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Joined: Sun May 14, 2006 12:00 am

We Missed Every Connection Except The First!

Sat May 20, 2006 9:34 pm

Hello everyone! My first post in A.NET after being just an anonymous reader for a looong time Big grin

So, this trip happened about a year and a half if I remember correctly. It was supposed to be PEW - MCT - BAH - FRA - DFW. Here's what happen:

We were supposed to leave on a Saturday, but due to some reason, our seats weren't booked on that flight, so we went on Sunday early morning. However, this meant that only 2 of our seats (out of a total of 8 - we're a big family), were confirmed from Frankfurt to DFW. Little did we know that this was only the start of our problems (and adventures!). We were travelling by Gulf Air. I think at that time, it was the 767 from PEW - MCT.

We taxied out to the runway, and I anticipated the sudden thrust and acceleration of takeoff. As we rolled down the runway, I could see the distance markers counting off, until we finally took off. We turned south and avoided flying into Afghanistan, then down over the Baluchistan mountains. Breakfast time. We were served a couple of small halves of tortillas, some mashed "daal", or lentils/beans, juice, coffee, etc. All in all, it was pretty okay (excellent compared to American Airlines!). Finally, emerging over the shiny blue waters of the Indian Ocean somewhere near Gwadar I suppose, we turned west and headed straight for the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It was an uneventful trip, and we landed in Muscat without further ado.

After landing in Muscat, we had about 13 hours until our next flight, which was to go from MCT to BAH, and continue onwards to FRA. So, as per the standard policy, we were issued transit hotel accomodations. Before we could leave the airport though, we had to fill out the Transit Visa forms. A bunch of other people from the flight apparently also had to go to transit, as they were later going on to Jeddah. They were uneducated manual labor workers and it was their first flight for most of them, and so they didn't know how to fill out the forms. They obviously did not know English or Arabic, and the majority of them did not even speak Urdu! The ones that did speak some Urdu though, gathered the rest of them together, and they asked us if we could fill out their Transit Visa forms for them. So 7 people from my family ended up filling the forms for about 25 other people as well. Big grin I wondered at that point what those people would have done had there been an emergency. The FAs would have had no way to communicate with them. Could such situations be a safety hazard?

We finally got the Transit Visa, and were on our way to the hotel. It was a busy day at all the hotels, since we were there on Eid-ul-Fitr. Lunch and dinner was great, and then it was time go back. We finally took off around an hour past midnight, in an A330 bound for Bahrain, and later continuing on to Frankfurt. My brother and I were happy, because the A330s have the PTVs installed. We were served a little snack consisting of a salad, and a stuffed meat sandwich type of thing. We landed in Bahrain around an hour later. After landing, the flight attendant announced, "All passengers continuing on to Frankfurt, please remain seated." As expected. And so we did. About 10 minutes later, the FA announces again, "At this time we would like to request all passengers travelling on to Frankfurt to please disembark the aircraft and have your boarding passes with you. Thank you." Uh oh. It had happened. We already knew if we didn't get on a flight within a couple hours, we would miss our connection to DFW from Frankfurt. So were taken inside the terminal and we went to the Gulf Air counter to have our flights rebooked. There was another family with us also travelling onwards to Frankfurt, and so we went there together. There was a french tourist group also there, and the man that was speaking to the GF agent was pretty angry, even insulting the agent personally. In my opinion, it wasn't the agent's fault at all that their flight had been cancelled or delayed, so that kind of rude behavior is completely uncalled for. Eventually, the manager came out. He then explained to everyone that one of their planes had broken down in Sydney. As a result, they were having to shift planes around to compensate, and it had resulted in delays and cancellations. Our turn finally came, and we were told that the Frankfurt flight was to depart in the morning, 9 hours later. We had definitely missed our connection. One of the GF agents then took our passports, entered some numbers into their system, and attempted to rebook us to DFW. This was the summer season, and the flights between Europe and America are fully booked, so it took her some time to find some flights for us. She finally booked us on a GF flight tomorrow morning to Heathrow, and from Heathrow, I believe an American Airlines flight to DFW. We were booked into a hotel for a second time.

