27 May2009

An experience that seems to happen more frequently than it should to Marketman et famille… We were scheduled to depart Venice for Amsterdam and Manila this morning at 6am and minutes before the flight, the pilot comes out to tell us there is something seriously wrong with the plane. So after waiting 30 minutes, they confirm they cannot fly this particular aircraft and we have to line up to get alternative flights. So, to make a long story short, instead of some 18 hours to get home, we will be in transit for some 36-38 hours, enough time to fly around the world once. Yipes. And worse, now that we have found our way to Paris on Air France, after a six hour wait in Venice, we are stuck in the newest CDG Terminal E and there are only two sandwich bars for a 9 hour wait! Egads. And we can’t head to the main terminal as our passports have already been stamped by immigration officers.

Then we have to fly to Hong Kong and wait there for 5 more hours and hope that PAL takes us on to Manila. Actually, we were totally impressed with how KLM/Air France handled the situation, I certainly wouldn’t want to fly on a plane with a part missing or not working, and they really seemed to do everything possible to get us on our way, even offering a flight to Beijing which was slightly shorter but we weren’t sure about a connection from there to Manila. And we are travelling on the cheapest possible tickets, a last minute decision to fly to Europe when their websites advertised an amazingly low $900 roundtrip airfare. At any rate, Marketman is in a rare zen mode state, and we can’t wait to get to Hong Kong, as we are all just SO READY for several orders of duck rice at Cafe Corral at the transit lounge there… This is a food deprived Marketman signing off from a fabulous, deserted and cold Terminal E in Paris! And yes, many of you guessed it, we spent the last week and a half in Paris and Venice. More on those adventures in the posts ahead! :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Hope you have fun along the way despite the inconveniences. Praying for travelling mercies for you and the famillie…We look forward to your posts…wheee…

    May 27, 2009 | 11:38 pm

     
  2. Home Economist Lee says:

    i wish i had the money and time to travel like you. :((

    May 27, 2009 | 11:41 pm

     
  3. rose aka sofia says:

    Hey MM! Hope you had a great time during your vacay! Take care!

    May 28, 2009 | 12:26 am

     
  4. Lilibeth says:

    Wow, you got a fantastic deal for $900 round trip. I don’t think it has ever gone down that low six years ago when we still lived there. Considering all the inconveniences, I think it’s well worth the price you paid.

    May 28, 2009 | 12:58 am

     
  5. Lou says:

    Sorry to hear that MM. CDG is one of the unexplained mysteries of air travel – how can the premier airport of that capital of elegance be so crummy? As for Chek Lap Kok, I lived in HK for 12 years and each time I travelled, getting back and arriving at Chek Lap Kok was always a HUGE relief and pleasure. Have you ever tried the Ajisen ramen (arrival area)? The spicy noodles are soo yummy!

    May 28, 2009 | 12:58 am

     
  6. lorraine says:

    i love venice! such a beautiful place. maybe next time, i get to visit france.

    May 28, 2009 | 1:47 am

     
  7. angelbride says:

    Oh no! Nothing worse than being stuck in an airport because of the food issue. I hope you still have your comfort snack to remind you you’ll be home soon…Have a safe one MM & family!

    May 28, 2009 | 2:07 am

     
  8. shane says:

    that was a sweet deal for $900 coming from manila. I took a two week trip to Europe in April and paid $500 from dallas to Paris. everything went well but CDG airport was a disappointment! I think Incheon is a better airport for cleanliness/shops/restaurants for that matter!

    May 28, 2009 | 2:24 am

     
  9. tnm says:

    I hate airports delays. But hey, it could be worse!

    May 28, 2009 | 2:29 am

     
  10. NYCMama says:

    9 hour wait at CDG is not so bad. I believe someone was stuck in Terminal 1 of CDG for 18 years, and that inspired the Tom Hanks movie “The Terminal”. If there are only 2 sandwich bars where you are, is there at least an Hermes shop? I remember being stuck at CDG once, and finding the most beautiful pocket square at the Hermes store, and then I did not feel so bad anymore!

    May 28, 2009 | 2:39 am

     
  11. thelma says:

    shane, i like very much the inchon airport, too, for their cleanliness and fabulous shops. i always fly on asiana airlines because they have a stop over at inchon airlines on their way to clark airport. i can’t wait on my next trip this coming october…

    May 28, 2009 | 2:46 am

     
  12. thelma says:

    ooops, sorry, i mean inchon airport, not inchon airlines…

    May 28, 2009 | 2:47 am

     
  13. Maria Clara says:

    Please, please do not mention your disappointment with their restrooms at Charles De Gaulle Airport. It was a well-planned airport but they missed the appropriation of restroom stalls to foot traffic not to mention air traffic!

