Air Travel

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My husband and I purchased our tickets for our Central American trip in January–but only after we spent about a year researching which archaeological ruins would be the best to visit, the type of lodging that would make our stay the most comfortable, and the most logical route to take to see as much as possible in 10 days.

Part of our research included scanning airline schedules. We were willing to visit just about any country that contained Mayan ruins, as long as it did not require a great amount of travel time. Our goal was to spend as little time as possible moving from location to location, so that we could spend more time at the locations.

Our final decision was to visit Belize first, move to Guatemala after 4 days, and then finish our trip relaxing on the beach in Cancun. The route was chosen primarily because there was a good flight into Belize, it was a mere 2 hour drive from our hotel in Belize to our lodgings in Guatemala, and the flight from Flores, Guatemala to Cancun was a short 1 hour and 40 minute hop.

The first part of our itinerary worked as planned. But on our second day in Belize, we received a phone call informing us that Taca Airlines, in their infinite wisdom, had decided to cancel the scheduled flight from Flores, Guatemala to Cancun, and reschedule another that jumped around all over the place. Our 1:40 hop suddenly extended to over 9 hours. They even sent us to El Salvador.

But, as my husband reminded me whenever our plans went awry, it was all a part of the journey.

Even my husband’s calm was ruffled on the morning we showed at the Cancun airport and checked in. There we were informed that since we had missed our connection on our way to Belize (which we had not, we were on that plane), Continental Airlines had decided to take us off our connecting flight from Houston to Seattle.

Okay, now we were confused. First, why would missing a flight into Belize cause our flight back home to be cancelled, and second, did they expect us to end our journey in Houston when we live in Seattle? We had verified our flight over a week earlier, and they already had their money. What was going on?

After a lot of scrambling, the ticket agent found a flight with 2 seats available a mere 7 hours after our scheduled flight. With no other choice, we said we would take it.

In Houston, after clearing Customs and Immigration we rushed over to the Houston ticket agent and explained our predicament. She agreed to put us on the next flight out (which happened to be the one we orginally had tickets for) on a Space Available basis.

But we had better hurry, since the gate was on the other side of the airport, and it was already boarding.

To make a long story slightly shorter, we made it to the gate, but not on the plane. There were 10 people ahead of us also flying Space A.

Eventually, we made it home. But really, the airlines seem to not mind in the least shuffling their passengers about as if we were playing cards, rather than people.

Airlines. They seem to think that they own the skies!

What do you think?