Monday, June 27, 2005

Europe 2005 - A 3-Hour Tour

The flight from London to Toulouse, France was supposed to last 3 hours. As it turns out the firemen decided to strike. Without having fire coverage the plane could not land. We circled for about 1/2 hour the pilot keeping us abreast of the situation the whole time. We then diverted to Montpellier with them guaranteeing a bus ride being set up by the time we landed. The problem was that we landed during siesta time so it took about an hour after we landed for the bus company to respond to trying to line up a bus and driver. This gave us enough time to round up our luggage. Well my luggage was fine but L.'s was no where to be found. Literally, since the airline company did not normally fly into this airport their tracking number could not be looked up until we got to Toulouse. So we looked into renting a car but with the minimum days and one way costs it would be around $200 for a 2 hour drive. The cell phone was not working (for what I found out later was lack of money on the card but the French network was not letting it connect to display that message since it did not have enough money on the card-a catch 22) I bought a phone card to call the company we had leased a car from. (see next post- buying a car duty free) but since it was 3 in the morning there and I used up the whole calling card waiting on hold for them to put me through to someone to see if we could switch the car location.
After waiting 5 hours at the airport they had a bus there for us to take us for a 3 hour ride to get to Toulouse. The car leasing place was open and I had been able to get them to have someone stay at the office to get us our car so we could only get on the bus and watch the country side go by. (between Montpellier and Toulouse it looks identical to wine country in central California.)
We got there at 7pm (total flight time-10 hours.) and got the car.(problem 1 down) we found the info desk and got a hotel booked. (problem 2 down) but with no flights in the people there had no idea where L.'s bag was. With nothing else to do there I finally was able to just look around and I saw a bunch of people that looked even more forlorn then we did. They were stuck in an airport with no idea of what was going to happen. The parents had the same no hope look of disaster victims while the kids played havoc in the halls.
Over the next 24 hours we found out that somehow L.'s luggage ended up in Bordeaux, was transferred to Paris, and was snuck onto an Air France plane to get to Toulouse. (much to the anger of the Air France baggage handler.) L. got her bag and we headed off for more fun. (luckily this is our last flight until we leave, and I am predicting with our luck that our luggage will get "delayed" once more.

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