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Trip Report: Paris, North Rhine-Westphalia and Amsterdam (wheelchair report too at airports)

Hi everybody. This is the first time I have written a trip report and I hope you find it interesting and maybe even helpful. I think it's way too long but I just kept typing....

This was my first overseas trip in need of wheelchair access in the airport. I went to the gym that morning and did extensive strength training and stretching in preparation for my flight. My itinerary on Delta was an open-jaw ticket JFK —> CDG, AMS —->JFK. At JFK, the wheelchair service was reliable and very kind. When I arrived at Terminal 4 via Airtrain, the wheelchair service area was at the top of the escalator from the Airtrain. I had checked in online the day before. When I was assigned the wheelchair, the agent took me to the kiosk for baggage drop and then we went to the TSA Pre-Check security line as that is where all wheelchair passengers go through security. The line was long; it took over 30 minutes. The agent offered to take me anywhere I wanted to shop before we arrived at the gate. All I wanted to do was pick up a liter of water and something to eat. He then dropped me off at the gate at a seat. Before boarding was called, another agent with a wheelchair arrived to take me down the jetway to the door of the plane. I could then walk into the aircraft and get my seat. I sat at 10C, a Delta Comfort bulkhead center aisle seat which was PERFECT. I had enough leg room to stretch my legs without touching the bulkhead wall and I’m 5’8”. Plus it was a newer aircraft, an Airbus 330 and the seat was absolutely comfortable. There was nobody in the middle two seats and a very nice woman at the other center aisle seat. The flight was uneventful and comfortable. The FAs allowed me to use the lavatories in Delta One as they were closer to my seat than the Economy lavs. Such wonderful service. The FAs told me that a wheelchair from Air France (Delta partner) would be waiting in the jetway for me when we arrived. They would tell me when to deboard so I wouldn’t have to stand. I can’t say enough good things about the Delta FAs.

We arrive at CDG but the plane wasn’t assigned a gate so we had to deboard away from the terminal and use a shuttle for terminal arrival. The FAs told me to wait until everyone deboarded. So I did. No lift arrived with a wheelchair. The FAs said I would have to use the stairs to get to the shuttle. I said that was no problem; I can descend stairs. The FAs said that a wheelchair should be at the entrance of the terminal where the shuttles let people off. No wheelchair was there. I went to the Air France desk which was right there. When I asked about the wheelchair that Delta arranged for me, the agents said that since the Delta pilot “CHOSE” to deboard outside the terminal, Air France is no longer responsible for wheelchair passengers. I said that was untrue as the CDG airport traffic control instructs pilots where to park as of course they very well knew. "Too bad" I was told. I had choice words I kept to myself. I will never fly Air France, that’s for sure. So I had to walk to immigration/passport control and saw a long line. I was able to talk to an airport employee assigned to that non EU line after about 15 minutes and told him of my situation. He was very kind and escorted me to another line which moved quickly. At the baggage carousel, I saw the woman who was seated near me and she was surprised I wasn’t in a wheelchair. I told her what had happened and she waited with me to pick up my bag from the carousel even after she had already picked up hers. What a lovely woman and I thanked her. I then walked by a desk that was selling Museum Passes so I stopped and bought one. No line.

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The signage was easy & I made my way to the RER B area to buy the Navigo Découverte card. Admittedly I was in pain from the immigration line & couldn't focus on putting together the kit so an agent helped me do it. I took the RER B to Luxembourg station. I sat in the last car as the citymapper app recommended for escalator access. Citymapper was right! There were 2 escalators to the street level which made transferring from train to the street pain-free. The signage for the 2nd escalator after the turnstiles wasn't obvious but I found it. My hotel was a 4 minute walk. I stayed at Hôtel Le Clos Médicis, a boutique hotel of 38 rooms. My room was a 15 sq meter “deluxe double room”. Here is a picture of my room. Yes, very colorful plus I loved the wood detail on the ceiling. Here is a picture of the bathroom: It was spacious & beautifully appointed plus bathrobes! I reserved & prepaid early enough that I got a special rate of 107€/night.

