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.


15 Responses to Cranky Concierge Client Gets Stuck in Ecuador

  1. dan powers says:

    have never heard of martinair flying guayaquil-miami…besides do they have 5th freedom?…did you try = guayaquil-atlanta-tokyo-bejing on DL…?

  2. MathFox says:

    Martinair is doing cargo flights between GYE and MIA… Here is a link to the schedule: http://cargo.martinair.com/wps/wcm/connect/d194c7004dd2e1fcaf02bf4ab5540ee2/MP_Cargo_Sched_LAM_05NOV09-17JAN10.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
    They do have some scheduled passenger flights between Amsterdam and the Caribbean.

  3. BF says:

    Did that guy have the funds to buy an on-the-spot, same-day ticket?
    Those must have been some important meetings!

  4. Dan says:

    CF,

    He may have missed some meetings, but it’s not your fault that there weren’t any available seats on the viable options.

  5. Michael H says:

    Good account of a bad situation where you tried as hard as you could, but am I the only one laughing his head off at the pseudonym you’ve given your customer. Both classy and funny!

  6. CF says:

    dan powers wrote:

    did you try = guayaquil-atlanta-tokyo-bejing on DL…?

    Delta only flies that 3 times a week and this wasn’t one of those days. But even then it’s a redeye, so it wouldn’t have been any quicker than sticking with his severely delayed American flight.

    MathFox wrote:

    Martinair is doing cargo flights between GYE and MIA

    Ah, it was cargo. Good to know. We were really scrambling at that point, so it was more of a “shoot first” mentality to just try to get him out of there.

    BF wrote:

    Did that guy have the funds to buy an on-the-spot, same-day ticket?

    Yep, he did indeed so these were important meetings. But with such a massive delay, he should have been able to get American to put him on another airline (theoretically).

    Michael H wrote:

    Good account of a bad situation where you tried as hard as you could, but am I the only one laughing his head off at the pseudonym you’ve given your customer. Both classy and funny!

    After using Montezuma for my last account, I thought I would stick with the hilarious pseudonyms.

  7. Warren says:

    How is this pseudonym classy or even appropriate? I don’t know if the client is Asian or not, but this pseudonym is rather insulting to Asians anywhere. For example, if the client was traveling to Colombia, would you call him “Juan Valdez”? Same difference.

    And why would you treat a paying client this way, by giving him a mocking pseudonym?

    I understand how my view can be considered oversensitive–I’m sure CF means no harm, and indeed, it is his job to make his articles entertaining. But in business, oversensitivity is not an issue: Many Asians would be offended by this pseudonym–whether you agree or not, it is what it is. And if one wants to do business with Asians, who make up a large percentage of the int’l travel market, one must be aware of these cultural issues.

  8. Benji says:

    I used to live in Guayaquil… this story makes me happy anyway. :) The main airlines flying useful routes from GYE would be American, LAN, Delta, Continental, COPA, TACA, LACSA, and Avianca… The Avianca route is either 6am or like 5pm via Bogota to Miami or JFK… the LAN ones are to JFK or Miami (unless you go back via Lima)… Continental may not be flying the Houston route anymore… American does Miami, obviously… not many good options for flying to the West Coast (the ones via Central America are probably a bit unreliable). There’s a new route GYE-JFK on AeroGal, but that has very uneven airfares. Iberia to Madrid and then on to Bejing might have worked but that’s a total rebook.

  9. CF says:

    Warren wrote:

    How is this pseudonym classy or even appropriate? I don’t know if the client is Asian or not, but this pseudonym is rather insulting to Asians anywhere. For example, if the client was traveling to Colombia, would you call him “Juan Valdez”? Same difference.
    And why would you treat a paying client this way, by giving him a mocking pseudonym?

    Oh puh-lease. For your information, my client is not Asian and the last client I wrote about, Montezuma, wasn’t Aztec. Go figure.

    I get specific permission from my clients before writing about them, and nobody wants their actual names used. So, I just pick whatever pops into my head. Can I help it if Sixteen Candles was on?

  10. CF says:

    Benji wrote:

    The main airlines flying useful routes from GYE would be American, LAN, Delta, Continental, COPA, TACA, LACSA, and Avianca

    Yep, I believe the Continental route is gone. At least, it’s not flying now. Iberia – now that’s one I didn’t think about. But he would have had to spend the night in Madrid and then fly Air China to Beijing.

  11. NM says:

    Warren wrote:

    For example, if the client was traveling to Colombia, would you call him “Juan Valdez”?

    Probably.

  12. Diego - Argentina says:

    @ Warren:
    Warren wrote:

    How is this pseudonym classy or even appropriate? I don’t know if the client is Asian or not, but this pseudonym is rather insulting to Asians anywhere. For example, if the client was traveling to Colombia, would you call him “Juan Valdez”? Same difference.
    And why would you treat a paying client this way, by giving him a mocking pseudonym?
    I understand how my view can be considered oversensitive–I’m sure CF means no harm, and indeed, it is his job to make his articles entertaining. But in business, oversensitivity is not an issue: Many Asians would be offended by this pseudonym–whether you agree or not, it is what it is. And if one wants to do business with Asians, who make up a large percentage of the int’l travel market, one must be aware of these cultural issues.

    Yes, VERY oversensitive.

  13. YO says:

    I think that Family Airlines should start nonstops from Ecuador to Beijing.

    Anyone got an old 747-100? I hear they are pretty cheap…:)

  14. NM says:

    @ YO:

    SPs would work, too!

  15. YO says:

    No, I want an SP to put in my yard. Only flew it once on a one stop flight, loved it!

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