Friday, April 18, 2008

Days 1 and 2---Getting Out of the USA

We were supposed to leave at 8pm. Getting the-heck-outta-Dodge proved harder than just hopping the plane and flying away. Our group was 7 people and our checked luggage was 14. We arrived in the airport huffing and puffing and glad to finally get under way. Much to our dismay, the counter agents were waiting for us, already apologizing profusely before we could even hear what was about to happen. Apparently fog in SFO delayed the flight down there, which meant we would not make the SFO to Munich portion. And guess what? There was not another flight until 24 hours later. Irritated, upset and tired, I explained that we payed EXTRA to have this night flight and minimal layovers. They said they'd do anything, even reroute us. I insisted that we get rerounted through a more reliable airport, PDX. We still couldn't leave until the next day, so I said they should upgrade us to Business Class. She said she'd try.

Long story short, the reroute worked in the way that we didn't have fog to contend with. However, it added a seven hour layover in Frankfurt! Not to mention having to reload our luggage into vehicles, drive to a hotel, check in with our luggage, check out again, with our luggage and drag it into the airport a second time. UGH. We asked if we could atleast get a one day pass for the business lounge. Nothin' doin'. I really think we deserved the Business Upgrade.

So, after a tiring night in a hotel (paid for by United at least), we returned to the airport to get our boarding passes to find that some of us did indeed get upgraded to Business.

However, the rest of us got this end of the plane.

How did that happen? Maybe because my mom was a lot more patient with the counter lady than I was. Or because we were traveling with kids. At any rate, I'm glad my parents got to enjoy the completely horizontal seats with full body massagers and first class cuisine. How do I know how good it was? The wonderful flight attendants on Lufthansa allowed us to switch seats and hang out with the upper crust ;) I love Lufthansa. I hate United (but that will be the last day of this trip).

So, we were arriving 24 hours after we were supposed to, but at least we were getting there. The gite owner was informed and she had a cake, bread, and coffee waiting for us. The gite was more than we expected and the owners were the ultimate nice people. We were about 1 hour outside of Toulouse, among the vibrant yellow fields of canola and bright green wheat grass. If you ever had a vision of the South of France, this was it!


Cris in Oregon said...

Nothing like starting a trip off on the wrong foot. At least at the end of the trip you had beautiful scenery and food. :)
Love the place you stayed in. wow that was big.

Anonymous said...

Refresh my memory, what village was this?

b said...

It seems like flying is a given hassle nowadays, doesn't it? I am honestly impressed that you got some business class seats out of it and United paid for the hotel. Horizontal seats with massagers?! That is exactly why I haven't flown business class ever. Once you know how good it is up there, coach seems all the more cattle car.

How lovely that the gite owner had cake and such waiting for you. And that shot of the yellow canola fields with the green wheat grass is so ridiculously idyllic. It seems too much like a fairy tale!!!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Colleen- It was Auriac-sur-Vendinelle.

I am honeslty impressed, as well, that I got some biz class upgrades....too bad it was not for ME :)
And yes, those fields and the was the perfect choice this time, and it was a wonderful first-time-in-France place for my parents!!!