Sabena 690
Topic Author
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Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:41 am

Paris Charles De Gaulle – Amsterdam, Varig McDonnel Douglas MD11


Introduction

Flying on a tri-jet… while being a common occurrence in the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, the privilege of flying a B727, L1011, DC10 and MD11 became rarer and rarer during the past few years. Airline after airline started to take the 3-holers out of service. Massive amounts of B727’s and DC10’s were sent to the desert, while other airlines decided to convert their MD11’s into the cargo’s, or to buy converted MD11 freighters. This is exactly the reason why the MD11 was very high on my wish-list.

Varig offered me the opportunity to fly the MD11 for a reasonable 75 EUR. As I’m turning 21 very shortly, I decided to buy myself a little birthday-present, above the other trips I usually do in the first two weeks of July.

After a few emails with forum member Flying Belgian, we decided to do a ‘Mission MD11’. A date was set, namely July 6, 2005.

This was the plan: Flying Belgian was going to fly BRU-CDG on SN (operated by Axis Airways), while I booked a youth fare on the Thalys high speed train. The Thalys allowed me to arrive already at 9:08 in CDG, while the Axis Airways flight arrived 2 hours later (and was almost 3x the fare SN asked in comparison with the Thalys). About 3 months after our booking, Mission MD11 had finally started.


Wednesday July 6, 2005

My alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning, and I jumped immediately out of my bed, even after only 2 hours of sleeping. Mission MD11 gave me enough adrenaline to be already very awake at this early hour, while most people were still asleep (certainly students, as July – August is supposed to be holiday for us  Wink).

After some final preparations, I went downstairs to have a look at the news on TV, as I was a little too early to depart to the train station already. After about 30 minutes, I was on my way to the station, which is only a 10-minutes’ walk. I catched a train to Ghent first before catching an Intercity train to Brussels. Those who have visited Belgium already will certainly know Ghent, as it is (in my unbiased opinion  Wink) Belgium’s nicest city, and my place of birth as well.

OK: before you are all bored, back to the trip now. I arrived in Brussels 45 minutes before the departure of my Thalys train. For those who don’t know: Air France stopped flying to Brussels, in favour of the Thalys. Thalys operates 5 daily trains between Brussels South (no, this Brussels South has nothing to do with Ryanair Airport at Charleroi  Wink) and Aéroport Charles de Gaulle. Taking the Thalys is very convenient for AF passengers, as you arrive almost in the middle of Terminal 2.

I counted at least 30 passengers on this train who had an AF connection. There were probably much more, as a lot of passengers apparently didn’t know that the first 2 compartments of the train had been entirely reserved for AF passengers. A lot of AF passengers however where spread into the other parts of the train. They apparently didn’t know that AF actually reserves First Class seats for its passengers, inclusive a First Class service.

Air France passengers putting their luggage on the train:

(displaying the image is not possible for some reason, so I have to give you a link to the picture: http://coppermine.luchtzak.be/displayimage.php?pos=-5183

The Thalys left and arrived exactly on time, and a few minutes after arrival, I was already on the bus to the famous spot near the Hilton where I was going to meet Flying Belgian after his arrival from Brussels. For info: arriving in Paris was exactly as I had expected it: we immediately ended up in the middle of a demonstration. Don’t ask me the reason why they were striking, but it caused quite some traffic jams. I took the bus to Terminal 3, where I arrived 15 minutes later. From this point, it was only a short walk to an (in my opinion) great spot for planespotters.

There were nice visitors like 9A-CTM, Croatia Airlines newest’ A320 in the Star Alliance livery:



Flying Belgian arriving on F-GIXH from Brussels:



Air Tahiti A343 F-OJTN:



Cabo Verde Airlines B752 D4-CBP:

http://coppermine.luchtzak.be/displayimage.php?pos=-5194

And lot’s of others like VN-A141, a B772 of Vietnam Airlines; FAB2116, a B732 of the Brasil Airforce; B-6055, an A346 of China Eastern; 7T-VJW, an A332 of Air Algerie; ZS-SLA, an A342 of South African Airways; lot’s of others, and the most interesting aircraft for me: a L1011 of Starjet, A6-BSM, which is stored over there apparently.


Paris Charles De Gaulle, Terminal 1

Varig uses T1 at CDG. Flying Belgian had already warned me before, and indeed: I couldn’t believe my eyes when I entered the terminal. I had expected a clean, good looking terminal, as Paris is a world city (deserving a world class quality airport), but no: Terminal 1 is a smelly, dirty, dark piece of crap. I don’t know how else I can describe it. What a difference with Terminal 2. Unbelievable but true. We checked a monitor for our flight, and after watching the arrival of our MD11 in the far distance, we went to our check-in row.


Check-in

At this point, I told Flying Belgium: “Mission MD11 has succeeded”! A comment I would regret 2 hours later.

Check-in was handled by Globeground. There were about 8 passengers in front of us, and after standing in the little queue for about 10 minutes, it was our turn. The lady behind the counter was very friendly, and gave me a boarding pass without a seat assignment (although I had reserved 17A). Indeed: CDG-AMS-CDG is free seating on Varig, due to the low number of passengers flying this sector. What an excitement Big grin

Although this flight only had about 50-60 passengers on it, Flying Belgian had to wait till the end of check-in before he got his boarding pass, as he was travelling with a standby-ticket. Once he received his boarding pass, we continued to security and the checkpoint for passports.


Airside in CDG, Terminal 2

The guy checking the passports obviously wasn’t very interested in what he was doing, as he just let me pass without having to show my passport. He saw my boarding pass, and when I was taking my passport, he said already that I could continue. Quite amazing but true.

After going through security (the guy saw my pen and paper and asked me whether I was from the ‘paparazzi’ Wink), we went to our gate where Victor Tango Uniform was waiting for us.


Paris Charles De Gaulle – Amsterdam
Flight: RG8720
Aircraft type: McDonnel Douglas MD11
Registration: PP-VTU ‘Star Alliance’
STD: 16:00
STA: 17:10


A few pictures from PP-VTU, standing at our gate (sorry for all the obstructions in the pictures):







Some information about the history of this plane: c/n48541 was built in December 1997, destined for Swissair as HB-IWQ:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Peter Unmuth - VAP


After the bankruptcy, Swiss took over the aircraft, but never painted it in the full Swiss-colours. The aircraft was taken out of the Swiss fleet in the beginning of 2004, originally destined for Southern Winds. Finally, Varig took delivery and registered the plane as PP-VTU. The aircraft is now scheduled to undergo a freighter conversion, to join the UPS fleet in 2007.

