Saturday, June 2, 2012

Peru - DEN-LAX... (Day 1)

Problem number 1 occurred about 24 hours before I even left the state. I tried to check in for my flight and got this message:


I called the airlines and after about a half hour on the phone with them, I still cannot figure out why my online boarding was blocked. From what I could understand, they "contacted" me (lie) about a flight change 2 months ago and since I never responded they placed my ticket on hold until I confirmed. I think that's just ridiculous. Basically what the guy was telling me is that I booked through Hotwire and my outbound flight was United and return flight was USAir and they are NOT the same airline and everyone uses different software, etc. In other words, hassle with no rhyme or reason. Anyway, after a 35 minute phone call, I am finally able to get a boarding pass.

Flash forward to the next day. I had elaborate plans of getting up early and going running before heading to the airport. 30+ minutes. Well. I snoozed twice but still managed to get up and run a mile. Better than nothing or waste? Anyway, packed last minute things and J and I headed to the airport just before 6 am. I got to the airport and through security in plenty of times. Even though I was in boarding group 7, I was able to get my suitcase in an overhead bin. Flight to LA was fine. I think we even landed early.

I had almost 4 hours to make my next flight, and all I needed to do was get to the international terminal and meet up with Josh. Problem #1. There is virtually no signage in LAX. If I didn't speak English, I think this would have been way more complicated and frustrating. After entering the wrong building a few times, trying to check in after I thought I was in the international terminal (and wasn't) and being told my ticket couldn't be located, I was on the verge of losing my mind when I realized (after 30 minutes) that I was in the wrong building. Again. Freakin LAX.

I get through the ticket line at LAN and check my bag in no time. Lines at security are short. No big deal. We head to the international terminal with hours to go. There is only ONE restaurant inside security. Really, LAX?? I was dying to have a burger before we left, so back out through security. Unfortunately the only burger place was McD's. No thanks. I settled for some Panda Express, then we headed back through security to the gate. 12:25 and it is supposed to be time to board. Without noticing, our flight had been delayed from 1:20 to 2:30. Not that big a deal. Until about 1:30 when our flight was then delayed until 4:00. Not a 4:00 departure, 4:00 before we would have an update of when the "mechanical" problem would be fixed. We are given $25 food vouchers from the airlines. We go back out through security. AGAIN. We decide a beer is in order:


Wouldn't you know, that while we are sitting there, the delay is changed even LATER?? We finish our beers and head BACK through security for the 4:00 announcement. It is not looking good. They have booked hotel rooms for everyone on the flight. But they cannot answer for sure if we are going to be stuck in LA until tomorrow. No new information on the flight. We decide we do NOT want to leave the airport, just in case. We are given vouchers for the reLAX lounge. Which, FYI, is NOT that reLAXing if you are late for an international flight that might cause you to miss your connection and miss meeting up with your tour group.


As you can see, the lounge WAS nice, and there was a lot of drinks and snacks for us there. Did NOT help that the flight was delayed AGAIN to 8:30. About 5:30, we decide to get some dinner. On my way back with my enchilada and french fries kids meal (yum), the flight was delayed AGAIN. To 10:40 pm. (If you aren't doing the math, we are up to a 9:20 DELAY). We call our group to tell them to cancel our room in Lima. No refund, of course, even though we had to pay $87 EACH just for that room. Also, with a 10:40 departure, there is NO WAY we can make a 9:30 connection to Cuzco, which is NOT on LAN. Originally we are told by gate agents that since it is LAN's fault they will rebook and everything will be fine. We are hangning out in the lounge, watching the basketball game and enjoying another beer.

Fast forward to about 8:30. We are told that the 10:40 time is finally an actual departure time and NOT just another information time. WOOT!!! We grab our stuff and go through security for the FOURTH time. No one is at the gate to help us with the rebooking now that we know when we will be there. Up until about 9:00, we still have no idea what (if any) our connection will be. Finally we talk to a supervisor who tells us since our connecting flight is not with them they will do NOTHING to help us. Not even discount a ticket. We are welcome to pay for a new one way though. (For reference, my round trip Lima to Cuzco was $241. Our one ways were $310). I'm furious by this point, but what can we do about it? We are told we can't actually get a boarding pass on a LAN flight, but they reserve us on a 10:40 flight and say we will have to pay for it when we get there. I have a small shred of hope that if we check in from our phones that if we leave on time and make up some time in the air and don't have a long wait at customs MAYBE we can still make that other flight. On the bus ride to the plane I try checking in. Turns out our group already rebooked us. For the following day. At 7:00. So the flight we booked isn't even there anymore. Great.

We get on the plane and wait. And wait. And wait. 10:40 we are supposed to be leaving. We have been on the plane since 10. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. At 11:20 I ask when are we leaving. Told we can't leave because there are 3 passengers somewhere in LAX that have checked bags but are not on the plane. WE ARE STILL ON THE GROUND AT FREAKING MIDNIGHT. Almost 15 hours at LAX with a 10.5 hour delay. THE.WORST.

I had a really nice girl sitting next to me. Super friendly. We chatted for the hour until we departed. I actually managed to fall asleep.

Overall, how am I feeling about my trip and LAN airlines??


To be continued....

3 comments:

  1. Ouch, a debacle as soon as you start! I've never had that happen with a flight before. I would have freaked a teeny bit but you handled it nicely. Lots of luck to you and congrats to the Kindergarten graduate!

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  2. Oh boy - I mean you tend to have crazy things happen -- this takes the cake! I'd be going crazy. I can't stand LAX as it is. It makes no sense in there to me. But to be there for almost a whole day?? Eek - you needed more than one beer!

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