Thursday, May 29, 2008

Myair Myarse

Deborah has just sent me this snippet from today's Telegraph.
Air travel used to be a privileged adventure, but has now become a humiliating ordeal … no matter what end of the plane you are sitting in. Apart from going to prison, no other activity in contemporary life exposes you to such intimidation, ugliness, regimentation, over-crowding and cruel dehumanising as the decision to go to an airport.

By contrast, consider my last trip to Milan: a mere six hours from Paris and you pass Lamartine's haunting Lac du Bourget and go through the terrible mountains besides the Col du Fréjus by just the same magnificent route the Grand Tourists used 250 years ago.

Why did she think I would be interested in this gem of telegraphesque old-fogey wisdom? Because we're going to meet up not far from Milan, in Bergamo, at the end of June. She is going by train, as is her wont, and I'm not. She booked her train ticket a few weeks ago and will no doubt enjoy an interesting trip to Milano Centrale then on to Bergamo.

I, on the other hand, cleverly booked a very cheap flight with Myair, a low-cost company with direct flights from Bordeaux to Bergamo, Venice and Bologna. Unfortunately there was no flight on the Sunday I wanted to travel, but I took a flight on the Saturday instead and roped Deborah into coming to keep me company for a couple of days.

A few weeks ago, Myair contacted me to tell me that all flights from Bordeaux to Bergamo had been cancelled until the end of June. Just like that. My heart fell but after a few hundred hours on the internet I discovered that Myair had actually introduced a new flight from Paris Orly to Bergamo. It wasn't scheduled for Saturdays but I could get it on the Sunday. I quickly booked that flight and a connecting Air France flight to Paris Orly from Bordeaux. Great.

Great, that is until midnight last night when Myair sent me another e-mail telling that they had changed my itinerary yet again. The bad news was that Sunday's flight had been cancelled and the good news, well there was no good news, because all they can offer is a replacement flight on Monday and by that time Deborah will be on her relaxing train trip back home and the conference I'm going to will be well underway.

The only alternative I can find is to maintain my non-reimbursable Air France flight to Orly, forget the Bergamo flight and replace it with a flight from Orly to Milano Linate and then take a bus and then a train to Bergamo. That sounds easy, doesn't it?

The moral of this saga is threefold: sometimes the tortoise really does beat the hare, low-cost always means high-hassle and Myair is a crap airline.


BeefKing said...

Could you drive? Roadtrips are fun!

Lesley said...

Beefking- Several obstacles: it would deprive P and the kids of the car, it would take ages, Italian drivers?, price of petrol?

Anonymous said...

and that might mean over a thousand kilometres in the pouring rain, so no fun there!

BeefKing said...

There's always the tram for the family. It's not that far, especially compared to Nebraska. Italian drivers couldn't possibly be worse than the French could they? And the price of petrol vs. the price of airline tix + headaches + missing your conference... seems like a wash.

Besides, books on tape! Loud LOUD music you like (not kids music)! And the freedom of the open road, regardless of the weather!

spentrails said...

I am aghast because none of this is a surprise.

Public transport in London is about the same as air travel. Whoever wrote that article clearly hasn't tried using UK commuter trains recently.

Easyjet have a speedy boarding service which costs £10 but allows you to jump the queue. But everybody pays the £10 so it's redundant now: back to the same old fist fight for a seat only the sense of injustice is greater.

The old consumer labels of "time poor, cash rich" and the opposite apply more than ever.

beaverboosh said...

Skype, it is greatly under-rated!

Anonymous said...

Since you're going to Paris, you could take the train to Milan as well... ;-)

Lucy said...

I'm sure there's still time to book a passage in the diligence...

Rosie said...

perhaps you should start walking now

materfamilias said...

By now you'll have resolved your travel woes perhaps, but let me belatedly add my sympathy with your frustration.
So great to have you comment on my blog today so that I was able to find out about yours. I'm stealing time from work right now so won't stay long but I see so much here that is going to draw me back.

Le laquet said...

I remember a wonderful French train journey once, from Paris down to Souillac. The train was spotless. Refreshments were reasonably priced. I was surrounded in the carriage (literally) by a family pique-nique and when they said that the train would arrive at 18.23 it did in fact pull in at 18.23 - no way that would happen in the UK. I also am now, sadly used to delays and multi cock-ups on my Easyjet/Ryanair flights ~ makes driving seem all the more attractive.

p.s. Thanks for having a stab at the quiz Ok ... so the answers were
Tom Cruise
Angelina Jolie
Sarah Jessica Parker
Michael Douglas
Hilary Clinton
George Clooney
Barack Obama
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Demi Moore
and Nelson Mandela
3/10 ... sorry, no prize :o(

Anonymous said...

25th June 2008

Well I'm off tomorrow, Lesley. Look forward to seeing you in Bergamo. I am not a hundred per cent reassured that I will see you early on Sunday afternoon, but fingers crossed!

Stand by everyone for an update on the nightlife in Bergamo as well as RLS in Europe, next week ...


Being confined indoors most of the day, just the four of us, is reminding me of the days when my children were wee and most of our weekends ...