Padinago's trip to the USA in 2014

Day 1 - Arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico

At 6am it's wake up call! The taxi will pick us up at 7am.

At the airport, the check-in goes quite smoothly. At the security nobody peeps and around 9am we are at gate B37.

The first flight from Brussels to Atlanta takes exactly 9 hours. The landing is fierce as we fly through a storm. It really does not have to take one more minute... The Security check in Atlanta for connected flights is a rush and brings quite some stress for everybody. Our gate is E12 so we take the shuttle train to terminal E and there we can finally relax.

During our flight from Atlanta to Albuquerque, about half an hour before landing and after a flight of about 2h30 we get into a storm with very heavy turbulence and ... an airlock! Luckily everybody is buckled as we are thrown out of our seats, drinks are flying around and everybody starts screaming, we never experienced this before! We land around 6pm local time and everybody is happy we got there safely.

We pick up our luggage and take the shuttle to the Avis office where we arrive around 6.20pm. There we give our preferences as to the brand of the car as we have quite some luggage and otherwise we would have a problem with the back seats (they must go completely down and not take up any space in the trunk). But... there seems to be another problem. They can find our reservation on our name but there is a problem with the pre-paid voucher number, apparently some digits are missing. In other words, they will not get their money for the rental car so they do not give us the car although we have already paid it in Belgium at the travel agency and have this voucher with us to proove it.

After many discussions, severel phone calls from their side and ours (of course international calls) there seems to be only one solution for them: to re-book the car and let us pay everything (again)! But... this is not a small amount... it would now cost us almost 4500 USD without the insurance and taxes and it is up to us to do the necessary once we get back home to recuperate the money! This is crazy and we get quite angry!

After long discussion we did not seem to get a solution as they are really not willing to cooperate until we can reach our travel agency in Belgium when they open in the morning (there is a time difference of 8 hours!). So around 9.30pm there is nothing else left than to take a taxi to our hotel (without our rental car!) and check in. At Avis they first wanted to have us call the taxi company (with our Belgian cell phones which is ridiculous) so Nathalie got angry and had them call a taxi... what a terrible service!

Luckily the check-in at the hotel goes without any problems and we get a beautiful room. As we have had only 'plane food' for the last 24 hours, we go for a quick snack at the hotel's bar and around 11.30pm we finally go to sleep... for a short time as Nathalie has to put her alarm only 1h30 later so she can call the travel agency at home as soon as they open so they can start communicate with Avis to get everything fixed so we can pick up the car tomorrow... of course this is a delay on our planning... thank you Avis Albuquerque!

Daytrip approx. 16 km

Our rental, Ford Expedition XLT