Let the craziness begin!!! We were scheduled to depart from Sao Paulo yesterday. We drove our 12 pieces of luggage all the way from Rio. It’s about a 6 hour drive. We arrived at the airport 4 hours early in order to check-in without any stress. However, things did not go as planned! Now, I thought we were prepared for pretty much anything once we arrived in Angola. Little did we know….major difficulties awaited us in SP. After returning our rental car and paying for all of our luggage to be wrapped in plastic wrap to avoid risk of items being stolen along the way, we were waiting in line for our turn to check in. Suddenly, someone from the airline approached us and told us that we couldn’t check in with the bags we had. We were confused, but didn’t really believe it at first. Rodrigo took one of our bags to the Airline Office while I continued to wait in line.
After about 30 minutes Rodrigo returns, furious, with news that the airline is not going to let us on the plane. The reason????? About one month ago, Angolan authorities banned passengers from bringing duffles, backpacks, boxes, bags, etc. They only accept luggage that is hard on the outside, rectangular shaped and wheeled. We had 2 bags that met these requirements and the rest….we’ll we were screwed! We were told we’d have to buy new luggage and repack everything in order to fly. CRAZY!!!! Shouldn’t the airline have notified us????
So, we had to re-rent our van, take all our luggage into the city of SP, find a hotel, find 10 pieces of rectangular luggage, and repack everything. It was a NIGHTMARE!!! For those of you who are familiar with SP…traffic is horrible 24/7 and it’s incredibly complicated to navigate through the city. We had no credit on our cell phones, no GPS, no internet and were heading into the city ‘blind’.
Fortunately, we found a shopping mall (SP is full of them) and purchased luggage. We repacked everything in the parking garage of the mall, called our friend Felipe who lives in SP and had him take us to a hotel.
Today, we came back to the airport with our fingers crossed. Finally, we’re checked in and we hope the drama is over. We’ll see what surprises await us in Luanda tomorrow 🙂