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Finances & Money

Hiccups with our trip plans

A quick note: There’s about 80 of us going on our trip to Israel next week, and Stacie and I were in the first group to book back in the summer. At first, we were to fly through Franfurt, Germany on the way to Tel Aviv, but then the tour company changed plans and now we’re on Air France through Paris (not a long enough layover to go anywhere).

But while a large majority of the trip-goers got their electronic tickets weeks ago, there’s a lucky 13 of us who still haven’t gotten our ticket notifications, myself and Stacie included (along with our church’s trip coordinator). Our coordinator has been hounding the travel agency head-dude to get information about the delay, but they keep replying that it’s “a glitch in the Air France computers” and to be patient.

Patient-smatient, we’re friggin flying out in a few days! We need to know we’re booked on a plane!

Well, it turns out that the “glitch” was actually that Air France overbooked the flight, and thus bumped the 13 of us onto a later flight. Unacceptable. But rather than the tour company letting this happen, they at least went ahead and booked us on a parallel flight via British Airways through London Heathrow. Unfortunately, the flight leaves later, so we’ll be waiting around at the airport longer, and we arrive earlier than the main group, so we’ll be waiting in Tel Aviv too. But the layover in London is less than 2 hours (assuming I found the correct flight as we don’t know our flight number yet). Guess I need to bring extra books! Wish I had an Amazon Kindle at this point!

Another bad thing about this switch is that instead of stopping in France where we can purchase snacks, etc. on the Euro, we now have to pay with the British Pound (or use a credit card that converts against the pound). Eh, it’s a few cents (or dollars) more, depending on what we buy.

One good thing that comes out of this is the tour company is sending each of us (the 13 people) a check for $100 for our troubles. Hopefully we’re not subjected to extra fees with British Airways that would negate the savings versus riding with Air France.

I’m still holding out hopes they could only find first-class seats for us 🙂

About the author

Clever Dude

6 Comments

  • I don’t have any experience with Air France, but I’ve flown British Airways several times and I think the world of them. The staff is always very helpful and polite, and the food (believe it or not) is excellent. And it’s not just me saying this – I’ve seen them consistently rated highly among international airlines.

    If you get to request special meals, and you like vegetarian Indian food, I recommend the Asian vegetarian meal. That’s what I always get, and I usually get comments from random people sitting around me about how they’d rather have my meal than theirs.

  • I’m not a fan of Air France because various entities (pilots, baggage handlers, air traffic controllers) have made a hobby out of going on strike. I’ve flown them, but only if my travel plans don’t coincide with a busy period (e.g. Christmas, European Cup for soccer, etc), because they have a penchant for striking when it’ll annoy the most people possible.

    Little hint for Heathrow, especially with Christmas coming – tell Clever Dudette to check out The Body Shop in duty-free. Amazing deals (e.g. body butter that goes for $18 here is just $8), especially now that the pound sterling has dropped back to $1.60.

  • Consider yourself lucky not to fly Air France. Being French myself, you’d think I would defend them, but NO, they are too unreliable. They actually gave a strike notice just a few days ago. Those damn unions! There should be no flight attendants on dec. 5, 6, 7 and 8. All of that because they want to pass a law to allow them to work until the age of 65. Can’t be touching those dear benefits.

    I’ll go with Iberia over Air France any time.

    Anyway, British Airways is a great company. And the good news is: once in Heathrow, you can still pay with Euros. You’ll just get your change back in Pounds.

    Good luck getting those tickets and have a good and safe trip!

  • heathrow airport should let you spend euro there. the euro is accepted in more places that you might think 😉 just ask before you purchase if they take euro. been 4 years since I was in heathrow tho so may be different now.

  • Thanks for the tips everyone, especially about that Indian meal. Both Stacie and I LOVE Indian food, so I’ll have to ask for it. I don’t even know if we’re flying coach, business or first-class (it is pretty last-minute, so I’m hoping they ran out of coach seats).

    Regarding the euro exchange, I was actually referencing the issue with exchange rate of the pound vs the euro. I don’t actually have any euro (well, just a couple dollars from 5 years ago, but that’s for our sentimental collection). I’ll be using credit anyway, so I was moaning about the extra costs we’ll incur on the US Dollar/British Pound conversion, although in the grand scheme of things it won’t be much more than a couple bucks.

  • Getting bumped from coach all the way up to first class would be pretty extraordinary – I’ve never heard of that happening (and a lot of British Airways planes don’t even have a first-class section). Business class is not unheard of, but the most likely bump-up would be from economy to “economy plus,” where you get bigger seats and a few more perks, but nothing super-fancy. That’s happened to me twice. But even the regular economy section is not at all bad.

    You can request special meals up to 24 hours in advance of the flight. If you’ve been given a six-letter booking code for your e-tickets, you can do this yourself through the British Airways website (it’s under “Manage My Booking.”) Otherwise, talk to the tour company, I guess.

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