Posted by: Ali | December 3, 2009

Adventures with Bureaucracy

Poor Megan.  About a week ago she bought an airline ticket to fly to Cusco tomorrow with Shelley.  (Funny story – if you want to buy an airline ticket online, you book the ticket, then get a confirmation number, then take that number to Plaza Vea, give them your confirmation number, pay there, go back home, get an email from the airline confirming your purchase, and then print out your e-ticket.)

The payment went through, and today Shelley got an email asking her to check in online to save time at the airport tomorrow, so she did.  Megan, however, did not get such an email, and when she went online to check in, she was told that her booking didn’t exist, even though she had her e-ticket.  When I heard about this, I was sure it was going to be an excellent addition to my blog, you know, writing about other people’s misery and all that.

Anyways, Ana Maria called the airline, LAN Peru, this morning and asked why the booking didn’t exist, and at LAN they tried to explain that someone went to the LAN office and cancelled the flight.  Now according to Ana Maria, LAN does do refunds for cancellations but it takes usually about a month for you to get your money back, so theoretically, all they had to do was cancel the cancellation, and everyone would win.

But what actually happened was Ana Maria had to call about 5 times today and talked to about nine different people.  Here’s how the conversations went overall.

Call 1:

Ana Maria: So why is her ticket cancelled?
LAN: She must have cancelled it online.
Ana Maria: I’m pretty sure that she didn’t.
LAN: Yup, it says here that she did.
Ana Maria: Well I have the girl right here and she never cancelled the booking.
LAN: Um… let me check.  Call back in an hour.

Call 2:

LAN: Actually, it says here that she went to our office and cancelled the booking.
Ana Maria: She definitely didn’t do that.
LAN: Yes she did.
Ana Maria: No, she definitely didn’t.
LAN: Yes, it says right here.
Ana Maria: She never went to the office.
LAN: I’m pretty sure she did, but let me check.  Call back in an hour.

Call 3:

LAN: She definitely went to the office to cancel it.
Ana Maria: Listen up, you.  This girl is a gringa, she doesn’t know her way around town, I don’t even know where the LAN office is, and she doesn’t speak Spanish.  So how exactly did she go to the LAN office and cancel a flight that she didn’t want to cancel?
LAN: I’m not sure, let me check.  Call back in an hour.

Call 4:

LAN: Okay, maybe she didn’t go to the office.
Ana Maria: Finally!
LAN: We’re really not sure what’s going on here, so it’ll take some time to figure out what happened.  Sorry about that.  Call back in an hour.
Ana Maria: Argh.

Call 5:

LAN: Well apparently she wants to fly to Cusco and we don’t want to give her a refund, so I guess here’s her ticket.
Ana Maria: Ya think?
LAN: Sorry about the trouble.  Enjoy your flight and remember LAN for all your future travel needs!


  1. This is why one should prefer travel to/from the outback on a reputable airline.

  2. This is awesome, now you know what its like to deal with Games Workshop.


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