We were out of bed and out the door by about 3:40 in the morning. Our bags were packed, and we were ready to go. We arrived at the airport at PDX just after 4 in the morning. The plan was to take a short flight from PDX and land in LAX where we would have a layover for about three hours. We checked out bags with Alaska Airlines. Caleb and I had to check our backpacks, so we wrapped them in black sacks and the teller took them. He handed us our boarding pass but then told us that we would he would not be able to give us our next tickets. We would have to get them at the gate in LAX. I thought it was a little odd because all boarding passes are typically given at the time of you initial check in. I should have questioned the teller further, but I did not really have any reason to be concerned. The teller informed me that the bags would be checked for free. I thought that was great because it would be one less thing that we would pay for, but in the end I should have pushed the issue further.
We went through customs without any issues, and we made a quick stop at Stumptown for a quick cup of coffee before our flight. As we were waiting for our flight, I decided to inquire into the transfer in LAX. I went to Copa Airlines website and entered the flight information. The flight was not listed. There was nothing. To make matters worse, I found an email that said that the plane we were supposed to be on began boarding at 1 in the morning. We boarded our plane, and I was not too concerned because when I returned to Alaska’s website, the plane was listed.
We landed in LAX just after 9am. We decided to head to our gate first to check in and make sure that everything was alright. I asked one of the Alaska airlines representatives where I would check in for our next flight, and she could not find it. She directed me to the international terminal of the airport and we began our roughly 15-20 minute walk across the airport. When we got there, we could not find our gate. There was nothing… I opened my laptop found a customer care line for Copa Airlines, but the number was disconnected. I double-checked my email to see if I had missed something, and I found an email that said that our plane was delayed until 1:15. I was relieved, but at the same time, there was no listing for our plane. I googled more information about Copa Airlines, and I found a number that connected me to a third party call center that manages Copa’s inquiries. The person on the other end was not helpful. I gave him my booking number, and he said that the information was invalid. I asked him about the flight, and he said that there was nothing he could do if the flight number was invalid.
At this point we started to panic. We decided that it would be best to leave the international area a find the Copa Airline’s desk to inquire about our flight. Nobody knew how to find or get a hold of them. I double checked the flight number on their website, and it told me that there was no flight of that name scheduled to leave that day. Odd… After a small meeting, we decided that it would be best to find our bags and then try to get new tickets to Lima. We headed to the Alaska baggage claim. We gave them our flight number, and they said that the bags were already transferred and that once the bags were transferred, that there was nothing that could be done. We would have to talk to Copa Airlines. The problem was that there was no one there we could talk to and to make matters worse, we would have to wait until 8pm that evening to speak with a representative.
The 200 dollar nap: Caleb was getting really tired. Every time we stopped so that I could make an inquiry, he would fall asleep. I felt really bad waking him up to move to another section of the terminal. After talking with as many people as we could, Caleb was done. he said that he needed to sleep. I decided to rent a room at a nearby hotel so that he could rest while we inquired about our bags and flight. We ended up finding a hotel called Sonesta Los Angeles. The room set us back about 200 dollars. Caleb fell asleep, but Malachi and I could not, so we headed out of the hotel where we found a place to eat and ended up taking till close to 8pm. We headed back to the hotel, to wake up Caleb from his 200 dollar nap, gathered our bags, and walked back to the airport.
At that point in the evening, I was pretty upset that we had wasted our entire day at the airport, and had to rent an expensive hotel room. My intention was just to collect our bags and find the first flight out of LAX to Lima. When we talked to the representative, she was amazed that the flight was booked and that there was even a plane on our reservation. I asked for our bags and about 30 minutes later, the brought out our beautiful ugly backpacks wrapped in plastic garbage bags. The told us that the could correct the mistake and get us to Lima. We talked about it for several minutes and decided that if we could avoid paying for another ticket that it would be best to take their offer. They took about 45 minutes to adjust our flights and presented us with our tickets. They told us that we would take off at midnight and then we would transfer in Panama. Then we would board a plane in Lima and then reach our destination at about 9 in the morning. We were happy of course. We ran up the stairs and started to wait in line for to go through TSA. I took a second look at our tickets and realized that they had given us a nearly 20 hour layover in Panama. There was no way that I was going to wait at another airport for 20 hours. I was furious. We left the line and headed back to the check/in counter. I confronted them and told them that they had deceived us. They made it seem like we were going to land in Lima the next day, but that was not true. I told them that I wanted the bags off of the plane and that we would find our own way to Lima. We gathered our bags about 30 minutes later and began walking to each check in desk to see if we could find something that evening. There was nothing. We headed back to our hotel room with our tails between our legs.
On the way back I told Caleb and Malachi that they would have to have a meeting together and decide what we were going to do. We could buy another flight to Lima, but we would have to take another COVID test for 200 dollars before we boarded. The tickets at that point were over a thousand dollars and the only one that was a reasonable 500 would require us to spend another night in LAX. I was willing to do it, but it was going to be expensive. Once we got to the hotel room, I left them alone to talk. I went down to the lobby and just stewed in my anger at the airline. When I returned, they told me that they would be willing to make the best of the trip and fly to Mexico and Guatemala. That evening, after they went to bed, I felt horrible. I was responsible for planning this trip, and everything was falling apart. I stayed up for hours trying to find a flight to Lima, but everything was expensive and would delay us a few more days. In the end, I bought the tickets to Cancun for an 11am flight. I fell asleep and only got an hour of sleep.
We woke that morning and I told the two that I had bought the tickets to Cancun. We gathered our bags and walked to the airport at about 9 in the morning.
We got to Cancun at about 4 in the afternoon where we were met with our driver who promptly pick us up and gave us the dime tour of the city. We checked in to our AirBnb and decided to walk around a bit. We ended up getting some dinner at a little taco stall that was set up on the side of the road. It was not the prettiest place but the food was great. Afterwards, we purchased some water, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. We walked around the city for about an hour and picked up some breakfast. After heading home, we came up with a plan for the next week. There is a lot more to the story, but I am too tired to proof read and write more.