To Paris We Go… After Traveling Through Hell

June 27, 2010

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

Summer of 2006 and my classmates, teachers and I had been planning since the beginning of the school year to spend three amazing weeks in France. We made plans to visit Paris, the French Riviera, a ski resort, and castles. We arrived at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport excited about the trip to France. All we could talk about was what we would be doing once we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, of course, connecting in Philadelphia.

As we sat in the airport waiting to board the aircraft to connect in Philly, the Gate Attendant announced that our flight would be delayed. Knowing that they cannot hold international flights from departing, we became worried that we would miss our flight to Paris. So our teacher goes up to the desk to find out if there were any other flights to Philadelphia or to Paris non-stop. To our dismay, the next flight to Philly was three days later, and when getting to Philly on that day we would have to wait an additional two days in order to get a flight to Paris. We did NOT want to spend one week of our vacation in two airports.

We soon found out that the reason for the delay to Cleveland was because of a large storm front that surrounded Philly. Hearing this, we prayed that the storm system would also delay the plane from Paris to land at Philly. After two long hours of waiting, our plane from Philly had finally arrived. We rushed in the small plane and shook our legs, held our rosaries, prayed to the plane gods, did whatever we could to ensure that we would not miss our flight to Paris.

FINALLY we landed in Philly. Thank goodness we arrived in Philly a few minutes before the flight to Paris was originally supposed to depart. So with only a few minutes to spare, we ran across 30 terminals to get to our proper gate.

In our group of students we had about 5 track runners who went ahead to make sure that our Paris flight was still at the gate. We had all seen the gate ahead, and the track stars were allowed on the flight to Paris. Ten seconds later the rest of us caught up. HOWEVER, the Gate Attendant had told us that the flight to Paris had already left. Our teachers had about fainted at the thought of five students flying to Paris alone without the rest of us. We looked out the window and saw that thankfully the plane was still connected to the terminal. We told her the plane was still there, then she allowed us on the aircraft. We cheered as we boarded the plane out of breath, sweating, and hearts beating fast. On the plane we laughed and talked about our grand voyage to get to this plane.

Unfortunately, our luck had not yet arrived. When we were at cruising altitude, we all began to feel relieved that all was fine. We did our own thing on the plane; listening to music, watching a movie on our individual screens, or napping with the cool air running down our face. But soon all of that ended. The flight attendant call button began to ring endlessly, as if someone had continuous emergencies. After about the 50th “ding,” the flight attendant announced that they had a board that would notify them of who it was dinging, and they thought it was a joke a passenger was playing. Of course, since there were 16 of us teenagers boarding late, all other passengers assumed it was us and gave us dirty looks. After the dings continued, the flight attendants came to the conclusion that it was an electrical problem. Soon after, the cabin lights flickered a few times, and this caused the FA to reboot the entire system. We sat with no form of entertainment for two hours as they attempted to fix the problems. Thankfully the flight resumed normally, as they had fixed the issue. But the plane gods were not done yet… the dinging had continued, and for the rest of the flight all we heard were ding ding ding ding ding ding. We finally landed in Paris after 8 long hours and FINALLY our vacation had started.

Thanks US Airways.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dina June 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Wow, you're extremely lucky they let you on the plane! I've made it when the plane was still on the gate and they wouldn't let me on. 🙁 (Then again, I was a employee companion flying on standby, so that probably was a mark against me…)


John July 2, 2010 at 2:32 am

Thy probably were only allowed on because there were minors on the plane with chaperones stuck at the gate.


MM June 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm

16 0f you all together, but when the TV goes out you have no entertainment? Bet that was a fun trip. 😛


rerere June 28, 2010 at 7:02 am

Next time, take Air France


Jim June 28, 2010 at 11:33 am

Not to be a butt, BUT,

Your statement is disturbing, "Hearing this, we prayed that the storm system would also delay the plane from Paris to land at Philly"

A little egocentric isn't it? What about all of the people on that plane, that may miss their connections, for their vacations, etc…?

It seems you wished ill will, no you prayed for ill-will to happen to another group of people on that plane….so, it wouldn't interrupt your flight.

When you grow up, maybe you won't be so selfish


Jody June 29, 2010 at 12:51 am

Lighten up Jim. You can't say that you've never prayed something would happen to make it easier on you.

The OP was being realistic. If the storm was bad enough to delay their flight to Philly, chances are it was also bad enough to delay other flights.


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