What? No booking?!

Trip Start Jun 04, 2005
Trip End Apr 05, 2006

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Saturday, March 11, 2006

At about 8am on Friday 10 March, after 26 hours aboard a bus from Cartagena, Colombia, we stepped out into the early morning sunlight in Caracas, the crazy capital of Venezuela. A day of killing time lay ahead of us - we were due to check in at about 4.30pm for our flight to Madrid (and on to London).

Backpacks and all, we headed for the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, apparently one of the top contemporary art collections in South America. Having pursuaded the security guard to keep an eye on our bags, we made our way around a stunning collection featuring a number of Picassos, a Miro and even a Henry Moore. Unfortunately much of the museum was shut for renovation, but it was definitely worth a visit... and it's free!

We just had enough time for an hour or so in an internet cafe before rushing to find the airport bus departure stand, tucked away under a bridge. With extensive roadworks en route to the airport holding up traffic, it was touch and go, but we got there just on time... Phew!

We reached the front of the check-in queue only to be told (after much punching of computer keyboards and puzzled looks) that we were NOT booked onto the Iberia flight to Madrid. WHAT?! Our paper tickets were whisked away into a back office, and after a few phone calls, the manager returned and explained that someone had cancelled our flight. After a few more calls she established that that someone was LanChile - their system had automatically cancelled this leg when we changed a date on a flight a few months earlier in Chile!!!

So we'd just have to be booked back onto the evening's flight, right? Wrong. The flight was fully booked for the next few days, and we were unceremoniously informed that we'd have to wait around on standby for a few days. Well, at that point Rich let rip, leaving the manager in no doubt that she'd just have to make a plan to get us on a flight to Europe that very evening.

We were finally booked onto something called AirEuropa, and at 10pm we took off. Though it was nowhere near as snazzy as Iberia (no telly, minimal leg room) we were just grateful to be on a flight. This was the first time in 10 months and 20 flights that something had gone wrong with our booking - we'd never lost luggage, and had only once missed a flight (see Indonesia), though that was entirely our own fault. Sod's Law that something like this should happen on the very last leg!
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