Landed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the last connecting flight to Rio de Janeiro, and immediately I noticed that something was strange.
Despite being in transit, the officers insisted that I go through immigration and customs. Then the reality started to leak out into the crowds... the pilots where not going to fly! Apparently a crew did show up for my flight to Rio, but finally withdrew due to pressure from the union.
It was an ugly scene. Every area of the small airport, packed with frustrated passengers. "CANCELADO" flashing in red across every screen. Camera crews showed up to film the action. Every time someone lost their temper , the whole crowd starting applauding and whistling. One guy was so mad, he broke the glass window at a counter... that's when the national police showed up.
Other arguments broke out spontaneously in the crowds, between passengers and the ground crew that could do nothing to solve the problem. They would stand nose to nose, shouting and gesturing with their hands past each others' shoulders. If they were any closer, they'd be beating each other.
After 10 hours of sitting on the floor waiting for something to happen, finally Aerolineas Argentinas put me in a bus to a hotel downtown. There was a huge storm outside, but it was a welcome relief from the heat and frustration inside.
Rolled up to a 5-star hotel and after a long jacuzzi bath and some fine dining, I was feeling much closer to forgiving Aerolineas Argentinas than I could have imagined a few hours prior.
I don't know what's going to happen now, I'll know more in the morning. Time to sleep.