My wife and I just returned after a month-long vacation flying first to Lisbon, Portugal, and then taking a 21-day crossing on NCL (more about all of this later). On the cruise, we became “fake” football fans as it was what everyone was watching across the Atlantic.
We ended our cruise in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and had planned a few relaxing days in the sun with tours of the city.
Well, that was the plan anyway.
In case you missed it, the Argentinean national team won this year’s World Cup. And, yeah, it is kind of a big deal in the country. When I say big deal – I mean really a big deal. A national bank holiday was declared the day the team returned to Buenos Aires. The road to the airport was closed to allow fans to follow the team bus into the city.
Naturally, this happened to be the same day we were flying home at 9:15 PM at night on Delta.
You may see my problem. If not, let me show you some shots of the road to get on the highway to EZE
Yikes. It turned out that some estimated 4 million folks chose to be part of this mass celebration. That meant getting to the airport was going to be either hard or impossible.
Buenos Aires, Argentina has totally collapsed. The victory parade, if you can even call it that, has been cut short.
This is the one of the few videos I’ve received that’s the safe to upload to social media. People were jumping into the bus. Just INSANE 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/OKHfDy7zOB
— Nico Cantor (@Nicocantor1) December 20, 2022
The first immediate problem was even getting to my Welcome Pickups driver as the roads were all blocked getting to the Hilton I called home for the past few days. I messaged my driver early in the morning that we were just relaxing by the pool and could be ready well before our 3PM scheduled pickup. He contacted me shortly after 1 and said we will have to come to him.
Once again we had been on a month-long vacation had two large bags, two spinners, and two backpacks. Thankfully, all had great wheels as we had to brave the throngs of revelers and make our way to where our driver could make it.
Now the issue was finding a way to the airport. Rather than the fast direct highway to the airport we had to go the long back way on beat-up side streets.
What normally was a 30-minute to one-hour ride to the airport took over two and a half hours. At times we were blocked by police with roads closed again and again. Some areas we had to avoid because the driver said they were simply not safe.
I really was not sure if we were going to make it as the access road to the airport was still closed as we were halfway there.
It was at this point many hours after the team and the bus had exited the airport area the throngs were breaking up and police even directed cars down the wrong way on a one-way road to finally get us to the airport entrance.
I don’t mind admitting how thrilled I was to finally get to the airport after passing areas with burning trash along the road, beyond sketchy areas and streets and folks way too enthusiastic about the party (you can read more here to see how crazy).
What also really surprised me was that Delta Air Lines did not send any kind of warning or alerts that getting to the airport would be hard this day or even the option to fly another day.
The lead flight attendant even told me Delta considered canceling the flight but most passengers made it to the airport as we left with only four empty seats on the B767-400ER.
While Welcome Pickups may not be the cheapest pre-arranged car service I have used I have always had perfect results and drivers like Pablo in Buenos Aires are why I will keep using them again and again! – Rene
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