Read the fine print
Hearing the announcement, I felt a pit of anxiety form in my stomach. Why are they calling my name 45 minutes before my flight? My seat was confirmed, so it wasn’t that. I wasn’t carrying illegal contraband (that I knew of). Oh, please don’t have me miss this flight, I thought as I rushed to the ticket counter.
Turns out they just wanted to know if I had read the fine print. Which I had – 3 hours ago and $400 later.
Turns out you cannot fly into Argentina without proof that you are leaving. seems like a big detail that I shouldn’t have missed. Well, I hadn’t totally. I had read about it 6 months ago. And at that time I figured no problem, I will surely have my return ticket by that time. But, now it was four hours before my flight, I am sitting in a dumpy hostel room in Saigon that I got for $5 for 3 hours to shower and repack and, thanks to government controls, I cannot access a quarter of the websites I am trying to research.
Panic has begun to set in.
You see, my plans are up in the air. I don’t know when I am returning to the states. I don’t know when I am leaving argentina. All I really know is that I have a flight to El Calafate less than 24 hours after I arrive in Buenos Aires. That i would really prefer not to miss. And that Qatar Airways is not going to let me leave Vietnam without proof that i am leaving Argentina.
Finally the interweb, my credit card and government controls have all conspired to allow me to purchase a, hopefully fully refundable (how many times can one read the airline fine print and still be confused?), airline ticket to Chile. Which I hope to not use.
Sure enough, that was the reason I heard my name over the intercom. They let me board the flight. And here I am, 30+ hours of flying time later, listening told men gossip in the coffee shop where I am fighting jet-lag in Buenos Aires.