View from the cable car in Da Lat, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Da Lat, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Flying to Vinh, Vietnam on February 24th.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Well that was an eventful and profitable travel day!

We caught our shuttle bus from our hotel to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport Thursday morning at 9:30am right on schedule. 

What a maze CDG airport is! We have never flown in or out of there, so had no experience. There are three terminals, and each terminal has several mini terminals that in themselves are large. Glad we didn't send grandson Cameron off on his own into this airport. We had a hard time figuring out parts of it ourselves!

And there is a free train that connects all the terminals at the sprawling airport. We were dropped off at the taxi stop on the train line, and took the train to terminal 2E. 

Our Air France flight direct from Paris to Ottawa was scheduled for 1:10pm.

We went to get our boarding passes and as they were processing, a note came up on the screen saying the flight was full and they asked if we could check our bags for free. We're pretty flexible this way, so we said okay. But then it wouldn't print out the baggage tags and said we had to go to the baggage drop.

There, a lady was helping us to print the baggage tags, and she mentioned that the flight was overbooked and asked if our schedule was flexible enough to take a different flight. 

I said we were interested in hearing the options, but of course we had purposely booked this direct flight because it was so convenient and didn't involve connections with with Toronto or Montreal.

So she pulled us aside and went and got another lady to help us. I have to note that everybody we dealt with on Air France staff was pleasant, cheerful, and friendly. Enough so that we both noticed.

She explained the options, which weren't ideal. The best one was a later flight to Montreal, with an Air Canada connection from there to Ottawa, arriving at 10:10pm.

Not ideal.

But when she mentioned that we would receive €600 ($880 CAD, $650 USD) cash each as compensation, that will buy a lot of inconvenience!

We also had the option of increasing that to €800 each if we wanted Air France vouchers to be used within one year. But we decided on the cash option, which was actually processed as a credit to our credit card although they did say they could check and see if they had enough actual cash.

She also gave us €11 each as a restaurant credit. Which in CDG airport doesn't get you much more than a sandwich, but at least it was something.

Couldn't wipe the grin off my face. Kinda felt like we'd won the lottery! After all, this compensation was about what we'd paid for the flights to begin with, including our return flight in October from Halifax to Toronto to Paris. And after what was a fairly expensive August, this would go a long way towards making the month look a lot less expensive!

Ruth and the giant sleeping cat in CDG airport.

We found Pret a Manger lunch spot that was somewhat reasonable priced, but we still spent about €7 over our allotment. Of course we did splurge on wine which was what put us over!

It was actually a pretty good lunch. Especially Ruth's salad.

And no, that's not a full size bottle of wine! The photo makes it look bigger than it was. I think it was 250ml, which is about a third of a normal size bottle.

Then we had some time to waste until our 6:00pm departure time.

We have no problem wasting time in an airport.

Lots of people watching to be done, and of course it's easy to go for a long walk. I even had a short nap.

We boarded at about 5:30pm. This flight was also totally full.  Unfortunately we both ended up with middle seats, not beside each other, although Ruth was directly in front of me. We hadn't been seated beside each other on our original booking either. Once again, they asked us to check our carry on bags.

We were about a half an hour late departing. And we were also a half an hour late arriving.

Seven hour flight. I found it dragged a little bit. The young woman beside me wouldn't sit still she fidgeted and moved the whole time and wasn't shy about jamming her elbow into me. I'm pretty easy to get along with, but I almost said something. The food was not as good as they made it out to be on their website, but it was okay. 

Arrived in Montreal, and had no problem getting through immigration. Our border services officer was a bit grumpy when we first got up to him, but we had him laughing by the time he processed us. He was complaining about how entitled some people think they are.

Then it was off to pick up our baggage, which took a while to come out. We only had about an hour for our connection to Ottawa.

I got onto the airport WiFi and found a note from Ruth's brother Colin who was going to pick us up at Ottawa airport. He said it looked like our flight had been cancelled! I checked further, and sure enough it had been.

We finally got our bags and made our way to the Air Canada check in area. Sure enough, our flight had been cancelled and it was the last flight to Ottawa that night. The reason given for cancellation was that the plane had been struck by lightning that afternoon and there was no serviceable replacement. 

The next available flight would be Friday going from Montreal to Toronto to Ottawa. Ridiculous, of course but all of the other flights that were direct from Montreal to Ottawa were already full. It's less than a two hour drive!

And, Air Canada was unwilling to pay compensation, or even pay for a hotel. They said we would have to pay ourselves and try to claim back later by submitting receipts. 

Canada has absolutely terrible passenger rights regulations regarding airlines. And Air Canada uses them to the letter to try and get itself out of extra costs. They said this was a weather related event that was beyond their control.

So we went back to the Air France desk and explained the situation.  Of course by this time it's about 9:30pm. And our bodies think it's 2:30am! 

As I mentioned earlier, everybody we dealt with at Air France was fantastic, and this lady was right in line with that. She went and checked with somebody and came back saying "of course we're going to get you a hotel" even though it was technically Air Canada's responsibility in our minds.

She brought us to another place where a girl printed us out vouchers for dinner ($25 each) and vouchers for breakfast ($25 each) and vouchers for taxi to and from the airport and voucher for the hotel room. Fantastic. We were too tired for such a late dinner though and just wanted to go to sleep.

It was 16 kms (10 miles) to the hotel! The taxi bill was $58!

The check in girls at the hotel were good too. They also mentioned how cheap Air Canada is and how good Air France is.

Big room with a full kitchen!

It was 11:10pm by the time we finally got to bed.

This morning, we are going for breakfast, and then taxi back to the airport.

We'll do the ridiculous flight routing to Ottawa if we have to, but we're going to look into getting refunded for the Air Canada leg of the flights, and see if the figure matches up to a one way car rental. As I said, it's less than a two hour drive, yet it will take pretty much 6 hours to fly to Toronto and then back to Ottawa!

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Fantastic deal on this Coleman Camp Table.

And in Canada...

8 comments:

  1. The joys of flying. Air France really came through. You’ll be home before you know it!

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    1. Yep, definitely the "fun" part of flying but we took it all in stride and yes, Air France came through with flying colors, It's a shame that Air Canada didn't pony up as it was because of them that we couldn't continue on that last leg of the flight. :-(

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  2. Wow, what a day you had. Glad you were amply compensated for your time and trouble! Air France sounds like a real gem of a company; Air Canada, not so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It ended up being a very long and tiring day and yes, Air France really looked after us, Everyone that we met from Air France was so nice and cheery and helpful and yes, they did compensate us well.

      Air Canada was very frustrating. The person we dealt with was friendly enough but not willing in anyway to help us out. Kevin will definitely be trying to compensation for the cancelation through their customer service/complaints department, not sure how long that will take or if we will get anywhere but we are certainly going to try.

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    2. Yes, I would do the same even if Air France stepped up to the table!

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    3. If anything comes of it, Kevin will definitely post about it.

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  3. That's a pretty good cash grab. Worth all the inconveniences. Overall you got a great deal with the hotel and meal vouchers. Better than sleeping in the terminal and the hotel looks really comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely worth in inconvenience, even with Air Canada canceling that last flight. That was frustrating but still the money we got from Air France for changing the flight was great. Air Canada would have had us sleeping in the terminal, they were not going to help out in anyway so it nice that Air France too pity on us and gave us the vouchers for the hotel, meals and taxis, definitely great customer service on their part.

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