Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

  1. #1
    Active TRN Member renco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Poneloya, Nicaragua
    Posts
    514

    Default Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Please do not get me wrong. I like La Costeña airline, the owners are easy to talk to, They fly all over this crazy country with a great safety record and the prices are reasonable. On the other hand, the ticketing process is historically primitive and as we say here, lead floats and cork sinks in Nicaragua. Thus, in light of prior bitter experience I always buy tickets at the airport and if I do not go myself I send a written ticket order with the payment. This morning I was busy so I sent the company runner to the airport walk up counter in Managua with a written ticket order for travel commencing on the 30th of July, this is the verbatim itinerary:

    Managua-Bluefields 10:30 AM flight
    Bluefields- Corn Island 3:00 PM flight
    Corn Island-Managua OPEN RETURN

    An hour later the runner came back with a ticket in three coupons for travel commencing the 30th of July:

    Managua-Corn Island-Managua 8:00 AM flight
    Corn Island-Managua OPEN RETURN
    Bluefields- Corn Island (STOP OVER) 1:00PM flight

    I looked at the ticket and thought, this is not right, there is no ticket to Bluefields. I better go to the airport or I will be flying straight to Corn Island and having a fight at check in. I then drove to the airport cursing Nicaragua, and waited in the line at the counter. After a short time I was called to the front and was politely asked if I could be helped.

    I smiled like a cheshire cat, presented the ticket with the written ticket request and asked the clerk, "Where is the ticket to Bluefields"?

    The clerk looked confused, then consulted with her supervisor in Spanish, English and Miskito and turned to me with a smile stating,"There is no ticket".

    I replied, "Why is there no ticket to Bluefields"?

    "You dont need a ticket, the system knows".

    I thought to myself , Eticketing has hit La Costeña!! The infamous hand written passenger "list" is gone and I have just made a trip for nothing. Elated about the new world of Nicaraguan electronic scheduling I pushed the envelope and asked if the flight times had changed as the flights were leaving earlier.

    With a little less radiant smile she slowly said, "No sir, the schedule is the same, you have to be there two hours in advance"

    Foolishly, I questioned further, "But arent tickets for when the flights leave and not when you check in"?

    She then looked like I was from another planet for asking such a foolish question.
    "Not at La Costeña, we used to put the departure time on the tickets but the customers always came late so we now put the check in time on the tickets instead of the departure time".

    I looked carefully at my ticket and the flight schedule and said, "But the flight to Bluefields leaves at ten thirty, why do I check in at eight"?

    She looked again and said with a stern voice. "I am sorry sir, but we are very busy at eight and we need more time for check in, particularly since the customers still come late"!!
    You'll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.
    Casablanca-1942

  2. #2

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    NEWS FLASH

    ODDS POSTED AT BETCRIS SPORTS BOOK...MGA

    Odds Renco will get on any flight....2/1 against
    " " " get stripped searched as part of the Nica TSA...."off-the-board"
    " " " will get to Bluefield this month...50/50
    " " " land at Corn Island International & NOT hit that burnt out Van....1 in 4

    Good Luck and please pay attention to the fight attendant for a very important message:

    "Due to issues totaly out-of-our-control" this flight will depart...on time !"

  3. #3
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    La Florida
    Posts
    16,120
    Blog Entries
    15

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    This is funny as hell, sorry Renco! I'm betting a lot of passengers will show up two hours before the two hour advance time, making them four hours early for the flight.

  4. #4
    Junkyard Dog randude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    3,148
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    I was at the airport in Seattle one time. It was not busy. The lady checking my bags said, "I can't believe people think we can put them on a flight an hour before departure." It stuck in my head for a long time. Not only was she just a genuine bitch, but she was talking about me, to me, while I am there. I mean what kind of customer service is that? I mean who says you have to be two hours early? Half the time or more the flights are late. And I did catch my flight that time.

