My flight from Hawaii to La Paz in Bolivia was of course chosen by price. The cheapest way to get down there was an American Airlines flight with 4 flights and 3 stop overs: Lihue – Phoenix – Houston – Miami – La Paz; 26h travel time.

When I arrived in Houston I saw that there was also an earlier flight to Miami. Knowing that all sorts of things can happen during the day and since I preferred to have also a longer layover in one destination I went to the gate. I asked if they not wanted to take me on the earlier flight to “get me out of the way”. The service agent looked at my case and said: “Ah, you have time. You should be alright. Just wait for your flight.”. Ok.

Two hours later I looked at the the screen of my gate and saw a 3h delay of my flight – and the new arrival time was after the departure time of my connecting flight. So I went to the next gate with an agent since I hoped to be rebooked on an alternative flight. Well, I encountered the same agent who had declared my idea to get me out of the way. I just said “Looks I won’t make my connection anymore now…” with a nice smile on my way. She looked at me and you could see how she immediately felt guilty (Which is a very rare case! You know that something went wrong if they feel guilty for you missing a flight…) of not putting me on the earlier flight. She said “I should have put you on the earlier flight. Sh*t, should have trusted my intuition…”.

Level one:
And then she looked into my case and tried to find an alternative to get me to Miami on time. There is only one flight to La Paz every day so missing that one means being stuck for 24h! Even a rebooking on another airline (usually they don’t like to do this because then they have to pay the other airline to transport you and they miss out on the revenue). But also the other airlines had delays and couldn’t get me to Miami on time. #shefeltguilty

Level two:
Then she tried to find a connection from Houston – on other airlines of course. The only thing she found was a flight with a 9 hour layover in Bogota with only a 3h advantage of the flight next day to La Paz and arriving at 3am. She really tried (just saying #shefeltguilty) and then she found a solution.

Level three:
She got all excited and printed all my tickets and papers. When I had a final look I saw that it said Bogota to Lima. Lima? Peru? So I asked her where the connection from Lima to La Paz was. She turned all red and asked “Lima?”. She was so confused by that time that she had mixed up Lima and La Paz. #shefeltguilty

Level four:
We agreed that I just had to take the flight next day. She offered me to either stay in Houston for the night or in Miami – of course on their expense. Was that a serious question? Houston or Miami? Sorry to all of you from Texas… 😋 But I stayed polite – she probably was from Houston and just said Miami would be better because this would cut out the risk to have the same problem tomorrow. She agreed. So she added a comment in my booking to issue me a hotel voucher in Miami (for the less experienced traveler – always get a written confirmation of stuff like this. Very often people tell you things and then others have different orders. We will see later on…). Then she went into my reservation and also reserved a seat in the emergency row for me (#shefeltguilty) which was really nice since I had a middle seat in the back of the plane. She also grabbed my boarding pass for the flight from Houston to Miami and did the same here #shefeltguilty

The showdown:
The flight got even further delayed, We had to come back to the gate to refuel due to a new route and Air Traffic Control made us fly over the mainland instead of the short cut over the water. When we arrived at 12.00 the cabin crew apologised for any inconvenience this delay might have caused and told us to contact the ground staff after arrival. I did, as a few others. The lady looked into her computer and told us since the delay was caused by Air Traffic Control (or to be precise the major part of it) they were not responsible for it and therefore would not pay. I was a bit in between annoyed (due to the time) and amused because this looked like it was going to be fun. I put on my super-friendly and innocent face and showed her my written confirmation. She said she couldn’t do anything. She also called her supervisor and he apparently said the same. I told her that no matter what reason the delay had, her colleague had offered me either a hotel in Houston or one in Miami. And for this reason I came here and it cannot be that she is denying a promise one of her co-works had given me. Since she still wouldn’t give me a hotel voucher I friendly asked her to call him so I could speak to him directly. That was not possible but apparently there were supervisors at the ticket counter. I needed someone with a bit more authority now. So I left the agent with the other angry passengers and went to the ticket counter.

I approached an elderly and friendly looking lady and – of course did not did not tell her about the argument I had already – but just gave her the print out of my reservation with the hotel comment and asked her for the hotel voucher. She looked into her computer (which must have said the same thing as it did early for her colleague) and started printing. “Here honey!” she said. “This is your hotel voucher, this is your voucher for dinner tonight, your voucher for breakfast and lunch tomorrow. Sorry for the trouble and have a great evening, honey!”.

And this is how you look like a full-fare passenger, fully loaded for a day in Miami 😊

What do we learn?
1. Always get a written confirmation (the guy who also missed the La Paz flight and is now sitting directly next to me did not get a written confirmation and ended up paying for his hotel himself).
2. If there is an earlier connection – try to get on it!
3. Don’t let them scare you off
3. Always be nice and friendly – brings you a lot further!

The story of Miami is told quickly. Thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg I found out that my friends Natalia and Scott (who I just had visited two weeks ago in Panama) where also in Miami for the night and next day. So we met up, explored the city and had a couple of beers.

Beach walk



That’s what I should do – more work out…


Bling-bling store


Old and new


So far from home and still so close…


Cerveza. Happy hour with 20oz beers 🍻


Miami at night

Now enjoying my exit row and a short nap. Next stop: Bolivia.