We got off the bus at the hotel, and my father asked the hotel manager for two or three rooms which were either connected together, or right next to each other. The hotel manager said that all their regular rooms have been booked (again, due to Eid), so he offered us their Luxury Suite. Of course, we said yes! I stepped into the suite, and I was blown away. The bathroom in the master bedroom was bigger than my entire dorm room! And the best part of all, we were staying at the expense of Gulf Air. Yes, we slept like dead people that night. My father had to make some quick phone calls to the states though, informing the hospital he was going to be working at, that he would be a couple of days late because of our airline misfortune.

The next morning, we were back at the airport, and ready for our flight to Heathrow. Unfortunately, we got an A340 without PTVs for this flight. After we landed at Heathrow, we went to the GF agent there to confirm our booking to DFW. He checked our tickets, and guess what? The agent at Bahrain had only booked us until Heathrow! Just when things couldn't get any worse, they did.  banghead  Finally, after standing for about an hour, we got a booking on a British Airways flight to Miami, and an American Airlines flight to DFW. Holy crap. This was going to be a long trip. And then again, since the flight was the next morning, we were booked overnight into a hotel. It was strange, and cool, to be on the streets of London. I hadn't been in London, other than the airport, since I was about 3, about 13-14 years ago (from the date of this trip). We were immensely grateful for being booked into a hotel, because we were dead tired. We were taken on the "hopper" buses to the hotel. Then, once again...back to the airport the next morning. We got checked in to the BA flight, and it was a B744! Awesome. I had been in the 742 and 743, both on PIA, but never in a 744. So, we took off. I hate the weather around Europe, because whenever you take off, you can only look down until you cross the thick cloud layer. Above that, the sunlight off the clouds is completely blinding so you have to close the window blinds.  Sad It was mealtime soon. Now, we had requested vegetarian or Kosher meals (we couldn't eat the regular meat in Europe, since we are Muslims). The FA came to us, and explained very pleasantly that because of the circumstances of our booking, they had not gotten enough time to procure the meals for us. So they would serve us with extra meals from Business or First class. Way to go, BA service! My experience with BA service was the best I'd ever had. We landed at Miami International, and after we disembarked, there was a BA agent waiting for us. She informed us that, again, due to the hectic circumstances of our booking, only two of our bags had made it onto the flight. The other bags would be shipped to DFW ASAP, and we could pick them up from there. Another plus for BA ...they were apologizing on GF's behalf! Since our next flight was domestic, we had to pick up the two bags from our luggage, and check them in again. We also went through immigration without any problems.

Finally, we were on the AA flight to DFW. It was a 757, my first time in one. Big grin Well, we took off, and then they announced on the PA that if you wanted headphones to listen to the TV audio, you would have to BUY one. I thought, man, are they down to this now? Anyways, I couldn't care less, because I was so dead sleepy, that I dozed off without even knowing it, and the next thing I knew, were on approach to DFW. We finally got home safe, very tired from exciting adventure.  Smile

Hope you guys like the trip report, it's my first! Hopefully, I can bring you some pictures of airplanes on approach (and sometimes takeoff) from LHE, as my unversity is directly beneath the approach path. Also, two trip reports a year (this time with pics hopefully), as I travel to the states twice a year.
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:06 am

RE: We Missed Every Connection Except The First!

Sun May 21, 2006 6:28 am

Great Trip Report,

Welcome to A.net.

Quoting Cefarix (Thread starter):
Well, we took off, and then they announced on the PA that if you wanted headphones to listen to the TV audio, you would have to BUY one.

Welcome to America my friend. I believe it is this way on almost every US Airline, except for JetBlue!
Posts: 9605
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: We Missed Every Connection Except The First!

Sun May 21, 2006 7:04 am

Wow that is an incredible ordeal. It sounds like the airline lost a lot of money transporting you and your family.

Honestly your recount is very surprising in today's aviation environment. That would have been a very common thing to have happen 20-30 years ago, but airlines today are so much more organized and should not let things happen.

And finally something is wrong with them booking you LHR-DFW since Bermuda II does not allow that route to be flown. You would have to go via ORD (or some other city like MIA in your case) or transfer to LGW.
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