    One time in Wisconsin I cut it short. A flight to Chicago was cancelled and it caused mass panic at the ticket counter. Chicago screws up the world in the winter time. I caught my flight that time too.
    Survivor

  5. #5
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Right Here
    Posts
    5,300
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Being the only show in town La Costena can get away with it.

    This recent trip I went to the Island's airport on Thursday morning to buy my ticket for the next morning, could not get confirmed only get on the "waiting list", This is a maddening practice that continues to get worse. I believe they only confirm a few passengers in case they fly one of the smaller planes, honestly I can't figure it out becuase the big plane flies here almost every day. I know I should have bought earlier, but at times that has made no difference.

    Costena has 3 types of planes, the Caravans that hold 14 or so, 1 short that holds more, and the new ATR that I believe holds 42. You never know what plane will fly, depends on the need.

    This recent trip I arrived first at the airport because as I have been told many times the numbers on the "waiting" list mean nothing, it is first come first serve.
    So it really is a waiting list, he who waits the longest goes to the top of the "waiting" list. Truth in advertising, you have to applaud that, just sucks sitting at the airport for 3 or more hours.

    Do not show up 30 minutes or an hour before takeoff and expect a seat, on a busy day you will most likely be out of luck, even if you had a confirmation, your seat will likely be given to someone on the "waiting" list. I have seen these "waiting" list with over 40 names on them.

    One good thing is that the owners are true business men and if they can fill some seats they will fly more planes. Last year I got stuck here trying to get out, again on the "waiting" list (this was the one with over 40 people on it). Planes kept coming, and coming, I left that evening on a packed Caravan, the ATR and 2 other Caravans had left before us.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  6. #6
    Active TRN Member renco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Poneloya, Nicaragua
    Posts
    514

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    Being the only show in town La Costena can get away with it.

    This recent trip I went to the Island's airport on Thursday morning to buy my ticket for the next morning, could not get confirmed only get on the "waiting list", This is a maddening practice that continues to get worse. I believe they only confirm a few passengers in case they fly one of the smaller planes, honestly I can't figure it out becuase the big plane flies here almost every day. I know I should have bought earlier, but at times that has made no difference.

    Costena has 3 types of planes, the Caravans that hold 14 or so, 1 short that holds more, and the new ATR that I believe holds 42. You never know what plane will fly, depends on the need.

    This recent trip I arrived first at the airport because as I have been told many times the numbers on the "waiting" list mean nothing, it is first come first serve.
    So it really is a waiting list, he who waits the longest goes to the top of the "waiting" list. Truth in advertising, you have to applaud that, just sucks sitting at the airport for 3 or more hours.

    Do not show up 30 minutes or an hour before takeoff and expect a seat, on a busy day you will most likely be out of luck, even if you had a confirmation, your seat will likely be given to someone on the "waiting" list. I have seen these "waiting" list with over 40 names on them.

    One good thing is that the owners are true business men and if they can fill some seats they will fly more planes. Last year I got stuck here trying to get out, again on the "waiting" list (this was the one with over 40 people on it). Planes kept coming, and coming, I left that evening on a packed Caravan, the ATR and 2 other Caravans had left before us.
    The list is dead, long live the list. Another thing about the list is the discretion granted to the station managers. I had a "discussion" a few years ago with the Bluefields station manager and for six months my reservations kept getting lost. We made peace and suddenly I flew up the list as fast as a cold Toña at Fishers Cave.
    You'll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.
    Casablanca-1942

  7. #7
    Active TRN Member renco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Poneloya, Nicaragua
    Posts
    514

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonh View Post
    This is funny as hell, sorry Renco! I'm betting a lot of passengers will show up two hours before the two hour advance time, making them four hours early for the flight.
    Thats why you see sleepy gringos milling about in front of the La Costeña terminal at 4:45 AM. Old habits die hard.
    You'll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.
    Casablanca-1942

  8. #8
    Viejo del Foro El Greco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Miami,Kendall
    Posts
    2,326

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Quote Originally Posted by randude View Post
    I was at the airport in Seattle one time. It was not busy. The lady checking my bags said, "I can't believe people think we can put them on a flight an hour before departure." It stuck in my head for a long time. Not only was she just a genuine bitch, but she was talking about me, to me, while I am there. I mean what kind of customer service is that? I mean who says you have to be two hours early? Half the time or more the flights are late. And I did catch my flight that time.

