A Horrible Departure

Posted by  Daniël Cronk   in       10 years ago     661 Views     Comments Off on A Horrible Departure  

You know how sometimes when you wake up and you have a feeling that nothing is going to go right? Well, that's how this trip started. A couple of days before the weather was forecasted to be very snowy and sure enough, they delivered on that promise. Arriving at the airport around 7:45, having checked in the day before, proceeding to the gate and everything seemed to be going smoothly. Though the baggage screener decided he didn't like something about the contents of my bag, so I was searched additionally by having the camera, lenses, power cables all taken out and scanned separately from the bag. Boarding was set to begin about 30 minutes prior to departure, and again things seemed to be moving along well. We all boarded and then we sat there for about 15 - 20 minutes before we were pushed back. This is where it all begins. We are slowly making our way through the heavy falling snow to the deicing pad, on the other side of the terminal, where everyone else wants to go to be deiced. After our slow moving process, and almost to the front of the line I believe, we were told we would have to return to a gate due to the DOT's new 3-hour rule. Which imposes fines on an airline that keeps their passangers on an airplane for more than 3-hours. This whole time, though, at least the airplanes are departing and arriving without any problems; just the race to the de-ice pad. Back at the gate, we sit there for 15 - 20 minutes while they determine if we have to both deplane and offload our luggage or if we just get off the plane, they refuel and we try again. In the end we are told we have to get off while they refuel and then will reboard shortly. As it is now already close to 13:00 and my flight to Amsterdam departs at 16:00 I ask if they are confident if we can get back onto the plane and in the air at least by 13:45 or so? No guarantees. I ask if it will be possible to have my luggage offloaded and try to transfer to the direct flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam. Nope, not possible. At this point I am already quite sure I will not make the connection. After 30 minutes we are boarding the flight again and slowly we make our way to a more remote deicing pad, which was said to have been working smoother than the other, main pad. Finally we were deiced and made our way to the active runway for take-off. Finally in the air, I ask the flight attendant how long before we land; 45 minutes. Great, this puts me at arriving right around 15:30. I ask her if it is possible to have the pilot radio ahead indicating our late arrival to see if KLM will delay the flight, to which eventually I was told that because it was not a Delta flight he was unable to do it. I find this crap. Delta/Air France/KLM are all a part of a global joint venture with access to each other's systems. I think the pilot was just too lazy to even try. We landed right around 15:30. I tried to get them to let me off first so I could have a running shot -- no. People wouldn't move. Finally off the plane I ask the gate agent where to go, International Terminal -- out of security, take the tram to T-5, back through security. I reached the gate right at 16:20 -- the flight had just closed the doors and pushed back from the gate. !@#$ On the flight from Minneapolis I had already resolved to spending the night at the airport hotel and then being rebooked onto the KLM flight tomorrow. Right next to the KLM gate is where Air France departs. I inquire to availability of Business Class seats to which the agent replied they had several open seats. I asked to be booked into one as I had misconnected due to weather. She was not able to do it because it was a Delta ticket. So I had to call Delta. The agents were so confused (not surprising) and the original person booked me from Chicago to Paris and then on to Athens -- no, try again. Finally I just said to keep it the same and I will go talk to KLM. Back outside of security I find the KLM ticket counter and they run right in and call Delta and issue me the a ticket on the Air France flight to Paris connecting to Amsterdam. The only problem with this is it is calling its final boarding call and I have yet to go back through security (for the 4th time today). So the gate agent walks me through priority security and said to take my time, that they were holding the flight for me. She gave me my tickets and the next thing I know I am comfortably seated in Affaires Class (Business Class) and shortly after we pushed back and took off, bound for Paris. Arrival in Paris brings on another wave of stress as I realize we are set to land at 8:05 and my connecting flight to Amsterdam is 9:05. By the time we land and taxi it is now 8:40. Then I have to wait for the connecting shuttle to take me to the other terminal, go through immigration and security and then to the gate. Fortunately, it turned out so that that flight was already delayed by 15 minutes. And through everything, even with the gate agent in Chicago telling me my luggage would not arrive on schedule, I could not even believe my eyes as I was watching some of the bags being loaded in Paris for the flight to Amsterdam and there, on the belt, was my bag. Awesome. Now I am back in Holland and have reached Breda. Friday I fly to Athens for an overnight before Tel Aviv.


I am very passionate about traveling. My goal is to visit as many places and experience as many things as I can during my short journey on this earth.