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Chennai Diaries

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, May 5, 2023.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    Green Cab showed up sharp at 6:59 am to take us to the Orlando International Airport. Traffic was challenging and it took 3 hours to reach the airport. The helper who assisted wheel chair found a check-in counter intended for wheel-chair passengers. The checking took more than an hour as this lady was looking for Indian Visa in our passport as she didn’t know to look into OCI. Finally, with the help of her supervisor, she checked us in and we had enough time to reach the gate an hour before the departure time. We reached Detroit on time and luckily the departure to the connecting flight was a few gates away. We were lucky to get wheel chair after waiting for long.

    The flight to Paris took-off on schedule. Airlines seats were not at all comfortable in the business class and the service was awful. We almost managed living with fluids since morning and the food offered by Airline was below average. Finally, we reached Paris with both hunger as well as anger only to realize our problems are just starting. There were no wheel chair available in Paris. With great difficulty Pilot was able to get one to move from the plane to the gate. The ground staff was making phone calls but no results. Finally they brought a hydraulic vehicle and asked my wife and I get on it. They brought a motorized wheel chair which was driven by an airport staff. We lost an hour out of two hours available for the connecting flight.

    The staff made us stay in one place they took our itinerary and passports to sort out the transportation. We didn’t get the boarding pass as we we were traveling by an affiliated airline. The departure time was advanced by 20 minutes. We were panicking and finally a guy was assigned to take the wheel chair of my MIL. We went through security again and they were arguing that they can’t let us in without a boarding pass. Finally they let us in and we rushed to get to the nearest airline counter to get our boarding pass. There was only one girl in the counter who was busy with another passenger. I pleaded to her that we had a connecting flight and we need to rush. She obliged and issued our boarding passes. Then we rushed to a place where the staff separated my MIL from us. We boarded a bus and she travelled by an airlift to board the plane. Airlift was attached to the back of the plane and she had to walk all of the distance from the back of the plane to the front.

    After we boarded, we learned the aircraft has technical problem and it can depart only after fixing it. The plane left after 3 hours. Luckily the airline staff were nice and gave us a decent food. They also arranged an airlift in Chennai for my Mil.

    When we reached Chennai, we waited for the airlift. It took sometime before it came. We went through immigration and reached home early morning on the 3rd of May as our baggage was waiting for us. We didn’t realize more bad news was waiting for us. (To be continued).
     
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  2. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    I’m sorry to hear you had a less than stellar experience on the flight, sir. For the prices airlines charge these days particularly for business one would expect at least adequate service.
     
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  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    I agree with you that Airlines must be more responsible. But they say that they don’t control the staff in Charles de Gaulle International airport. They can only request wheel chairs as per passengers requests. I think the only option is to avoid Paris in future because we never experienced it in any other airport.
     
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  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    We started the first day in Chennai with a lot of excitement. The first thing we learned was the vehicle we arranged was not going to show up. We thought it was a blessing as we can take extended rest to overcome jet lag. But our TV and mobile phones did not work. We have to wait for a day before we communicate with external world. The next day, the vehicle showed up and we went to airtel to recharge the phones as our earlier SIMs expired. We also found out that eSIM can be uploaded in my iPhone which will operate with both SIMs simultaneously. I was happy as I can use my regular phone in India as well. All the India cell phones have become extra now. When the TV technician came, he had to change a part in the Antenna. While he was repairing it, we got a phone call from the US that my uncle passed away back in Chennai and his funeral will take place in an hour from the time of the call. The relative who spoke asked why we didn’t know this information already as his death on Wednesday was mentioned in the TV as he is a film personality. After the TV was installed we were able to see his funeral in the TV. I asked the driver whether we can reach on time if we choose to attend funeral. He was ready to drive but he said it would take 60-90 minutes to get to the funeral. We dropped the idea to attend the funeral and instead watched it in the TV. We have decided to meet his wife on Sunday. I moved the meeting with a builder by a day (from Wednesday to Friday) as without phones, it was not a comfortable feeling. I took time to call my cousin brother happy birthday. We retired for the day with the hope that things can only get better from here. (To be continued)
     
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  5. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Were you traveling on Air France? Even 20 years ago my father had very poor experiences with them during his work travels. One time they ran out of vegetarian meals and the stewardess just rudely asked him “what do you expect me to do”. They served him just a tray of fruit for the whole flight.
     
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  6. swarnamary

    swarnamary Gold IL'ite

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    wheel chair experience suppose to be very good service, and all the elders are taken into the flight first along with infants,toddlers now it change somuch that my coworker who went to india with qatar complaining now its other way now as all the wheel chair passengers need to wait till the last to get in to the flight, and even wheel chairs nt made available.. service is very poor...

    i remember my very first flight to USA was air france almost 25 yrs back.. service was atleast little ok that time as we were running like anything to catch their flight hahaha my only experience eating their fresh globe grapes and throwing up...
     
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  7. swarnamary

    swarnamary Gold IL'ite

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    welcome home sir, hope your rest of the vacation goes smoothly..
     
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  8. satchitananda

    satchitananda IL Hall of Fame

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    Welcome to India Viswa. So sorry to hear about the bad experience. My condolences on the loss of your uncle. Hope all of you have recovered from the exhaustion of travel compounded with so many problems. Hope your remaining trip goes smoothly.
     
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    You are right on the money in guessing the airline. I have never travelled in Air France or Delta before. Delta experience up to Paris was not pleasant either. I am so sorry to hear about your father’s experience 20 years ago. It looks like somethings do not change.
     
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  10. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra Finest Post Winner

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    I was a bit puzzled by Airlines blaming the airport for poor infrastructure. I wonder how they communicate with each other. We were told in Paris that Delta did not communicate the need even though I confirmed both with Delta and Air France 3 months before that wheel chair and veg meal are all marked up in our records.

    I have now reported my experience to the travel agent and also on the follow up email from both airlines about our experiences. But I have set my expectations to see the same situations on my way back. Grapes? We got the same thing.
     
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