After our lovely stay in Mexico City, we were excited to get our journey restarted to Lima. We were able to get in contact with our friends in Lima and arrange for a ride from the airport the following day. Everything was back on track and considering the beautiful experience we had in Mexico City we were in a much better mood. We left with three and a half hours prior to flight time knowing that we would be in 40 minutes of traffic.
We got to the airport a little ahead of schedule and as we left from Departures the day before, we knew right where to go. We bee lined for the desk and were looking forward to our flight. I handed the three passports over, and the agent started clicking away. It was taking a long time, but then again these tickets were reissued from a failed attempt the day before so maybe it was a little more to sort through and there were of course three of us.
She looked up, “You need to buy the child a ticket” the agent said.
“We already purchased her ticket” – we paid taxes and it was expensive because infant tickets are usually calculated at a rate of 10% of the current fare for that class of service (business in this case from Pittsburgh to Lima) plus taxes.
“The system says you did not” I show her the ticket for our infant from the previous day and she is even more confused because this confirms what I have said.
Time to call the Executive Platinum desk again. I wrote about how helpful they were the previous day and we got the same great service again. The agent took my phone and began speaking at a rate of Spanish that was indecipherable to me. Then she left that computer and pulled our information up on a colleague’s computer. They started chatting and pointing to the screen, I was getting nervous and the Sherpstress was upset. Keeping our daughter entertained for the more than 30 minutes while this was going on was difficult. But we still had a little over two hours before the flight so we were not worried.
The agent came back to the screen and returned my phone to me. The agent said she would know what to do and explained that they would need a physical ticket showing what they could confirm in the computers from the American desk at T1. I offered to go get it. They said this was not necessary and suggested we go sit in the cafeteria because our representative was going to personally walk over to the other terminal and retrieve the ticket rather than wait for them delivery.
We took them up on this offer and walked to a cafeteria across the hallway. My wife was distressed and I was starting to think that maybe this trip wasn’t going to happen. We had originally tried to get to Lima in October, but schedules were such that it was unfeasible. I had studied abroad there and it was incredible formative in my development and how I see the world. I had grown quite close to my host family and was looking forward to getting back and showing my wife and daughter the people I had grown to love at a time in my life where I was changing and growing up. Looking back I wish that we had made the October trip work, because in January of this year, my host father died. He was a great man and a certain patriarch, the family was still upset several months later.
Nonetheless, trips rarely go this wrong without some serious meddling on our part. We had this trip from Myanmar that nearly unraveled but other than that, most of our trips have been smooth and we have flown easily 600,000 miles over the last five years. Our track record was pretty good. Things never go this badly, maybe we just weren’t supposed to get there.
I went up to order some food. My wife wasn’t hungry since we had only eaten breakfast a couple of hours ago in the lounge at the Hyatt Regency, and the wait was a long 15 minutes for the food. But it gave us a distraction and something to do while we contemplated our next move if we couldn’t get this trip to pull out of the tailspin it was in. I was looking up flights to Cancun on my phone and would just have them re-route our ticket home and maybe we would spend the long Easter weekend at the beach. It could have been worse right?
Chicken chilaquiles in a green tomatillo sauce is a quick way to my heart. I also got some chorizo tacos for my “not hungry” wife, who finished the tacos and helped me with the chilaquiles. We had some orange juice for our daughter who was already nodding off to sleep and after I had pushed around all the remaining sauce on my plate and couldn’t delay any longer, I got up and walked over to the check in counter.
The agent had not returned yet and we were asked to continue waiting. I looked at my watch. We were down to about an hour and fifteen minutes to departure. I knew that this airline would close the door 20 minutes prior whether we had the matter resolved or not. I walked back to my wife waiting patiently and looking at something on her phone. I told her what they told me, fifteen more minutes. This was the same as their first estimate over 45 minutes ago. I started to work backwards from where that put us. If the flight we have an hour and fifteen minutes now, and we deduct the fifteen it would take to get the tickets, then deduct the 20 minutes early that they close the door, we were down to 40 minutes before we would miss this flight too. There would be another 10 minutes for security and probably about 10 minutes to walk to the gate assuming it was the same as yesterday (though we could speed that up by running). We were down to 20 minutes and that was assuming we were last on the plane.
It was coming down to the wire. Again.
About ten minutes into that wait, a man in a LAN uniform with a an orange vest approached us and handed our tickets to us. Everything had been taken care of and we were free to clear security. We thanked him and I wondered how he knew it was us since I had never met this man before. Was it voodoo? Good luck? Someone described us so well we couldn’t be missed? I looked around the cafeteria and saw that we were the only white couple with a baby in the 200 or so seated at the tables and the mystery was quickly solved.
We cleared security, walked to the gate, did not head to the lounge. We had no room for error. The same crew the day before that didn’t seem terribly bothered until my wife was clearly upset was there to run this departure as well. They were much more helpful this time around. We had the stroller tagged and boarding commenced shortly there after.
Finally we were on our way and our bad luck streak was over… or was it?