Back to the flight: it was 15:30 at this point, so boarding was about to start. Globeground staff was standing at the gate, making the final preparations before we were allowed to board. Imagine the excitement! Big grin

Time passed, and it was already 15:50 without any indication yet that boarding was going to start. I didn’t really care, as boarding the +/- 30 passengers wouldn’t take a lot of time.

16h: I started to get a little worried. Why weren’t they doing anything? The reason became finally clear, as an announcement was made. The disappointment was huge when the gate staff suddenly announced… that the fuellers, who still had to put 3 tons of fuel in our MD11, had started a surprise strike  Sad. Indeed: a bunch of (apologies for my vocabulary) morons had suddenly decided to do a surprise strike. No advance warning, nothing. Traffic at CDG suddenly came to a halt. It was apparently a general strike: no planes got fuel anymore. The only thing we could do was waiting, and hope that the strike wouldn’t last too long… but it did last long.

20 minutes later, Globeground staff announced (only in French this time, which is unacceptable) that they were negotiating with the strikers, as we only needed 3 tons of fuel (which is nothing for an MD11). Nothing happened however.

At this point, I was still defending Varig. The lady sitting on my left side suddenly started a discussion: “I do not want to fly Varig anymore”. I asked her what Varig had to do with a fuel strike. “Euh, I don’t know, but I still don’t want to fly them anymore”. Sigh :roll:

It was already 16:45 at this point, and we still hadn’t received additional information. A few minutes later, we saw somebody of Globeground at the door near our gate. So we went to him to ask him a few questions. They had apparently tried to fly to ORY first, fuel the plane over there, and fly ORY-AMS afterwards. But this didn’t work out apparently.

At 17:30, the guy from Globeground made an announcement I really didn’t want to hear: “Ladies and Gentleman, the flight has been cancelled”  Sad. My blood was boiling at this point. I wasn’t angry at Varig (yet), but the attitude of the strikers had really disgusted me. Almost no flights were leaving at this point, by the way. It’s amazing how an obviously not so numerous number of people is allowed to cause such a huge mess at a big airport as CDG. They should have to prohibit this by law.

We went downstairs to arrivals, and because all other passengers had bags checked in, we had to wait over there for the bags. But… Varig hadn’t officially cancelled the flight yet, so the ground staff refused to take the bags out of the aircraft. At this point I was getting a little annoyed, and went to the Globeground girl who hadn’t done anything yet. She had nothing done at the gate to assist the passengers (she was just standing and sitting there already from 15:30), and now also, she was just standing there, a few metres away from the group of passengers. This while the guy from Globeground (who was really helpful by the way) had to do all the work. So I went to her, and told her that I and Flying Belgian didn’t have any luggage. I asked her whether there was no faster solution to help us out, instead of just waiting there before the others would get their luggage. She told me I could go upstairs to the Globeground desk, but luckily, the other Globeground guy told me in time that this wouldn’t be a solution. Because I and Flying Belgian didn’t have any luggage, he told us to follow him. We would go upstairs to the Varig desk. There was also a third person without luggage: she was from Asia (sorry, I forgot from where exactly, but I think she was from Thailand), and we went to the Varig desk, which was… closed. Nobody there. So we had to wait. And wait. Till after about an hour, somebody from Varig appeared. The guy from Globeground, who had already told us that I was going to get a hotel room from Varig (not Flying Belgian, as he had a standby ticket, which wasn’t a problem as one room was enough for both of us), went immediately to him. We got the opportunity to speak to him for 2 seconds. As the Globeground guy had promised me a hotel room, I went to the Varig guy, and asked him whether he was the one arranging the hotel rooms and rebookings to the next flight. His reply: “You don’t get a hotel room”. At this point, Flying Belgian said: “but he paid for his ticket, and we aren’t from Paris anyway”. His reply was: “C’est dommage”. His attitude was frustrating: “all this is your problem, not mine. Let me do my job in the easiest possible way, and f*ck off”. We didn’t have the time to talk to him further, as he just walked away. Can you imagine this?

The lady from Asia had to call her friend in Paris to ask him whether he could pick her up. So during the 90 seconds the Varig guy was there, she had asked him whether she could use a phone. “If you want to phone, use a public phone”. Also the Globeground guy was so amazed by the rude attitude of this guy, that he offered the lady to use his own (!) cellphone, so that she could call her friend. At this point, I told the guy from Globeground that it was a pity that the staff from Varig couldn’t be as professional as he was. Big thumbs up to him! He stayed calm all the time, and helped the pax in the best possible way.

As I wrote above, the guy from Varig had walked away already after 90 seconds, and he stayed away. Till 18:45. Not to assist the pax flying GRU-AMS, as I first thought, as they had joined us already in the meantime at the Varig ticketing counter.

He arrived, and I was the first in line to have my ticket changed.
Varig: “Come back tomorrow, same time, same flight. Next”.
Me: “Euh, ok thanks, and how about the hotel room I was promised?”.
Varig: “Vous êtes un passager local, you don’t get one”.
Me: “Sorry but I’m not a local passenger as I’m from Belgium”.
Varig: “That’s your problem, orders from the supervisor”.
Me: “Sorry but this is unacceptable. Other airlines have restarted their flights in the meantime. You tell me that I have to wait 24h for the next flight, while there are plenty of other flights to AMS in the meantime, and you don’t give me a hotel room?”
Varig: “Indeed, you don’t get one”. Again with this “I-don’t-care”-mentality.
Me: “I want to talk to the supervisor”
Varig: “The supervisor isn’t here”
Me: “When will the supervisor arrive?”
Varig: “If you are lucky within one hour”

At this point, he had left his counter. I did something I totally didn’t like, but his attitude had made me so disgusted that I asked him his name, as I was going to write a letter of complaint.
Me: “What’s your name, Sir? I’m going to write a letter of complaint”
Varig: “You don’t get it”.
Me: “No sir, your name” and I gave him a pen and paper
At this point, he walked away, but I stepped after him and asked him for his name once again. So he took my paper, and wrote a name on it. “Is this your name?”. “No, the one of my manager”. “I want your name, Sir, not the one of your manager”. “Mauro, call me like that”, and he walked away.

