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knycx_journeying Apr 22nd, 2018 08:13 AM

The Mishap: I Missed My Flight!
I don’t usually talk about my travel mishaps; but it took me 60 hours, traveling through 4 countries and 6 flights to get to Chile, … -

The Beginning of a nightmare
So, I took off from Los Angeles last December, heading to Chile for my year-end South America trip. I had to transit in Mexico City at 5 AM (because I flew with Aeromexico), and we were already delayed about… 1 hour. It seems to me, that I had to expect a lot of delays when traveling to South America from the U.S…. I had the same delay when I was heading to Peru, we were stuck in the middle of the airport while we were on the plane, and we had to wait for an hour before taking off.
Anyway, the flight carried on as usual. Five hours later, we had our seatbelt fastened and the ready to touchdown. I could see from my window the entire Mexico City; though at dawn, the city was glittering with street lights and traffic was bustling. Somehow, magically if I might say, when we were literally 10 meters above ground, the plane pulled back up, and we were up in the air again. I didn’t know what happened, I didn’t understand why. The pilot was speaking something in Spanish and I didn’t understand. When I look out the window, we were high up and the city is covered with fog. We flew for another hour and finally, we landed. It was a little bit unexpected, but well, I had a 6-hour window before I hopped on my other flight to Chile. However, we were stuck on the plane after we landed and I wondered if they had a problem with the airport shuttle (the same thing happened in Peru and we waited almost an hour on the plane for a shuttle bus to come and take us back to the terminal). It was until then, a lady sat next to me in the business class told me that we were actually in Guanajuato, a nearby airport, due to the fog!
We were just waiting until the weather condition in Mexico City improved and we could go back. Due to security (and most likely, operational issues), we were unable to get off the plane, even though some of the passengers were actually heading to Guanajuato. What confused me the most was that when I looked out the window, the weather was sunny, warm, and calm.
Of course, there were a lot of concerned, anxious and jumping passengers during our wait as many of them were also heading to different connection flights to Argentina, Peru, Chile and so on. I remembered the flight attendant told them, repeatedly, that due to the weather, many connecting flights would “probably” be delayed and they did not have to worry.
I have had takeoffs and touchdowns during typhoon, hurricanes, and snowstorms – I was confused because apparently heavy fog during touchdowns was a big no-no in Mexico (and later I met a friend from Spain and she told me, yes, Mexico City was a valley and it happens – I didn’t verify). Anyway, we were delayed almost 5 hours before we finally had a go from the Mexico City Airport and finally returned to Mexico City........
When we arrived at the airport, I could still see my plane parking at gate 66 from the window. But deep down I know it would not be that easy. In Mexico City, passengers have to go through customs clearance even though you are only transiting with the same airline. The other time when I was in Cancun, back from Cuba, we had to wait for an hour for the sniffing dogs to check our luggage, before they released them to the luggage belt, and we could see our luggage through the window, sitting there, waiting.
When I finally passed the customs (which took almost an hour in the queue), I missed my connection flight by 5 minutes, and someone at the luggage claim said the plane already took off. The connection flight was on time after all. In distraught, I was guided to a counter while a rather rude lady gave me another flight to Chile the same day because I had to be in Chile the next morning. I got bummed from business class to coach, but the lady couldn’t do anything about the refunds. I was kicked from offices to offices, counters to counters in the airport terminal, and all of them said I had to go to another office, or I had to call (well, classic poor customer service).
I didn’t want to be stuck in Mexico City, I didn’t have a phone, I hadn’t eaten and I had to agree to take the Avianca and LATAM flight to Chile because I need to arrive Santiago the next day or I might miss all the connections that I planned for the trip. The domino started. I had to make fast decisions. I had to act fast too because I only had about an hour to get to terminal 2 to catch my compensate flight! I had to use my plan B. Should I change my destination? Should I change my route? Should I wait for a day for my flights?
Any of these decisions would change my itinerary and I had to re-book my hotel reservations, connecting flights, and pickups… While Aeromexico staff told me the airport offered free Wi-Fi – but wait, I only get 5 minutes of free Wi-Fi for each mobile device in the airport (seriously?), and it was not enough time for me to rebook my everything. Even worse, the Aerotrén (a people mover at Mexico City International Airport) was out of service that day and I had to line up for a shuttle bus that transported us to terminal 1 in traffic. Enough was enough!
When I made it through traffic to terminal 1, I could barely make it to the check-in counter (and got ‘almost’ yelled at by the ground staff, said I was late, and so my seat is ‘not confirmed’). I had to be standby at the gate (another long queue to security check, yes, of course); Finally, I made it to my flight to Bogota, Colombia, deep-breathing and calming myself in the entire process, and luckily I didn’t have to spend the night at the airport (I actually might). Once I arrived Bogota and my lesson learned @

