I thought nearly crash landing into the terminal in Beijing surrounded by crying Chinese passengers throwing up into their laps was an all time low, but by jove did we manage to top that. We saw the New Year in with a trio of cheap flights that was enough to give any flyer a nervous breakdown. It is probably karma biting me in the arse for my disgusting carbon footprint in recent years, but I don’t think anyone deserves this amount of panic in 4 airports in one day.
We arrived with plenty of time to spare at Panama City airport, as we actually enjoy milling around airports, trying perfumes and drinking whisky samples, but when we checked in we were told that we would have to individually clear immigration, retrieve our baggage, go through customs, check in for our next flight and go through security at each of the two layovers. The itinerary is below, now sit back and laugh.
Flight details 02/01/2014 Panama City Tocumen Intl. Apt.(PTY)
Departure: 11:40 02/01/2014 Guayaquil(GYE) Arrival: 13:30
With: Tame Linea Aerea del Ecuador Flight number: EQ0505
Flight details 02/01/2014 Guayaquil(GYE)
Departure: 14:30 02/01/2014 Quito(UIO) Arrival: 15:20
With: Tame Linea Aerea del Ecuador Flight number: EQ0314
Flight details 02/01/2014 Quito(UIO)
Departure: 18:30 02/01/2014 Lima(LIM) Arrival: 20:30
With: Tame Linea Aerea del Ecuador Flight number: EQ0515
Now you wouldn’t believe it given that the first flight was delayed by ten minutes, but we made it on to our second flight in Guayaquil, but apparently our bags didn’t. We rushed through the whole process, luckily it was only a domestic flight so we were ready to board with only minutes to spare before the gates would close. However only to discover that flight number two of the day was delayed, by two whole hours. We didn’t mind so much because we felt more assured that there would be more chance of the bags getting on the plane. But they didn’t. The flight was smooth enough but no food or entertainment.
It meant that the connection time in Quito was now less than an hour again, so we landed and rushed through security procedures only to wait at the baggage conveyor belt foolishly waiting for bags that would never arrived. Lost and found told us to run for our flight and log our missing baggage at Lima arrivals.
Flight number 3 of the day was also delayed by so we arrived in Peru late in the evening, meaning that we had to call our couchsurfing host from the airport to explain that we were tracking our luggage. All of the offices were closed and no one was answering the helpline, then all of a sudden we heard our names being called over the tanoy claiming that we had ‘forgotten’ our luggage. That was a good load of salt in the wounds but at least we had all of our life belongings back on our backs.
Once again if you ever have the chance to swap 3 cheap flights for a slightly more expensive direct one, consider splashing out and saving yourself the hassle.