This hotel was LOVELY. This was very old fashioned in that when you leave the hotel, you give the key to the gentleman at the desk. I arrived before the room was ready. I left my luggage w/them & they brought the luggage to my room when it was ready. I walked around a bit & stopped for a café crème & pain au chocolat to relax. Again, lovely. I then received an email from the Deutsche Bahn alerting me that the DB cancelled my itinerary between Dortmund and Amsterdam for Tuesday leaving at 12:37pm. WHOA. This is the 2nd time that this has happened to me with DB; at least this time, they emailed me in advance. They assigned us to the 6:37am train leaving Dortmund. NO WAY. I also had bought 1st class tickets as a treat for my husband & me. I used WhatsApp to reach my friend in Germany whom we were visiting. She said not to worry about it and that she would help me Ok, I relaxed & ordered a 2nd café crème. It was raining so I wanted to warm up a bit as well. I used the citymapper app to plot my transport options and took the bus to St Chapelle. The Museum Pass was fantastic in that I avoided the long line to enter. Loved St Chapelle. More like ADORED it. From there I went to Musée d’Orsay. That was a mistake. The separate security line for Museum Pass holders was closed so everybody was lumped together. That line stretched for blocks. No way. So I walked around a bit instead. I had an early dinner at Le Rostand.

Wednesday, I was slow to leave the hotel b/c my back was in agony from the Air France debacle of not having a wheelchair. I did an extensive amount of stretching in my hotel room. I ate breakfast in the hotel which was fabulous. Lots of varieties of jambon, wursts, cheeses, breads, croissants, pain au chocolat, yoghurt, freshly squeezed orange juice/grapefruit juice, muesli & café crème. It was 13€. From there I took the bus to Rue Mouffetard’s outdoor market. WOW! All produce, meats, seafood, fish, pasta, pastries, wines etc were impeccably arranged which made me want to buy everything. I knew I would come back. I then took the métro to the Basilica of St Denis. To see the Crypt of the Bourbons on Halloween? That was a must & did not disappoint. Not many tourists & loved all I saw including the stained glass & marble sculptures including Henri II, Catherine de Medici, Louis XVI & Marie-Antoinette. Was surprised to see the actual heart of Louis XVII encased in glass of course in the crypt. Again, apt for Halloween. Very creepy indeed. Had a late lunch at Le Khédive. I should say, I had my main meal of the day at 3pm. It was phenomenal. Beef bourguignon, house red wine, a chocolate dessert that was out of this world & café crème. It was also very well priced at 13€.

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From there I went to the Louvre arriving around 5:30pm. Like clockwork, the galleries I couldn’t see the last time I was at the Louvre (2002) were CLOSED. 16 years ago, they were closed because the employees went on strike. This time, they were closed because these particular galleries are closed on Wednesdays. I didn’t realize that the 2-3 galleries of 15th Century Netherlandish painting needed an extra day off from the one they had the day before as the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays. I then went to a sculpture garden which closed at 5:45. I gave up. The security line was long even for museum pass holders but I was able to go on a “fast line” thanks to the kindness of the employee assigned there. At least I didn’t have to wait on that long museum pass security line. I took the bus back to the hotel’s neighborhood and went to a Marks & Spencer food store. I love M&S! I bought jambon, some cheese, and a baguette for a small “picnic” lunch in my hotel room. My back did improve substantially as the day progressed.

Thursday, I took the bus to Rue Cler. After Mouffetard, Rue Cler was a surprising let down. It looked somewhat tired and sterile. After all I had heard and read from RS, I was underwhelmed especially compared with Rue Mouffetard. I then went back to Musée d’Orsay. The Museum Pass security line was open and nearly empty compared with the regular security line. Again, it had been raining since I arrived on Tuesday. I loved d”Orsay. I went to the Picasso exhibition first before the lines got long. I then went to the 5th floor and made my way downstairs. The architecture of d”Orsay, the former rail station was spectacular especially the clock. Loved seeing the Van Gogh paintings as many were from his time in Arles. I remember the Van Gogh in Arles exhibition that came to the Metropolitan Museum in the 1980s and to see those paintings again was a real treat. To see many of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists whose paintings I had studied both in school and in college was a phenomenal treat. The rain let up so I decided to go to the Trocadéro to see the Eiffel Tower. To me it was a two-dimensional view as you’re not looking from a corner. Very beautiful indeed. Lots and lots of people standing out in the rain along with guys trying to sell umbrellas to them. Not the most honest guys — they were announcing “parapluies cinq euros”. An American or Canadian woman said how much is that?? The guy said “umbrella for EIGHT euros”. I said to her 5 euros — cinq = 5 and walked away. The guy probably gave me the finger for all I know. I then walked around including strolling around the Jardin Tuileries.