Those who know me well, will know that it is very difficult to get me angry. But this guy really made my blood boiling. I didn’t try further to get his name, and went back to the counter, where some heavy discussions with other disgusted passengers where going on. “Mauro” joined again, and 2 minutes later, I heard somebody who was as disgusted as me shouting: “IS THERE ANYBODY WITH BRAINS OVER HERE??????”. This passengers must have been angry as well  Wink.

As it was clear that Varig didn’t want to do anything for its customers, Flying Belgian did a great job in finding a hotel room. Everything around the airport was full (or the price was something like 160 EUR), but thanks to a friend working for Accor Hotels, he managed to book a Mercure hotel at one RER-stop from the airport for a very good price.

End of day 1.


Thursday July 5, 2005

It was 8am when I got a telephone call from forum member Md-11er, who knew about our situation. “Fred, todays Varig flight is cancelled as well”. “Whaaaaat???”. There went our last little bit of hope. We got up quickly, and went to the RER station to proceed to Terminal 1, in the hope that Globeground would be able to help us out. I checked a flight information screen, and the flight was arriving from GRU apparently, but the CDG-AMS-CDG stretch had been cancelled. Without any real reason, as everything was back to normal at CDG.

The people at Globeground were again very friendly, but they told me that they could do nothing as they were waiting for somebody from Varig, who was going to arrive at 11am (it was 9.15am at this point). They said they were going to try to put me on the 12:35 Air France flight to AMS. I was disappointed, but it was better than nothing I guess? However, there was one problem. The Varig representative was going to arrive at 11am, while check-in for my AF flight (in Terminal 2, the other side of the airport) was going to close only one hour later. The RG representative really had to arrive at 11am, otherwise it would be a serious problem for me, as the next available flight was only around 17:35. Knowing that I had to be in BRU the next day for a BMI flight at 7:20, I really had to take the AF flight at 12:35, or I would never be able to arrive in BRU on time.

The people at the Globeground desk asked me to come back at 11am. So me and Flying Belgian left. Because Flying Belgian his ticket could also be used on AF flights, we went to an AF desk, where the lady told him that AF would accept his ticket without any problem. I asked the lady which aircraft would operate the 12:35 flight to AMS, and was glad when I heard: ‘a sept-trois-sept’. It was a nice surprise, as AF only operate the –500. This would be my first B735 flight! However, there was one condition: the RG representative had to be on time.

Time passed by slowly, and it finally became 11am. Flying Belgian had already gone to T2 in the meantime, to change his ticket for the AF flight.

I arrived at the Globeground desk, and my fear became reality: nobody from Varig. The people from Globeground were annoyed as well at this point. I asked her whether they knew why the flight had been cancelled. “No sir, even we don’t know it”. Quite amazing but true.

At 11:20, somebody from Varig arrived, threw a few stamps at the Globeground desk, and walked away. They changed my ticket, and with only 25 minutes to go, I ran to the bus station at the arrivals level (one level above the departures level, and the other side of Terminal 2). I stopped a bus which was about to depart, and arrived at CDG Terminal 2F only 10 minutes before check-in closing time.

***

As this report became quite long in the meantime, I’ll keep the AF flight for another trip report. I hope you ‘enjoyed’ this report, although it didn’t contain a flight report, neither a very positive flight experience.

I’ll send a letter of complaint to Varig, because the behaviour of their ground staff at CDG was unacceptable. I hope to get my money back, or at least a compensation which can be used for another Varig flight. Only when I get a compensation, I’ll be able to make a second Mission MD11.

All comments/additions/criticism/… are welcome! By the way: in case you know something about the new EU legislation, and you think I have to refer to certain rules/…, feel free to post it over here as it would help me to write my letter of complaint. Thanks!

Regards
Frederic
 
trident2e
Posts: 1286
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:56 am

Wow, what an experience. Sorry you had so much trouble. I flew this route about a year ago - the flight had a four hour delay and my experience of Varig's staff was the same as yours. No wonder the company is bankrupt, basically their people are crap.
 
JRadier
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:04 am

Frederic,

This is a very unfortunate situation, but you might want to check out this website for your rights (and since 17th february 2005 you have quite a lot) http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/rights/info_en.htm


Jurgen
 
LeonB1985
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:34 am

What terrible behaviour. We all have bad days but I'd like to think I would never treat others in such an unprofessional way. I hope Varig compensate you and take appropriate action against this totally idiot who very clearly shouldn't be working in a customer service role!
From the construction site that is better-known as London Heathrow Airport
 
Venezuela747
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:44 pm

I am impressed by the way Varig handled the situation....maybe its the staff at CDG or the guy helping you......I hope you get compensated, at least they need to pay for your expenses that day at CDG.

It is sad to see trijet flights dissappearing every day....I got my shot on a B727 MIA-CCS quite the flight with some pretty heavy experience and some american sitting next to me that had way to many drinks. Maybe you should give it a try again some time soon 75EUR sounds like a pretty sweet deal
ROLL TIDE!!!
 
TriStar500
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 3:19 pm

Hi Frederic!
I can SO understand your anger and frustration, and considering the sheer amount of incompetence and stupidity of VARIG's staff at CDG, you have really behaved very well. While this is probably one of the first trip reports in this forum without an actual flight in it, it definitely is one of the most interesting ones, because it sheds some lights onto the question, what makes or breaks a good airline.

Running an everyday operation according to schedule or plan is a basic requirement, which has to be mastered by every company wanting to stay in business. But what sets a good and a mediocre company apart? It is the way disruptions or irregular operations are handled.

IMO, Varig has really shown off, why they are not a top class airline. If something goes wrong, the incompetence or lack of motivation of the employees shows clearly and affects the sole group of persons, which should NEVER be affected if your company wants to stay in business for a longer period of time: the passengers/ customers.

No wonder RG is in economic troubles, if they are running such a nonsense operation.

