Sunday, January 20, 2008

On the attempt to travel to South America

You get up at 5 AM, get a taxi to pick you up at 6.30 AM, drive to the university to pick up the others at 7:15 AM, get to the airport at 8 AM and find out that your 10:20 flight to Miami has been canceled due to mechanical problems. Well you think, we have a long layover in Miami so that should be OK to get on another flight, so we can make our 3:45 PM flight to Quito. Not so fast... after searching for one hour a flight clerk finally found an option that wouldn't mean that we had to postpone the trip a full 24 hours. All flights to Miami were full, and she checked everything, including flying via Mexico City, Los Angeles, Boston, Sao Paulo, Panama City.... There were probably a hundred people in line after us waiting to hear what flight they could get on in a few days. This is what flying is about these days - all planes are full, there are no buffer zones, and when one flight is canceled there are HUGE problems.

Finally we had to settle on taking a 6.40 PM flight out of La Guardia airport to Miami, sleep overnight in Miami (hotel paid by airline), and get on a 7 AM plane to Ecuador in the morning. Still, we will be 16 hours delayed, but that is better than 24 hours. So we get a shuttle after waiting an hour to La Guardia airport, but have to go via Kennedy Airport to drop people off, so we get to La Guardia maybe 1.5 hours later. Spend 4 hours at LGA, eating dinner while our plane to Ecuador is leaving Miami without us, get on the plane to Miami, uneventful flight, when we land we have to wait at least 30 min for a free gate, then find a service desk to get our hotel vouchers.

All hotels close to the airport are closed, so we are put at a Comfort Inn 20 min away (which is actually quite OK, and has free internet!), wait another hour for a shuttle at a hot, humid, and exhaust-stinky Miami airport, get to the hotel, find out that the shuttles in the morning that American Airlines pay for are completely booked so we decide to order a taxi and send the bill to American Airlines. Finally, at midnight I am in my room, and I just ordered a wakeup call for 3:45 AM. Three hours from now. What a trouble traveling is these days.

Next blog post hopefully will actually be from my destination.


Olle said...

Terrible! I sometimes complain over my flying but that is nothing compared to what you have been through. Perhaps we should go back to boat and train? Takes longer for sure but more agreeable, more human.

PP said...

I hate traveling in our time.
Back in the day of the railroad when there were too many passengers the railroads simply ran additional trains to accommodate. The famous 20th Century Limited of the New York Central which ran between NYC and Chicago once ran with 7 extra sections. That is they added 7 additional trains to get everyone to their destination.

EH said...

I hope you arrived safely to your destination, LS.

LS said...

Just one last comment on the subject - The flight to Quito with LAN Ecuadorian Airlines was fantastic - lots of legroom, brand new plane, good food - much better than American I am sure.