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The nightmare at CDG continues (part 2)

We were told we were going to get on another bus that would take us to our new plane. By this we were all exhausted, confused, and feeling pretty grungy (most of us had been in the same clothes for a day and half by this point). So we waited once again for a bus. It finally came and we boarded. It drove us to a spot near the terminal where the driver got out and was evidently confused about what happened next. We waited and finally a plane taxied over. We all had to walk up some outdoor stairs with our carry-ons, go through a jet bridge and finally walked on (including the 2nd bus that had more passengers) and took our seats.

We sat and waited, again with no explanation as to what was going on. Finally one of the flight attendants told us we were waiting for more passengers who had gotten separated and that we would be leaving once they got here. About 15 minutes later (by now it was around 7 pm), they showed up and we taxied down the runway and took off (I will say the plane got off very quickly - no waiting for a place in line or anything).

We finally made it to Berlin around 8:45 pm. It was dark when we got there. Luckily all our luggage had arrived as well. I had planned on taking the train or S-Bahn into the city, but I couldn't face dealing with public transport and then having to walk in the dark in unknown neighborhood, so I took a cab. He was extremely friendly and I got to practice my German with him. I finally got to the Adina Apt. Hotel in Hackescher Markt around 9:40 pm, checked in (very nice hote!) and barely got changed to bedclothes before I drifted off to sleep.

My biggest problem with this was not the airplane technical issue. In fact I commend them for coming up with a plane for us, but I was VERY frustrated with the fact that no one told us what was going on or what we were supposed to do. They left a large group of tired and dirty passengers in the terminal with no guidance or knowledge. And since it was a Delta flight (with an Air France leg), I blame Delta. It was a horrible experience and I hope I never have to repeat it.

Link to Nightmare, part 1

Posted by
1347 posts

Ugh. So frustrating. I’m sorry you had a tough day plus of travel. Fortunately you’ve made it to Berlin. I hope you were able to get some dinner. And a glass of wine and maybe a soak in the tub.

I wish you smooth sailing for the rest of your trip!

Posted by
2176 posts

The “getting there” is never the fun part. This one is particularly unpleasant from the sound of it. Hope it gets much better!

Posted by
7598 posts

Oh my goodness Mardee what a long and frustrating day !! I am so sorry this happened to you — and indeed it's horrible you were so often left without any info and not knowing what to do !!! Argh !!

I am glad you got yourself a taxi and have a nice hotel in Berlin. May the stress be melted away this morning and you enjoy your trip.

Posted by
3026 posts

I'm sorry to hear that your trip started out in such a miserable way. I hope a good night's rest will help you bounce back quickly. Have fun in Berlin! I just returned from there yesterday. It was great, as always.

Posted by
9712 posts

Glad you made it to your hotel! And yea to you for changing your plan and being kind to yourself with a cab.

Hope you have had a day filled with sunshine!

Posted by
1251 posts

I always say every trip has a bad day. I'm hoping this terrible day took care of it and now you are able to enjoy your trip. A good nights sleep and a shower in the morning along with a big cup of coffee or tea should help. Why is it so many companies have not learned that communication is the key. Even unpleasant news is better than not knowing what is going on and maybe how it will be resolved.

Posted by
960 posts

Today is so much better! I have been having a wonderful day! The sun is shining, it’s in the mid 60s and the weather is just beautiful. I’ve been walking all over the place, seeing the sights and enjoying this incredible city. I even took a Spree river cruise today and it was lovely!

I’m practicing my German on everyone I meet. So far I’ve only had to break in English with two of them. And right now I’m enjoying a wonderful Asian lunch at Viti Restaurant on Wilhelmstrasse.

Thanks to all of you for your good thoughts and condolences for my bad day yesterday. That must’ve worked because today is so much better!

Posted by
727 posts

"I’m enjoying a wonderful Asian lunch"

WHAT ... no herring sandwich, how can that be!

