Monday, April 18, 2011

What's Your Deal: Aerolineas Argentina (Part Two)

Now it's morning. I've slept and eaten my complimentary breakfast (which was tasty but upset my stomach). I still haven't brushed my teeth because my hotel didn't offer complimentary toothpaste. I rubbed conditioner on my aforementioned raw thighs because they also didn't provide lotion and I'm wearing yesterday's smelly life jacket clothes. I also found some $10 flip flops at the hotel gift shop and have since freed the blisters masquerading as my feet from Nike's painful grip. I'm sitting outside, waiting on the bus that's supposed to take us to the airport. It's supposed to come at 9. The crazy lady I sat with on the bus last night said something about there being 3 flights to BsAs--I'd better be on the first flight, especially considering they tried to bump me yesterday. If need be, I'll make a big old-fashioned American scene.

I debated getting a taxi and beating the buses to the airport but there aren't any taxis around. If one pulls up, I'll know it's meant to be. I do hate the idea of paying more money in a situation that's out of my control, but let's face it, I've been paying all night. You know, this hotel is pretty nice...I wish I could enjoy it.


I gave in and got a taxi. So there went another $25 of my money. I arrived at the airport and got in line. Someone came up and told the people behind me that their flight was delayed. I laughed and said, "well, at least it's not cancelled. The flight last night was cancelled and I've been stuck here." I waited through the line and was told that the flight would be boarding at 12:30--so I would get to spend another 3 hours in the airport (which is fun because they've got all kinds of stuff like...chairs). I dropped a significant amount of change at the airport (but did get some great gifts for people...including myself).

Before I knew it, we were going through the same old song and dance of a delay. The flight kept getting pushed back later and later. I went to the counter (waited through the line) and asked them what was up. The claimed that the flight was "coming". "So is Christmas, the Apocalypse, and death," I said, "what's coming now?" Basically these people didn't have to tell me anything. That's when I texted Amy Jo and asked her if she thought I could go demand money. She said it was worth a shot, so I went back downstairs and waited through the line all over again.

"Hi." I said, "Can I have some money?" The agent was rightfully perplexed. "Do you want to cancel your flight?" she asked me. "Oh no way. I want the hell out of here but you've stolen 16 hours of my life and I think you should give me money," I responded. That's when she told me that I could only get my money back if I cancelled my flight but our flight was coming. The next part of the story involves me marching over to the competing airline's ticket counter and asking if they had any flights because I needed to get out of here before I punched someone.

We finally got on a plane. I left that airport at 1:30 p.m. Only 16 hours after I was supposed to leave. Come to find out that Aerolineas Argentina is owned by the government and that's why they can do whatever they want without having to explain themselves. I've determined to open my own airline in Argentina because the people need reliable air transport!

What's Your Deal: Aerolineas Argentina (Part One)

This story of my trip to Iguazú is written progressively, over time...but here it is.

So the part where I'm actually at Iguazú Falls is amazing. Everything else about the trip sucked--thanks to Aerolineas Argentina. I planned a day trip to the falls because I had heard that they were freaking amazing (I was not misinformed). The plan was to leave Buenos Aires at 7:55 a.m. I got up at 6 and was in line at the airport shortly before 7. The line took forever, but at 7:35 or so I checked in and was told to go to counter 4. No one was at counter 4 except me and 2 other travellers who'd been given the same cryptic instructions. We finally found out that the flight is "full". Despite my Orbitz document saying that my seat was confirmed when I bought the ticket weeks before, I had been bumped. They went ahead and arranged a seat for me on the flight leaving at 1:35. My flight back to BsAs was leaving at 9:30 p.m. that night--so I was getting screwed.

We were all pissed in our respective languages and went to talk to Guadalupe (the woman in charge). Unlike her saintly namesake, Guadalupe was not being the most helpful person. Well, she was offering me transportation back to my hotel for the duration of the wait...but I wasn't staying in a hotel. All we could do is sit there and wait for cancellations. If 1 seat opened up, I got it. If 2 seats opened up, the couple got it. Finally, I decided to talk to Guadalupe. "I don't understand," I growled, "this document says that my seat is confirmed and I want to know who the fuck is in my seat?!" Thankfully, the f-bomb was not lost in translation on Guadalupe. She explained that yesterday there had been an accident involving a number of birds flying into the jet engine and all the people from those flights had priority today. I felt a little bit bad about the f-bomb, but I was more nervous about the whole bird fiasco. Do I really want to share the skies with suicidal and/or kamikaze birds?

