I finally made it to Peru; however, my final destination was Bolivia. Sweet, I was only 1.5 days into my trip back to South America and I was already going "off the beaten track." I landed in Lima around 10:00pm and missed my connecting flight to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, due to the so called "mechanical problems" - aka: "plane on fire" - from the day before. I was exhausted to say the least - I guess I was a little justified given the fact that I had been on and off airplanes for the last 1.5 days. After I got off the plane and into the airport terminal a flight attendant took me and two other people who had missed connecting flights to a different departure gate and told us to wait there for someone from Delta Airlines to come meet us and help us sort out our flights. After waiting for over an hour, which is a normal amount of time to wait for someone in South America, I decided to leave the terminal, go through customs, and talk to someone at the Delta ticket counter.
I found the manager for the Lima Airport Delta Airlines department and she turned out to be the most rude, unhelpful, and just down right MEAN customer service person I've ever met in my life. As soon as I inquired about getting a new flight to Bolivia, she immediately told me that Delta was not liable for my missed connecting flight - despite the fact that my Delta plane caught on fire! - and that there was nothing she could do for me. Because Delta Airlines doesn't fly anywhere in Bolivia, my connecting flight was with a different airline; LAN Airlines. The horrible Delta manager woman told me that, because I had booked my flight with a different airline, she would not issue me a new ticket for my connecting flight and said I would have to pay almost $500 for a new flight to Bolivia. We argued for a while and she eventually issued me a hotel voucher, taxi voucher, and 3 meal vouchers, but continued to tell me that Delta would not pay for me to get a new connecting flight to Bolivia. By this time it was after 1:00am. So, I finally gave up arguing with the woman and decided that I would take the vouchers, check into my hotel, get some sleep, and deal with everything in the morning.
The next morning, I called Delta Airlines in the States and they where awesome! They accepted all responsibility for the connecting flight I missed to Bolivia and issued me a new ticket with Taca Airlines. Hooray, after more than 2 days of traveling, it looked as though I was finally going to make it to my final destination - Hahah... so I thought anyway.
My new flight was scheduled to depart at 9:30pm that same night. Just to be safe, I decided to get to the airport 3 hours early and arrived in the terminal around 6:30pm. I went to the Taca Airlines counter to pick up my ticket and the ticket person informed me that, because the ticket was actually issued through Delta, I had to get my ticket for the Taca flight at the Delta counter. So, I walked over to the Delta counter, but there was absolutely no one in sight. I couldn't find anyone that worked for Delta anywhere. I asked the people at the surrounding ticket counters and quickly learned that no one from Delta would be at the airport until 8:30pm. My flight with Taca Airlines was scheduled to depart at 9:30pm and I knew that it would be nearly impossible to get my ticket, go through security, and board my plane in time to make the flight.
I started asking around and was eventually able to get in touch with the mean Delta manager - the Wicked Which of Lima - on the phone. She again informed me that Delta was not responsible for my missed connection to Bolivia and said that whoever issued me the new ticket made a mistake. The Wicked Witch of Lima was furious that I had gone around her authority and called someone in the States who would help me get a new flight. She also informed me that no one from Delta was scheduled to be at the airport until 8:30pm and refused to call any of her employees in early, let alone come to the airport herself.
The Delta crew, including the Wicked Witch of Lima, finally showed up at the airport at 9:00pm; half an hour late. The Wicked Witch of Lima kept telling me that the person who issued me the new ticket made a mistake and she wouldn't issue me the ticket until she had it officially authorized by Delta Corporate. Therefore, by the time Delta Corporate pretty much forced the Wicked Which of Lima to issue me my ticket, it was 9:45pm and my plane had already departed for Bolivia.
It took 3 days of disaster after disaster, but this is when I finally broke down. I was so calm and collected up to this point, but I was so exhausted and upset that I couldn't hold back the tears. I sat down on the floor with all my bags in front of the ticket counters at the airport and cried for about 15 minutes. Local Peruvian people kept coming up to me and asking, "necesita medico?" - Do you need a doctor? Meanwhile, the Wicked Witch of Lima started yelling at me for crying and blaming me for missing my flight. She also immediately informed me that she would not give me any more hotel or food vouchers and that she would not help me in any way - what a b-i-a-t-ch!
So, here is where I am now: I am stuck at the Lima airport by myself with all my bags and nowhere to go. I know one person who lives in Lima, but I met this person while traveling about 2 months ago and I don't even know if they will remember who I am. What to do next?
Haha... Getting to Bolivia - Part 2 is to be continued...