Friday, the sun came out! I returned to Rue Mouffetard and did some shopping! I had breakfast there too. I returned to my hotel to drop off my purchases and went right back out to walk around the Luxembourg Gardens. So pretty. I then spent the afternoon at L’Orangerie. Like all other museums, the security line was minimal for museum pass holders. Was overwhelmed by the two elliptical rooms of Monet’s gift to Paris. I spent a good 2-3 hours in awe. I then enjoyed the Renoirs, Matisses, Cezannes, and other artists as part of the private collection. From there, I took the RER C to Champ de Mars and walked along the quai to what I discovered was the BEST view of the Eiffel Tower — many fewer people and a corner view so that it was very much 3 dimensional. I got there around 5:30 and saw the lights come on. Then at 6pm, the lights shimmered for 5 precious minutes. I was in awe, paradise, THRILLED. No video does it justice. I was thrilled to see it.

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From the Eiffel Tower, I walked back to the RER C and took it to the Shakespeare & Company bookstore. I love the bookstore on Lexington Ave in NYC & was curious to see the location in Paris. LOVED IT BETTER. Paris has so many bookstores and I love that. In the era of Kindle, bookstores seem to be a dying breed but not in Paris. While I haven’t listed all of the bookstores I visited, if I walked by a bookstore, I spent time inside meandering and seeing what they had. I love bookstores and really miss them, especially independent bookstores. Next to Shakespeare & Company is a restaurant called Le Petit Châtelet. I walked by there at 7pm when they opened and got a table. I didn’t realize how fortunate I was as it was packed rather quickly with those with reservations. Instead of ordering à la carte, I ordered their prix fixe menu of escargots, sausages, and then a dessert of deeply rich chocolate cake, thick & heavenly dark chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. What a dream dinner! Plus a glass of wine. PARADISE.

Saturday, my husband was arriving! I had breakfast in the hotel and he arrived as I had finished. I was thrilled to see him. While he unpacked and showered, I returned to Rue Mouffetard to enjoy my last morning at the outdoor market. I also found a restaurant for our dinner that night. He wanted steak & frites. Cave La Bourgogne fit the bill. I went back to the hotel and my husband wanted to see the Eiffel Tower right away. So we took the RER B to the RER C to Champs de Mars for the view on the quai. I preferred it to the Trocadéro. From there, we went to Bercy to the Accor Arena for the semis finals of the Paris Masters (Tennis). We didn’t watch the doubles but watched the singles matches. The first match was Karen Khachanov v Dominic Thiem in which Khachanov won in straight sets rather easily. The second match was Roger Federer v Novak Djokovic. When my husband bought these tickets, he of course had no idea who would make the semis and we were VERY LUCKY with the matches we saw. Novak won in 3 sets with Roger never having lost his serve. He never gave it away. It was phenomenal tennis especially surrounded by French fans. What a great experience to be there. We then went to Cave La Bourgogne for dinner. My husband had a steak and I had veal with a mushroom cream sauce. Divine. We both enjoyed mousse au chocolat for dessert.

Before I go on, I wanted to say that I loved the Paris public transportation system. The ND card for a week’s worth of transportation was a BARGAIN including the one-time 5€ fee for the card itself. It is cheaper than the NYC’s 7 day unlimited metrocard and included commuter rail within the city and the Île de France. Transferring between the métro lines especially at major stations like Châtelet and between the métro stations and the RERs was like a puzzle since it was new to me. And I loved it. I love the buses too. So absolutely convenient. Public transport in Paris is AWESOME.

Sunday, we checked out of the hotel & went to Gare du Nord via the RER B for our 7:55am train to Dortmund on Thalys. That my husband was now with me relieved me of having to deal with luggage and its effects on my back! I had picked up some breakfast treats at Rue Mouffetard on Saturday. When our train was called, there was a bottleneck at first but it instantly moved. There was NO SECURITY CHECK. I was surprised but relieved I didn’t have to stand on a long line. We were in a 2nd class car that was filled to capacity. We were in aisle seats facing each other with a table. It was perfect as Thalys doesn’t give you the opportunity to choose your seat based on the direction of the train. I get motion sickness traveling backwards. The ride was absolutely comfortable and I recommend Thalys wholeheartedly. Wifi worked very well and was strong. We picked up newspapers from Relay for the trip.

