Avianca Cancelled! But Trip Saved

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Holy cheeseballs! I’ve been tracking Avianca’s strike methodically every day. Yesterday night, Avianca’s website said that special accommodations were being made for certain flights. It listed my flight from LAX-BOG as one of them. This morning that flight was no longer on there, but it still showed as “scheduled” under flight status.

Instead of waiting for the inevitable email from United, I took matters into my own hands and called them. Initially, the agent said that the flight was still happening. I pressed her to confirm and she put me on hold. She came back and said it was cancelled. I asked to speak to a supervisor in order to repair what would have been an epic mess.

Before I get into how United and I saved the day, here is the Great Circle Mapper of my absurd journey for 105k United miles in business. (The return is on Virgin from JNB-SFO via LHR.) Here is how I booked part of this beauty.

This route consists of two United reservations. Both reservations have Avianca segments. The first problem was my flight from LAX-BOG. I fought hard to get that Dreamliner route instead of flying on dreadful Taca. Now, the agent was recommending I take that flight. Refusing to fly a 737 in a recliner and pretend that it is business, I scanned all options that were available. Ultimately, I found a solution. I’m now flying United metal to Lima on a 767 in lie-flat business with the possibility of being upgraded to Polaris. Even if Polaris does not happen, I think this is a decent substitute.

The agent asked if I was all set, and I said no, I have another problem. My flight from SCL to GRU connects in BOG on Avianca as well. If that segment is cancelled, then I will not be able to from SCL to Africa! The only option was to fly direct from SCL to GRU in coach. I may sound crazy saying this, but a four hour flight in coach, leaving SCL at 2AM and arriving GRU at 6AM, versus leaving Santiago at 4:15PM and arriving at GRU at 6AM is preferable. While I don’t get to experience more business class, I do get to experience another full day in Chile.

United’s agent was very nice and very helpful. I am thankful that this worked out. The lesson learned is to change your flight proactively in anticipation of pending disaster. I’m not sure what would have happened if I just waited and did nothing to mitigate.

Adventure back on!

6 COMMENTS

  1. Please please please can you provide more sauce? Which cities are the stopovers and which are the ling layovers and which are just “connections?”

    So that’s 105k outbound but of course the return is booked via other means right?

    • yes, as i said the return is Virgin upper class JNB-LHR-SFO.

      I’m going to Victoria Falls, Kili, Kenya (separate flight ), Zanzibar (separate flight), Dar Es Salaam (included but just staying to make connection to JNB), and Johannesburg

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