Over the July 4th weekend I had to travel to Greece to attend the wedding of a dear friend of mine. He and I have known each other since we were 2 years old. Because I am not as well organized as I would like I ended up buying the tickets fairly late in the game. And because I ended up buying them fairly late, there was only two airlines that had tickets I could afford, Delta and Air France.
Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!
That’s what should have been going through my head, not: Sweet!.
My wife, tried to caution my enthousiasm for cheap fares, but I was too obstinate to care.
So I took Air France from SFO to Paris Charles de Gaulle to Athens and back.
What should have been a 4.5 day relaxing trip turned into a sprint to the heroic finish.
Our adventure began with the 26 hour delay of the flight out of SFO (because … well I think the pilot just decided he’d rather watch the World Cup game in Paris than do his job ..). Because of the chaos of having 400 people missing their flight and connections we had to stand in line for three hours to get our boarding passes. We then had to suffer an additional 2 hour delay because the processing of passengers was taking too much time.
Once in the plane, the very friendly Air France staff decided that feeding us was a low priority. Well that’s not strictly true. They decided chatting with every passenger in the plane as the passengers were being fed was a priority. As a result instead of getting food almost immediately it took them 2+ hours to feed the plane. For folks that had not eaten since their light breakfast, there was a strong temptation to do some self-service feeding.
Upon arrival in CDG, we discovered that our flight into Athens was delayed by another hour.
I was hopeful the return trip would be better.
Our departure from Athens on July 4th was delayed by 20 minutes. This caused significant anxiety because our connection was very tight (55 minutes) and we were in danger of missing it. But that’s okay, the flight out of CDG was delayed by 2 hours, 30 minutes of which we spent in a shuttle on the tarmac waiting to be let into the plane.
Now why do I paint and tar Air France and Delta and North West with the same brush? Delta because I bought the ticket from Delta. And North West because they are in an alliance with those jokers. But that’s not the only reason I hate North West. In 2004 I was travelling to Athens on North West. I liked North West because I liked KLM. I had travelled thousands of miles on North West for many years. And in this one flight the callousness of their flight attendants destoyed a many year love affair. I got some coffee. The coffee was served in a defective styrofoam cup. I was sitting in the middle row of a 747. While I was getting ready to drink my cup, the stewardesses on either side of the middle row decided to pass over my head some trays. The trays almost fell on my head. In an attempt to avoid them I spilled the coffe. The stewardesses then did everything in their power to ignore my scalded leg (3rd degree burn). Even when I pointed out what happened they shrugged. A kind word, even an offer of a napkin would have been sufficient. In the end, I had to force my way into the galley and demand some towels to clean myself up.
So a pox on all of their houses.