Flying to France

April 10, 2013.  As you can see on this map from FlightAware, our annual journey to France was anything but routine. Full story below.

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 9.40.47 AM

It seems that everyone has a horror story about their recent commercial airline journey. This is ours.

We left our house in Pismo Beach around 8:00am PDT on Wednesday April 10th, making the four hour drive to LAX, taking the Pacific Coast Highway. Lots of traffic between Malibu and Santa Monica.

After turning in the car and taking the shuttle to the terminal we found that our flight had been rescheduled three hours later. 

We stood in a long line for a long time to check our baggage and get new boarding passes. The plane was an Air France Airbus A380 and holds about 500 passengers, so nothing happens very quickly.

The plane took off around 6:30pm PDT.  After crossing the Rockies in Colorado we ran into quite a bit of bad turbulence, bad enough to cause a lot of gasps and tension among the passengers. It wasn't surprising that the captain announced that there was a medical emergency and asked if there was a doctor on board. Things went more smoothly until we got to Hudson's Bay where we doubled back and headed south for Montreal. It turned out that a woman had given birth on board and needed to go to a hospital. 

An A380 can't land at just any airport, so it was quite a long detour. We saw the woman and child being taken up the aisle. The baby had a lot of dark hair and didn't appear to be premature so we had to wonder why the woman was flying in the first place.

The plane took off from Montreal at about 5:30am EDT Thursday and continued on, landing in Paris CDG at about 5:30pm CEDT Thursday. All told, the plane was about 6 hours late, so we had missed our connection. So had about 400 other passengers and we had to stand in another long line to make new arrangements.

We got tickets on the last flight to Toulouse that night, scheduled for around 9:30pm. But there were complications because our baggage was in limbo, having missed its flight to Toulouse. Pat called the Peugeot people in Toulouse and called the hotel to explain the situation and make new arrangements. 

The plane to Toulouse was also late, so we didn't get to TLS until after 11:30pm, when the hotel shuttle bus quit operating. I picked up my suitcase at the baggage carousel but Pat's was still back in Paris. 

We made arrangements to pick up the bag in the morning and took a cab to the hotel, arriving about 12:30am CEDT Friday. 

It had been a long day; we'd been traveling over 31 hours.