I really could write a long detailed report about the delays caused by the volcanic ash cloud but I will spare you the pain. I’m sure you’ve heard plenty already from the countless news reports. We (the rest of my family and I) arrived at the check-in desk in SLC to be told that our connecting flight and the one after it had been cancelled. We didn’t think too much of it, there are all sorts of things that can cancel a flight: aircraft problems, crew scheduling or bad weather. We were told we could sort things out when we got to Paris so we boarded the flight non the wiser.
The flight was long, but not quite as long as on the way. It was supposed to be nine hours and when nine hours had passed the pilot made an announcement: “For those of you who have been monitoring our progress, you will know that we should have landed by now according to our original ETA”. He then told us that we were re-routed mid-flight because of a volcanic ash cloud from a volcano in Iceland. Instead of flying Canada-Greenland-Iceland we went a lot further south and came in over the English Channel (do the french call it the French channel?). This added a little over an hour to the flight. We then landed in Paris to find total chaos.
There were people everywhere – it’s not unusual to find a lot of people in an airport but they were all over the place, hundreds of them. Safe to say, more than normal. We went to the luggage carousel where the airline said our luggage would be. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. It turns out that the airline sent us to the carousel where our luggage would be had our luggage been checked all the way through to Manchester. In SLC they said they couldn’t check it all the way because of the cancellation. We went to the carousel where all the luggage went for those not connecting in Paris aka final destination. We saw the lovely sign: ‘Delivery Completed’ but that was all. Just a shiny carousel with a severe lack of luggage.
We recovered the luggage from a nearby office and then spent the next six hours getting a hotel since we’d established that we certainly weren’t getting out of Paris the same day. In fact, the next three nights were spent in three different hotels with the one at Disney Land being the best by far. When we got out of the third hotel we went back to the airport with things still in a mess. We were told by the airline we were flying with that we were now on our own even though we had a re-scheduled flight for Thursday.
I kind of understand why they had to, you can’t pull money out of nowhere. Realising that we would spend a fortune on food and hotels until Thursday we thought it would be better spent in getting home. We made our own arrangements and made it home long before Thursday. I spent 42 minutes (£4.20) on the phone to ‘the airline’ to get the unused tickets refunded. All is well and a story had been made to tell for years to come.