The journey of a thousand steps begins with a cancelled flight.
After spending the holidays with family & friends, it was finally time to begin our South American adventure. Everything got off to a pretty good start – the weather was great in Dallas as we boarded our flight for Miami, the first of 3 flights that would take us to Cusco (the next being a long overnight flight to Lima).
When we landed, though, there was a voicemail on my cell phone:
Hello Mr. Hoffmeister, this is American Airlines. I see that you’re already in the air on your way to Miami. Unfortunately your flight to Lima has been delayed until tomorrow morning due to mechanical problems, arriving in Lima at 1:45pm. I’ve gone ahead and changed your connecting flight to Cusco to the 3pm flight. Please call if you have any questions.
Um, yeah, I have questions – like, what are we supposed to do all night in Miami? Are our bags still going to be with us when we get to Peru?
To find the answers to these questions, we waited in a very long line at the Miami Airport with all the other passengers on the canceled flight. Finally we reached an agent, who confirmed our connecting flight information and gave us vouchers for a night at the airport Marriott. We were assured that our bags would still be on the flight, but we didn’t bring a change of clothes in our carry-ons. Oh well – we reached the hotel shortly before midnight, and set our alarm for 5am.
We were relieved to find there were no further delays as we boarded our flight on time – well, on the new time, that is. Unfortunately, when it was time to leave there were a few passengers who hadn’t shown up yet – meaning we would either have to wait for them, or wait for their baggage to be removed from the plane. The missing passengers finally showed, but we were delayed about 45 minutes. I started wondering if we were going to make our connection in Lima.
We didn’t. By the time we got off the plane in Lima and got through customs, they had just closed our flight to Cusco for boarding. And as luck would have it, it was the last flight out for the day. Sigh.
The folks at LAN said I would have to pay a change fee to get on a flight the next morning, and offered no assistance with lodging, so I decided to call American’s Advantage desk on my cell phone. They were able to book us on a morning flight (for free) and told me to go upstairs and find the American Airlines desk to see about a hotel voucher.
After another long wait in line, we were given a confirmation number for our flight to Cusco and vouchers for a nice hotel attached to the airport, along with meal vouchers for dinner and breakfast. At least this time we had our luggage with us, so we could change clothes.
The next morning we checked in for our Cusco flight, and were warned by the ticket agent that it might be canceled due to rain in Cusco. Thankfully, it wasn’t – and a few hours later we found ourselves panting on the tarmac at the Cusco Airport under sunny skies.
Alright, (gasp) We made it! (gasp, gasp). How high up are we?