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Air Travel Around the World – The Roger Effect

Our air travel around the world had recently had a few hiccups. It was compounded with Roger saying “I think that it's all going to be a breeze” as we prepared to leave the US and head to Mexico.

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It turned out to be a perfect example of the “Roger Effect”. A negative phenomenon, named by my daughter in law in Portland, caused by the influence of Roger. It’s something like Murphy’s Law – or as they say in Asia “same same but different”.

Los Angeles to Cancun

When booking the flights from Los Angeles to Cancun with BudgetAir Roger’s name had somehow been inverted and he was now Naylor Roger! I had emailed BudgetAir ever since we noticed this error (at least a couple of months) to invert the names. Their reply always “we are waiting for the airline’s response”. On the day before we left I wrote saying that I presume there’s no problem as they hadn’t advised otherwise!

I then tried to add luggage to the booking. I didn’t want an AsiaAir experience where they double the baggage cost at airport and additionally charge by flight leg!

As we were about to leave I checked my email. There was one from BudgetAir advising that “name changes are not permitted”. Too late. No option except set off for the airport.

My Uber Account

To reduce all the rip-off bank charges when converting currencies, I made some payment changes to my Uber account. The change was added and confirmed by email. As I made the ride booking from our AirBnB to the airport it requested a pin number. The problem ... the pin was sent to my South African number and the phone with my SA SIM was dead.

My attempt to use Lyft, which I’d loaded previously resulted in an infuriating message to “Call Support". To verify some details that I’d verified when I set up the account!

So with no Uber and no Lyft it was go to Plan B.

Roger’s Uber

Use Roger’s Uber. All good until he gets the message “we don’t accept cash in this area”. So while my SA phone was charging he entered his credit card details. Wala … accepted. Uber booked but … somehow the pickup address was wrong! As we scrabbled around in vain trying to reset the pickup point – the driver had enough and cancelled the ride.

One saving grace … we had allowed enough time for a few delays. Another ride was requested and within minutes we were on our way to the airport.

Checking In

We now tackled the automated check-in. Step by step we made slow progress but as Roger’s passport was read there was an error. His name was in the wrong sequence! I then tried to pay for additional baggage but the machine wouldn’t or couldn’t read my credit card.

With stress levels rising he headed off to the Customer Services to sort out his name problem while the system printed boarding cards for Carol and I. We headed for the bag drop. As we stood in line I realised that I didn’t remove my credit card from the machine!! I rushed back and thankfully it was still in the slot.

We checked our bags with an extremely pleasant friendly Delta customer service lady who had no problem processing the $50 baggage charge with the same credit card.

Meanwhile Roger went from Delta to AeroMexico and back to Delta to resolve the name change. After some time, this was done ... and at no charge. So much for the misinformation received from BudgetAir.

The Flight

After we couldn’t find Roger we proceeded through the security and TSA area. For the 100th time I listening to the announcement (brain washing) that all this is for my own safety and good. I see it no more than a waste of time and money. A place to create employment for the unemployable.

We met Roger in the departure area. Relieved and thinking that all that noting more could go wrong … go wrong … go wrong.

Arrival in Cancun

We were wrong. The previous evening as I checked our accommodation booking for Cancun I realised that I’d made the booking for the following week. Even worse I’d booked it for the day we were flying to Havana. It was a non-refundable, non-cancellable booking. That could be sorted out later but we needed a room for the following night.

We were arriving the following evening and were only going to Tulum the following day.

Booking.com was the site that would resolve our problem … or would it? We booked at "Casa Campestre Premium Bed and Breakfast". The price and reviews were good. To make sure we didn’t have a major negotiation at the airport we requested an airport transfer. This was accepted but unbeknown to us cancelled at the last minute.

After waiting and attempting a number of failed calls we arranged our own taxi and went to the address. Situated in a secure residential sub- division it was the right number at the right address. But the building was in darkness and the gate was locked!

WTF. Maybe the address was wrong? No. Maybe the next door neighbours would know something? No. What next?

Fortunately, the driver of the taxi was very accommodating and helpful and took us to a reasonably priced town centre hotel for the night.

Downstairs there was a convenient local fast food burrito eating place. Here we enjoyed some tasty and, after the US, very cheap food.

Another challenging day of our air travel around the world was thankfully over.

About the Author Patrick Millerd

On a mission to help others expand their horizons. Who knows where they can end? Passionate about learning and embracing the changing world. Adventurous and skeptical but optimistic!

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