Before this trip, I knew things wouldn’t go as planned. I certainly didn’t think it would start off this way.
We were heading to Lima first, with a connecting flight in Ft. Lauderdale. The first leg of our flight was delayed. Then after some time, they asked us to go to another gate. Once we got there, we noticed in the distance on the tarmac, there was a fire! Not sure if this was related to our flight, it probably wasn’t, but it was unusual.
At this point, we weren’t sure we’d catch our connecting flight. JetBlue only has one flight to Lima per day. If we missed this one, we would miss our flight to Cusco the next day. Needless to say, we were worried. We finally boarded… And then they announced they needed to refuel the plane. 15 minutes later they announced “The fuel has arrived.” (Seriously?) After maybe 30 minutes sitting on the plane, we finally took off. We had NO idea if we’d make our connecting flight. The flight attendants said we would though, so we were counting on that.
Luckily, we landed right on time. When we got out of the gate at Ft. Lauderdale, the gate for our flight to Lima was boarding directly in front of the gate we exited. We walked right on to our next flight!
The next day, we had a flight to Cusco in the late afternoon. As we were on our way to the airport, we found out our flight and ALL other Cusco bound flights had been cancelled due to a strike. Yes, it’s apparently a thing in South America and we got lucky it fell on the day we were planning to fly out. http://lima.usembassy.gov/warden/demonstration-notices.html
Marc and I decided we would go to the airport and discuss our options there. Once we arrived, Marc started talking to some airport “information person” (let’s call him Mr. Travel Agent – which I’m pretty sure is what he was). He thought the guy had a great idea: Mr Travel Agent was going to find us a cheap flight to a city near Cusco and figure out our transportation to Cusco from there. I thought he was questionable, but Marc thought it was worth exploring our options, especially if it meant we could get to Cusco that night and begin acclimating to the elevation.
Meanwhile, I am on the phone with LAN, the airline that cancelled our flight and they’re telling me there are no flights to Cusco for another two days. Marc starts following Mr. Travel Agent and I am trying my best to keep up with them while on the phone, carrying my big old backpack on my weak ankles! I lost my footing at some point and thought I sprained my ankle again (I forgot my ankle brace on the plane to Lima. Yeah bummer, hope I’ll be okay!) My pain led to anger/impatience with everyone around me – first the LAN agent on the phone, then at Marc because he made me run around, then the stupid travel agent dude who stood there and wouldn’t go away! LAN finally told us they would get us on another flight that evening to another city nearby, and I would just have to wait for a call back from a “Specialized department”. I thought this was a great option. So we told the travel agent to go away and we waited for the call.
LAN never called. I did call them 5 more times while chilling at the airport. They just kept giving me same run around – just wait, we’ll call you soon. After 5 hours at the airport, running around, making a million calls, we accepted we wouldn’t fly out that night and decided to just wait for LAN to call us back and put us on a 10:45a flight to a nearby city the next day. We booked a hotel/B&B for the night nearby (Huayqui) and waited. (The B&B owners were the most hospitable people ever and the Uber driver who took us there was super nice! Totally made the experience worth it. I wasn’t really liking Lima so much before I met them.)
We passed out after making 2 more calls to LAN of course and then I randomly woke up at 3am, stressed that we wouldn’t get to Cusco and decided to check for flights to Cusco that day. And there it was. A bunch of flights available from LIMA TO CUSCO for that morning. The flights that LAN told me were not available! Unbelievable. I booked a flight immediately, checked us in, and soundly went back to bed.
Just as we were checking in our bags at the airport, guess who calls? The “Specialized Department” of course. Beautiful. I actually missed their call because I was with another LAN agent so I called back to the number per the voicemail they left me, got the run around AGAIN (we’ll call you in a few hours…after they told me to call them back!). They did call me back this time and I told them they had to cover the price of the new ticket. They’re going to speak to their “client service department” now to figure that out (why wasn’t it client service the entire time?). We shall wait another week to hear if they give me money for the differential. In the meantime, they will refund the original ticket.
In the end, we made it to Cusco 17 hours after our original scheduled arrival. Thanks to this little hiccup, we got a chance to meet some amazing Peruvians and had some delicious pancitos with sweet potato for breakfast.