At least you have a way to compensate yourself for the inexcusable acts even if your letter of complaint should be ignored (although I would strongly advise you to check the new EU rules for compensation before your write your letter):
Popular internet forums like this one. Many hundred, if not thousand users will read these trip reports, and if only some of them will refrain from booking RG, your report has already paid for itself.

Once again, thanks for informing us, and I am really looking forward to reading your AF and BD reports.  Smile
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
 
mia
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 5:37 pm

Dude, where the Varig employees Brazillian or French?

I have passed this onto people I know at Varig. Did you get the station manager's name ?
"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen."
 
Sabena 690
Topic Author
Posts: 6065
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:03 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments! I appreciate it  Smile

Quoting Trident2e (Reply 1):
I flew this route about a year ago - the flight had a four hour delay and my experience of Varig's staff was the same as yours

Interesting that I'm not the only one who had troubles with RG's staff at CDG!

Quoting JRadier (Reply 2):
you might want to check out this website for your rights (and since 17th february 2005 you have quite a lot) http://europa.eu.int/comm/transport/air/rights/info_en.htm

Thanks for the link! I'll certainly use it.

Quoting MIA (Reply 6):
where the Varig employees Brazillian or French?

The guy I had to deal with was French.

Hi Jens,

Thanks for the nice compliments!  Smile To be honest, I wouldn't generalize the RG staff at CDG with all people working for RG worldwide. After hanging around for some time in the CDG departure hall, I got the impression several times that several (French) people working there weren't too interested in their job. As long as they get their €€€ at the end of the month, it's OK for them I guess? It's a pity as France is a very nice country in my opinion, which deserves better than an airport like Paris. Look at the huge number of strikes each year, causing a lot of flight delays and cancellations (ATC,...). Once again: they should have to prohibit this kind of "industrial action" by law. An airport used by millions and millions of people on a yearly based, should have to operate 24h a day, 7/7 days.

PS: there are also some AZ/SN/LH/EW reports coming, above AF and BD  Wink

Regards
Frederic
 
nycflyer
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:22 pm

that's a terrible story, but well written. I'm so sorry you couldn't make that flight, after all your preparation. That Varig guy sounds like a total ass.
 
Thomsonfly
Posts: 155
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:25 pm

hi
sorry to hear about your bad experience with Varig. The MD11 is a sweet aircraft, I flew on one from Bangkok to Singapore with Finnair and was one of the best short flights i've had to date on such a large aircraft.
when my my travel light flight was cancelled last year from geneva back to birmingham the attitude of everyone at the airport was disgusting too - and since ive never flown into GVA or with VZ. Airlines need to realise the importance of customer service when there are cancellation issues and understand people just want to understand whats going on than be fobbed off with lies and excuses.

hope your complaint goes through and you finally do get your MD11 flight
regards
mark
 
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airbuseric
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Jul 19, 2005 12:23 am

Thanks for this report! Actually, I just listed myself for coming Thursday for the same CDG-AMS flight on RG Big grin I'll see what happens  irked  It's a standby staff ticket, flight is wide open as usual, and IF they cancel or something like that, I'll go for AF. Nevertheless, my report will come in a few days...

Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
INNflight
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Jul 19, 2005 2:04 am

Frederic,

Thank you a lot for the interesting to read report, I am very sorry for you that you didn't get your -11 experience. ( Got mine on the last Swiss -11 flight... phew  Wink )

Hopefully your letter of complaint will be taken seriously and they can find out who had duty at CDG this day. The way he behaved is ridiculous!

I am really looking forward to your other trip reports!

Cheers,
Florian
Jet Visuals
 
Contact Air
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:32 am

Hi Frederic,

this is really unbelievable! You shouldn't expect such a behaviour from members of staff of a professionally managed airline. Sad that you didn't get your MD-11 ride - let's hope you get a compensation - but do you really want to fly Varig again if they should give you a ticket voucher?

Quoting Sabena 690 (Thread starter):
I counted at least 30 passengers on this train who had an AF connection. There were probably much more, as a lot of passengers apparently didn’t know that the first 2 compartments of the train had been entirely reserved for AF passengers. A lot of AF passengers however where spread into the other parts of the train. They apparently didn’t know that AF actually reserves First Class seats for its passengers, inclusive a First Class service.

Despite the trouble with the flight, I was also interested in your descriptions of the "AF-train", as LH is trying the same on STR-FRA. Interesting that AF has stopped flying BRU-CDG completely and only offers the train. LH, on the other hand, still offers flights between STR and FRA, so people have the choice between the flights or a direct train service (operated by German Rail) between Stuttgart main station and Frankfurt Airport. However, people still seem to prefer the flight on that route: while there used to be exclusive (First Class) cars only for LH-passengers, they have now been abolished and passengers have to use the normal German Rail cars (Business passengers in First Class and Economy pax in Second Class). Obviously demand wasn't high enaugh. So for some reason, the people from Brussels seem to accept the train more than the people from Stuttgart.

I'm looking forward to your other reports,

Regards
Christoph
 
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Flying Belgian
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Jul 19, 2005 5:12 am

Well many thanks to Fred for his patience and accuracy in writing down this concise full report.
There is nothing more I could add except that the way Fred and other pax were treated were absolutely awful. It seems the rep of Varig had instructions from his boss, I guess the station manager. Anyway I will manage to get the full names of them and I will help Frederic in filling his complaint towards Varig, and the management of Star Alliance in Paris.

Can some help us in saying if VARIG was obliged to pay Frederic's accomodation knowing that RG cancelled the flight due to a handling agent strike ?? Local pax (CDG-AMS) didn't get anything while POA-GRU-AMS pax got an accomodation for free !!

My case was less sensitive as I had a staff ID ticket which does not entitle me the same rights as a regular pax (like Fred). But still I'm very thankful to AF who gave me a seat the next day.

In this case the least we could expect from Varig was a free accommodation in CDG/surroundings. At least for Frederic.

Anyway I still try to get that MD11 on my records, maybe in September... But all in all I still had fun with plenty of good sights in CDG (the // taxiways are really a GREAT place !!) and in AMS (the Polderbaan = paradise on earth !!).

And of course many thx to Fred who stayed very cool though I could feel he was deeply disapointed (so was I...)  Wink


FB.
Life is great at 41.000 feet...
 
