Cranky Concierge Client Gets Stuck in Ecuador

Many of you guys asked for a story where Cranky Concierge couldn’t help someone escape a delay or cancellation. I’ve got a perfect example for you that just happened. Even though we weren’t able to help this client get to his destination in time for his meeting, he said he was still thrilled to have someone giving him updates and just being there to answer questions.

This client, let’s call him Long Duk Dong, was flying from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Cranky Concierge Info AdBeijing via Miami, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. Yeah, this was a heck of an itinerary. He had one ticket going Guayaquil to San Francisco on American and another going San Francisco to Beijing on Cathay Pacific/Dragonair. He didn’t have much time to connect in San Francisco, so he was concerned.

Things looked good leading up to the flight. The weather was good and the American 767 arrived in Guayaquil the night before, ready to go. Long Duk Dong had boarded the plane when I noticed that the flight had been delayed for 45 minutes and I sent an email. He replied that I had beaten the PA announcement with the email, but they said there was a brake problem that needed to be fixed. Um, 45 minute delay? This didn’t look good.

I started looking for alternate ways to get him to San Francisco just in case, and then the flight took another delay. A huge one. His flight was now delayed more than 12 hours. It seemed pretty clear to me that American was going to fly down a part on the regularly scheduled Miami flight. Then they could take off, but that meant he wasn’t getting to his San Francisco flight. I sprung into action.

FlightStats showed a flight to Miami on Martinair, but their reservations office was closed and Long Duk Dong said that flight wasn’t anywhere to be found. Maybe they weren’t taking local passengers. There wasn’t another Miami flight that would get him on to his connection to San Francisco.

Next up, I found an option on TACA that would go to San Jose (Costa Rica), then San Salvador, and then San Francisco just in time for his connection. Only one problem. That flight from Guayaquil had no seats left. Ugh. That was our only chance to get Long Duk Dong to San Francisco in time for his connection. Now we had to move on to damage control. Could we get him to Beijing in time for his meeting?

There was a flight on COPA via Panama City to LAX that could have connected to a flight on Air China, but again, there were no seats available out of Guayaquil on that flight. We looked at JFK, but it wasn’t going to work out. This just wasn’t going to happen.

Ultimately, Long Duk Dong was able to reschedule some of his meetings, so he spent the day in Guayaquil until his flight eventually made it to Miami and then on to San Francisco. Had Cranky Concierge failed? Well, no . . . and yes.

We weren’t able to get him to Beijing in time for his meeting. Unfortunately, we don’t have the option of chartering a plane when nothing else works (though we could do that for a much higher fee . . .). What we did, however, was keep Long Duk Dong fully updated on what was happening, and he had complete confidence that every effort had been made to get him out. In the end, he was a happy client despite the problems he had flying. I just wish we could have gotten him there in time.

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