I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on this blog complaining about airline companies (eg. here and here and here) ... and here I go again.
My Mum has been over visiting us for the past week or so. As usual, I booked her ticket over the internet and she provided the credit card details. All quite simple really. Isn't the internet wonderful? Except that amateur travel agents like myself should at least read the whole travel itinerary instead of just skimming through it as I did.
48 hours before she left, my Mum looked over her e-ticket and gasped - "but I'm flying from Bordeaux to Orly and then on from Roissy!" Ooops.
I spent most of the following morning trying to get Air France to change the flight to Orly to a flight to Roissy which actually left 40 minutes later, would have avoided my old Mum collectiing her suitcase, lugging it out to the concourse and into a bus then enduring a long, unnecessary bus journey right across Paris while she worried about whether or not she would get off at the right terminal before checking her bags in again. I mean you don't exactly need a degree in logistics to work out which is the most efficient solution, do you?
But no, Air France didn't want her to fly to the airport she was leaving from:
"Le billet est non modifiable et non remboursable Madame."
"And what if I bought a new ticket from Bordeaux to Roissy?"
"Ah non, you can't do that. You would have to buy a new ticket all the way to Edinburgh"
It all turned out all right in the end. My Mum made it across Paris this afternoon, but it did make the end of her stay stressful. And I just can't help feeling that the Air France people actually got some pleasure out of punishing her for my not reading the itinerary properly: much more gratifying for them, I'm sure, than that silly old customer satisfaction thing.
But now for the good airline story. Ryanair announced yesterday that it is introducing a new route from Edinburgh to Bordeaux next March. Woohoo. For the first time in my twenty-something years here I will be be able to fly straight to Scotland without passing through Paris, London, Brussels (remember SABENA?) or Amsterdam. Okay, it may not be flying in comfort, it is Ryanair after all, but it will be cheap and I'm very excited about the prospect of popping over for a weekend and even better, having friends and family pop over to see us. What could possibly go wrong?