Hopefully you'll atone for that oversight tonight with an order of Konigsberger Klopse mit Rote Bete und Salzkartoffen or Schnitzel mit Bratkartoffeln. Come, on.

Posted by
106 posts

Glad you are having a better day today. You had a particularly bad first day. My first trip to Europe many years ago, I was young and in my 20s, but alone. I made my way from Gatwick to my hostel by public transit. Got off at the wrong stop and was lost. Decided to sit on the grass in Hyde Park (?) and rest a bit. Fell asleep on my backpack. Woke up when a group of teenage boys kicked a soccer ball into my head and started laughing. I had no idea where I was.

We booked Delta Premium Select for our flight to Munich in August. Our first experience in nicer seats. Despite the lack of sleep, I hope you found them worth it.

Enjoy Berlin!

Posted by
3661 posts

I'll bet you wish you had chosen KLM instead and switched in AMS where there is no baggage security screening between flights.

Delta doesn't have a staff presence in Europe. Air France handles all the on-site issues when flying on with Air France so you can't really blame Delta. The curious part is that you were more than halfway to Berlin but flew back to Paris anyway. Doesn't sound like a mechanical issue, but that they needed the plane elsewhere, or there was maintenance that needed to be performed at CDG and they took the wrong plane.

Posted by
960 posts

The curious part is that you were more than halfway to Berlin but flew back to Paris anyway.

Tim, that was one of the questions we were asking. I never did find out.

Posted by
75 posts

Ugh, I'm really sorry to hear about all of this. I haven't been to CDG since 1993 and I plan to keep it that way. I hope you enjoy Berlin and the rest of your trip.

Posted by
8403 posts

So according to Flight Aware, the first plane was in the air for 13 minutes. Sounds mechanical. I don't think you would want to know the reason they turned back. But you can thank your lucky stars that you got to Berlin safely. Hope the rest goes well.

Posted by
4467 posts

Mardee, hope the rest of your trip is fantastic! And although your flight was a mess, glad everything ended safely!

Posted by
3661 posts

the first plane was in the air for 13 minutes

Takeoff to landing was 58 minutes.

Posted by
727 posts

"Takeoff to landing was 58 minutes"

Looks like 45 minutes of that was taxiing time.

Posted by
3354 posts

Oh my word! What a beginning to your journey.
So glad you made it safely to Berlin. May the rest of your trip bring joy. Hope you will share a trip report.

Our last experience at CDG was a number of years ago. We spent 3.5 hours in a massive line in Passport Control. It was a wide corridor and no “crowd control.” People were pushing & shoving. There was no airline representative for guidance. Delta did hold the plane for 6 of us. To add “insult to injury,” after running to make the plane, we boarded. As we were being seated we heard a fellow in the back of the plane yell out “You should have arrived at the airport early!” We can laugh about it now. ;)

Posted by
3661 posts

Not trying to hijack but I am missing the source of confusion:

Gate Departure 03:31 PM
Takeoff 03:46PM (taxiing 15 minutes)
Landing 04:44PM (flying 58 minutes)
Gate Arrival 05:14PM (taxiing 30 minutes)

My biggest problem with this was not the airplane technical issue. In fact I commend them for coming up with a plane for us

AF finding another plane at CDG in 2+ hours isn't really that commendable.

Posted by
960 posts

According to Flight Aware, we left at 15:31 and returned at 16:44. So they could have gone on to Berlin instead of turning back. There must have been some issue, though, for them to go back and then have to pull a new flight crew together (possibly paying them overtime if they didn't have anyone on call). That had to have cost them some money.

Yeah, I probably didn't want to know what the problem was. :)

Posted by
727 posts

And in the end the numbers don't really mean anything, you're safely on the ground and your holiday is underway.

Don't forget it's white asparagus season (Spargelzeit), a truly gastronomic treat.