INNflight
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:26 am

Quoting Flying Belgian (Reply 13):
Can some help us in saying if VARIG was obliged to pay Frederic's accomodation knowing that RG cancelled the flight due to a handling agent strike ??

Hey,

Just browsed Varig's website looking for anything like a terms and conditions contract, but I unfortunately didn't find anything that could be helpful.

I then tried to go through the steps of doing a booking, with the hope to find a terms and conditions paper somewhere before confirming flights or doing payment, but also no luck here.... I wasn't even able to select flights, their webpage for bookings didn't work.

A not very professional website.


Still, good luck and please keep us posted what happens regarding this!

cheers,
Florian
Jet Visuals
 
Ndebele
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:21 pm

Hi Frederic,

what a pity to read that your MD-11 mission was not successful! You are not very lucky, it was not the first time you were stranded because of a strike, was it? I remember your report about the BA strike at LHR, unlucky you!

Still I enjoyed reading your report, because it's not only interesting to read about actual flights on airlines, but also to read about their behavior once something goes wrong.

Quoting TriStar500 (Reply 5):
Many hundred, if not thousand users will read these trip reports, and if only some of them will refrain from booking RG, your report has already paid for itself.

You must be joking - CDG-AMS must be one of the most popular routes of the a.net community, people will keep on flying on this flight.

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 10):
Actually, I just listed myself for coming Thursday for the same CDG-AMS flight on RG

You see what I mean Big grin

Anyway, I hope you get some compensation from Varig, at least for the hotel room. Keep us updated about it!

Regards, Alex.
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:15 am

What a pity that VARIG became such a crappy airline. I flew on VARIG in 1983 between Zurich and Rio on a DC 10. There were great in those days. Superb and friendly service and pretty flight attendants  Wink . I am asking myself why Star Alliance doesn't throw them out. BTW I think I had this MD 11 you should have taken on a Swissair flight between Zurich and LAX. 2-4-3 seating in economy, best solution for 9 abreast (fare better than 2-5-2 or worst 3-3-3).
 
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apuneger
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:51 am

Hallo Frederic,

I heard from Chris aka MD-11er that day that you got stuck at CDG due to a strike. I can't believe my eyes when I read your report. I can very well imagine how you must have felt that day (makes me feel like the day we got stuck at LHR - you seems to attract airport strikes  Wink ).

I don't know what I would have done. I might have ended up at the local police office for tearing down the Varig counter, that's for sure...

Anyway, isn't it strange how something like that can terribly influence ones opinion on an airline: if you remember well I did the very same trip a couple of months ago and all went well...

Anyway, I really feel sorry for you and I still hope you get compensation from RG, like a free flight CDG-AMS, and why not even go for the compensation for your trains to CDG and AMS etc...

Greets,
Ivan
Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
 
Sabena 690
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:29 am

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 10):
I just listed myself for coming Thursday for the same CDG-AMS flight on RG

Good luck! I hope that you'll fly the MD11, and I'm looking forward to the trip report!

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 12):
but do you really want to fly Varig again if they should give you a ticket voucher?

I would, actually. I don't want to generalize their CDG-staff with the thousands of people working for Varig. And RG CDG-AMS is for me the only affordable way to fly the MD11  Sad

Quoting Contact Air (Reply 12):
So for some reason, the people from Brussels seem to accept the train more than the people from Stuttgart.

I don't have any passenger figures, but I'm sure that AF would be able to attract much more passengers if they would fly to BRU. If you look at the number of pax that BA and LH load in BRU on a daily base, I'd say that AF is quite a minor player for connecting passengers!

Something else I'd like to see is information about the yields: AF often offers VERY cheap tickets from Brussels (New York for 310 EUR for example).

Quoting INNflight (Reply 14):
A not very professional website.

Indeed! By the way, another story about this: when I purchased my ticket online, it was mentioned on my booking confirmation that they were going to send a paper ticket to my home adress. A few days later, I get an email from Kales (the GSA of Varig in Belgium):

Dear Mr Backaert,

Unfortunately, we are not able to issue E-TKT in Belgium.

If you are still interested, we can send you an invoice and you can pay by bank transfer.
As soon as we receive your payment, we will send you the ticket by post. There will be an additional charge of 35 EUR for this service


An additional charge of 35 EUR!? I immediately mailed them back that nothing about this was mentioned at my booking confirmation, and that the total price was 75 EUR, ALL INCLUSIVE. One day later, I got an email back that it was 'ok'. They were not going to charge me the 35 EUR.

Quoting Ndebele (Reply 15):
You are not very lucky, it was not the first time you were stranded because of a strike, was it? I remember your report about the BA strike at LHR, unlucky you!

Indeed, the second time in 2 years time, and I'm quite fed up with this to be honest!

Quoting Apuneger (Reply 17):
2-4-3 seating in economy, best solution for 9 abreast (fare better than 2-5-2 or worst 3-3-3).

I fully agree!

Quoting Apuneger (Reply 17):
Anyway, isn't it strange how something like that can terribly influence ones opinion on an airline: if you remember well I did the very same trip a couple of months ago and all went well...

Indeed, you can't believe how much I was looking forward to this trip after having read your excellent report! Big grin

Quoting Apuneger (Reply 17):
like a free flight CDG-AMS, and why not even go for the compensation for your trains to CDG and AMS etc...

Indeed... I really hope for a compensation as well, because I don't have any money anymore for a new trip. A Varig voucher would be an excellent excuse to try it again  Wink

Thanks once again for all the comments, and I'll keep you updated!

Regards
Frederic
 
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apuneger
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Jul 21, 2005 5:33 am

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 18):
If you are still interested, we can send you an invoice and you can pay by bank transfer.
As soon as we receive your payment, we will send you the ticket by post. There will be an additional charge of 35 EUR for this service

Since when does it cost 35 EUR to buy a stamp and print something? Totally rubbish. Personally I think it's really pitty that you have to do either that or go to their office in Diegem (remember people, Kales' office is no longer in downtown Brussels as I found out the hard way...). Why can't they issue e-tickets like many other airlines nowadays? It's soooooo much easier.

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 18):
Thanks once again for all the comments, and I'll keep you updated!