    One time in Wisconsin I cut it short. A flight to Chicago was cancelled and it caused mass panic at the ticket counter. Chicago screws up the world in the winter time. I caught my flight that time too.
    You're right Randy! Employees will give you sarcasm for doing their job.
    Dios es Amor!

  9. #9
    Active TRN Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Corn Island - Western Massachusetts
    Posts
    665

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    The conversation sounds just as futile as when I tried to explain to a ticket agent that, sometimes, you actually make MORE money when you put one of your passengers on the competitor's flight. In this case, the flight was booked solid with pax CIS-MGA and only one passenger was going to BEF. Rather than give one passenger to the competitor, They made a stop in Bluefields - just to drop off one pax! And, it was the Let-410! There is no point explaining the fuel burn to make this stop was much more expensive than the $60 ticket. I used to be a dispatcher for a seaplane company - responsible for making these decisions (what plane(s) to fly, when to cancel flights, etc.). It is absolutely maddening to observe the Nica reservation and dispatch systems. Worse yet with no competition.
    That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable

  10. #10

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    I have had a few waits but no missed flights or scheduling problems. Ive sent e-mails down and they respond back quickly in english and got me scheduled correctly.
    My trip before last there were a few of us and we got the smallest plane all to ourselves, was pretty nice.
    The pre-checkin was always a bit odd. We tried to check-in as soon as we got off the plane a couple times but they would always tell us to stop by or call the day before the flight. Good to hear technology is catching up.

  11. #11
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Posts
    9,737
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Me too....they always get me there same day, anyway.

    Sometimes you just have to get into the "island mood".

    Always bring a book and/or a flask.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Island mood is the perfect terminology. Im usually fine waiting on arrival days. Its the leaving days that are so long.

    They used to have competition, old Atlantic Air. I still have one of their waiting list / boarding pass things, Im sure it will be worth something in the future . . .

  13. #13
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Right Here
    Posts
    5,300
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Discretion is a good thing. This trip I was the only person willing to haul some pig tail to MGA as a "favor". I was never concerned about if I would be on the flight, just upset that I sat there from noon until 4pm to get on it.

    Pig tail is another story for another day, a mother had a surplus and wanted to send some for her daughter in MGA.

    I know people cussed Atlantic, I knew half the staff (some of which now work for Costena), I had it good with them. When I was flying all the time I usually had half an open r/t ticket on both airlines so there was never a worry, tickets were good for a year, those days are gone.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  14. #14
    Active TRN Member renco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Poneloya, Nicaragua
    Posts
    514

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    I also liked Atlantic but got suspicious as the number of rusting carcasses of their old planes began to accumulate along the runway in Managua.
    You'll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.
    Casablanca-1942

  15. #15
    Junkyard Dog randude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    3,148
    Blog Entries
    7

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Quote Originally Posted by renco View Post
    I also liked Atlantic but got suspicious as the number of rusting carcasses of their old planes began to accumulate along the runway in Managua.

    They makes their planes from steel?
    Survivor

  16. #16
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Right Here
    Posts
    5,300
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    My last (almost) flight with them before the "collapse", I had flown in from FL the afternoon before, spent the night involved in various forms of debauchery in MGA. Got to the airport with plenty of time for a Tona and a nap.

    Something fishy was going on, they waited until the Costena flight had left before telling me their flight was cancelled. I was livid as I had 1/2 a pass on Costena I could have used and that flight was not full.