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Our train arrived in Dortmund about 15 minutes late as we were slowed down by signal delays. Our friends Ute & Arno picked us up. We went to the Deutche Bahn ticket office to straighten out the ticket mess but the line for assistance stretched outside the door and around the building. Ute said not to worry; we would go to the train station on Monday in her town which is Iserlohn. We then drove to Iserlohn where they dropped us off at the Hotel Engelbert. Iserlohn is not a tourist town by any stretch of the imagination but if you ever find yourself there, the hotel is now outstanding. Both Ute and Arno made us a feast for dinner. Ute prepared roast goose and Arno made dumplings & warm red cabbage from cabbage grown at a nearby farm. It was fantastic. I met Ute 18 years ago in Central Park as she was in NYC for 6 weeks taking courses at NYU. She and her family are very special to us.

Monday, we had the morning to ourselves and then she picked us up and we went to the train station. The DB office said that only larger train stations handle schedule changes so we had to go to a town called Schwerte. So off we went to Schwerte. The DB agent spoke no English so thank God for Ute. We got a new itinerary in 1st class leaving at 10:47am from Dortmund, changing in Dusseldorf for Amsterdam. From Schwerte, we visited farms and farm stands together. I bought all kinds of wursts and schinken to bring home along with cheese. They vacuum sealed everything for us. We then went to Bochum, a college town in which Rühr University is located and had what we learned was the best currywurst in Germany from a stand called the Brathaus and then went for drinks and appetizers at a local bar that is a favorite in Bochum. Her husband Arno met us there too. It was just a great evening together. For me, the essence of travel is reconnecting with people you love no matter how far away they live from you. Our 2 days with them was incredibly special.

Tuesday, we took the DB to Amsterdam Centraal arriving at 1:28pm. We locked our luggage in ONE LOCKER (yay!) for 10€. It was sunny and WARM. 65ºF. We strolled together for a few hours. My back was doing well as I did extra stretching each morning in the hotel room so I was ok. Walking helps me; standing is the worst. We enjoyed walking in the Jordaan at sunset and had dinner at Winkel 43. We ate appetizers and then split their apparently famous apple cake which was out of this world. We returned to Amsterdam Centraal for our luggage, bought rail tickets and took the commuter rail to Hooffdorp. The hotel was 3 minutes away. It was a Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Airport. We stayed there for FREE because of a royal screw up from a Hampton Inn visit in Freeport, ME a few months ago. We were issued a “Be My Guest” certificate if we promised not to review the hotel on TripAdvisor which is good worldwide for one night for a year except for New Year’s Eve. I don’t review things on TripAdvisor so this was an odd request (or rather a bribe). So I said ok. So we used it Tuesday night.

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Wednesday, the breakfast buffet was open at 5am and we made a takeout bag and caught the early morning shuttle to Schiphol. Unlike my experience with Air France at CDG, KLM (Delta’s partner at Schiphol) had a wheelchair for me and a very kind agent took me through security to the gate with my husband in tow. Unlike the Delta agent at JFK who said the wheelchair service included taking me to any store I wanted to shop, the KLM agent said that this wasn’t included. Ok, no duty free. I probably saved a lot of money! The wheelchair agent dropped me off at chairs right by the jetway door specifically for those in wheelchairs. When the flight was called, I walked down the jetway (again, not a problem) and sat in 15F which was an aisle bulkhead seat on the side. The plane was an old 767-400ER whose leg room was not as generous as the Airbus 330. The seat was also hard. I had traveled with a seat cushion so I had used that which helped. The Delta FAs again allowed me to use the lavs right in front of me which were lavs for Delta One. When the plane landed at JFK, an FA told me right away that the wheelchair was waiting for me at the other side of the door at the jetway. So my husband and I were able to exit AHEAD of everybody including Delta One. The wheelchair agent took us through immigration, the baggage carousel, and actually right to the Airtrain. Fantastic service! We were home by 1pm.

This was a fantastic trip, one I didn’t think I could do after the spondylolisthesis diagnosis from my orthopedist several months ago. But I did it and to be on my own for the 1st half of the trip with my husband for the 2nd half was simply wonderful. I received an email from Delta this morning saying Delta is having a fare sale through Nov 15 between JFK and select European destinations for travel by March 31. I’m planning my next trip. :-)

Thanks for reading this.