Posted by
960 posts

Tom, all I know is that we landed at 16:44 because I texted my daughter as soon as we landed and checked the time. But then we sat on the runway for quite some time just waiting for the bus. What really sets me off is that I got a text from AF as we were heading out to the 2nd plane by bus that said, "Boarding for your flight to Berlin is now closing. Please proceed to gate F21. Air France wishes you a pleasant journey." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

I suppose you're right about the extra plane, but it beats the alternative of having them try to book us on different planes over the next couple of days. I'm sure that probably wasn't an option but all of us were fried and not really thinking straight.

Posted by
960 posts

periscope, I will definitely go for the white asparagus but I'm saying no to herring. Not my favorite food by a longshot. However, I did buy some landjaeger sausage today for a snack.

Posted by
3661 posts

Mardee: Be sure to apply for delay/cancellation EU funds. I don't see how you are not eligible.

Posted by
2012 posts

I am not sure how you can blame Delta since the flight was not operated by Delta.

Unfortunately what you experienced is pretty normal on most carriers... They all seem to believe "if we don't tell passengers we are delayed they won't notice" I had an American Airlines agent LOUDLY insist the flight would leave ON TIME 2 hours after it was scheduled to leave (It turned out she really did mean the next day, about 2 hours later they cancelled it and moved us to the next day) And then there was the USAir agent who told us the plane was "lost" so he had no idea when we would fly anywhere ( I called the 800 #, they knew where the plane was and laughed when I told them the agent said it was lost)

One suggestion... just call. I generally just call the airlines US 800 # (yes I have to pay, but...) and see if they can just rebook me . I have had to do that with British Air (call AA) and Air France (Delta) Both airlines just wanted us to hang around the airport. I got the airline to rebook me, got a hotel near the airport and started over the next day

And no, they didn't turn around because they needed the plane someplace else (WHAT??? bizarre) And yes, in today's world 2 hours to find a plane and available crew is pretty impressive. I live in Atlanta home of Delta and they'd be hard pressed to do that. The airlines no longer have a stash of planes hanging around not being used (The ones they parked for the pandemic are NOT at CDG, they are at some small airport with cheap parking rates Knoxville TN for example had TONS of Delta and Allegiant jets parked there. Plus it's not like a car, you can't just fire up the engine and go)

Posted by
5262 posts

Glad you made it in one piece and the CDG mess is in the rear view mirror. I stayed at the Adina last fall and liked it, especially the great location and multiple food options nearby. When it's time to fly home, the S9 a block away will take you straight to BER in about 45 minutes.

Posted by
3661 posts

Here's the claim form link https://wwws.airfrance.fr/en/claim

You should get 250 eu. Save the flight info in flightaware with screen captures, and the boarding passes. Delta is not obligated to pay, and it doesn't matter that you bought the ticket thru them (presumably).

Remember in the US all you can get for your flight troubles is angry.

Posted by
1818 posts

I'm glad you finally arrived in one piece.
Unless I'm staying in Paris, I now avoid CDG for transfers.

I like someone else's comment that there is always one bad day on a trip.
I say that at least it makes for a good travel story.

Have a good holiday Mardee.

Posted by
960 posts

When it's time to fly home, the S9 a block away will take you straight to BER in about 45 minutes.

Thanks, Dick! That's very good to know! I was planning to research it but now I don't have to. :)

Remember in the US all you can get for your flight troubles is angry.

Thanks very much, Tom! I will try it and see what happens. (EDIT: Just submitted the claim - I will keep you posted). This group is such an incredible resource - I find out so many things I never knew! And I totally get that about the US. The German guy I mentioned said he spent 3 hours the day before with a Delta agent, who insisted that Delta did not owe him a hotel room even though his flight was cancelled. He said when she finally caved and agreed to pay, all the other people in the room applauded. Of course, his suitcase was lost (later recovered) and his bike missing (later found in Amsterdam of all places).