    May 28, 2009 | 3:13 am

     
  14. mardie c",) says:

    im flying korean air for the first time 3 weeks from now for home to cebu and im happy to hear that Inchon airport is nice and clean. being cramped inside a plane for 13 hrs would be enough to drive me crazy. to be able to stretch my tired limbs in a nice airport while waiting for the last leg of the trip would help a lot. but anyway, just hang in there MM and family, you’ll be home in no time. in the meantime i’ll be waiting with anticipation for your next blog entries, yey!

    May 28, 2009 | 3:22 am

     
  15. Connie C says:

    I empathize with you MM. That is why your comfort baon of champoy was indeed wise….in case there is nothing else to munch on. Once on a flight to Delhi, our AA flight had to head back to London because of a growing crack in the cockpit noticed while we were already over the Caucasus. We were lucky to get on another flight to Delhi with minimum wait ( the others weren’t so lucky) but my pack of trail mix carried me through.

    One cannot take air travel for granted anymore these days and I always travel prepared. I even have a pair of chopsticks….just in case I have to dig into a jar ( as in pickled herring or canned something).

    Awaiting posts on your recent adventure and welcome back!

    May 28, 2009 | 3:30 am

     
  16. Gina says:

    Hi MM. Yours are not the cheapest possible tickets. My friend and I got ours at $755 roundtrip, including taxes and surcharges last March, also on KLM-Air France, on the Expedia website. Cathay Pacific was offering even lower fares in February. Paris was in the last throes of a lingering winter chill; even on a tight budget and half the time hunched over in the biting cold, we still had a grand time. Looking forward to your posts on forays into Paris’s open-air markets.

    May 28, 2009 | 3:31 am

     
  17. nina says:

    oh no! what could be worse than a cancelled flight? It’s good that KLM/Air France handled the situation very well.

    One time, our plane was stuck in the runway because the wind changed direction. When the pilot finally announced that we are ready to take off – there were 60 planes before us. We were stuck for almost four hours! :(

    Qatar Airways’ MNL-Europe return ticket costs around $1T or even cheaper if you buy it early but you’ll have a layover in Doha. I know some people don’t like Middle East Airlines even if they are really cheap but from experience QA is not that bad naman.

    May 28, 2009 | 6:07 am

     
  18. kurzhaar says:

    CDG is an airport I avoid if at all possible (even if I want to get to Paris!). There are a lot of alternative (and much more pleasant!!!) airports nowadays (my current vote goes to Munich–well-laid out, tons of conveniences, fast transfers to connecting flights, and easy connections by rail). Anyone planning a trip should look into places like Luxembourg and Zurich for inexpensive flights. Train travel is easy and reliable. As for France, the TGV extensions cover more of the country than ever.

    May 28, 2009 | 6:20 am

     
  19. Maria Clara says:

    Kurzhaar: I totally agree with you Munich has a lot to offer when it comes to transit destination for another countries. Hotels are much affordable in Munich and easy to hop in train too. Another place I like much that is really worth a buck for a penny is Lisbon, Portugal especially their seafoods and transit accommodations.

    May 28, 2009 | 6:47 am

     
  20. Sanojmd says:

    Why is it that airport delays are always part of travelling?part of the adventure, I guess..
    Hope u and your family will be home soon safe and sound..

    May 28, 2009 | 7:15 am

     
  21. artisan chocolatier says:

    MABUHAY MM et famille!!!

    When you all get settled in, please declare the winners for our quick game of “Where in the world is MM & Family!!”.

    May 28, 2009 | 7:22 am

     
  22. Angela says:

    Have a safe flight home. Looking forward to your posts.

    May 28, 2009 | 7:38 am

     
  23. mudra says:

    Hope u and your family will be home soon safe and sound..

    May 28, 2009 | 9:51 am

     
  24. Mila says:

    What is still a mystery to me is how a trip to Paris and Venice wasn’t a food trip! Looking forward to seeing the photos and posts :)

    May 28, 2009 | 10:16 am

     
  25. jadedfork says:

    wow, since everyone is slagging CDG, i’m surprised that no one has mentioned the issue of luggage. Whenever I’ve taken a connecting flight out of CDG, 100% probability that i’m separated from my luggage for a few days. So, MM, here’s hoping you have better luck than I do.

    May 28, 2009 | 10:47 am

     
  26. jtan says:

    not an envious experience. just got back from a week in spain (from US) with no transit trauma from my continental flight to the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona and back. For the first time I bought travel insurance (i travel pretty frequently). Like a friend said when I got the insurance, “you should having nothing to worry about now because with travel insurance, nothing will go wrong”. he was right.

    May 28, 2009 | 10:49 am

     
  27. Tok says:

    Awaiting posts on your recent adventure. Welcome back MM!