    That afternoon I flew Costena, still have a half pass for Atlantic stuffed somewhere.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  17. #17
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Right Here
    Posts
    5,300
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    My 2nd best ever flight story is about Atlantic Airlines, 3 passengers, a 20# Butterball turkey, and 2 bottles of rum, that was a ride. I think somewhere I told the story, Marlies must have some pics of the Turkey.

    I thought we would surely die. When we landed at CIS plenty of people were awaiting our arrival.

    Everyone wanted to know if the turkey was ok.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  18. #18
    Active TRN Member renco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Poneloya, Nicaragua
    Posts
    514

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Quote Originally Posted by randude View Post
    They makes their planes from steel?
    Whoops, how about delapidated carcasses? Towards the end they would walk out to the edge of the taxiway with a wrench and yank out the needed part. None of that red tag/ yellow tag stuff for Atlantic.
    You'll excuse me, gentlemen. Your business is politics, mine is running a saloon.
    Casablanca-1942

  19. #19
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Right Here
    Posts
    5,300
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Ahhhhh. The Good Ole Days....
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  20. #20
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Puerto Cabezas Nicar
    Posts
    13,263
    Blog Entries
    3

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    The last few times I flew Costena I had no problems at all with the list or sending a runner to even check me in here in Puerto Cabezas and I get there in the last 10 minutes or so of wait, I would not try that in MGA I don't know many people there.

    My fear of flying was with the old AREONUNKA with 'em old Russian planes that had dumped one on La Costena. As I waited they had the hood up on the Starboard Engine and scaffold run up to it and 3 or four mechanics just a pulling wrenches and slinging parts to beat the band.

    Ladies and Gentlemen we are going to board now and thank you for your patience. BTW La Costena owned it at the time, it and others like it had drove AREONICA broke with the maintainence of them.

    We got on the plane and they cranked up both engines and turned on the Air conditioning and that putrid exhaust smell like a Shrimp boat with a trail of black smoke coming out the exhaust pipe for about 100 yards back filled the cabin.

    I was just before getting off so help me God. When the pilot backed off the throttles of the engines and the Starboard didn't come back to an idle, it died.

    I knew damn well I was a gittin' off that craft and I mean right then. As I rose and got my carry on to leave the nice young woman came and said We are sorry but there will be a short delay so let's all go back inside where it is cool and we will resolve the problem.

    Problem my butt, I knew right then 'Ole JW was not for love or money crawling his A$$ back on that Russian piece of crap, I thought if it as an accident looking for a place to happen.

    In about 20 mintes we boarded the SHORTS 360 for the flight to PUZ, I reluctantly did climb on that one, and was relaxed to see everything on the plane was in English, right down the the No Smoking, to Lavatory in use sign....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  21. #21
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    Posts
    9,737
    Blog Entries
    5

    Default Re: Culture Clash at La Costeña Ticketing

    Quote Originally Posted by cookshow View Post
    My 2nd best ever flight story is about Atlantic Airlines, 3 passengers, a 20# Butterball turkey, and 2 bottles of rum, that was a ride. I think somewhere I told the story, Marlies must have some pics of the Turkey.

    I thought we would surely die. When we landed at CIS plenty of people were awaiting our arrival.

    Everyone wanted to know if the turkey was ok.

    Funniest series ever!


    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

Similar Threads

  1. La Costena
    By cookshow in forum Airline review
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 07-10-2010, 11:39 AM
  2. Nice La Costena Airline Video
    By Chicago John in forum Vamos a Volar!
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 01-23-2010, 11:26 AM
  3. La Costena Airlines
    By Just Plain John Wayne in forum Airline review
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-25-2009, 07:54 PM
  4. Colombia and Nicaragua clash at OAS meeting (Colombia Reports)
    By dixietraveller in forum Today, in Nicaragua...
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-27-2008, 08:10 AM
  5. Late year weather in La Costena...
    By Little Corn Tom in forum The Caribbean Coast (RAAN, RAAS)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-13-2007, 08:04 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Also visit the False Bluff Blog!