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2632 posts

A well-written and interesting report, the wheelchair Air France debacle notwithstanding--how frustrating to be let down by the airlines that way. I was recently diagnosed with spondylolisthesis, had always had a twinge-y lower back but this May it chose to go out in a new & spectacular fashion at the airport in Budapest as I was continuing to Munich for 6 days...6 days of utter, un-remitting misery combined with the most intense & frightening spasms and being pulled over to one side, but I persevered. Beer & ibuprofen helped :) I managed my itinerary and about 8 miles of walking per day, thought it was just a pulled muscle but once at home I found out it was more than that. Strengthening my core is helping, also learning what movements to avoid. I travel solo and I'll admit it made me anxious, but since went to London and just booked my trip to the Baltic states for next May, not letting it get me down.

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564 posts

I really enjoyed your report, but I especially enjoyed your determination not to give in to a physical ailment. Your positive attitude is an example to us all.

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33332 posts

The people working aren't the ones that let you down - it is the companies (plural) who don't provide the resource and ensure that everybody is sensitive to disabled passengers.

I've had that all over.

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10358 posts

I second everthing Kateja said. Thank you so much for your thorough, upbeat, interesting report.

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Yay, all in all you appear to have had a fantastic time. So happy to read that the walking actually helped. Boo on AF doing you like that. What an unpleasant surprise. Like you, we enjoyed browsing and buying in Shakespeare & Co before dinner at Petit Chatelet. And another trip in the works? Woot!

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We took a repositioning cruise from NYC to Southampton the end of April, and my wife was having mobility issues. I just bought a lightweight travel travel wheelchair to take with us. We went on into London for the weekend before flying over to Ireland and taking a rental car down to the Ring of Kerry area.
We went to the front of every line, including airport security and the airplanes. Restaurants always placed us in the front too.
My wife had a rolling carry on bag and I switched to a backpack carry on bag. It was quite a sight seeing us handle all the luggage and my wife at the same time.
Upon her return, my wife got a knee replacement. She still wants to travel with the wheelchair because how well she was treated, however I have not told her she's going to have to find a new push boy. No way.

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What a fun time you had! You know I love detail so your TR was not too long for me.

Ugh on the foul up with AF. I love Delta and am glad you had good luck with helpful flight attendants.

Apparently you will have to go back to Paris to pick up the rooms in the Louvre that keep being closed on you, hahaha. I'm also happy you got to see so much with your back issues. You really got to view some wonderful exhibits. I had to laugh at your going to Saint-Denis on Halloween! The heart display there gave me a big pause when I got to it too. Yikes! Good way to flex on your Orsay visit - much better to come back the next day for another run at it and it really paid off for you.

I'm so happy your friends helped you get your train tickets sraightened out. Nice that you got a free hotel in AMS!

Thanks so much for spending the time to put your report together. I really enjoyed reading it and will enjoy a re-read with coffee tomorrow!

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14580 posts

Thanks for an interesting report; reading it brought back memories when I've passed through Dortmund-Schwerte and Bochum, never visited those towns but the trains I was on stopped there.

"...nobody in the middle two seats...." That's always nice, a pleasant surprise to discover that.

Going from Paris to Dortmund, I would not have left from Gare du Nord through Belgium to Dortmund. I would have tailored the route this way: depart from Gare de l'Est on the early morning TGV to Frankfurt Hbf, changing to Dortmund Hbf, thus avoiding the Thalys train. Iserlohn is another town in that region I have not been to.

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Thank you so much for your kind responses! I am so very touched!

Christa, you have spondylolisthesis too. And you did it! You didn't realize you had it until you came home from your trip in May? I have a prescription for diclofenac potassium (an NSAID) that I took 3X per day which is prescription strength ibuprofen along with two 8 hour extended acetaminophen pills I also took 3X per day. Typically at home I can skip the midday dosage but on this trip, I needed all 3 doses of both. They helped along with the early morning stretching and strength training. Unlike my business travel, I wasn't staying at hotels with a fitness room so that curtailed the exercises I needed to do on the big rubber ball. When you talked about the spasms of pain, I can only imagine. There were times I had to find places to sit or even just lean if there were nothing else available. I carried with me a seat cushion everywhere I went. I felt like Linus with his blanket! LOL I had miscounted the # of acetaminophen pills I needed and realized that on Sunday. I got into a panic for a bit but realized that even if a pharmacy did not have the 8 hour extended, they WOULD have acetaminophen and the one pharmacy open in Iserlohn of course did. I was relieved that the pharmacy was actually open. I used the health app on my iPhone and saw that I had days in which I walked over 8 miles.

From what I have learned from the orthopedist, there are grades of Spondylolithesis. What I have is grade 1. I'm glad you are planning future trips.