    May 28, 2009 | 10:54 am

     
  28. Tricia says:

    I love Cafe de Coral in HK airport! We always have dinner there for our 9:40pm PAL flight going back to Manila. I can see why MM is looking forward to eating there :))

    May 28, 2009 | 10:54 am

     
  29. ariel says:

    Enjoy you vacation. A day of vacation still beats a day working. That’s a cheap airfare for two destinations.

    May 28, 2009 | 10:57 am

     
  30. Rob says:

    Wow, 9 hours in transit at CDG airport, I hope you use the time constructively to get a head start on your food reports!!;)

    May 28, 2009 | 11:32 am

     
  31. MOMMY says:

    CAFE DE CORAL…affordable yet super yummy!

    May 28, 2009 | 12:44 pm

     
  32. luna miranda says:

    hahaha craving for duck rice—that is so Pinoy! after 10 days in Italy and France, i hungered for fried rice and paksiw like i never did in my whole life (lol). good thing you’re in a zen mode with all the waiting. looking forward to your stories of Europe.

    May 28, 2009 | 2:29 pm

     
  33. Katrina says:

    You’re in rare Zen mode, indeed! What, no fuss raised about the 18-20-hour delay?! ;-) Seriously, I’m curious as to how the airline managed to make you feel relatively okay about it all. Of course, no one would want to ride a plane that wasn’t in tip-top condition, but setting aside the reason for the delay, how did they make the bad news more palatable? The reason I ask is that it wasn’t long ago when everyone on this blog was ranting about Cebu Pacific’s notoriously bad service. Delays are part and parcel of travel, but other airlines make it less annoying with offers of free flights, hotel stays, and decent meals or meal allowances. CP, on the other hand, offers — at most — some Jollibee Chickenjoy, and often, not even that. Did KLM/Air France offer anything for the almost one day you’d be set back, especially since you were about to be stuck in an airport with only sandwiches for food?

    Then again, I totally understand your being more forgiving because of your cheap tickets ($900 round-trip to Europe?!). It’s like when our CP flight to Cebu for the eyeball was delayed by a few hours — when I found out, I just shrugged my shoulders and bought some gelato. After all, our tickets were free! :-D

    May 28, 2009 | 2:36 pm

     
  34. Gener says:

    Qatar Airways or Emirates airways are far better than any european airlines..I almost tried all airlines in the world but they cannot be compared with any airlines by inflight services, food and relaxation and besides, They are new airlines means all of their aircrafts are new and fully maintained so there is no worry that it will have some troubles while on flight..Qatar airways are not cheap either,,but i choose it because they are tested already, im a frequent flyer and completed more than a million air miles enough for me to get free flights all over, i used to jump from countries to countries on almost daily basis for business purposes so certainly,,,i got familiar with all of this airlines….

    May 28, 2009 | 4:23 pm

     
  35. Lava Bien says:

    I’m sure you’ll find ways to entertain yourself.
    I don’t mind waiting at the airport when I don’t have any other choice. Sometimes I like the solitude when there’s no one there or I just enjoy people-watching when there’s plenty of people.

    There’s really a lot of lessons to be leanred when one travels.

    I don’t remember who said it ” tell me where you’ve been (traveled) and I tell you how wise you are”

    I like that quote, hehehehehe

    May 28, 2009 | 6:11 pm

     
  36. Lava Bien says:

    hard to compare local travel to international travel miss Katrina hehehehe

    May 28, 2009 | 6:13 pm

     
  37. fatcat says:

    they say, the worst thing about vacations is the travel…

    May 28, 2009 | 6:26 pm

     
  38. bearhug0127 says:

    i think the best part of going on a vacation is the coming home… welcome back and i know we’ll enjoy your forthcoming posts about it. thank you for sharing it with us..

