22 April 2009

Stuck in CDG on the way to Morocco

Rather irritated at the moment. Today we were supposed to leave Paris Charles De Gaulle airport for Tangiers just before 1PM. We even checked the flight before we got to the airport. Got here on time and checked our baggage with Royal Air Morocco downstairs (which incidentally is the only place one can change flights - after you've gone through customs you are stuck - you can't leave and you can't change). Everything goes smoothly (although the service is rather slow) and we get our boarding pass which lists boarding as being at 11:50PM. But the thing is when we get upstairs a couple of minutes later we are told that the flight isn't leaving until 4:30PM. They can't change us, can't let us go back downstairs, can't let us make a call to Morocco (to notify the guide who was supposed to meet us), and won't even give us gratis internet. They did provide some orange juice. Pretty sucky way to waste a day of vacation.

When I complained to one of the airline fellows he told me that 'the airline's job is to take you from point A to point B, the rest isn't our responsibility'. It's interesting and mildly telling that this was his view.
My view (which I expressed to him at the time, little good it did me) is that actually the airline's job is to get me from point A to point B at a particular time (which has been agreed upon by both parties well in advance).

Air Morocco is heading onto my list of $h!tty airlines, along with such esteemed company as Air Italia and the long defunct Tower Airlines. The only saving grace is that the part of CDG in which we've gotten to lose our afternoon has reasonably comfortable lounging chaises and it gives me time to catch up on writing blog posts and other work.

[Time passes]
So we are now much of the way to Morocco. The plane started boarding at the time they had previously claimed we would leave (4:30PM). It's not a bad plane, but they forgot our vegetarian meals, so I didn't have much to eat. They didn't have any hot water, so no tea, and there doesn't appear to be soap in the bathrooms. Definitely a $h!t airline.

One thing that really got me - and I can't claim this Air Morocco is the first airline I've gotten this from - is that when we asked for our meal, they looked at our tickets, told us there was no special meal marking, and then implied it was because we had failed to "confirm" our special meal at check-in. Now as I've just said, other airlines have given us the exact same line - despite our having a printout from the airline confirming that we are booked for such-and-such flight w/ vegetarian meal (or kosher meal or whatever we happened to order). I just don't get airline logic. If I request a special meal when I book my ticket and the airline confirms that choice in writing on a receipt, what possible justification is there for that meal not to be present? I mean, (a) I've checked in, (b) I've previously requested the special meal and (c) the airline has confirmed receipt of that choice. Thus in my world (a) AND (b) imply that the airline ought to put a special meal on the plan since I'm on the plane and (c) implies the airline is aware of the above conclusion. Yet, still apparently it is somehow my responsibility (despite no airline every having informed me of this obligation beforehand) to "confirm" my meal choice. I give up. Although I did get soap when I managed to find a stewardess to ask. But all the bathrooms were occupied by that point. Fu&*ing airlines.

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