You're more than welcome!

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 18):

Quoting Apuneger (Reply 17):
2-4-3 seating in economy, best solution for 9 abreast (fare better than 2-5-2 or worst 3-3-3).

What the hell is happening here? Did we just discover a flaw in the system?  Wink

Greets,
Ivan
Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:44 am

Sabena and Flying Belgian,

I'm really sorry for what happened. I do not work for RG, but can tell you I have never had such experience with them. But it is indeed true that they are not the airline they used to be some years ago.

I hope you do get the names of the people who mistreated you, tour friend, and the passangers and send them to Varig and, hopefully, RG fire their a**'s.

Good luck with the complain letter and I hope you get your money back/voucher, and don't give up on the tri-jet!

Cheers,
PPVRA
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
 
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chrisnh
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:37 am

Quoting Trident2e (Reply 1):
His reply: �You don�t get a hotel room�. At this point, Flying Belgian said: �but he paid for his ticket, and we aren�t from Paris anyway�. His reply was: �C�est dommage�. His attitude was frustrating: �all this is your problem, not mine. Let me do my job in the easiest possible way, and f*ck off�. We didn�t have the time to talk to him further, as he just walked away. Can you imagine this?

I hope this guy crashes his car and it bursts into flames, while someone stands nearby, saying, 'C'est dommage.' I think that phrase must also be the French National Anthem.

Chris in NH
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:56 am

Dear Sabena & Flying Belgian,

I have relayed your trip report to RG's management in Rio de Janeiro HQ.
I don't work for RG but i have some troubles in the past with the company and nowadays i share my trips between RG and JJ.
The kind of behaviour from RG staff at CDG is absolutelly unacceptable and it's not the main behaviour you can find in RG staff in Brazil, Miami, New York, Lisbon or Buenos Aires (the places i can say something).
Hope they can return your money or offer a upgraded trip on Biz Class of F on a M11 !

Rgds,
Felipe
New York + Rio de Janeiro = One of the best combinations !
 
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Flying Belgian
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Jul 21, 2005 3:25 pm

Thank you so much Felipe, I appreciate your gesture !!

Regards;
FB.
Life is great at 41.000 feet...
 
Leskova
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:25 pm

Sorry to read about your bad luck, guys - but maybe you'll get the chance again at some point.

Unfortunately, the behavior of RG's staff at the airport in Paris matches the behavior of RG's staff at the office here in Frankfurt (or wherever they transfer our calls when we're trying to call their agent's hotline): we had some problems with a fare (contradicting conditions in a fare) and when a colleague called RG the lady actually managed to ask "What's IATA Tariff Conference Area 1? I've never heard of that!"... and that in a department working with ticketing agents...  Yeah sure

Good luck - and I certainly hope RG behaves better while processing your complaint than they did at the airport... that was not just unprofessional, but purely unbelievable behavior: not even a third-world startup-airline without money and decades-old planes that haven't been serviced for years should behave that way, and most certainly not a member of the Star Alliance.

Regards,
Frank
Smile - it confuses people!
 
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airbuseric
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sat Jul 23, 2005 7:57 pm

I managed it to fly on RG to AMS Big grin They didn't cancel it, lucky me!
You can read my tripreport here

I hope you enjoy reading it,

Eric
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sat Jul 23, 2005 11:01 pm

Dear Frederic,

I am very sorry to hear that flying the MD-11 did not work out for you, especially since I know how much you were looking forward to it from previous posts and your descriptions in this report.
When I took the RG flight from AMS to CDG in May, everything went smooth, however I (fortunately) did not have to make any experiences with the ground staff.
That RG guy is a complete disgrace for the whole company and I just don´t get how people like him manage to become and remain employed by airlines that claim to be service oriented and customer friendly. It was very reasonable that you stayed calm though as this certainly put you in a better position regarding your complaint afterwards.

I sincerely hope that RG will compensate you in an appropriate way, and, surely more important for you, that you will manage to fly the MD-11 before the retirement of these wonderful planes.  Smile

Daniel
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sat Jul 23, 2005 11:47 pm

I am sorry to hear about your travails with RG in this Trip Report and that the airline's staff treated you with such disdain. This is reminding me of my experiences with JM 5 years ago (which I wrote about in a Trip Report on this forum). On my return from KIN to POS JM cancelled the flight but I was not notified about it despite having already checked in, submitted a piece of luggage and held a boarding pass. When after 3 hours of waiting I asked a staff member about the status of the flight I was informed that it was cancelled and that "all the passengers had been informed" - but I was not! Their attitude was also very slack and unprofessional but eventually I got back my luggage and was sent over to BW, who accepted me on their flight 415 to POS. I did write JM about their poor service when I returned to POS but never got a reply and in any case JM ended POS service just a few weeks later.

Hopefully you get your MD11 flight soon. My father has flown on KL MD11's and was impressed by the plane's performance (I have yet to fly on one).

TrintoCan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sun Jul 24, 2005 8:06 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for the additional comments  Smile

Quoting LipeGIG (Reply 22):
I have relayed your trip report to RG's management in Rio de Janeiro HQ.

Thanks very much for the gesture!

Quoting Leskova (Reply 24):
"What's IATA Tariff Conference Area 1? I've never heard of that!"... and that in a department working with ticketing agents...

How can you become a ticketing agent and work in the ticketing department of an airline without knowing what you are doing?

@Daniel (9V-SPF): thanks for the very kind words  Smile

@TrintoCan: it's amazing that they didn't inform you...

Regards
Frederic
 
L1011
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sat Jul 30, 2005 6:35 am

I flew on the Varig flight from AMS to CDG last summer when it was a 777. We had assigned seats, and the plane was very nice, as were the Varig employees. One thing that disturbed me, though, was that the sound wouldn't work on the video screens during the safety briefing. They tried it two or three times, then gave up. No live safety briefing was done. I thought an audible safety briefing was required, either live or on video.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sat Jul 30, 2005 9:40 pm

Sorry to hear about your bad experience and I hope you get the MD11 before 2007 when they are due to be phased out.

