I was excited to read in the July 10 edition of The Nicaragua Dispatch that Blue Panorama had started a new flight from Managua to Rome—the country’s only non-stop flight to Europe, and at a decent price.
As soon as the Christmas-season flights went on sale, I booked a return trip to Europe to go and visit my family in December. I was really looking forward to it.
On Oct. 24, the trip became a little more real in my mind, when I landed in Managua at the same time that the once-per-week Blue Panorama flight was taking off. Cool! Seeing the Blue Panorama fight lift off sparked by curiosity as to what the current ticket price and seat availability are compared to when I booked my flight.
So I logged onto the Blue Panorama website, and, hmm…suddenly I can’t book any flights beyond Oct. 31. I went to “my bookings” to confirm my fears: my reservation was cancelled.
These flights have been advertised locally as for sale by a certain “Nicaragua Airways,” which would just appear to be a simple reseller of the Blue Panorama route and nothing more. Anyway, I phoned them immediately, and started the tedious process of repeatedly stating my name and telling them I had a confirmed flight reservation for December. I was transferred around a bit and then eventually asked to phone back in 10 minutes.
Eventually I got someone on the line who said, “How can I help?” I asked the obvious question, and the lady confirmed that the airline has canceled flights until further notice. The plane will leave once more on Wednesday, Oct. 31, but it will be a one-way flight; the plane is not coming back.
They hinted that if I had bought my ticket through Nicaragua Airways, then they would give me a refund. But I purchased my ticket via an online travel agent. After getting in contact with them, they I’m now in a 4-6 week process to get me my money back.
Unfortunately, the travel agent’s responsibility ends there, and now it’s up to me to pay extra for other available flight routes to avoid cancelling the trip altogether.
I guess the only good news is that I happened to check the webpage and discovered the airline was discontinuing its services. Otherwise, I wonder if they were actually planning to let me know about the cancellation before I turned up at the airport with my bags in hand .
Daniel Drake is a volunteer for the Zamora Terán Foundation, visiting from London, England.