Tuesday, April 25, 2017

walking to bogota

Some people hate airports.

Not me. I  cannot say I love them, but I do find them interesting. Probably in the same way Bill Buckley meant when he said 99 out of a hundred people are interesting -- and the other is interesting because he is different.

Dan, Patty, and I arrived at the Bogota airport this morning in time for their 8 AM flight. Because I was not flying until the late afternoon, we breakfasted together and I saw them off on their flight to Florida. These days that means watching them disappear into the maw of security.

That left me with six hours to spend wisely. Did I read? A little. The Oregonian. A couple of articles in The Economist on the US-China Pacific power struggle. And articles in National Review on health care legislation and the science of climate change.

But my feet started itching. Even though the Bogota airport is not as large as Mexico City’s, it provides a perfect arced track for some serious walking. And walk I did.

It is also far better organized and less crowded than Mexico City’s. So, getting in my multi-mile steps was a pleasure. I was having enough fun that I almost missed my check-in time.

AeroMexico has so few flights to and from Bogota, its presence is very subtle. The company does not have permanent counter space.  A couple of monitors transform one airline’s check-in into another’s. The staff was about to close up shop when I showed up.

Speaking of AeroMexico, I finally resolved my flight change from Mexico City to Manzanillo tomorrow. I thought my request was simple -- changing only the date by one day.

I was wrong. I spent over two hours on three evenings to complete the transaction. Even though I had a first class ticket that was reduced to a coach ticket to get on the plane, I was charged $137 for the flight.

The experience has left me with a rather bad feeling about AeroMexico’s customer service. None of the representatives I talked with could explain what the extra charges were for -- nor why it took so much telephone time to change the date. All I was told was the fees existed, and I would be sitting in Mexico City with only my dreams of flying if I did not pay up.

The company could resolve this by doing as other airlines do. The ability to change flights should be part of the airline’s web site. And, if there are any associated charges, they should appear with itemized explanations. Alaska does it perfectly. (I suspect the United web site causes electrical shocks whenever a customer tries to change anything.)

I do not mind paying additional fees. I do mind paying fees that neither I nor the person charging them can explain.

But that is now in the past. I trust I will have a seat when I arrive at the AeroMexico desk on Wednesday morning.

If not, my friends Lou and Wynn Moody will have made a trip to the Manzanillo airport for naught.

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