David, good to hear that your wife was treated well. Knee replacement surgery too? Wow!

Nance, wasn't that restaurant fantastic? I also loved the pace; no rushing even for people like me with no reservation. I enjoyed my meal for at least an hour and a half. There is a fireplace toward the center of the restaurant and the bread is baked there so when you bite into it, you taste the smoke of the fireplace. It was unbelievable!

Pam, I purposely went to St Denis on Halloween. I thought it was perfect day given the crypt and seeing Louis XVII's heart which was an unexpected "bonus" of creepiness.

Fred, the biggest reason I chose Thalys was the 35€ rail fare between Paris & Dortmund. I typically don't opt for train travel when the trip lasts more than 3 1/2 hours but the fare was too good to pass up. I had never taken Thalys before and read good reviews. I initially thought about flying between the two cities but the airfare was prohibitively expensive. I never thought about the TGV to Frankfurt and the DB to Dortmund. Would that have been two separate itineraries? Is there a rail website that could make that into 1 itinerary that also has access to super-saver type rail fares? The ride on Thalys was fantastic -- very comfortable seats, outlets that work, large/clean windows. The time on the train was not long and draining even though 5 hours sounds like it would be.

Iserlohn is a small city. Very few people speak English except maybe the younger people who remember their English from school. Schwerte is very industrial but Bochum has a lot to offer as a college town and Dortmund has a large Christmas market as well as one of the best football teams (soccer) in the world. We have friends who have an apartment in a residential area that is a lovely neighborhood.

One thing I wanted to add -- nobody at CDG or AMS even examined the ziplock bag with my medication and vitamins. I was concerned about it and even took the bottles of the meds with me just in case an airport official would take a closer look. Nobody bothered. I knew no one at JFK would look!

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681 posts

Sounds like overall a fantastic trip. So glad you could push on and enjoy yourself.

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4348 posts

What a wonderful trip report - it sounds like you had a great time! I love your approach to the difficulties you faced. :)

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276 posts

Continental... loved your report. You did great. Ugh on the airport/airline and Europe isn’t exactly wheelchair friendly. I’m adding some of your visits to my itinerary. Thanks.

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14580 posts


Thanks. When I take that Paris to Frankfurt route (or vice versa), I book that in advance to get the 39 Euro fare (49 Euro in 1st class) riding the TGV. Yes, Frankfurt to Dortmund would be a separate ticket which could be bought in advance. The Paris-Frankfurt route gets me in by 11 am.

Interesting to read about Iserlohn. In that greater Dortmund area I've only been to two of Dortmund's outlying districts, Dortmund-Reichsmark and Dortmund-Hohensyburg, which takes close to one hour from Dortmund Hbf. You take the U-Bahn to Hörde, then the bus all the way out there.

Yes, Borrussia Dortmund is one of Germany's best teams. A few years ago that team lost to FC Bayern...unfortunately. If you drink beer, did you have one of the well known Dortmund beers...DAB, or Union, etc?

No one in security, be it TSA or in Europe, ever questioned me on my meds either, which are in the prescribed plastic containers.

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DAB signs are ubiquitous in Dortmund and, yes, I had my share on this trip. :-) .

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3903 posts

I very much enjoyed reading your trip report. I did have to look up what jambon is! As a Delta fan, I'm always glad to hear when Delta serves its customers well. Air Grumpy? Not surprised by your experience.

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Thank you. Dave, I reached out to Delta to tell them about the lack of wheelchair at CDG and the lies I was told by the AF reps including about pilots "choosing" not to park at a gate. I was transferred to a manager who said that CDG has had this problem before and reminded me that the wheelchair service is provided by the airport, not the airline. The airline makes arrangements for wheelchair service at the request of the passenger. She said that Air France agents have acted callously before. All the AF reps had to do when I arrived was contact the CDG officials and request another wheelchair for me. I wasn't in a rush! Snafus can happen especially when aircraft doesn't deboard at a gate. That never happened. For the AF agents to tell me the crap they did shocked the DL manager with whom I spoke. She apologized profusely.

I will never fly to/from CDG again given the history of sporadic abandoning of wheelchair customers that the DL manager mentioned to me. On my next trip to Paris, I can always fly into AMS or BRU and take Thalys into Gare du Nord.

Delta was beyond kind from the agents on the phone to the FA who offered to tie my rain boots for me before we landed at CDG. I have flown on Delta for years given their extensive nonstop itineraries at both JFK & LGA. Now they really won me over.