MacWool Tour 2016 – Flying and Santiago


Getting there…

Surprisingly all travellers are still in good spirits despite so many hiccups in the first few days. All started when we started to arrive at Kingsford Smith to see that our LAN 800 flight had been cancelled between Sydney and Auckland. 
The saga begins… on check in we were advised that LAN airlines had chartered a
plane to get us to Auckland to meet LAN 800. After a delay, being bused to the plane and few other minor frustrations we were on our way. 
Arrival in Auckland saw us climb aboard another bus to the terminal before a 30 minute walk then through security again to find our gate. 

What could be next, a passenger (not one of our group) got lost in the airport so after waiting for what seemed like forever we had to wait a further 20 minutes while the ground crew located and unloaded the luggage of the ‘no show’.

We were off the ground late but on our way now it was to be all plain sailing/flying right. 
Well yes if we are only talking about the 11 hour flight but true to form that was the only break coming our way for Saturday 16th Jan. 
Getting through customs etc was some and super quick but that’s when things all fell apart again. Out of the 26 in the group more than half were left watching expectantly an empty carousel go around and around with not a sign of their luggage. It was still in the land of the long white cloud the along with that of a third of the passengers on the flight.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings…

Don’t worry we said it will come tomorrow so with a quick shopping trip for urgent essentials were started our adventure. Jumping ahead three day still no sign of luggage but have told it was sent ahead of us to Punta Arenas. We won’t believe it until we get to hug our bags.
Back to  our first night deciding to put our troubles behind us we headed out to have some dinner which fantastic a sign things were on the up right. 
Well not quite but anyway we were looking forward to day two which included a visit to a winery for a tour, tasting and lunch hosted by Rabobank. This was a very pleasant day and the food was excellent and the tour tasting equal to any. 
Following lunch we will head back to hotel for a rest well almost, why not take a detour and run to the coast for a look. Great idea we all agreed should have known this was not as simple as planned. 
The run over to the coast was about an hour okay let’s have quick look and head home …at about 5 mile an hour for several hours. Sunday was a Chilean holiday and every Chilean was at the beach and driving back to Santiago with us.

Eventually we arrived back to the airport (it was decided since we were passing that we should shake a tree and see if the missing bags would fall out.) So the men without bags stayed with Michael to chase this up and girls with a couple men headed back to hotel arriving at 10:30pm in time for a very late dinner. 

What day – the bag hunters arrived back at midnight to collapse in bed. Tomorrow will be an easy day quick 3 hour flight then rest and beautiful seafood dinner in Punta Arenas. 

Plain sailing now…

Hmmm well one couple completely overslept (on account of no sleep for two days) and were awaken with the news bus was just about to leave. They were the envy of those with little or no sleep due to jet lag. No big deal we were on the road within a few minutes of planned departure time. 
Now things are back on track smooth check in and security plane departs on time and we are away. 
Wait for it…. 30 minutes into the flight there is an announcement in spanish followed but a collective groan among the spanish speaking passengers. English announcement due to a problem with pressure or navigation we are turning back to Santiago as a precaution. 
Flying back for 30 minutes in a holding pattern for another 25 minutes and here we sit on the tarmac while techs work on the problem.  Hopefully when we pick up from where I am leaving you now all will be back on track (not that things ever been on track yet). 
In 17 years of extensive travel I have never travelled with anyone losing luggage, never had more than a 30 minutes delayed flight or a cancelled flight nor a flight with issues. With the exception of one landing ‘go around’ in a heavy storm once it has been exceptional. 
A lot of firsts for me on this trip the only thing that is running true to form is the true bush spirit and positive attitude of these people. Well done everyone the laughs keep coming although they are sounding a little more hysterical by the day. Michael Blake we would have been sunk without you and your local knowledge and fluent Spanish.  
Watch this space for some exceptional highlights from here on, we have all the lowlights out of the way. 

Highlights: 

Visit to Vino Casa Del Bosque – thank you Rabobank
They way this group has already bonded together and kept their good spirits despite everything that has been thrown their way in first few days.

Lowlights: 

Too many to list (nothing but speed humps to this group)

 More photos…

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