I sat and waited, freaked out internally about being brought to my demise by birds, and had a nice "angry cry". Good news was that a seat opened up and I got it (sorry lovebirds). Obviously, the birds had wised up and not pulled any fast ones. But, there was another person sitting in my damn window seat...once again, I was nice and let her sit there (why do I keep doing that?). But I felt that this evened out the inappropriate language towards Guadalupe, but all this lady did was sleep. Waste of a window seat, lady!

So them I'm at the falls and it's great. I took over 400 pictures. Seriously. Anyway, I return to the bustling airport of Iguazú. It makes the Bluegrass Airport look like Heathrow or JFK. I was 3.5 hours early but I had lost all feeling in my feet (other the massive blisters) and I just wanted to not move. I was also experiencing a delightful feeling of raw skin on my left thigh--you see, I'd gotten SOAKED at the park and although I have lost a decent amount of weight, my thighs still have been known to touch while walking...fun times. Oh, and I also smelled like a dirty life jacket.

My flight was the only one left that night. Imagine my shock when the only flight leaving (or arriving for that matter) is delayed. What is going on with the world? [Here's where the story turns into a stream of consciousness thing]. So that's where I am right now. It's 9:50 p.m. and I'm sitting in the airport, exhausted and confused. I've been awake for 15.5 hours--which doesn't sound like a lot but I toured the bejesus out of those falls. Plus I didn't get the best night's sleep because I was excited. Oh, did I mention I can't get into Leah's apartment without her letting me in? And now who knows when I'll get back?! Awesome. Plus people near me have been speaking some super annoying language. And now this dude is drinking mate which is weird and I'm still unsure of it.

I also don't even have my kindle because I didn't want to get it wet. So I can't continue reading Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea and I think that would really cheer me up. I should've taken off 20 minutes ago. Instead, the power just went off. It came back on pretty quickly...but still. This is decidedly worse than sitting in Bluegrass Airport that one time. I have no ability to play on my phone--tweet, Facebook, what have you. I have nothing to read and no one to talk to.

An hour after our departure time, the flight was cancelled. The airline put us all up in hotels--something tells me they are quite familiar with this procedure. We get to the hotel (22 km away) and I rush in so I can just get my room and go to bed. Well, the rooms aren't ready. Of course. The hotel suggests that we eat dinner (on the airline's dime, of course). But it's 11:30 going on midnight (ironically right around the time I should've gotten back to BsAs) and I'm an American. I ate dinner hours ago. Also, why aren't the rooms ready this late? I loiter around the counter until they finally just give me a room. I was too tired to shower. I had no toothpaste, pajamas...nothing.

What's Your Deal: American Airlines Passenger

My trip to Argentina had just begun. I boarded my flight in Louisville, prepared to make the first leg of my trip (Louisville to Dallas). I get to my row and there's some Asian dude in my window seat (his race is actually essential to the story). I decided to be nice and let him sit there. I figured that the flight was reasonably short and it would be some good karma or whatever. However, I wasn't going to stand for any of these shenanigans on my long flight. I'll totally take what's mine on that flight.

Anyway, I squish in between him and some other dude who seems nice (but married and thus worth less of my and my monumentally loud biological clock's time). Seat stealer is also hogging the arm rest, btw.

Most of us are waiting to to learn all about how to buckle a seat belt and get this show on the road, but seat stealer is watching movies on his iPad. I'm not sure that he got the memo about iPads being earbud compatible. He's watching these movies as though we all requested to listen to some B-list Matthew McConaughey film. Surely this won't go on the entire flight--oh but it will. I must say, that iPad has an impressive battery life. I debated saying something to him, (such as, "hey, you can either steal my seat OR be an annoying iPad douche, but you can't do both"), but I was fairly certain he didn't speak English.

"My what a racist assumption," you might be thinking, "just because someone is foreign doesn't mean they don't know English." You couldn't be more right. HOWEVER. He had the Chinese subtitles turned on. Let's think about that one. The sound of the iPad is what's annoying everyone and this douchebag doesn't even need the flipping sound on because he's reading all the dialouge anyway! WHAT'S YOUR DEAL?

Luckily, my teeth grinding managed to drown out most of the audio and I was able to read my book.

Monday, April 11, 2011

FYI

I am back from Argentina and while I was gone, I did manage to write several posts (thanks to being trapped in a very small airport). I should be able to get those up ASAP! Just wanted to let all 3 people who read this know! LOL.