Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

{miami vices}

One thing about travelling is that you can always expect the unexpected. That is part of the excitement of travelling, but it is also part of the downfall. In my case, the weather caused major disruptions this holiday season for travellers, and my flight schedule was highly affected (to put it mildly). As a well-seasoned traveller, having sailed around the world 3 times by the age of 13, and having flown to well-trodden places as well as to spots off the beaten track (enduring 14 hour flights to India on Air India etc...), I know that there still are no solutions to hassle-free travel. There are, however, things you can do to avoid major hassles, but even when you think you’ve taken precautions, the unexpected happens.
To begin my blogs on my wonderful trip to Ecuador, I’ll begin with the not-so-pleasant trip down to South America. We are so accustomed to getting places fast, and my trip to the centre of the world, did indeed take longer than planned, but it made the final destination that much more rewarding.
So, I travelled on the bus to my hotel near JFK on Saturday, to make sure I was there in good time for my flight on Sunday morning. Sunday morning rolls around and I was informed my flight on delta from JFK to Miami was cancelled. I went straight to the airport, because the best thing to do is be ready to get on the next available flight. I was told that the next flight was booked so they’d have to put me on one that afternoon. I was going to miss my connection with LAN from Miami to Quito, but since I had booked it through expedia, I figured all was sorted. One rule of the thumb is never book two independent airlines for connecting flights, on your own accord. You run the risk of having the second flight not reimburse your ticket, and I have made sure never to do that, at least on my own independent booking. At the same time, I always assumed that if you booked it through a travel agent or a reputable site, acting as a travel agent, you’d have no problems. Big mistake. (& yes, you can still make mistakes after close to 30 years of travel experience). Apparently, expedia just booked the two independent airlines as if I had booked them on my own. Delta wasn’t going to offer me anything more, and LAN down-right refused to offer me any other flights without charges. After hours (literally hours—I got to the airport at 745am, and finished my negotiations by 12 noon), this is what I was offered: LAN could get me on a flight on Monday, but they would have to charge me $1000, or else the next available flight would be Dec 19, with a circuitous route through Guayaquil, for *only* $350 (note, I was supposed to leave on 12 Dec). I called Delta again because I knew that I could find a cheaper flight from Miami to Quito round trip & was willing to forfeit the LAN portion, and take Delta all the way. Finally, the 5th customer service representative from Delta decided to do what they should’ve done all along: put me on a flight from Miami to Quito. However, since it’s a busy time of year, it means I had 2 days in Miami.

{lounging in my hotel in Miami}

Another recommendation is always check out all your options before making a decision. I luckily had called RBC to see what sort of travel insurance they offer on their RBC Platinum Avion purchases. They were willing to give me $500 for two nights worth of accommodation, toiletries and meals. So when I found out I had to leave on Tuesday, I decided to take it because I knew at least my hotel would be covered.
What did I do for two days in Miami? Well, the weather in Florida reached its coldest temperatures in absolute years, so there was no tanning by the pool…but I picked a nice hotel near the airport and I relaxed and enjoyed all the Sofitel had to offer. Breakfast was included with my room and this was a lovely breakfast with fried potatoes, eggs, sausages, bacon, croissant, tomatoes, coffee, orange juice etc…I relaxed in my room and put my feet up. And I awaited my eventual arrival in Quito.

{the sofitel, where I stayed for my 2 day delay}

{lovely pool area empty due to chilly temperatures}

My arrival was smooth, sort of. My sister (who is Project Manager for the new airport) had arranged VIP service…and as soon as I got off the plane and onto the tarmac a handsome Ecuadorian man was there with a sign with my name on it. He led me past the long custom queues, picked up my bag, and handed me to my brother-in-law who was waiting outside.
On the way home, in the pouring torrential rains, we hit a very big pothole and two tires burst! Finally we made it to my sister’s home in Cumbaya, just outside of Quito, and my troubles were at an end. Reading this over, I feel like I’m reading Dr. Seuss’s I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew…but it all made it worth while, because that was the end of my troubles…and the fun times began… stay tuned for tales from the centre of the world!

1 comment:

  1. What stresses to get there!!! Seems like ages ago...