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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.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carol Kushner #

    Oh, dear! Fill me in as plans evolve!

    January 8, 2012
  2. Well, you’ve arrived safely. That’s what counts. Flying is always a drag if the flight is longer than an hour, most of the time. You may want to use the ticket to Chile as it is also a really beautiful place with friendly people as all of SA seems to breed. Enjoy the summer weather!

    January 9, 2012
    • true…. but i bet there are much cheaper ways to get to chile!

      January 9, 2012
  3. Lindsay Slabich #

    Wow. The other side of the world from where you were. Glad you’re there safely. Looking forward to reading the next chapter.

    January 9, 2012
    • yeah…. it definitely feels *pretty* different. i think i have a little bit of culture shock……

      January 9, 2012
  4. Kim #

    Yikes. We have a one-way ticket to Ecuador which, apparently, you need to show proof of an ongoing or return ticket when you arrive in Ecuador. I’ve asked around and other travelers have told me that no one has ever asked, but I’m still scared. I guess we’ll buy a fully refundable ticket last-minute if we need to, but I’m worried. This story makes me more worried!

    January 21, 2012
    • No worries – it was easier than I thought. I got fully refunded But Qatar airways did ask so if anyone is going to ask it is in the US because the airline is responsible for you

      Sent from my iPod

      January 21, 2012
    • I traveled to Ec. a couple of years ago and had no such problem. Just stay in the safe areas in Quito and don’t travel to the jungles in the North because there are kidnappings. No fee with Chase debit cards. Don’t dress flashy etc. You won’t believe how inexpensive it is to live there. Lots of organic veggies. Lots of alternative and native health choices.

      January 21, 2012
  5. One other thing. ALWAYS use a taxi with a license number clearly visible. Lots of people have been relieved of their wallets by going into the taxis of private” entrepeneurs.”

    January 21, 2012
  6. entrepreneurs, sorry.

    January 21, 2012

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