Stranded in Auckland

I was recently on a mammoth trip home to Sydney from Lima via Santiago flying LAN airlines. The final stopover was Auckland, where we were to stop for 15 minutes or so to pick up passengers. We re-boarded the plane with our new manifest and awaited take-off. We waited for the next hour on the tarmac going nowhere. Thankfully some water was served. Finally the captain came on the intercom to tell us that there was a light on his panel which was probably just a glitch but could not take any chance with so the flight was cancelled. So off we went again with our luggage.

We crowded around the service desk for information, for which there was none. All we told was that the LAN rep was on his way and would be there in 2 hours (!) and given meal vouchers. So I returned 2 hours later to find a substantial queue at the service desk. At this stage there quite a few very anxious people who had connecting flights to get to. Half an hour later I reached the desk to be told my name was not on the list. What f*cking list?! And why isn’t my name on it? I was told to go away and come back in half an hour. Half an hour? If I was to return in half an hour I would have to rejoin the queue immediately.

It was only through evesdropping that I surmised that the plan was to offload us one by one onto other flights to Sydney. At some point the LAN rep did arrive but instead of issuing an explanation/apology over the PA so everyone knew what was what, he remained behind the counter doing sweet f*ck all. By the time I reached the top of the queue again, I found out my name was still not on any list. Just as I was ready to unleash a verbal tirade on the young man serving me he said, “let me see if I can get you on the next flight out.” And damn if he didn’t do so, and also in an emergency exit row (which also proves airlines hold on to these seats for no reason). I finally made it home 5 hours late, having to take public transport home because my lift window was gone.

Let’s be clear on this gripe. I have no issue with LAN as an airlines. The flights I had with them were perfectly fine. Seats, meals and entertainment were okay. I do take issue with their Auckland rep who did absolutely nothing for his clients.

I do want to thank the chap from Air NZ who got me on the flight. Now that’s how you do it, LAN.


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