.e. how many folks want to go Montreal airport to Quebec City and vice versa for yourself).

 

Another good trick is to make use of airport-to-airport one-way rentals - they seem much more amenable to no drop fees, and those usually more than offsets the cost of a cab to the airport from downtown. As long as you book refundable options you can definitely have plans in place that are tolerably-priced months ahead, and then check again about the 3 month, 1 month, and right before you cruise again to see if there are better deals.

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10 minutes ago, martincath said:

Ah, that would explain it - I had assumed you were cruising this fall so I found it very odd that just a month or so out the rental agencies didn't have any bargains. Almost a year ahead car rental availability may as well be a black hole, especially for one-way trips let alone cross-border - keep checking closer to the date and you'll get much more sensible quotes and also a better chance of no-drop-fee rates as the franchisees start to figure out how many matching one-way rentals they are looking at (i.e. how many folks want to go Montreal airport to Quebec City and vice versa for yourself).

 

Another good trick is to make use of airport-to-airport one-way rentals - they seem much more amenable to no drop fees, and those usually more than offsets the cost of a cab to the airport from downtown. As long as you book refundable options you can definitely have plans in place that are tolerably-priced months ahead, and then check again about the 3 month, 1 month, and right before you cruise again to see if there are better deals.

I went ahead and booked the flight through Princess.  We have until June 9th to cancel so I'll check when it gets closer to that cut-off date.  I think for us this is probably the best option - no hassle.  Thanks for all your ideas though.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are flying from Phoenix into Montreal next week.  We are staying a few days as we have never visited that part of the world and then taking the train to QC.  Check out the train/bus options.  Very affordable.  Yes, I agree - flights to/from PHX and QC are not very convenient and are pricey.  

 

We most often plan independent tours while on vacation, but we have used cruise line excursions with airport transfers with good luck in the past, except for our last one which was awful (that was in Vancouver).  Most have been fine, have showed us a bit of the area, and have been an enjoyable way to spend time between the cruise and the flight home.  Yes more expensive,  but worth the extra cost of the tour for the convenience to us.  If it wasn't for our last experience I would say to stick with your original plan.  After that one, I am being extra cautious in recommending ship tours after a cruise.  However, I think we just got a bad tour guide/driver combo.  He even took off the mirror by side-swiping a school bus and didn't stop!  No commentary at all as we zipped down the busy city streets.  Yes.  RCI got a call about that one!  We should have been refunded, but it is hard to get recomp once off the ship.  Other people we know on a different bus had an enjoyable tour.  A completely different experience. 

Edited by Sunny AZ Girl
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5 minutes ago, Sunny AZ Girl said:

We are flying from Phoenix into Montreal next week.  We are staying a few days as we have never visited that part of the world and then taking the train to QC.  Check out the train/bus options.  Very affordable.  Yes, I agree - flights to/from PHX and QC are not very convenient and are pricey.  

 

We most often plan independent tours while on vacation, but we have used cruise line excursions with airport transfers with good luck in the past, except for our last one which was awful (that was in Vancouver).  Most have been fine, have showed us a bit of the area, and have been an enjoyable way to spend time between the cruise and the flight home.  Yes more expensive,  but worth the extra cost of the tour for the convenience to us.  If it wasn't for our last experience I would say to stick with your original plan.  After that one, I am being extra cautious in recommending ship tours after a cruise.  However, I think we just got a bad tour guide/driver combo.  He even took off the mirror by side-swiping a school bus and didn't stop!  No commentary at all as we zipped down the busy city streets.  Yes.  RCI got a call about that one!  We should have been refunded, but it is hard to get recomp once off the ship.  Other people we know on a different bus had an enjoyable tour.  A completely different experience. 

We also like to take independent tours on cruises but we have taken several excursions with airport transfers depending on when our flight home is.  We've taken them in Ft Lauderdale, Seattle and Buenos Aires and were happy with them.  We're actually taking one next month in Ft Lauderdale again so we'll see how it goes.  Thanks for your input.

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