SJ, yes, I hope that was my one bad day. :)

Posted by
3661 posts

Mardee: I did one of these once (BTW it helps if your bank account can receive foreign wired money without charge) and at some point in the application you are going to have to pick a justification (only one), either a cancellation notice less than 2 weeks before departure, or a late arrival. I'm not sure which one to choose, or if it matters. I can't remember if Delta and AF use a unified 6 character record identifier or not, but if different be sure to have the AF one. Select to receive funds in dollars if you can.

https://wwws.airfrance.fr/en/information/legal/assistance-et-indemnisation

Posted by
960 posts

Thanks, Tom - I did request dollars. The biggest issue for me was the 66€ I had to spend for the taxi to my hotel so I'd probably go with late arrival (somehow I don't think I'm going to get compensated for pain and suffering). :)

Posted by
34 posts

Mardee, sorry to hear that your trip got off to a bumpy start. Glad that you have bounced back and are now out and about and enjoying Berlin. And maybe putting some miles on those Oboz shoes? 😉. I hope the rest of your trip goes well, and I look forward to reading updates!

Posted by
162 posts

When our flight was turned around, airport employees "lost" half of us on the way to the Air France desk... no one explained anything or told us where we should go if we got separated.

Air France left us in line for 7 hours on a tile floor with no food, seats, vouchers... nada. When we got to the front of the line they told us it was midnight so we couldn't have food vouchers because all the food vendors were closed and that the hotel they chose sold out so we should book or own and ask for reimbursement. It's been a month and I've gotten no response except a receipt of my claim.

I feel your pain.

Posted by
960 posts

Sleight, that is so similar to my situation - but you had it much worse, though. We were only "lost" for about 45 minutes
It's a horrible situation - my brother is a pilot for a major airline and he said that what AF did was unbelievable.

CorrieTen, yes, the Oboz shoes are definitely getting miles! But I've been having to tone down my walking - it's been 5 years since i walked like this and my body and feet are feeling it more.

Posted by
8403 posts

Sleight, You should post this in a new thread for help. The EU 261 rule would apply. It covers not only compensation but also fines to be awarded to you.

Posted by
960 posts

Bets, it sounds like he already has. I know with me, Air France sent out an email notifying me of my right under the EU law and giving me the information to make a claim. I’m assuming that’s what happen with Sleight, too.

Posted by
162 posts

@Bets, I made the mistake of posting about it elsewhere and got ripped to ribbons for the suggestion that I might be eligible (even though my question was about that), though I can't figure out who is eligible if we weren't?

I think I did everything I can at this point... Live chat, phone calls, 5 hours on hold (2x!) and they all said, file the form online and wait.

@Mardee
We were only on the Air France flight for just under 4 hours, but in the air, it was by far the nicest plane and staff we had in our 6 connections over the course of our trip. When we landed... it was kind of shocking. The group, a couple hundred people in line, had to refuse to move up in line until the agents took care of a young mom traveling alone with a 5 month old. The woman was carrying the baby, her diaper bag, a carry on and trying to juggle it and feed the baby and had already been standing there over an hour.

For the first 3 hours of the wait (in between ropes, like in a theater, cold tile floor), they had 3 agents and each was averaging 1 party assisted per hour!

When I got to the front of the line, the guy said they had another hotel and started to hand me the voucher. My jaw must have hit the ground... another agent had come out and made a loud announcement that we should book our own hotel and file for reimbursement. The agent at the counter was telling me they don't do that.

Finally, the guy behind me in line walked up and said, "Excuse me. She's right, we all heard it- (turned and gestured to the few left waiting, who all nodded and threw up their hands). As he walked away he called out to everyone, "I'm sorry, but I can only stand so much injustice!!" My girls were cracking up.

They booked us on another airline for the following day and told us we had to get our boarding passes from that counter in the morning. When we showed up, they had only booked my youngest daughter and I and my older daughter had no return tickets. (All three of us were standing right in front of the agent when he said we were rebooked.)

I feel that they should do something to make it right even without EU 261.

ETA: I never got an email. I called customer service and they told me where to file online. (It's not really labeled as "compensation" or "EU 261", so I wanted to make sure I wasn't sending my claim into the void where it would never get back to us.