Friday, April 10, 2015

Change of Plans - Captive in Lisbon

Somewhere along the way, our flights for our return to Budapest changed. We did not pay much attention since our flights going to Ecuador changed five times from the time the initial booking to the actual date.
The Quito Diner’s Club Lounge is quite lovely and was a wonderful stopping off point. The shuttle did come for us at 4am, not 3am after our host renegotiated the time on our behalf.

What we did not notice earlier were the annoying am and pm notations after the numbers. We did realize there was significant time in Miami for getting through Passport Control and Security again, giving us reason to believe we would have time in the Diner's Club Lounge. Our time in Miami between flights was 6 hours, 9 minutes, but we needed two hours of it for the regulators.

Then we stood at the luggage carousel for over 30 minutes waiting for our bags. We were told we needed to collect them and then recheck them since we entered the US. After struggling with the reality the bags were not going to appear, we went to lost luggage and dreams. Well, we were informed, the new regulation is that luggage coming from Ecuador is automatically transferred to the next carrier without having to be rechecked. We hoped this is true.

We did not have our boarding passes because we left Quito LAN Ecuador with service provided by American Airlines. However, our next two flights were and are on TAP Portugal, a partner with United Airlines. We waited in front of the TAP counter for two hours, thinking they were checking in people for an early flight. We did not realize they were checking people in for our flight. Finally, we joined the masses, received our boarding passes for the next two flights, and confirmed the luggage should follow in our wake. Interestingly, the agent in Miami wanted to see our Hungarian Residency Permits since our flight was not round-trip.

By the time, security processing was finished; we had two hours to enjoy the Miami Diner’s Club Lounge. What a disappointment.  Compared to many others we have enjoyed, this one was bare bones with no food and only booze.

We arrived in Lisbon at 7:35am, 1o minutes earlier than scheduled. We went through Passport Control, found the terminal we would need later, and worked our way through security once again. We headed directly to the Diner’s Club Lounge, where we will camp out for the day. Our layover in Lisbon is 15 hours, 40 minutes. We will not arrive in Budapest until 3:55 am on Saturday.

The Diner’s Club card has been worth its weight in gold; membership is only $95 a year. It works like a MasterCard, and provides us with airline miles.

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