Sunday, 23 March 2014

10 am Wednesday morning - I think - somewhere in the world at least!

We are on QF28 approaching Santiago, Chile.  At 1:15 pm this afternoon we left Sydney. We flew for more than 12 hours and arrived half way across the world three hours before we left home. 

We have a five hour layover before we connect to Córdoba, Argentina  - what a waste of those extra hours. AND there is trouble brewing over our bags. In Sydney, the QANTAS check-in lady would not check them through to Cordoba, notwithstanding that our flight to Cordoba is with LAN, a partner airline to QANTAS - something about the bookings not being together in her system. Is it just us or does anyone else get the feeling these rules are made up on the spot. She was polite but adamant - we should collect our bags in Santiago and re-check them with LAN ourselves.


Somewhere above the Pacific we realise the bag collection will be the other side of immigration. We must enter Chile and pay the US$95 each reciprocity fee imposed by both Chile and Argentina on Australians as a tit-for-tat because we charge a visa fee for their nationals.  We are coming back to Chile and the fee lasts for a couple of months but what would happen if we were only planning to transit?

David asks a QANTAS steward on the plane - he says there is no need for us to enter Chile - we should follow the connecting flights signs when we land in Santiago, go to the LAN desk and LAN will collect our bags and move them across for us. We do this. We are tired and jet-lagged and fail to recognise the danger in this plan.

The employee at the LAN desk in the transit lounge has reassuringly perfect English.

"Come back at 2 pm."- he says and I will issue your baggage receipt.

Our Cordoba flight leaves at 3.30 pm. 

At 2 pm the English speaking LAN person is gone. In his place is a nice man whose English is on a par with my Spanish - pigeon at best. We communicate as best we can. After some time he produces a baggage check number. We are worried but it is too late to change course now. Our Santiago flight leaves in less than an hour.






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