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Published: March 13th 2015
The weather was bad in Salta and my flight had been delayed by one hour. Planes weren’t able to land in the airport and my plane was one of the many circling around in the air waiting for the storm to clear to be able to land. There was no mention of this in the airport. On the screens it read ‘ask the flight team’ but by word of mouth I got to hear why the flight had been delayed. I was furious and feeling ready to stage a revolution against ‘poor air services’ there and then , especially after my recent experiences. I’d paid a small fortune for this flight as I had done for my last flight. The least I expect when a flight is delayed by so long is a clear explanation and an apology. However, people in the airport seemed to expect it and just took it like ‘oh another one of those hundreds of delayed flights’ but I felt this treatment was very unfair after having paid for the service.
An hour after the flight had been due to leave a call-out was made to board the flight. The passengers were just relieved that the flight was not cancelled but I was concerned that this pilot and the airline company were going to put our lives at risk by taking off in bad weather conditions just so that the airline wouldn’t have to pay out any compensation. I could imagine that South American airline companies might just put money before safety, but of course that was just speculation.
All the same, I’ve decided I won’t be travelling by plane again in South America. As the British government website pointed out, flights are often delayed or cancelled. I’m concerned that there are no liquid checks or terrorism guards in place but instead there is a heavy focus on drug smuggling, money smuggling, people trafficking and the risk of spreading disease from one country to another through meat and vegetables, which all could take their attention from terrorism prevention. Not only this, but the South American countries are far more preoccupied with these concerns rather than with general safety. Thirdly, I’ve realised that Latin America can be subjected to bad weather conditions for example when flying over the Andes or over the desert where there could be a lot of turbulence and lastly, these countries specialise in bus services and have years of experience in it and much less experience in flying. For all these four reasons I will be travelling through South America by bus from now on even if it takes days. It’s not worth the worry and stress to travel by plane.
About an hour into the flight, two kids who were fighting in the seat behind me kicked the back of my seat. I woke up and looked around to scowl at them when all of a sudden I realised that something was different to before. They had snacks. I looked around and saw that everybody else had their tray tables down too, and were drinking and eating. I never got round to scowling at the kids because before I had managed it, I'd panicked and before I knew it I had alerted the two passengers on my row of seats to the fact that I HAD MISSED SOMETHING, who alerted the staff. I had definitely missed SOMETHING. I must have fallen asleep before the plane took off, then slept through take off and then missed the food trolley passing by. Very soon all was resolved. I got my glass of orange juice, my biscuit and marshmellows, salted nuts and an alfajor (Argentina’s national biscuit which is bathed in chocolate and caramel). After eating I quickly took on a forgiving, buddhist attitude and I thought to myself:
‘God bless those kids. God bless the fact that I’d turned round just in time. In any case I’ll forgive that kick, my brother Tom and I used to fight like that all the time when we were kids.’
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