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With a flight to BRU cancelled/delayed, which backup airport would you choose?

This is related to my other post about BRU flights delays.

Normally I've only given advice on this forum but this time I'm the one needing advice. I need to choose an alternate airport to fly into. Originally I was scheduled to land at 8:55am in BRU with meetings in Leuven that afternoon (15min from BRU). Which airport from this list would you choose and what transportation method would you take to get to Leuven:

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS)

  • Paris Charles De Gaulle, France (CDG)

  • Dusseldorf, Germany (DUS)

  • Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)

  • Liege Bierset, Belgium (LGG)

  • London Heathrow, United Kingdom (LHR)

  • London Gatwick, United Kingdom (LGW)

  • Paris Orly, France (ORY)

  • Rotterdam, Netherlands (RTM)

One of my colleagues is flying into Düsseldorf and driving but he is coming from another EU destination. I'll be coming from DFW. Right now I'm leaning towards LHR+Eurostar or AMS+train.

What would you do?

DJ

Posted by
2862 posts

That's a tough one. I think I'd pick the route with the least amount of train connections. All of them have at least one (Brussels Midi or Liege) and some have more. The airport options I saw with the fewest train connections were CDG and CGN (Köln).

Posted by
86 posts

Looks like the train leaving directly from AMS airport to Leuven also involves only one connection.

Posted by
860 posts

Thanks for the fast replies. I'm going to give it until the end of this week to see if my flight gets added back. Many of the intra-EU flights are now running but it seems several trans-atlantic flights are not yet (my Philadelphia connection for example).

The airport does have a special page setup for the most recent news about the airport: http://www.brusselsairport2203.be/en/

DJ

Posted by
4522 posts

Amsterdam is a better airport than DeGaulle and might be easier to get in and out of. The distance between the two might be about the same. Rotterdam would be even closer if it is not a hassle to fly in there. I would not do Heathrow or Germany.

Posted by
815 posts

I just changed mine from brussels to Amsterdam today. My flight from Chicago to brussels has been cancelled since the bombings. United did not know when my flight would start back up. So I decided to change the flight to Amsterdam, then catching the train to Brussels for three days before our rs tour starts. I did not want to take the chance of not being able to get a decent flight and seats.
It went very smoothly. Sigh of relief! :)

Kim

Posted by
16847 posts

Can you address for us how or if the airline is reimbursing additional ground transport costs to your destination?

Posted by
815 posts

They did not say if they would and I forgot to ask. ARRGGHH. I was just relieved that I am on another flight and good seats and leg room!

Posted by
815 posts

Laura - I just called United and the agent told me they are not reimbursing me transportation costs to Brussels at this time. ....but. I can send in online or call when I return with receipt of my cost for approval. I am not guaranteed anything. She said they are trying their best to get customers re-routed to the best of their ability.

Kim

Posted by
4535 posts

I would not choose LHR plus Eurostar unless you actually want to spend a couple of nights in London. Getting from Heathrow to St Pancras and the Eurostar check-in makes this not the most convenient alternative.

AMS is a good choice because you could get a train right from the Schipol and it is only about a 3 hour trip.

Posted by
16847 posts

Agreed that just getting to Europe is the most important factor. FYI, tickets purchased on short notices for the direct Thalys train from Schiphol Airport (or from Amsterdam Centraal) to Brussels is most often €82 per person in standard class. Cheaper advance-purchase rates have the issues of limited seats available and refund restrictions.

Posted by
860 posts

Just an update on current status.

One of my colleagues flying with United from ORD to BRU rebooked through AMS and will take the train. For me, American says it looks like they will restart my BRU flight in time for Monday and suggested I just wait but call back every other day to confirm. Flights from LHR to BRU are running now so at a minimum they could connect me to one of the BA flights.

I've keeping my fingers crossed but it looks like no train for me.

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone as they helped my colleague decide what to do.

DJ

Posted by
860 posts

So in the end the flight from PHL to BRU was cancelled and American routed me through LHR to BRU. For those who are able to make it into BRU keep in mind the train station at the airport is still closed and they ahve a free bus running from the Airport to Zaventem train station nearby.

DJ