Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Rocky Start on our way to Paris with Cheapo Air and Air France

Our trip had a rocky start.

 At Pearson Airport in Toronto, we went to the Air Canada check-in around 6pm for our 8:45pm flight to Paris. When we got to the agent we were told that we had no tickets with Air Canada but that the tickets had been exchanged by our ticket booking agency (CheapoAir) to an Air France flight leaving at 6:45pm from a different terminal. We were never notified of the change.  When called, CheapoAir first said that I had been called on Oct 30 (which I had not), then they said that Air France said that they didn’t have any contact information for us so we weren’t advised of the change (I’m not sure how they could not have this information since CheapoAir needed it all for me to book the tickets). I had even received an email confirmation the day before from Cheapo Air still saying that we were leaving on Air Canada.

We called Air France and Cheapo Air from the Air Canada check in desk. Our Air Canada representative, John was amazing. Air France was trying to tell us that there were no seats left on the Air Canada flight we were booked on. Both the Cheapo Air rep and AC representative informed us and Air France that there still were seats. Our AC rep insisted that Air France had to turn the ticket booking back over to Air Canada if we were to make our flights. Meanwhile Cheapo Air was trying to get us to fly out the next day on an Air France flight which would have us missing our day in Paris and cutting our holiday short. I advised that that was unacceptable.  Cheapo Air then told our AC rep that our AF tickets had been turned back to AC, however when our AC rep looked, nothing had been changed. After over an hour being on the phone with both Cheapo and Air France, Air France finally released the tickets back to the AC flight and we got on the plane with only minutes to spare.

There was another young guy behind us that had the same problem with Air France and Cheapo Air but he probably missed his flight because he hadn’t given himself any extra time. 

A big, big thank you goes out to John at Air Canada for not giving up and working so hard on our behalf.

The flight was uneventful. I slept all the way to Paris, only waking when our meals came.

There were many armed guards patrolling the Paris (CDG) airport which I found equally reassuring and alarming.

We left our carry on bags at the airport “Left Luggage” service and after some confusion at the automated ticket kiosk, caught a train to Notre Dame.)

The weather was dull, 12 degrees; perfect weather for spending time wandering around museums.

Our first stop was The Cluny. This medieval museum is my favourite Paris museum; it is home to “The Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries. These tapestries never fail to take my breath away. I could stay in that room all day.

One of the tapestry ladies kind of looked like someone had punched her in both eyes.

There was an extended unicorn exhibit that had some interesting pieces:

After having a quick lunch at a creperie, (I had a smoked salmon and spinach crepe), we headed to the Louvre. I discover something new there with every visit. Of course we always visit our favourites. Climbing up and down all the steps in this museum was even harder than climbing that mountain in Banff last week. The 6pm closing came too soon. The Louvre staff have clearing people out of the building down to a science.

Paris at night is magical with its lit up buildings. The Eiffel Tower sparkles like diamonds for five minutes, every hour after dark until 1am. When not sparkling it is lit up in a warm golden colour.

We had a quick bite for supper and checked out a few shops in the Latin quarter before admiring an illuminated Notre Dame Cathedral one last time.

After doing 25,000 steps, 17 km and 22 flights of stairs, we dragged ourselves onto the RER and caught one of the frequent trains to the airport; about a 45 minute ride.

Since we had time before our Air France flight to Mauritius, after collecting our left luggage, we went to the Air France customer service to check on our return flights. Sure enough, our Air Canada flight from Paris to Toronto had been switched to Air France and we had not been advised. 

This switch added an extra three hours to our layover in Paris than we would have had with the AIr Canada flight we had booked. We were afraid to fight it at this point and find ourselves stranded in Paris on the way home. The AF rep said that it was listed as an involuntary flight change...meaning that we hadn’t requested it.

Our helpful Air France rep confirmed that they had no contact information for us...obviously the contact info I gave to Cheapo Air had failed to be listed on Air France’s files. I gave our Air France rep our contact info which she added to our file.

We did everything we could to ensure that our checked bags made it to Mauritius. My fingers were crossed.

It took a long time standing in line before we boarded our Air France flight to Mauritius. My feet were killing me. Once boarded, we were told the plane had a mechanical issue. We sat in our plane on the tarmac for almost three hours until the problem was fixed. We were then delayed further while a sick child and parent disembarked. Finally we left over 3 1/2 hours late on our eleven hour flight to Mauritius.

I slept through most of the tarmac time and most of the flight, waking only to eat and spill a glass of pastis (a French aperitif) on my lap which had plenty of time to dry on the flight.

1 comment:

  1. The biggest frustration must have been spilling the French aperitif! Kidding. I've heard negative comments about Cheapo Air before. Glad you finally got to Paris. Beautiful city.