I decided to take a trip to Cali, Colombia to start my adventure. I’m planning to stay there for an extended period of time to learn Spanish and Calena style salsa. Planning a trip to Colombia was an interesting experience. Flights to some parts of the country were more expensive. It was cheaper for me to fly into Bogota and take a domestic flight into Cali, than to fly directly to Cali. Unfortunately, due to my procrastination and the prices, I had to fly Spirit. A one-way ticket to Bogota was only $170, then adding all the bullshit luggage fees etc. The other airlines were closer to $600 for a one-way flight into Bogota. Add about $300-400 to go directly to Cali. I used Google’s ITA matrix flight search to search for my tickets. However, keep in mind that some of the pricing provided is not available to the public and need to be purchased through a travel agent. For example, the domestic flights listed for Cali, I was not able to purchase, even through a travel agent. I believe there is some pricing issues when it comes to flights outside the US, so your mileage may vary. Make sure you are able to purchase all the tickets before purchasing any single leg. This may save you some headaches further along.
Just in case there care any flight delays or issues with customs, I left four hours after arriving into Bogota for my connection to Cali. On my Last trip, I missed a flight due to custom lines, and that was a ticket purchased through the airline directly. The first little hiccup in the trip was the seat assignments. I had upgraded my flight to Bogota because I wanted to see a nice view from my seat during the flight from Florida to Bogota. Unfortunately there was a mix-up, the seat I had purchased was given away and I was assigned a different seat. Luckily, I was able to get a refund from spirit for the snafu, but it was a little difficult to work through when the ticket counter was not completely fluent in English. The seat I was assigned was still a window seat at least, but it was much further back in the aircraft.
When arriving into Bogota however, that’s where disaster struck. They LOST my luggage! It was a bit stressful, because the attendant did not speak very much English. I had to wait until he took care of the other passengers and took me to the office where I could get more information. I don’t think this would have been much of a problem had I been staying in Bogota, but I was going to Cali shortly. Unfortunately, Spirit does not have a partner airline in Cali. This meant I need to pickup my baggage at the airport, instead of having it delivered to me. After filing the report, I tried to follow up the next day, as they had promised it would arrive shortly. I thought this trip having a Skype account and subscription, I would be able to take care of it easily. However, Spirit does not have an easy way to get to a customer service representative. According to Spirits automated voice system, if luggage is lost less than 5 days, you need to contact the local office directly. Talking with the local office in Bogota, they kept sending me to their reservation phone number. In short, I was SOL while trying to find what happened to my luggage. I just had to have faith that everything would turn out for the best. Meanwhile, I did not have a change of cloths with me, so I had to wear the same outfit until I receive my luggage. It took three days for the luggage to finally arrive and someone had pilfered my headlamp from my bag. Luckily, I do not need the head lamp until later, so I will purchase one and pick it up when I head back to San Francisco for a wedding. There will likely be more troubles along the way but this isn’t how I wanted the trip to start.