We're still alive - or - why not to fly iberia
Trip Start Jan 08, 2009
7Trip End Feb 09, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
i had a small seizure.
marco said some bad words.
we hailed a man in a little truck who was rummaging through a dumpster to try and jumpstart the camper.
long story short: two unsuccessful jumps, a race to the nearest gas station, €110, a new battery and many crossed fingers later, the camper roared to life.
we made it to the airport in time and arrived in barcelona without a hitch. our flight from barcelona to buenos aires was the next morning so we spent the night at the airport. [comfortable chairs, tasty potato-omelet sandwiches, very expensive wi-fi] the next morning we got to our gate to find that, much to our surprise, we were to have another layover in madrid. you know, just a minor detail our online booking company decided we didn't need to know about beforehand. in any case, the flight was delayed due to snow.
several hours later, when we were finally airborne and mere miles from madrid, the captain came on to inform us that we would not, in fact, be landing but rather going back to barcelona because madrid's airport had been closed as they were completely and utterly unprepared for the treachery of the snowstorm. [i believe the final count was 4cm of snow] oh yes.
aaaand back to barcelona, where we proceeded to stand in line for five hours to have the iberia lady tell us that the next flight for us would be in two days.
back in line for another four hours supposedly to be given accommodations but which turned out to be a ticket change for an hour later to madrid and then to montevideo instead of buenos aires. [quite honestly i fail to understand the necessity of flying to madrid to then fly to south america...come on barcelona, put your big boy pants on] oh ś́́́́́́́́. A glimmer of hope.
hurrying and scurrying we made it to the gate in time and miraculously got to madrid. [which - might I add - was in fact not submerged in a meter and a half of snow. damn spaniards.] the flight for montevideo was scheduled to leave at 1.05 am.
at 1am the departure time on the screen at the gate changed to 2am.
at 2am the departure time on the screen at the gate changed to 3am.
at 3am the departure time on the screen at the gate changed to black.
you'd think a helpful iberia worker would've come out and explained what was happening, yes? oh no. a#1 iberia is not helpful. don't fly iberia. b#2 this is spain, friends, and apparently in spain they are even more disorganized than in italy, a phenomenon i would not have believed had i not witnessed it with my very own eyes.
it is fortunate that marco's first language is spanish otherwise i might still be in madrid.
as it was, he was able to get us a hotel paid for by not-so-helpful iberia and by 6am we were finally able to sleep...
...for three hours. at which point we had to go back to the airport because our flight was supposed to leave at noon.
so. we got into our seats [late, but would we expect anything less?], i got nestled into my inflatable neck pillow and promptly fell asleep. about an hour later i was vaguely aware of the fact that we still hadn't taken off or even moved, really.
then captain mccaptainson came over the loudspeaker to blandly announce that the plane was no longer departing and would we be so kind as to disembark, muchas gracias.
the plane erupted with shouts of "¿¿QUE??" and "¿¿¿COMO???" a short obnoxious guy with an obnoxious baby up front stood up and yelled, "anyone who has balls doesn't get off!!"
[by the by, angry south americans are frightening. there were a few tense moments where i quietly wet myself.]
it was pretty much unanimous that no one was getting off. mutiny!! i mean, seriously, iberia. get it together. a very self-important man i like to call "the mayor" started loudly making phone calls to local newspapers and to the iberia hotline to try and get someone from iberia to explain themselves.
some men went to try and talk to/shout at the stewardesses to get some answers which they [obviously] did not have, although they were very sympathetic to our flight and never once tried to force us to get off the plane.
some families with small children started getting their things to get off the plane. as they started walking up the aisles towards the exit, a crazy older woman shrieked, "well i guess we've all seen who doesn't have any BALLS!!!!"
while the mayor tried all his connections, obnoxious baby man tried to get all passengers to chant slogans and the stewardesses handed out shit sandwiches [no, really], the pilot locked himself in the cockpit fearing assault. after several hours, iberia sent someone in. not only did they make him wear a bright spanking red jacket but they had also apparently neglected to train him in customer service techniques. the guy was so nervous he was jittering all over the place as he tried to explain to a plane full of irate south americans exactly why iberia has no organizational skills whatsoever.
negotiations ensued. in the end, mr iberia guaranteed us a bus to take us all to a hotel, dinner included, paid for by the company and a flight at 6,30 the next morning. the pilot emerged from the cockpit accompanied by four armed policemen and babbled some lame excuses about de-icing and too many working hours and not enough personnel blabbity blah.
just a sidenote: as i write this, i am fully aware of how drawn-out this story is...i wish i could say that nothing else went awry but alas...
the hotel staff told us that they were unsure of the exact flight departure time but that we would be called an hour before the iberia bus left for the airport. they did, in fact, say "call" [or rather "llamar"] and not "randomly turn on your tv at 3 o'clock in the morning". which is what they did. we thought it was a technological malfunction. and when we called the receptionist at 6,20am in a state of sheer panic they said:
"oh, the bus left at 4am. we called your room."
no, you certainly did not. you turned on our tv.
"well 100 other people on the same flight came down on time."
well thanks for that.
but there was no time to bicker. no time! only time to bolt down the stairs and into the cab they had called for us and the other two lost souls who had also not understood the television code.
fortunately for us, iberia and its inherent tardiness saved the day. the flight was delayed an hour so we managed to scurry through the maze of death that is madrid's airport and got to the gate just as they were boarding the very last passengers.
by then, there was a sense of solidarity amongst the passengers and we were greeted like old war comrades who had gone missing in the field. and then, finally, at long last and at about f-ing time we took off and flew all the way to montevideo, uruguay.
have i mentioned not to fly iberia?
three days late but onwards to our south american adventure!!