The difference between hotels I normally book and those used by airline to try and keep customers happy became apparent when I spotted the champagne at the breakfast buffet. I was torn between taking advantage or keeping it quiet in case Eleanor started to expect such things in the future. With the luxury out the way we headed to catch our flight. To be fair I'll say this - it did turn up. Right, fairness out the window. It was a dreadful flight. Think an EasyJet standard plane for 11 hours. 'are you sure sir?' - haunting words indeed.

As the entire contents of the aircraft were counting down the miles on the map it became obvious as we approached Quito that short of parachutes we weren't going to be stopping there and indeed an announcement soon told us that we were going to continue to the final destination of the flight, Guayaquil rather than stop off at Quito. Perhaps they were trying to do us a favour by extending such a pleasurable flight? Somewhat misguided me thinks.

We set foot in South America a mere few hundred miles from the bed we had booked and we were keen to rectify this dislocation. We were told that two flights were going to ferry the passengers, one at 9.30pm and one at 11.30pm. Clearly we were keen to get there earlier and so hustled to get checked in. We were given a voucher for food and thus started the game of 'move the unhappy passengers on'. We asked whether there would be any food options after security and with one eye on the one way nature of security we were assured that there was all manner of glorious food options waiting for any brave soul who dared head through security rather than settle for the vastly inferior options on this side. This side being very close to the person giving this advice. The sharp reader can probably fill in the blanks but once through security the promised land turned out to be a very poor cafe trying to keep up with the influx of customers - but at least we were out of the hair of the person giving out the advice.

Since our flights were not scheduled we had little to indicate the state of our plane and twice there was a spontaneous queue formed at a gate just in case there might be a plane to board. Third time lucky and we were in the air at last. The flight was short but by this point the lack of sleep was starting to bite, and not in a nice way. Arriving in Quito we sat waiting for our bags and became cruelly amused by someone complaining bitterly that while they were in Quito there bags had not made it. In the short loop of karma I've experienced for a while the baggage carosel stopped and it became clear that with only a dozen bags almost every one's luggage had been held back at Quito. I can only imagine that the same person who had guided us through security had had the bright idea that bags are quiet where as passengers have the habit of complaining so best to send the noisy people to the next airport in favour of the quiet bags. To compound the sense of depression it also became clear that when there was talk of two flights it was in fact in only one plane so we had to wait for the plane to make the return flight to pick up our bags and the remaining passengers. Still not used to South American time we tried to phone our hotel to let them know that we would be a bit later than planned, after a few weeks it became clear to how redundant this conversation would have been it we had managed to get through.

Eventually our bags arrived and seeing us all waiting did wonders to cheer up those who had been put on the later flight. Whoever said it is the journey and not the destination that matters clearly did not fly with LAN.