Well, we made it this long without any travel issues, but today our luck ran out. We didn’t hit any major snags, but today was a lot more eventful than any of our other travel days thus far. Luckily, the airline we chose to fly is fantastic and made what could have been a very stressful day just eventful.
We got up this morning to catch our flight from Cusco to Lima, Peru, with a connection to Quito, Ecuador. When I originally booked these flights, I had booked flights that had a 2-hour layover in Lima because I have learned the hard way (repeatedly) how much frustration short layovers can cause on a trip.
Low-and-behold, last month Avianca Airlines rescheduled our flight from Cusco to Lima and pushed the departure time back an hour. This left us with just a 1-hour layover in Lima this morning.
We arranged a van to take us to the airport at 6am this morning, which gave us plenty of time to check-in, check our bags, make it thru security, and make it to our gate with plenty of time to spare for our scheduled 8:59am departure.
I will say, the ticketing agents who assisted us this morning were fantastic. They were very kind and helpful, which was a refreshing welcome to tired travelers early in the morning. They even recommended to my father that he have his two light-weight pieces of checked luggage bundled together with wrap (as both together weighed under the baggage allowance) instead of paying to check the second piece of luggage.
However, after getting thru security is where our luck began to change. Our flight to Lima, which was already pushed back about an hour in advance, was delayed by almost an hour because of what they explained as heavy air traffic in Lima. We ended up taking off at around 8:50am, with an estimated landing time in Quito of 10:05am.
Our flight from Lima to Quito was scheduled to depart at 10:30am, so it didn’t leave us a whole lot of time to make our connection. Compounding things was the fact that we were all seated in the back of the plane, which meant it would take us extra time to disembark. This is why I really, really don’t like sitting in the back of an aircraft, especially if I have a connection to make.
Luckily, we did land in Quito at around 10:05am, and we were able to disembark the plane in about 10 minutes. However, we were told that we would have to exit the gate area and go back thru security and immigration before being allowed to head to the gate for our flight to Quito. It was understandable because they do need to have some record of you leaving Peru, but we only had about 15 minutes to do all of that.
Amazingly, we made it out of the gate area, back thru security, thru immigration, and to our next gate before our plane departed. Again, credit to Avianca Airlines for having personnel posted throughout the airport at checkpoints to guide us in the right direction and hold the flight until we all embarked. In addition to the six members of our group, there were at least another half dozen passengers on our flight from Cusco to Lima that needed to make the same connection to Quito.
The question then became whether or not our baggage would make it to Quito along with us. It is not uncommon with very short connections, especially those with delays as well, to have issues with baggage making the connection. However, miraculously, our baggage made the connection and we were all set to go to Quito. I think this was another testimony to how absolutely fantastic Avianca Airlines is. They genuinely care about their passengers, and it really shows.
That is it for today’s journal entry. We will be getting up bright and early tomorrow to head to the Galápagos Islands. Not sure what the Internet situation will be like, so I will post again when I am able.