Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bad plane, good plane

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?


nmj said...

Your poor mum, so crass of the airline... I'd just booked a flight for my 80-yr-old stepdad from edin to copenhagen in summer & the site crashed, but airline was fantastic,, i think, i had to call them & they sorted it all out... ryanair is fine as long as you don't buy anything on board, then you need a bank loan, but for wee trips across europe as long as they get you there safely, i'm not bothered. i wdn't do their proposed usa routes though! or are those just a rumour???

Lesley said...

nmj: Yes, all those Ryanair extras will be an encouragement to take no hold luggage and to eat nothing on the plane. Don't think I'd want to spend 8+ hours with them crossing the Atlantic either.

Ms Mac said...

Jealous! About the direct flight. Not about your mum having to dash across Paris. Having my Mum dash across from terminal A to B in Frankfurt airport is stress enough for us.

deborah said...

How absolutely maddening! I like reading the rants though ... as long as the final outcomes are positive.

I always deny being superstitious but if you had managed to change the ticket to Roissy there might have been a huge hold up and lost baggage or something ... and your mother wouldn't have sat beside that tall, handsome stranger ... Romance springs eternal ...

and crossing Paris seems a lot better than crossing any other capital, er, well maybe!

Pepette said...

So poor of Air France ... then they wonder why everyone is switching to low cost... at least with easy jet or Ryanair, you know in advance not to expect any kind of customer service!

Excellent news for the new route. Just be prepared for them to withdraw it every winter, as they do with most direct routes between Scotland and the South of France. Because who would want to enjoy some winter sunshine...?

Anonymous said...

Yes Remember Sabena


blueskyscotland said...

Ryanair does suffer from a bad press.However,I`m off tomorrow to Spain for a tenner return including taxes Prestwick to Malaga.Personally I love them :)
My friend stays in the Ariege and she pops back and forth all the time.
Enjoyed your blog having visited previously..!

Kandukuri Kishore said...

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Eva said...

I have flied many times with Ryanair and too many times with Air France... actually, I have had better experiences with Ryanair... so I say hooray for the direct flight for you!

I also work part time as a personal travel organiser.. for me, my family, my friends.. and I always stress about getting something wrong, like the Orly CDG thing!

I see you live in Bordeaux. Love that city... my place to go when I miss Paris...