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Solo Claire

Journey from Hell (Part II)

ARGENTINA | Saturday, 10 January 2009 | Views [509]

Arrived in Ushuaia airport with just over an hour and a half to go before the flight...they say you only need an hour.  The queue was really long for check-in and they started to move people on my flight to a different line to check us in faster. It was only when I got my boarding passes (Ushuaia - Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires - Mendoza) that I was told I had to get a bus to Rio Grande to catch my flight from there.  Not exactly sure why but heard someone say that they didn't have a gate high enough for the plane but that could be rubbish. Was sitting next to an American guy and after about half an hour his friend came up to him worried about what was happening.  They don't speak any Spanish and no one had explained anything to them! They had thought we were just being transferred to the runway and were worried that it was taking so long. The airport in Ushuaia is the smallest I have been in (apart from on the Big Island in Hawaii) so I was amused that it took them half an hour to start wondering why we weren't at the runway yet. We stopped after about two hours at a garage to use their facilities - I reckon that between the two buses of passengers we bought everything in the shop. I was dying of alcohol induced dehydration and I hadn't brought water to the airport because of restrictions on liquids on flights so I was delighted to finally get some water into me. 

So we drove from Ushuaia to Rio Grande (like driving from Dublin Airport to catch a plane in Cork) and all the time I am thinking that there is not a hope in hell that I can make my connecting flight. Why they had given me a boarding pass for it in Ushuaia I don't know as they would have known it was impossible. I had packed my spanish dictionary in my rucksack so spent a good while trying to figure out how I would complain in my pigeon Spanish and get a new flight for free.

Arrived in Buenos Aires at about half nine and I must say that Aerolineas were very good to me there despite no apologies being forthcoming from the pilot or air hostess during the flight for the delay.  They switched my flight to the next morning, set me up in a hotel, gave me a voucher for  dinner up to 30 pesos, paid for the transfer and told me that they would refund my taxifare back to the airport the next day. And all without me having to complain! Couldn't sleep though because I was terrified of missing my flight - had to be up at 05:30 so watched some tv and joy of joys, took a bath. Lost some money cos I had already paid for the hostel in advance but not too bothered as I got a free hotel instead.
When I arrived in Mendoza I was knackered. Just to prolong my agony though, there was no bed free yet as it was before check-out time. I'm not sure why there was no bed as the bed I had booked should have been free. Hung around for about two hours before being given a room. Despite the air conditioning not working, it was probably the most relaxing sleep I have ever had!
Just to add some irony to the tale, when I checked my emails there was one from Ms. Jinx Sinclair saying and I quote, "Good to see your not having anymore airport issues". I've asked her to send me a similar one saying `Good to see you haven't won the lotto yet´ but she hasn't replied.

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