a few old paintings, and the occasional pretty girl with a sexy
accent, has anything good ever come out of France?
I only ask because I am currently searching for a reason to like
French things at the moment as I sit here on this Air France flight
from Boston to Paris. A flight that was delayed for nearly five
hours, which I understand isn't all that bad for an Air France flight.
Of course I shouldn't be so ignorant to judge an entire country
based upon a few bad experiences, and I won't, but perhaps meeting
one of those occasional pretty girls with a sexy accent would help
balance out my feelings about the French right now.
This is a tale that started before Christmas when Delta told me
that the flight I booked to Boston from the UK was being 'carried'
by Air France. Things didn't get off to a good start when my Boston
flight was severely delayed in Paris. I ignored this though. Charles
De Gaulle airport is an interesting place, and as strange as it
may seem I quite like airports as they are good places to people
When we eventually boarded the plane I found myself sitting in
front of a sweet little old French lady. Shortly after the much
delayed take off I decided to recline my seat and try to catch
up on a little sleep. Moments later though I was abruptly jolted
into the upright position by the old lady behind. I thought maybe
she had not meant to jolt me forward like that so I carefully
to recline the seat once more. But as soon as I reclined and I
sat back into the seat the little old lady once more rudely barged
forward again. She didn't speak English but was clearly telling
me that if I reclined the seat on this nine hour journey she would
be uncomfortable, as if this was somehow my problem.
We touched down in Boston in a fashion that resembled that of a
crash landing. The pilot swerved around at high speed for a while
which worried me somewhat as Boston Logan airport has impossibly
short runways and landing strips.
Once off the plane the luggage was fed into the collection area
at the rate of about one bag a minute. My first bag came through
quickly so I was pleased. However the second article wasn't so forthcoming,
and after a long while it was clear it was unlikely to surface.
Eventually, along with 51 other people on this one flight, I had
to report my luggage lost.
At this stage I was feeling pretty awful due to the fact that I
had a sinus infection and because of work commitments I didn't get
any sleep whatsoever the night before the flight. This situation
meant that the single member of staff taking lost luggage reports
actually had an easy ride from me as I simply wasn't up to my usual
standard of complaining at poor service.
A lengthy process of form filling and luggage describing left
me with an assurance that while the luggage wasn't where it was
to be, it was not in fact lost and would be with me tomorrow at
the same time. Inconvenient, but not the end of the world.
The next day at six o'clock I was beginning to become concerned
for my not-lost luggage, so I rang Air France to get an update
when it would be with me.
"Sorry, your luggage missed the flight from Paris." Explained
an extremely uninterested Air France member of staff.
"Your luggage, it missed the flight in Paris sir."
"It missed the flight?" The air of disbelief and bemusement
in my voice would have been easy to detect.
"How exactly does that happen then? I mean it's a box. Did
it ignore the boarding calls because it was in Duty Free shopping
or something? I mean you know that boxes aren't able to catch flights
on their own right?"
Without even the slightest bit of concern, or even pretend concern
the operator says "Yes sir. It will be here later."
"Okay, I know this is all being done the French way, but what
does later mean exactly?"
"WHAT TIME LATER!!!" By now the conversation is beginning
to annoy me.
"Something like nine or ten sir."
'Well okay' I thought 'Nine or ten isn't great, but at least it'll
Nine o'clock passed, as did ten, then eleven. No one showed up
with my luggage, despite enormously detailed direction and information
from me. Air France simply never showed up and their so called
'baggage service department' was closed for the night. The next
were now in tatters.
In actual fact it took Air France three days to relocate my luggage
then reunite me with it, and through all of that not a word or
or a whisper of an apology. This, it would seem, is the French
The saga continued at check in today in Boston. Circumstances had
me at the airport over 6 hours before the flight, but rules did
not allow me to check in more than six hours ahead of the gate opening.
Aside this face, there would be no one at the Air France gate to
help me for nearly three hours anyway. But the Delta staff were
able to tell me that my flight to France was already delayed by
As it turns out the flight was eventually delayed for nearly five
hours, messing up my connection through Paris to Manchester in the
UK where a friend is due to meet me at the airport.
--- Article Notes ---
Time of death : Not specified
The initial attempt at writing the first 'Meanwhile' for 2004 ended up as a
long rant about Air France that just went on too long. I wasn't really concentrating
out of the
plane window and eating aerofood. After a short break I read what I had written
and immediately ditched the article entirely.