The Hawkins Family

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Adventure with Charles De Gaulle, Part 1

This has been one adventure I will never forget...nor do I EVER want to have to repeat.  I should start by saying that Delta has not always been good for Taris and I.  Actually we have only had success (no major issues) one time...just to put this story into perspective. 

I left Pensacola on Saturday, February 27th with an arrival date in Naples, Italy to be Sunday, February 28th.  (I have not seen ANY news, so I have no idea if anyone who reads this is up on the latest weather to hit France.) 

My first leg was Pensacola to Atlanta.  It was a good flight, no hitches...I even paid for Skycap lines at the Delta counter.  When I got to Atlanta I had a little bit of a layover...always like a lengthy layover in never know what can happen at such a busy airport.  The flight to Paris was space even in first class.  I had picked a window seat because you never know what sights that you might see.  We took off from Atlanta at 3:30.  The service was was excellent...and I had a wonderful neighbor.  We talked about everything.  She was headed to Munich...she lives in Jacksonville, but the company is out of Germany.  We had a nice chat and she stayed on her half of the seat...which is always a bonus.  As we start to get to Paris, the winds really picked up.  As we landed, the plane was being tossed around and I just knew that we were going to slide off the runway.  The pilots did an excellent job conrtolling the plane in such awfull circumstances.  (The time is now 6:20 am local time.)  We disembarqued, went through customs, and I headed to my terminal to board the plane to Naples. 

In this tiny terminal, two other terminals sat.  One flight was to Milan, one to Rome, and one to Naples.  The Milan flight was cancelled, then the Rome flight (I guess you can see where I am going with this), then my flight.  (The local time is now 8:00 am.)  So, I was told to go to baggage claim, pick up my bags, and head back to the check-in counter to rebook my flight.  (I will say this about the French people...very unhelpful.) 

After wandering around for a few minutes, I found baggage claim, waited TWO hours for the two bags to come out and tried to find my way back to ticketing.  (If you ever find yourself at Charles De Gaulle airport, save your breath when looking for assistance and pass up any official looking people.  They could not even tell me how to get back to ticketing.)  I found an information stand and after waiting in line, they told me to take the lift (elevator) to the second floor and I would need to to go section 2.  (Air France has their counters split into three options.  Not unusual, but each section was massive and very seperated.) 

At the start of each section there stands an Air France representative to sift through the requests as to whether you will be allowed in.  (Not a bad thing, but no one has any patience...nor do they know what a line or waiting your turn is.  I had no idea I would be staying in France for an extended period so I did not study any French and thus could not say "I was here first".)  After figuring out that I needed to put my weight to use I pushed through and the rep finally let me through.  (The local time is now 10:45 am.)

For one and a half hours I waited in line with everyone else trying to get on another flight.  The fastest one...that they had left...was from Paris to Bologna, then Bologna to Naples.  At this point it was 12:15, and the flight to Bologna was not until 4:30.  I told the rep from Air France that I would need to let my ride know that I was on a different flight and needed to send an email or call or something.  She handed me a calling card and all I could think was I have NO idea what Taris' hotel phone number was.  It finally dawned on me that I knew my parents number so I would need to call them and have them send an email to Taris.  After having a break down because I didn't know the country code for the U.S., I called my parents...balling.  My dad told me to calm down and start from the beginning.  (Keep in mind that I was going on almost 48 hours of virtually no sleep.)  I told him that I was stuck in Paris, almost died when we landed, and now I might get on the flight tonight.  I wasn't sure how ten minutes was, but I needed to give him the flight info and Taris' email address.  My dad told me to enjoy the adventure and see some sights. 

I had all of my bags to keep up with and have had no sleep.  I traveled to Terminal D...I was in Terminal F and sat down to take a nap (sort of) and wait.  I went to check in my bags and waited in line, only to find out that they would not take any bags for a flight before two hours from take off...did I mention that would be in 30 minutes.  I had to get out of line and wait to get back in...REALLY!?!?  So I go to sit feet are killing me and get back in line about an hour later.  I check my bag and head over to the security check point.  I headed to my gate and waited...and waited...and waited.  Only to find out that my flight had been cancelled.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!  This is not happening.

More to come tomorrow.  I figured you get a little tired of reading, so I am breaking this story into two parts.  Enjoy a couple of pictures.

on my way to Paris

Somewhere over the US


Alexis said...

Oh, E ... you always have such the adventures! You crack me up with your hilarious writing! I'm only laughing now as I know that you've arrived, in one piece ... BUT, I can't wait to read the rest of the story ... I hate to wait to hear the rest, so please hurry & post soon!

Kathleen said...

Only you! Glad you are there safe and sound. Enjoy you time. If you see any cute maternity or little boys things pick some up and I will send you money.