Nothing stresses me out more than searching for plane tickets. In fact, searching for and buying those tickets is one of the few things that manages to punch me in the gut. I’ve been lucky so far. Two round-trip Delta tickets for Charleston-NYC each at $220. Then two round-trip TAM tickets for NYC-Santiago-one at $850, the second at $950.
This time around, I went through hell to get back to Santiago.
I bought my plane ticket about a month ago and I decided to try to cut down on my layover time (previous tickets put me in Sao Paolo GRU for about 12 hours each time).
I bought a round-trip ticket with American Airlines for $1,300. Although I plan on staying longer, a friend recommended that I buy a round-trip ticket because I could be turned away for not having proof of residency.
Right from the start, I’m already paying at least $300 more than my previous two trips to Chile. Granted, it’s high travel season for South America so I can understand the high price. I also read that I will have to pay for my second checked luggage (tack on $30). Once again, I look back to my TAM flights where I had a second checked bag for free, and I wonder, “what’s up with that?”
As I boarded the plane, I noticed how packed the flight was. They must have sold out this flight. Yep. Sure enough it was a full house, leaving little room for people’s carry-on luggage. That was a pain, especially since I was carrying my acoustic guitar, too. Upon sitting at my seat, I couldn’t help but feel cramped. I’m only 6’1” so I’m not that tall, but damn were those seats uncomfortable and damn there was no leg space.
As the flight began, I noticed that the seats didn’t have individual TV screens on the back of the headrests. Well, that’s annoying. There goes any chance of watching back-t0-back-to-back movies. Granted, this is petty stuff in the grand scheme of things, but when you’ve been paying less and getting more, you know what makes a good deal. They did have NBC Universal television network shows on, but the only good show was The Office, which was played first.
When we arrived in Miami, I had no trouble getting off the plane and into the airport. I stopped and ate an amazing empanada–the best chicken empanada I’ve ever had, and made my way to my next departure gate.
Our flight from Miami to Santiago was scheduled for 11:20, but we did not end up boarding until 11:12. This was after they announced they were still cleaning the cabin from the previous flight and after they announced that they overbooked the flight and needed three people to stay behind in Miami with hotel, transportation and food vouchers, which I should have done. How do you overbook a flight? Honestly. One would think that because of the Internet and advanced technology, this would not be an issue.
Finally after being delayed, we were allowed to board. Once again, full-house with very little space for carry-on luggage and little to no personal space. This just sucks. To make matters worse, there was no free alcohol. C’mon now! TAM offered me free wine and liquor. What’s the beef, American?
Due to the lack of personal space on the plane and the inability of the seats to lean back an adequate distance, I could not sleep whatsoever on the plane. Fail. Nothing like 10 hours in a seat with no movies to watch. I also had the option of watching the same episode of The Office again. No thanks.
When I landed in Santiago, we conveniently landed just after two other flights arrived. Sure enough, it would be an hour and a half before we got our luggage. At least they had the decency to warn us.