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The airtickets saga

We Arrived in Brazil with all the great intentions of Sailing on after a few days towards Capetown

Well the Cape was closed and we found out that if we carried on we would probably only be able to get flights home to our boats in 2021 because Cyrils puppeteers were controlling his strings well and international travel was not on the list
So after loads of deliberation we decided to leave the boat in Cabedelo and ask Brian to care for it while we were away and then come back to Brazil in January and finish the Job of getting it to Capetown

After much discussion John and I decided to buy tickets through a travel agent because if we did it ourselves on the internet we would not be in control if there were any cancellations etc. It turned out to be a really good decision

Pamela introduced us to a travel agency where one of here friends works and we booked airtickets from Joao Pessoa to Papeete flying on LATAM airlines and we were to fly to Sao Paulo to Chile then to Easter Island and onto Papeete and we were happy
Tavie and Keila were assisting us and because we were in quarantine and isolation in Brazil they booked the tickets and took time out to help us and come to the boat to let me swipe the credit card for Johns and my tickets. Tavie had to find the boatyard in the rain on his motorcycle
I am certain they had no idea of the trouble they had taken on in us becoming their clients
I kept following up on the tickets because John spent a lot of time on the internet checking which countries were open and which were closing and it was a nightmare for him.
Well after a few days of no response I contacted LATAM on their Facebook page and asked them if they were going bankrupt because they had sold tickets on a flight which wasnt showing on the booking lists in the internet and they assure me all was well BUT on day three we got an email saying that our flight was cancelled and the same day LATAM announced that they were filing for chapter 100 business rescue
So we started again

Buy now we had been told that the first flight out of Chile to Papeete would be in August and there were alternative flights flying out of Los Angeles on June 14th so we contacted Keila and asked her to look into those for us and she applied to LATAM for a refund and booked our tickets on American Airlines for those dates
The refund was given and new tickets booked only to be told a few days later that President Trump had written an executive order that anyone that had been in Brazil before the 28th and then the 26th of june was not permitted to enter USA. Now we had a problem as Brazil was becoming a major hotspot for Covid and if we waited it out we had many risks on top of potentially catching the virus. We had to make some decisions to get home
John and I sat with Brian and discussed our options and after deliberating we looked at the possibility that if we flew out of Grenada we could get into the USA and get to Los Angeles and then make the flight booked from there to Papeete
After a few hours on the internet we contacted Tavie and Keila again and asked them to change the tickets again from Grenada and she came back that at an extra cost of R$6380 we could do it so more money was to be spent and Tavie came out for the credit card again but this time he knew his way

and It was booked so now we had to get to Grenada and I was happy to wait in Brazil until the Covid had passed but there was no way to get John to Grenada without huge costs so the decision was taken we would sail Crazy Sophia back to Grenada leave the boat there and get back to the boats in French Polynesia. John has by this time been away from Bev his lady for over three months already when we thought originally we would be away for just two in total
TO get to grenada we would sail for 14 to 17 days and then when we arrived we would have 14 days quarantine which pu us at the 2nd of July and our flights were booked to leave Grenada on the 5th so cutting it fine. We decided to get a covid certificate before we left to mitigate the quarantine and Brian helped us organise that the day before we left
We cleared out readied the boat with water food and diesel in that same day and the next afternoon on the tied we hugged our friends goodbye and sailed out towards Grenada
For those who want to read about the trip the daily logs are posted on the blog
It was an interesting trip and we made it in 14 days in days but in hours 13 days so depends how technical you want to be for the 2030 Nautical miles
On arrival we were told our flights booked out of Grenada on American Airlines were cancelled again so now we had sailed 14 days to achieve nothing and we still had no idea when we would get home toy our boats
So It was back to Keila and Tavie and asking them to help us again and also Pamela to help push things along because Pamela speaks very good english so having her help to translate was essential
While busy changing the tickets for the upteenth time John saw that we were flying through Miami and asked if we could stop there for a few days on our way to LA to meet the Flight to Papeete and unfortunately that caused huge confusion in translation and trouble for Keila and Tavie
Well eventually many days later we had booked flights from Grenada to Los Angeles and we were one step closer to home but not here yet because we still dont have flights to Papeete (technically we do have paid tickets bu not dates because we are finding out what dates they will fly and then we can get onto one of those but now the 20th July looks like the first date

The Saga part two
Well we got notice that flights for July 20th were not booked so we lost them and Keila told us she can now only book tickets in August and the first date we could fly was August the 6th. I asked that she book the flights and confirm them so the dates didnt move further out and we could then try and see if we can move them.
So we waited for two days before the tickets were delivered via email and it seemed very strange with Johns friends all the while sending us messages to show hundreds of tickets available on flights before the 6th of August
But we waited and when the tickets arrived I decided to phone American Airlines and find out why we couldnt get onto the earlier flights as it was not our fault the flights were cancelled and they had made the commitment that we could change the tickets free of charge if flights were cancelled
Well I logged onto Skype and phoned the help desk and was answered by a guy who really tried to help but after 25 minutes we were getting nowhere and he was trying to tell me that if i want to move the tickets we would have to pay in an extra $3750.00 each which isnt possible and then we were cut off
So i dialed again and got through to Kim and she was truly amazing not only did she move our tickets to a week earlier at no cost to us but she explained that Keola had sold us tickets that were airmiles based ????? On asking more I found out that she had used the airmiles of a man called Ricardo Polasi to book our tickets and thats why it was so hard to change the tickets and get then sorted out because only a fixed number of tickets were allocated to those flights and using airmiles restricted what could happen

So then the investigation started and I asked a friend to contact Keila and find out why she had done it that way because i was thinking of fraud and how I would be arrested at the airport for using someone elses airmiles and then never get back to Mrs Opela
Well it turns out that in Brazil it is common practice to get people with airmiles and sell the miles for them and book others flights using the miles and then charging the customer for the flight and of course sharing the profits
If I had been told I would never have agreed but now if I try and change the flights it will mean more delays and bigger payments and then the chances of never seeing the initial $2800 we paid each

Anyway for now we are keeping these tickets as they are and when we get out of Quarantine we will go to AA and ask again if we can change the flights to an earlier date

Today we were told out Covid test for the end of Quarantine has been moved forward to Monday and then we will be free to move around the island under the rules applying then including masks and social distancing

Lets see what tomorrow brings


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