Costa Rican Catastrophe


Some people travel home for the holidays. Some travel to areas where they are sure to see snow. And some folks, like Lisa’s family of five from Malibu, California, set out to experience a tropical paradise for some good old family fun. Their destination? A Swiss resort on the sunny coast of Costa Rica. The plans for the vacation? Zip lining through the tree canopies, surfing in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, and sailing on a catamaran.

Things truly couldn’t have gone any better on this family vacation. Then, the family encountered the Costa Rican Airport en route back to the United States.

 “At first there wasn’t any indication that there was a problem,” said Lisa. “But, as we taxied out on the runway the air crew announced that they were experiencing electrical problems and we needed to head back into the airport.”

 Expecting a minor setback, Lisa’s family went back into the airport and was served a few complimentary snacks. Soon their flight was set to take off again.

 “They again called us to the plane, and we taxied down the runway, only this time we found out that there was a mechanical issue and we had to go back to the airport for a second time,” said Lisa. “But it didn’t stop there. It turned out our flight was cancelled three more times after that.”

 Disgruntled and at a loss, the night soon set in on the small open hangar. All airline employees had left the airport, and the family and an estimated 200 other Americans in the hangar were left without any food or water for hours. Finally, the family, cold and hungry, and left with little more than blankets for the children, called Travel Guard to see if they could get assistance in getting a hotel booked for the night. Travel Guard was able to secure a hotel room in the Hilton a few blocks away and arrange for a car to pick up the family. But, the family’s troubles were far from over.

“Security at the airport denied us from leaving the airport – they wouldn’t even let us get to a hotel which was a few blocks away for the night,” said Lisa. They denied food be brought in, nothing could be sent out and there were no beds for anyone – just the concrete floor. We couldn’t even gain access to our luggage and only young children were provided blankets after midnight.”

 But Travel Guard didn’t back down from the challenge. Travel Guard continued to stay in contact with the family and continuously spoke with airport security and outside sources to try and get the family help and support during their time of need. Eventually, almost 24 hours later, the tired and hungry family finally caught their flight out of Costa Rica. After their return home, Lisa contacted Travel Guard.

 “What was amazing is that we never felt alone during the horrible ordeal,” said Lisa. “Having a live, caring person on the other end of the phone that spoke English and had the knowledge to coordinate a hotel, car ride and even speak with security in their language, on our behalf, was nothing short of a miracle. They went above and beyond any customer service I have ever experienced and I travel extensively! I will recommend you to everyone I know!”

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