Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Travel Woes

Sometimes, the travel gods look down on weary travelers and give them flights that leave on time, upgrades, and friendly personnel. Sometimes, I think the travel gods look at some people that travel a lot and say, hmm... I'm a little bored, they haven't had too many travel snafus, let's see what I can do!

Our travel plans over the last few weeks have been so crazy, its a miracle that Jesse and I are still together! First, on our way back to the U.S. to visit family for Christmas, our flights leaving Asuncion and Montevideo were delayed, so we arrived 30 minutes before our flight to Miami. That was not enough time for LAN airlines, who had overbooked the flight and gave our seats away. This led to about two hours of arguing with both Pluna airlines and LAN to discuss who was at fault and who would get us on a new flight. We had to spend a night in the Santiago airport and then were put on an American Airlines flight back to the U.S. the next night.

Now, normally, that would be enough for some people. Not for us. On our way back to Asuncion, our flight out of Dallas to Santiago was delayed. No big deal for us; we had a big enough layover in Santiago. However, our luggage never made it to Pluna airlines and our connecting flights to Montevideo and Asuncion. We had one extra day in Asuncion, so we thought, yeah our stuff will make it in time before we have to leave for our vacation. Nope, it didn't. American never gave our stuff to Pluna; our luggage was sitting in the Santiago airport for three days, before American finally released the bags not to Pluna, but to Tam airlines. We learned this after our fourth call to American Airlines. We were not notified when they arrived in Asuncion.

So, we were supposed to fly back to Chile, go up to the northern part and visit the Atacama Desert and the Salt Falts in Bolivia with some friends. When our luggage was continually delayed, we told Pluna airlines that if they could change our flights and just get us to Bariloche, Argentina on the 4th, we just wouldn't go to northern Chile, we would cancel that part of our vacation, and everything will work wonders. Well, we are leaving tomorrow, the 5th, after more than 10 calls to the Pluna personnel, four trips to the airport, and one trip to the Pluna offices.

To add insult to injury, we got stuck in a rainstorm on our way out to the airport for the fourth time. We have a motorcycle.

To add a second insult to injury, when we finally got our stuff, we discovered the Chilean customs people had gone through our stuff (even though we never went through customs). They took and destroyed my 3lb. bag of craisins, some crushed red pepper, and a can of shaving cream. Really?? That's what you take and destroy?

I hope this is the last issue we have for a while......

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