Melnq8 Apr 23rd, 2018 05:51 AM

Yikes! I hope the trip went well once you arrived!

mlgb May 2nd, 2018 06:17 PM

Holy cow! I will learn from your experience and never book through Mexico City on connections!

baldone May 2nd, 2018 08:52 PM

It all sounds pretty far-fetched to me. I'm always suspicious of posters that post a link their blog.

knycx_journeying May 19th, 2018 08:32 AM

Thanks, although I had to rearrange my itinerary, Chile was so beautiful! From desert to glacier, so diverse.

knycx_journeying May 19th, 2018 08:34 AM

Yes, please think twice! I have shared and a lot of my friends had different hiccups traveling, or transiting there.

suze May 21st, 2018 02:18 PM

I dunno. The "Lessons Learned" part of this article if you go to the blog is pretty darn funny!

mlgb May 21st, 2018 04:29 PM

I can vouch for the same issues between Colombia and the West Coast if you transit through Fort Lauderdale, which many flights do.

Going via San Salvador to Colombia is better. You will rarely get the LATAM flight nonstop to Lima, they save that one for the full fare customers but the best option from LAX to Santiago is LAX to LIma nonstop and then nonstop to Santiago (IIRC sometimes you keep the same plane).

suze May 21st, 2018 04:34 PM

I did not and do not disagree with anything. It has nothing to do with traveling in South America. This is the advice that made me laugh.:
  1. Customs. Never underestimate the time you need through customs, the length of the queue depends on flights (hence, the volume of arrivals). Sometimes the queue could be short, but always assume they are long...
  2. Luggage. Remove old barcode labels on your luggage because old barcodes confuse the scanners and increase your risk of losing it during transportation...
  3. Terminals. Airports have more than one terminals and they could be far apart...

MmePerdu May 22nd, 2018 08:09 AM

Will someone please tell me what I'm missing, the particular significance of this incident that makes it worthy of writing & reading? People miss flights all the time. I've transited through Mexico City 4 times and found the experience on the pleasanter side of uneventful. This isn't meant as a snarky comment, but a real question - why is this interesting?

baldone May 22nd, 2018 08:23 AM

It isn't interesting. It's simply another blogger trolling for clicks.

mlgb May 22nd, 2018 08:49 AM

I didn't read the blog, I read the post.. I haven't tried to use Mexico City/Aeromexico for travel from LAX south, although I have seen their cheap flights on offer. I was not aware that fog in Mexico City can result in being diverted to another airport and that a 5 hour layover ( I think that is the minimum connection with Aeromexico) isn't enough to make a connection.

Nothing funny to me, either. While I'm aware of most of the "lessons learned" I'm not familiar with Mexico City's airport setup. I have avoided using it as a connecting airport and will continue to do so. That doesn't mean I don't still intend to go there for a visit (this year, hopefully) which is why I read the post.

Moderator1 May 22nd, 2018 10:28 AM

Several posts have been deleted and two have been edited to remove snide comments. Please observe Fodors posting guidelines.

suze May 22nd, 2018 02:30 PM

Will someone please tell me what I'm missing, the particular significance of this incident that makes it worthy of writing & reading?

MmePerdue, If you look at this person's posting history this fits right in, each topic they start tells a story, then gives you a link to their travel blog. I would guess that is the purpose of their posting.

MmePerdu May 22nd, 2018 04:11 PM

Originally Posted by suze (Post 16734087)
MmePerdue, . . .

It interests me how many misspell my name, always in the same way. IRL too, my lot it seems.

suze May 22nd, 2018 04:24 PM

I apologize. Sincerely. I am sorry I misspelled your name.

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