I've only had one cancelled flight in my life with NZ, they handled it very very well and I know how preofessional handling of a situation by staff can make evrything so much easier.
A Pity you did not get the same treatment I got by NZ staff. None the less, I hope that everything works out well and that the particular guy at RG in the CDG wakes up and realises that it is you who are essentially paying is wages.
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:36 pm

An update on the situation: Varig will refund all my expenses, 130 EUR in total!

I had made an overview with all my additional expenses in my letter of complaint (hotel,...), and everything will be refunded.

Good customer service after all! I'll book a new ticket today or tomorrow to fly CDG-AMS within the next two weeks. Hopefully no fuelling strike this time!

Regards
Frederic

[Edited 2005-08-29 16:45:49]
 
Sabena332
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Aug 30, 2005 12:28 am

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 31):
An update on the situation: Varig will refund all my expenses, 130 EUR in total!

I had made an overview with all my additional expenses in my letter of complaint (hotel,...), and everything will be refunded.

Good to hear that!

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 31):
I'll book a new ticket today or tomorrow to fly CDG-AMS within the next two weeks.

You can tell them that you had much trouble during your last flight and that you would apprechiate it when they could upgrade you to Biz Class as a compensation.

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 31):
Hopefully no fuelling strike this time!

No, this time will the ATC staff be on strike.  Wink

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
alphafloor
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Aug 30, 2005 12:54 am

Dear Sabena 690,

It's a sad but very interesting trip report that you made. I'm sad you didn't flew the MD11... I can feel your dissapointment. I definitely hate those people who thinks like this guy "That's your problem not mine", but I'm afraid they are not in their way to extinction. I'm also planning a trip on this same route, I hope I'll make it without any problems. I really hope you'll fly this marvelous MD11 with RG next time ! I'll cross my fingers for you.

Alphafloor
Whatever
 
mrniji
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Aug 30, 2005 1:53 am

Frederick,

a very "interesting" story, and a shame for RG  Sad - I am glad you got your money back and still have the positive attitude of flying their MD11s - I hope you will have a better experience this time  Smile !

Ground handling also makes an airline.. this is something I hate with AI (though their FRA staff is excellent! - mostly efficient and very polite Germans Big grin ), and QR impressed me in that regard...

Waiting for your M11 report!
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:00 pm

Thanks for the nice replies!  Smile

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 32):
You can tell them that you had much trouble during your last flight and that you would apprechiate it when they could upgrade you to Biz Class as a compensation.

To be honest, the only thing I want this time is a freaking seat! Big grin

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 32):
No, this time will the ATC staff be on strike

LOL  Wink

Quoting Alphafloor (Reply 33):
I'm also planning a trip on this same route, I hope I'll make it without any problems

I hope that you won't have any problems, and I'm looking forward to a trip report about your experience!

This morning, I booked a ticket for RG8720 CDG-AMS on 13 September, hopefully without problems this time!

Frederic
 
sn26567
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:48 pm

So today is the day, Frederic?

Anxiously waiting for your report!

Andre
ex-Sabena #26567
 
ChrisH
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:04 pm

I'm booked on CPH-LHR-CPH in october. I'm hoping the crew will let me take a few cockpit shots. Will be interesting to read your report =)
what seems to be the officer, problem?
 
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airbuseric
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:14 pm

Quoting Sn26567 (Reply 36):
This morning, I booked a ticket for RG8720 CDG-AMS on 13 September, hopefully without problems this time!

Frederic

AMS Airport information says whole day already that RG8720 is cancelled today (!) due technical reasons most probably.
So I hope it's not true for you Frederic....
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
sn26567
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:52 pm

Quoting Airbuseric (Reply 38):
AMS Airport information says whole day already that RG8720 is cancelled today (!) due technical reasons most probably.

Information from Aéroports de Paris says exactly the same:

13/09/2005 16:00 17:10 VARIG RG8720 AMSTERDAM CDG 1 Annulé

Frederic, you seem to attract bad luck when you fly. I will never book a flight on the same plane as you!
ex-Sabena #26567
 
Sabena332
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:34 pm

Quoting Sn26567 (Reply 39):
Information from Aéroports de Paris says exactly the same:

13/09/2005 16:00 17:10 VARIG RG8720 AMSTERDAM CDG 1 Annulé

Frederic, you seem to attract bad luck when you fly.

Unbelievable, that is what I am calling bad luck! Really sad that he missed the flight again!

Maybe the cancellation of the flight has something do do with the problems described in the following thread: RG 8744 (GIG-FRA) 772ER PP-VRA Diverted To LPA (by LipeGIG Sep 9 2005 in Civil Aviation)

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
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airbuseric
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:53 pm

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 40):
Maybe the cancellation of the flight has something do do with the problems described in the following thread: RG 8744 (GIG-FRA) 772ER PP-VRA Diverted To LPA (by LipeGIG Sep 9 2005 in Civil Aviation)

The information given by AMS airport/handling agent is *cancelled due to "Crew Reasons"*

Anyway, it doesn't change the situation for Frederic!
"The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going"
 
CV990
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:59 am

Hi!

Man!!!! That's just a big frustration!!!! I don't know if I could stand so polite for all that long...... you were really an example of behavior!!!! Anyway I'm very surprised RG behaved like that in CDG..... I'm sure it's the staff there..... it can't be nothing else! I have a friend that flew RG a few Weeks ago from LIS, he had the right to check in two pieces of baggage with 20 kgs each and 1 carry on with 10 kgs and with the carry-on size! When I saw him coming I almost faked!!!! That guy had 3 HUUUGE big pieces of luggage...... and he wanted to use one of them has carry-on...... I said to him - "Man you need to be prepared to pay extra money for that... just be prepared..... that huge luggage what you have!!!" Well, the RG guy was so nice that he gave the permission to CHECK-IN THE 3 PIECES OF LUGGAGE WITHOUT PAYING EXTRA MONEY!!!! Can you believe? Very good!
I think you were in CDG on the wrong day, the wrong hour, etc. etc!!!
regards and I hope you have a good chance to fly the MD11! I'm sure next time will be a awesome!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
 
jafa39
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Wed Sep 14, 2005 6:48 am

Man, that sucks! Impressed at your self-control though!!
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
Sabena 690
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:19 pm

Hi all,

Thanks for the comments!  

