Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lesson Learned

A lady peers out her window in a pro-Chavez Caracas neighborhood.  She was curious about the gringos outside of her house, but decidedly cold about it.

Back in Atlanta but not after a bit of drama leaving Caracas this morning.

I was notified last night by TripIt and Delta Airlines that this morning's early flight back to Atlanta was delayed by two hours.  Perfect, now it wasn't such an early flight and I could grab a good breakfast before the team and I left for the airport.

Arriving at the airport still three hours before the newly scheduled take-off I found the Delta ticket counter all but deserted.  This was odd because one would normally expect mayhem on a flight coming out of Latin America to the States.  No one was around except a lone agent.

My first thought was that the flight was canceled all together, but the agent said, "No, it takes off in three hours".  As I threw my bags on the scale he told me that I can't check in because the flight is already "closed".  Huh?!!

Apparently even though the flight is delayed and the airline goes to great effort to tell you this so that you will not be inconvenienced, in Caracas you still must check in at the scheduled time regardless of when the flight is going to depart.  I lost my mind as I stood there with bags in-hand not being able to check in on a flight that departs in three hours.  Luckily one of the members of the team that I was with is rather noteworthy and was able to convince the Delta Airlines Station Chief to contact the Venezuelan security to re-open the flight for us.

The learning point for me is not to get too cocky with information and familiarity when traveling.  Every airport is different, and they're changing all the time.  What you might think is reality in Atlanta doesn't count at all in Islamabad or Quito, regardless if it's a major carrier or not. Lesson learned.

No comments: