Saturday, June 23, 2007

How international travel can sometimes suck.

Exhibit A:

Thursday, June 21st

I started my return to France by spending 6 hours on an Amtrak train that took me from Upstate NY (where my cousin lives) to Manhattan. With an enormous suitcase in tow, I decided to go straight to JFK instead of wandering around NYC searching for the perfect cupcake. Thus, I arrived 5 hours before my departure. JFK is really not that exciting. My Aer Lingue flight was due to depart at 9:40 pm. Around 8:30 pm, a thunderstorm begins. The fuel companies are required to cease refueling during thunderstorms. Are they really that much in danger? My delay commences. We wait for the thunderstorm to pass...hours tick by. They load us on the plane around 11 pm. The pilot tells us that the storm is due to pass in 30 minutes and that we're number 65 (!!!) in line for takeoff and should be off the ground 30 minutes after they start getting planes off the ground. I fall asleep and wake up at 1 am and see that we're still on the ground. Fabulous. My chance to catch my connection to Geneva (from Dublin) is lost.

This is my first time flying with Aer Lingus. I wasn't impressed and don't recommend them. The seats are incredibly small. The guy in front of me was almost sitting in my lap. The food was terrible. Breakfast = a cup of OJ and only served to those that were awake. Movies? Watched on a small TV screen that is shared with possibly 50 other passengers.

Friday, June 22nd

We arrive in Dublin 3 hours late and with no announcements regarding connections. I felt as if they were trying to get rid of us as soon as possible. I run to passport control. He asks me what my purpose for my stay in Dublin is...um, to get outta there as soon as possible by finding the next plane to Geneva since I missed my first connection. He responds by asking how I plan to do that. I tell him that first I plan on crying and then get myself rebooked. As a gift, he stamps my passport.

I find my suitcase and then have to find the desk full of cranky Aer Lingus employees to get myself rebooked to Geneva. Nothing direct is available. He gets me on an Air France flight to London and then a connecting flight on Swiss Air to Geneva. I walk over to the Air France desk and the woman looks at my ticket like it's a dead baby. She tells me that I will have to pick up my bag in London and recheck it onto the Swiss Air flight. Excuse #1. I respond that that would be impossible since I have only 40 min. in between flights and need my bag checked through to Geneva. Help a sweaty, tired girl out. You're airline partners (or are about to be), for pete's sake. Let's be proactive here. After she makes around 5 phone calls for assistance with my situation, she figures out how to have my bags checked through to GVA. Then she tells me that she can't print up a Swiss Air boarding pass and that I must get that in London. Excuse #2. Oh...wait...it's printing right now...

I sit at the gate for the Air France flight. Delayed 1 hour. There goes my connection to Geneva. I sit next to 2 Brits who enjoy hearing about my recent travel debacle and wish me luck. Thanks.

We arrive in London. I wait for my bag and nothing. I ask someone at the assistance desk. They tell me that I need to file a "missing bag report" in Geneva. Um, but my bag's probably on the little plane I just flew in on. London City airport is incredibly small so he was able to locate it in a minute. As I wait for the bag, I meet Barbara who is also on her way to Geneva and was also on my NYC flight. She immediately becomes my new buddy. Probably the only other person in the airport who needs a shower and to brush her teeth as much as me. We wait in a huge line (lots of missed connections, cancellations, and such in Europe today) and are told that they will probably have to put us on a waitlist. The runway at London City is small and they can only have a certain weight on the plane. The dude is interrupted (for the 126th time) and has to hand us over to another rep. who decides to just book us on the plane. Hooray! Geneva, here we come. So, I have 2 bags to carry-on and, in this airport, we're only allow one carry-on when going through security. I'm told that I need to check in my second bag. Impossible, I tell them. They make me stuff everything in one bag so that I may go through security. With my backpack wide open and spilling things everywhere (but, hey, it's one bag), we make it through. So dumb. We wait for the plane...delayed 45 minutes. Just get me home, please. We land at midnight.

On a positive note, I'm back home with my husband and we finally have DSL. :)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ever think of trying out for the Amazing Race?

joy suzanne said...

Putain de merde!!!! I'm so sorry for you. I've been pretty lucky this year...

Glad you're back home safe.

Mim said...

Oh Emily, I read your post with my heart pounding. Will she make her flight, will she get her luggage, will she get home before winter solstice? Aaaaiieee! Glad to know you are home. Oh, by the way, they have a really good cupcake at Burgers and Cupcakes on 23rd St.

Jennifer said...

What an adventure! (?)

TinkerBlue said...

ah the joys of connecting flights. In 2003 when we went home to Australia, my flight went Vancouver to Dallas to LA to Sydney to Hamilton Island. The only flight that left on time was the one from Sydney to Hamilton Island. Initially I was annoyed at the long layovers in Dallas (4 hours) and LAX (6 hours) but turned out I needed them all - even with the flights all being late, I was running between them.

Coming home was worse. My flights went Sydney to Auckland to Melbourne to LAX to Dallas to Vancouver.

That's what happens when you redeem points for a "free" flight - crappy connections and long layovers.

ColourMeCrazy said...

Oh man! That has to be the longest trip ever! Glad to hear that you finally made it back!

in the Alps said...

Welcome back! The plane trip sounds never-ending and nerve racking but I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about your trip. I am so jealous that you saw Monsier Colbert!

sylv said...

Oh wow, that was bad luck !! Now I understand you were super tired !!
And I said flying to NY didn't take long...

Will write soon and see you on thursday !!

Sylv

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh Emily, sorry your trip back was such a hassle! I once had some trouble connecting through Canada, and to be honest since then I try my hardest to avoid connecting flights. Of course, I'm probably tremendously stupid too, though, because over the past five years I haven't even been accumulating frequent flyer miles or anything, because I've often flown on different airlines, just always going with the cheapest flight available. Usually on US Air, ironically enough!

So if I had accumulated my miles by now, I might be due a free flight too! Oh well.

Glad you're back safe and sound with your husband; and it sounds like you made some great memories while back home!

African Kelli said...

Lord. Remember when traveling used to be something people would get dressed up for? It was a luxury. Not a bus services where humans were treated like cattle. MOO!