Indeed... Varig decided to cancel the CDG-AMS-CDG on both 12 and 13 September  

The difference with the previous two times (6 and 7 July) is that I knew already about the cancellation BEFORE I went to Paris (so the first thing I did after arrival in CDG was going to the Globeground desk for my rebooking). I considered on Monday evening to change my ticket to today (Wednesday) or Thursday, but the office of Kales (the Varig GSA in Belgium) was already closed. Because I also had to change my Thalys ticket, and because I wasn't sure if RG would still accept my ticket (I would be a no-show for the flight in theory if I wouldn't have gone to CDG), I decided to go anyway and see where I would end.

By the way: I first didn't believe that my flight was going to be cancelled. Why: the CDG website was already giving wrong information about RG8720 8 hours before the flight had left Rio de Janeiro. When CDG-AMS-CDG was cancelled a few hours later, I couldn't believe it because you were still able to book those flights on both the Varig website and through other channels like a travel agency. I even checked availability yesterday morning at 5:30am (just before I left to Paris), and even at this point (the flight was cancelled on the Paris website 12 hours before!!), you could still book a CDG-AMS ticket. I checked http://www.expertflyer.com as well for availability, and the flight was wide open as usual. Can you believe that an airline allows you to book a cancelled flight?

After all, I'm not really disappointed. There are more important things in life than hunting for an MD11 flight. Instead of waisting money with a CDG-AMS ticket, I hope to be able to fly the MD11 with KLM or Finnair within 2-3 years.

Varig is just a bunch of clowns, and I'm not even considering to try them again. I was rebooked on KL1234, and the flight was just excellent (a report will follow later). Well done, KLM!

A Varig summary: I have been booked 3 times in total on a CDG-AMS flight, and my flight has been cancelled 3 times (I admit, 1 of those flights was not Varig's mistake, but they treated their customers so badly that I just don't care). I asked the lady at the Globeground desk: "I guess that you have a lot of work with Varig here in Paris". She had to laugh and said: "Indeed, very much". I've checked a lot of their CDG flights lately, and lot's of them were heavily delayed, with the CDG-AMS-CDG flights being cancelled several times.

Regards
Frederic

[Edited 2005-09-14 10:25:39]
 
Sabena332
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:52 am

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 44):
Indeed... Varig decided to cancel the CDG-AMS-CDG on both 12 and 13 September

I am sorry to read that the flight was indeed canceled as we all guessed yesterday.  Sad

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 44):
I even checked availability yesterday morning at 5:30am (just before I left to Paris), and even at this point (the flight was cancelled on the Paris website 12 hours before!!), you could still book a CDG-AMS ticket.

Unbelievable, this airline shows a total lack of organization!

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 44):
Instead of waisting money with a CDG-AMS ticket, I hope to be able to fly the MD11 with KLM or Finnair within 2-3 years.

Right, check the MD 11 out on a nice long-haul flight.

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 44):
Varig is just a bunch of clowns, and I'm not even considering to try them again.

After such a dissapointment I would also never book a flight on them again.

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 44):
I was rebooked on KL1234, and the flight was just excellent (a report will follow later). Well done, KLM!

Was KLM at least a new airline for you, or did you get a new aircraft type on this flight?

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 44):
I've checked a lot of their CDG flights lately, and lot's of them were heavily delayed, with the CDG-AMS-CDG flights being cancelled several times.

I was also thinking about booking CDG-AMS or AMS-CDG because it is long time ago that I flew on the MD 11 and I have never been to AMS. Since I read about your experience I decided to stay home instead, this airline is way too unreliable to risk a flight on them.

Patrick

Patrick
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
satx
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RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:05 am

Sorry to hear about your horrible luck!

I once had a sneaky AA ticket agent in MCO that kind of tricked me into letting her convert my confirmed ticket to stand-by on the next flight supposedly just because I arrived at the airport with less than 30 minutes before boarding. So what, there were 10 flights that day and I figured it was no biggie. Well, I ended up getting bumped over and over until the NEXT DAY!

That's my worst story ever. It only happened once though, and I promise I won't let it ever happen again. The next time somebody says the word 'standby' they'll get a mouthful from this pax. Maybe I should have given the airline some more trouble about it the first time, but it was a business trip and all of my expenses (hotel, food, transportation) were up for repayment by my employer anyway.

Other than that I've only had a few delayed flights (1-7 hours). This Varig airline sounds even worse than any US airline I've ever tried and I've probably flown most of them.  Big grin
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Sabena 690
Topic Author
Posts: 6065
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2002 12:48 am

RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:49 pm

Hi Patrick,

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 45):
Was KLM at least a new airline for you, or did you get a new aircraft type on this flight?

KLM was a new airline for me! I flew on PH-BDC, a B733 in the old colours (that's why I opted for the B733 flight, hoping to fly an old colours B737). There was a B739 scheduled later in the afternoon, but I didn't want to take the risk to miss my train connection to Brussels.

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 45):
Since I read about your experience I decided to stay home instead, this airline is way too unreliable to risk a flight on them.

To give you an overview of this week:
- Monday: cancelled
- Tuesday (my flight): cancelled
- Wednesday: on time (as far as I remember)
- Thursday: 2h40 delay
- Friday: cancelled

Conclusion: 1 out of 5 flights without problems.

@SATX: if I understand you well, you were late for check in, so they gave you a standby ticket?

Regards
Frederic
 
sk601
Posts: 897
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 11:46 pm

RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:14 am

Guess what??

RG8721 AMS-CDG-GIG cancalled for today 9/16...  Wow!
 
satx
Posts: 2781
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:26 am

RE: From Dream To Hell: Varig MD11 Paris CDG - AMS

Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:00 am

Quoting Sabena 690 (Reply 47):
@SATX: if I understand you well, you were late for check in, so they gave you a standby ticket?

Short answer: Yes.

First, Hertz screwed me at the rental car drop off by having nobody around to sign-off on the return. That delayed me a lot. Then, at MCO, the DFW-bound AA flights had to go to a seperate set of ticket counters for some unknown reason. I had no idea this was the case, and since I had to wait in two separate lines I ended up reaching the counter roughly 28 minutes before departure. Bad luck, but I'm 100% convinced I could have made it to the gate in that time. Oh well. Now that I know what's at stake I'll be sure to do everything possible to avoid it.
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