Nowtopian

Nowtopian

economy, 'technology', public space, San Francisco past and present, class, books

Nowtopian RSS Feed
 
 
 
 

Kafka Mexicana

Tag this one as fine whine…

Mexicana airlines is probably among the world’s worst. I’ve had my bad experiences with them in the past, but this trip to Guadalajara has reached a new depth. It all started back in April when I was invited to speak at the 2nd Annual Mexican Cycling Congress in Guadalajara. They kindly offered to cover my airfare, which was handled by a sponsor with lots of frequent flyer miles on Mexicana (their program is known as “Frecuenta”). I was excited since Adriana’s family is mostly in Guadalajara, so she made plans to join me, using some of her surplus of Frecuenta miles to cover her airfare. We had our flights arranged, flying down on the last day of April, going to the conference and then flying home about 10 days later from Mexico City where we planned to go overland…

That’s when the fun started. The Big Flu Scare caused the conference to be postponed, so the tickets were put on hold, pending the new dates. Eventually, after many calls, our friends in Guadalajara got my ticket rescheduled for this trip. The problem is, now we didn’t want to go Mexico City ten days later. We wanted to go home after a week in Guadalajara. The ticket was switched to the right dates, but there was no connecting flight between Guadalajara and Mexico City and we had to return from there! Adriana’s ticket was even more ridiculous because though she got on the same flight down (which itself is just awful–leaving SFO at 12:20 a.m. and arriving in Guadalajara at 6:15 a.m. or 4:15 a.m. for us! no sleep), but her return ticket was scheduled for the same original return date, May 12, but now in 2010!!

We ate SO well here! Mexican cuisine is among the best in the world, easily!

We ate SO well here! Mexican cuisine is among the best in the world, easily!

I spent over an hour going through Mexicana’s 800 number in the U.S. trying to rebook my flight to the U.S. direct from Guadalajara. I was told, after 3 different operators passed me along, that I was not able to do it. Only the original Frecuenta account holder could alter the ticket. So I asked the friends in Guadalajara to do it, and they weren’t able to either. We were quite puzzled. Adriana spent two entire afternoons, almost 6 hours, on the phone with various Mexicana operators, trying to change her flight (they were HER miles for her flight), but at first they wouldn’t even credit her with the original miles they’d “spent” on the May trip that got postponed! After many hours she was told her miles had been returned to her. Still she could not alter the return date of the trip! Nor could she change the itinerary to return directly from Guadalajara (though on the phone two different operators had indicated that we COULD change that).

We finally gave up trying to solve the problem by phone, assuming that once we were in front of a Mexicana counter at the airport, about to board the plane, we’d be able to change the tickets as desired. Wrong. We could change the time of the flight in Mexico City, but we could do nothing about the missing leg of the trip from Guadalajara to Mexico City. Nor would they allow us to change the itinerary so we could just fly home from Guadalajara to SFO. . They finally got her off the phone by confirming with a supervisor that a note had been made on her reservation stating that she would fly home from Guadalajara and that the date had been changed. When we arrived at the SFO Mexican counter, we were told that no such changes existed, nor any note. So, we were able to fly down but had no confirmed way to go from Guadalajara to Mexico City on the date we expected to leave. We decided to wait and visit a Mexicana office here in Guadalajara.

Rainy season here, and the skies have been so spectacular!

Rainy season here, and the skies have been so spectacular!

In Guadalajara, on the first visit we waited 40 minutes while their computers were down. The clerk was gracious and tried to explain that he could not alter a Frecuenta-miles paid trip either. That could only be done by calling the Frecuenta office, a special frequent flyer office of Mexicana. However, Adriana had been told by phone that this could only be fixed by going to a local office. We spent $29 to change Adriana’s flight to the right day, leaving from Mexico City on the same flight as mine. But we still couldn’t get a direct flight to SFO, since the original flight route could not be changed. We need to buy a flight from Guadalajara to Mexico City. We spent more of her miles to cover the Guadalajara-Mexico City, and the Congress sponsors reserved a connecting flight for me. However, we were asked to go by a Mexican office to pick up our electronic tickets. On Monday we found out that we had to pay almost $100 in taxes for each of our so-called “free” flights. But when we tried to pay for my ticket we were told I could not, it had to be paid by the miles holder, some corporate sponsor of the Cycling Congress. Of course it was going to be nearly impossible to get that entity to personally go to a Mexicana office and pay the taxes and sign the deal, so we decided to spend more of Adriana’s miles to cover my ticket too, and then we were later reimbursed by the Congress for my taxes paid, although Adriana’s miles were by then unrecoverable. OK. Whew! It seemed all set, finally. We would go to the airport on Wednesday, fly to Mexico City and spend a day and a half, and then take our original flight home Friday night.

Chiles en Nogada... a special seasonal dish: stuffed pepper covered in walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds... yowza!

Chiles en Nogada... a special seasonal dish: stuffed pepper covered in walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds... yowza!

Got to the airport yesterday. The luggage inspection was pretty thorough and they forced us to pull out our three unmarked bottles of very special tequila that Adriana’s parents had given us. Luckily they had just dropped us off, so we called and they came back to the get the tequila. By the time her parents got back we’d found out that Mexicana was going to charge us $1000 to take our luggage to Mexico City since domestic rates applied. However, if we were going straight through to the U.S. the overweight charge would be $75 or so! But domestically they impose much stricter weight limits. No finagling could budge them. We contemplated changing our tickets again, to fly straight home to SF, saving a lot of money but missing the time in Mexico City. We were about to do it when it was revealed that we couldn’t possibly make the connection and would be stuck in Mexico City airport overnight!! This has now taken yet another 40 minutes of standing and discussing with Mexicana employees. Finally we decided to rebook our Guadalajara-Mexico City flight to Friday morning with our luggage going through to the U.S. on our 7:30 pm flight that evening. We’ll go into the city to have a meal with Adriana’s relatives and then we’ll go back to the airport for our evening flight… Supposedly this will assure that we only pay the international weight charges and there won’t be any other penalties….

Stay tuned!

Pollo con huitlacoche in salsa de flor de calabaza

Pollo con huitlacoche in salsa de flor de calabaza

Share and Enjoy:
  • email
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Google Buzz
  • MySpace
  • Faves
  • FriendFeed
  • Add to favorites
  • Orkut
  • Tumblr
  • LinkedIn
  • Ping.fm
  • Yahoo! Buzz

Leave a Reply

Webdevelopment byPajamadeen.com