I finally get it! We picked a time to travel that the Argentinean government-owned airline was competing in an Olympic event for the worst airline in the world.
I cataloged our journey to Mendoza and was positive that this had to be the worst part of the trip. I was wrong. It was getting OUT of Mendoza to Bariloche.
We started from the hotel early to allow us to deal with any problems we might have at the airport.
- We (CC note: Not "we." ME. Those critters are my specifically assigned responsibility!) forgot our passports and had to turn around and retrieve them.
- Upon arriving at the airport we discovered that we indeed had Business Class to Buenos Aires but that the agent could not ticket us on our connecting flight. That meant we would have to get out of the flight section of the airport when we arrived at Buenos Aires, go to the main ticket counter, and then go through security again to return to the boarding area. We were told to check with the agent before we boarded at Mendoza to see if the flight was unfrozen on the computer. Carol went back to check and was told by another agent (accessing the same computer information) that there was no Business Class on the flight. I went to the counter less than 5 minutes later and was told that there was Business Class but it was still frozen.
- We arrive at Buenos Aires, go out of the arrival area, get our tickets, and return to the boarding area to be told that the flight is delayed. It was yet another hour-plus delay.
- We finally board, pull away from the gate, and then stop. After another delay, the pilot says something about "technica." Oops. Then we sit on the runway while three technicians apparently declare that they haven't a clue as to what is wrong with the aircraft. We are deplaned and shuttled back to the terminal where we are told to wait. No one has any idea what is going on or what is to happen next, most especially Aerolineas Argentinas.
- The agents are, as usual, kept in the same stygian darkness as the passengers. We are told that the gate is to be 7, then the flight board says that it is 12a. Everyone queues up at 12a and the loudspeaker announces that the gate is 13a (which, of course, is not in the terminal we are in). Interestingly, the agents are not paying attention to this announcement because they are busy boarding the passengers on the flight at gate 12a.
- We sit again awaiting takeoff.
- We arrive three hours late. The good news, however, is that by now being in Bariloche we are officially in Patagonia.
Depressingly, no one from Argentina is surprised by the stories we tell about their national airline. They think this is normal!
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