    May 28, 2009 | 7:51 pm

     
  39. Marketman says:

    Katrina, free WIFI in HK airport, yay, in answer to your query. First, at Venice, the KLM flight was to depart on time. Then minutes before departure, they announced 15 min delay due to technical issues. Before the actual departure time, the captain of the plane himself walked out to the departure area to explain the situation. A hydraulic fuel leak meant there were no controls and the plane was literally inoperable. He said they were checking on parts availability and within 25 minutes would let everyone know. It turns out there was no part in stock in Venice (a smaller airport) and so the part would be flown in from Amsterdam on the 11 am flight, 5 hours later. He announced the no part bit 12 minutes after his first announcement. And at that point, he told ground staff to immediately arrange alternative flights for those with onward connections. We ran to the ticket counter, and despite 100+ folks in line, taking 10 minutes each, the ground staff were obviously doing their best to get alternative flights, and NO ONE before me, say 9 people in line, did NOT get an immediate alternative choice, out on several different airlines, completely at KLM’s expense. In our case, we still had several hours in Amsterdam wait but we couldn’t get to Amsterdam, so they offered flights through Paris then Beijing then Manila. When I said I wasn’t comfortable with a Beijing connection, they offered HK instead, with a longer wait. All of this was then arranged, with good seats (together for 2 passengers) offered on all segments of the return trip. Oh, and they fed us breakfast. In other words, they told us the truth, they told us in a very timely manner, they obviously exerted every effort to get us on our way to our final destination as soon as possible, and they applied this to all of the passengers in line whether flying business class or economy. I don’t think one can ask for more than that. And yes, we were on cheap tickets but that didn’t matter. In contrast to recent delays I wrote about on Cebu Pacific for the Teen, they were made to wait 13 hours, never given a complete reason why they had to wait, were never advised of the status of planes, were never offered a transfer to an alternative carrier, whose several flights got to the destination on time, etc. etc. In many cases, the truth, and a genuine logical people/service oriented response is all it takes to mollify inconvenienced or disgruntled customers… And in this case, there were 100+ passengers headed to locations as varied as Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Dallas, Manila, HK, etc. and the airline didn’t blink at the hassle and cost of re-booking everyone. If Venice was not a passenger’s home city, I am certain they would have put them up in a hotel as well. This is the reason I went into zen mode. I understand that “shit happens”, but it’s when a business doesn’t do it’s best to correct the situation that I lose my cool…

    May 28, 2009 | 8:08 pm

     
  40. Teresa says:

    I hope you don’t get delayed luggages. Air France has the propoensity to do s

    May 28, 2009 | 8:14 pm

     
  41. denise says:

    wow cool 900USD RT tickets! i just saw at the office that we had deals with KLM out of Dubai also…and nice that you were accommodated ASAP :D and kudos to your zen mode MM! i remember during Northwest’s heyday, if they overbooked, they offered 1000USD to passengers (my uncle was nearly tempted to cancel out on the trip to manila if my aunt had not stopped him)

    May 28, 2009 | 8:21 pm

     
  42. Kellyn says:

    hi MM! hmm 900$ is a good deal when you’re travelling at this time of the year. but in my experience, i am usually lucky enough to buy 800€ plane fares from emirates or qatar airways to go back to manila-milan and back.. but really i’m glad that now more airlines are offering those cheaper fares. at least i don’t necessarily have to wait for the summer break to go home.(which i can’t do now because i’m finishing my thesis)

    May 28, 2009 | 9:38 pm

     
  43. chrisb says:

    MM, good seats for only 2 passengers? Does that mean this is a bonding trip for father and daughter? =)

    May 28, 2009 | 11:08 pm

     
  44. Marketman says:

    chrisb, good catch, oops, i meant 3 passengers together. :) And yes, all our luggage made it through 3 cities, connections and different airlines as well. Cheese is safe and sound. And now I need a half day of sleep. :)

    May 29, 2009 | 1:23 am

     
  45. kit says:

    you’re a sure win if you join the amazing race mm.

    May 29, 2009 | 1:45 am

     
  46. jade186 says:

    Welcome home MM!

    May 29, 2009 | 3:36 am

     
  47. Tricia says:

    Welcome home MM! We look forward to your posts on this trip :)

    May 29, 2009 | 9:26 am

     
  48. natie says:

    catch up on your zzzzs and update us, MM…what a whirlwind of a trip!!

    May 29, 2009 | 11:51 am

     
  49. Marianne says:

    Oh, a 36-hour trip? I really feel for you! That’s worse than the one I took from SF to Manila on Asiana in January: I had a 12-hour layover in Seoul but at least they gave me a free city tour, which included lunch!

    May 29, 2009 | 12:30 pm

     
  50. Katrina says:

    “the truth, and a genuine logical people/service oriented response is all it takes to mollify inconvenienced or disgruntled customers”

    — Very true. I completely understand that, as you said, “shit happens,” and try to make allowances for it. As long as I get a good explanation and compensation, then I can live with it. I hope CP soon takes heed.

    May 29, 2009 | 2:45 pm

     
  51. corrine says:

    Well, unlike you MM, I had a good memory of CDG airport. I loved their restroom. I loved sitting on a stool and facing a mirror to freshen up and retouch my make-up after a long flight from Manila. Yes I agree, Inchon airport is really nice and clean. Korean Airlines was a pleasant surprise! I miss the carillon in Amsterdam! Wow, you visited the water cities, ha!

    May 30, 2009 | 12:04 am

     
  52. Nina says:

    CDG is always iffy;whenever we travel to Europe and CDG is the connection, we always allow min. of 2 hrs. The security line is always long; to transfer from one terminal to the other takes forever. But then again, you can always factor in shopping for something “frenchy” i.e., chocolates, wine, longchamp bags (double the price in dept. stores). If you already passed the security, you can always get out of the secured area and just bring your passport and cc so when you come back it’s not much of a hassle. Venice and Paris, two of my favorite European cities!

    May 30, 2009 | 1:46 pm

     
 

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