The Adventures of First Timers in Europe {Part 1}

By , August 1, 2011 3:29 am

First experiences are always memorable no matter if good or bad. On a last-minute decision, my parents decide to come and visit us in France. It is going to be their first time ever in France, but also in Europe! I would like to share their story with you because in all my travels, I have never experienced so much bad luck all at once, as they did. My poor parents.

They are all packed and eager for their trip. As they arrive in the airport to check-in in the US, they are informed that their Air France flight has been cancelled, even though they were able to successfully check-in online a few hours ago. As it turns out, Air France is experiencing a strike. Luckily, they are able to get on a new flight, an indirect flight from Boston through Canada to Paris.

And how helpful, 15 minutes before their original flight was supposed to take off, they get an e-mail from Air France:

Air France Cancellation E-mail 15 Mins Before Departure

Air France Cancellation E-mail 15 Mins Before Departure

They arrive in Canada and all the other passengers trying to get to Paris, along with my parents, make a run for their connecting flight. Successfully at the gate, they try to board. Oh, they can’t find them on the flight. What!?* It looks like there is another bleep and the Air France rep in Boston didn’t successfully book them on the connecting flight. They are advised to go back to the main departure terminal and have it straighten out. Oh my goodness!

In short, after hours of waiting to be rebooked, they board another flight to Paris. There is no spare time to get food, so they are starving at this point. Ah, this is when the great reviews for Air France start to be true. Shortly after boarding, they are served food and alcoholic drinks, for free! And the thought of seeing me in a few hours made them forget all the craziness that occurred a few hours ago and they are able to laugh it away with the other passengers onboard.

Wine onboard Air France

Wine onboard Air France (source: njee1979 @ Flickr)

And finally, they have their first smell of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. But this is not their final destination. To make it to the heart of France, they have a connecting flight to Montpellier, which of course, they missed because of the error in Canada. No biggie, they will just take the next flight, six hours later.

About ten hours after their original arrival time, I’m able to greet my mother and father in the south of France. I want to show them everything and have them fall in love with France as I have.

And yes, my parents are still awaiting an apology letter from Air France.

… To be continued as their bad + good luck doesn’t end here.

10 Responses to “The Adventures of First Timers in Europe {Part 1}”

  1. Oh gosh what drama! Hope they get that apology.

  2. Adam says:

    It’s always unfortunate when people have bad flight/travel
    experiences – especially if its a first time for them (whether to
    Europe, abroad or on a long-haul). I hope it doesn’t turn them off
    travel, because as bad a reputation as flying might have, I’d say
    the great majority of the time, it’s actually not *THAT* bad.

  3. muimui says:

    @ Andi: wait for more drama as their adventures continue to the
    north of France. In addition to an apology from Air France, I hope
    they get a refund! But they are having a great time in France and
    got here safely so I am very happy for that.

  4. muimui says:

    @ Adam: Thanks for the comment! I agree with you that overall, it’s
    not that bad. But, when something bad happens, it does suck. One
    time I was stuck in Newark airport and they didn’t allow anyone to
    enter or leave the airport. For many hours, we were all freezing
    and when there was movement, the crowds of people just kept on
    pushing. Later we found out the reason for the airport closure. It
    was all due to one person who some how snuck pass security to give
    his gf one last kiss. OMG!

  5. Kris Koeller says:

    I like the first image: Thank you for your understanding.

  6. muimui says:

    At least when all the flights are cancelled, it’s a bit more
    comforting. But when it’s only your flight, you want to raise

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