When you are travelling, you usually know that not everything will work out as planned. After not being hit too bad by misfortune lately, we got all of it on just one day when we were flying back from Kuala Lumpur. What happened was funny and crazy at the same time. As it is too much to put in one single story, you will be able to enjoy two articles about perfect mismanagement, lost baggage and overburdened stuff.
Saying farewell to Kuala Lumpur was not easy for us. We really did like our time in Malaysia and were not really looking forward to getting back to the very stressful life at home (we are moving to a new city in October and got many other things to do). Beyond, we did not even know how we will get home.
On the day after our departure from KL, we got an E-Mail by Air France which told us: “Dear costumer, your flight from Paris to Munich has been cancelled”. What happened over in France? Nothing special, the pilots just decided to strike for full 8 (in numbers: EIGHT!) days.
“You can change your trip online”
At least, Air France was so kind to send us another E-Mail just hours later. This time, they offered us to rebook our flight online. Also, there was a telephone number attached – a French one. As I was not in the mood to pay some hundred bucks for a roaming call to France, I decided to try the online rebooking. Air France was pretty generous: They offered us to rebook our flight for every date starting from September 23. How bounteous! It’s not like we had any appointments in Germany or had to pay a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. After thinking a long time about this offer (just about 5 seconds), I closed the tab and decided to wait until we’ll get to the airport.
“Can you read this sheet? – I’m not speaking French”
Looking forward to a talk to a very competent person at the airport (check out our Airport Guide!), we decided to go there five hours before our flight should have originally departed (it was late in the evening and we had free time anyway). After waiting for some time (they were preparing, talking and doing whatever else), I had the chance to talk to the first real human at the Service Counter of Air France. He was a huge help.
After understanding what I tried to tell him, he offered me a leaflet by Air France, stating my rights in French. He moreover told me that he cannot help me because he was not able to read the paper (oh really? Are you serious Air France?). My knowledge of the language (it’s not good though) helped me to get that the paper named all the facts I already knew. As the lovely guy was not able to help me, he told me to queue up to talk to another colleague at check-in.
Being kind and offering a solution
After some minutes, we had the chance to talk to a very kind employee (this time I’m not joking!). She was working for Malaysia Airlines (as everyone else handling ground stuff for Air France was) and did her best to help us. Yet, the first thing she told us was that there was no possibility to get from Paris to Munich on the day of our arrival.
I was already expecting this, so I had prepared another solution. I offered her to rebook us on a HOP! (subsidiary company of Air France, not being affected by the strike) flight to Nuremberg (it’s not far from Munich). She was happy to try her best to make this possible but failed in the end (all flights to Nuremberg were already full booked).
Amsterdam, Istanbul – Turkish, Malaysia
At that very moment the fun began. First, we were asked to fly to Amsterdam with Malaysia Airlines, followed by a KLM flight to Munich. Just seconds later she changed her mind (or was told to do so) and offered us a solution with Istanbul. I was like: “Istanbul? Why the hell Istanbul? It’s not even a SkyTeam hub”. She told us we would be flying Turkish Airlines, which was pretty fine for me, so I accepted the offer.
Not knowing that she first thought we wanted to fly to Nuremberg instead of Munich. After we told her that we want to go to Munich in first place and Nuremberg is just an alternative if Munich was difficult, she offered us a pretty nice flight (eight hours connection time, enough time for visiting lovely Istanbul!). We instantly said yes and she went on to book that flight for us.
Malaysia Airlines is not Turkish Airlines
It took some minutes till she was coming back, handing over a sheet of paper with the flight itinerary. I had a look and saw to different flights. Malaysia Airlines (that’s not the same as Turkish Airlines) to Istanbul and a short connection to Munich (this time it really was Turkish Airlines). I told the woman that this was not what we accepted, she was confused. She told us that it was a Turkish Airline Codeshare (I was okay with that, even though it was one of these “well-known” MH-flights on a 777).
The other thing with the connection time was a little embarrassing for her. She had to call her colleague again, just to tell us that she is sorry and it was her mistake. It was not possible to rebook on a later connection (airline rules), so I accepted what we got in the very end and went on to experience another hilarious experience at the counter of Malaysian Airlines.