Air travel in Bolivia

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Air travel in Bolivia

Postby Caebru » Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:31 pm

Has anyone else experienced 'pathetic' air service in Bolivia? I was there in Feb. and had one 'heck' of a time getting out of there - and I wasn't the only one. Although they advertise that they have a number of different airlines flying out of there, and have a long counter, it seemed to me that the only airline flying out of there was 'Lloyd Aero Boliviano' - the one I experienced all the problems with. There was a sign for American Airlines, but there was never anyone at their booth & no flights listed anywhere, in fact the only booth that had anyone at it (and that wasn't very often) was Lloyd Aero Boliviano.
We were told to be at the airport at 3 am for a 6 am flight from La Paz, Bolivia to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and on to Sao Paulo, Brazil. No one from the Lloyd Aero counter even showed up until an hour before the flight was supposed to leave (and they were in no hurry to deal with passengers). There was myself, a couple from Sweden, & about 10 locals waiting in line. When 'one' staff member finally came to the counter, he dilly dallied around, disappearing into the back every few minutes. Finally, they took the Swedish couple out of the lineup & told them that the flight had been 'cancelled', and to come back in 2 days & they 'might' be able to get them on a flight. Then they talked to the 'locals' (apparently booking them onto another flight that left an hour later, going to a number of smaller cities before finally arriving in Santa Cruz, but not going on to Sao Paulo (They were only going to Santa Cruz anyway.). Then they told me that they had never received my reservation from Canada (which I am sure was not the truth) & that the flight was 'full'. They also insisted that they had no more flights to Sao Paulo for 2 days & that all the flights to Santa Cruz were full as well. I was told to come back at 3 am in 2 days as well. Upon talking to my agent back in Canada, I was assured that the reservation had been made, and that in fact Lloyd Aero 'did' have a flight that left at noon that day & that it was 'not' full. The Swedish couple were extra upset because they had already had the runaround a couple of days before. Naturally, this meant that we all missed our connections in Sao Paulo. The next day, they phoned me & told me they could get me as far as Santa Cruz that night, so I jumped at the chance & rebooked my connection in Sao Paulo. They gave no such info to the Swedish couple. In Santa Cruz, after an overnight stay, I got the royal runaround again. Eventually the flight from La Paz came in 3 hours late, which meant I missed my connection in Sao Paulo again. The Swedish couple managed to arrive on another flight. This time, 6 of us got the runaround from Lloyd Aero & only after 2 hours of 'hassle' managed to talk our way onto the plane. Upon talking to a number of locals at the airport in Santa Cruz, we were told that all these problems were the 'norm' for Lloyd Aero.
I am wondering how many other travellers out there have experienced these problems in Bolivia with Lloyd Aero Boliviano. Personally, I would suggest that if anyone is planning on flying into Bolivia (esp. La Paz), that you research your options thoroughly & at all costs, avoid 'Lloyd Aero Boliviano'
On a happier note, I found 'TAM Merid' airlines in Sao Paulo, Brazil to be 'fantastic' - even though I had missed my connection on their flight to Iguassu Falls, twice, through no fault of theirs, the put me on the next available flight, with no extra charges & a 'smile'. What a difference in attitude & professionalism! I took more flights with them while in Brazil, and in every case, their staff was extremely professional, pleasant & helpful. After my 'misadventures' with Lloyd Aero Boliviano, I was especially observant of the 'little' things that Tam Merid did for 'their' customers to make their flights more enjoyable & was most impressed. For example, if it began to rain at all, and their passengers had to go outside, they were right there with complementary umbrellas to lend them to keep them dry.
So to summarize: "Lloyd Aero Boliviano" - NO!
"TAM Merid" - YES!
Caebru
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Postby ed » Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:28 pm

I'll be filing this away for future trips. This is the kind of thing north american travel agents and certainly online portals do not warn you about.
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Postby roofie » Sat Mar 31, 2007 5:44 am

yeah, when I was planning my trip to the andes I was thinking of flying home from Bolivia but quickly noticed both that the flights to europe were extremely expensive (in comparison) so I dicided to fly home from barzil in stead och go there by land. much cheaper and probably a lot faster and more pleasant as well.
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Bolivia Air travel

Postby Donna Rios » Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:32 pm

I found Lan Peru to be excellent and they fly in Bolivia as well.
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