For weeks before Easter, the press were scaremongering about the beast from the east ruining Easter with tons of snow. We kept a close eye on the weather, as we were planning a trip to Disneyland Paris. In the days leading up to our trip, it became apparent that the snow was going to hold off long enough for us to leave the country. However, a more worrying scenario arose in the form of strikes by French air traffic control. This resulted in tons of Air France flight cancellations, and we had no idea if our flight would be spared.
Air France flight cancellations
I find it quite despicable that French air traffic control picked one of the busiest travel days of the year to strike. Whilst we would have been entitled to a refund of our flight price if the flight cancelled, that would not compensate us for the Eurodisney package I booked. I would have had to take my chances with three travel insurance providers. My insurance covers me, but my niece and step-daughters have their own policies. Air France could so easily ruined our weekend!
Flybe steps in for the Air France Flight Cancellations
We booked our flight with Flybe, but it was actually operated by Air France. In the days leading up to our flight, the Flybe website advised that they wouldn’t know until the day of travel whether our flight would cancel. During the last strike in February, 25% of flights were cancelled, so I wasn’t hopeful.
I received an email the night before our flight advising that it had indeed been cancelled. My heart sank as I contemplated breaking the bad news to my seven year old niece, and two step-daughters.
Thankfully, Flybe had booked us onto another flight two hours later. We would rather arrive two hours late than not at all, so that was a no brainer. I gleefully accepted.
At the airport
Everything seemed to be going well until we arrived at the airport and overheard a conversation about the 11.15 flight to Paris. Check in staff were very cagey, asking us to come back in half an hour. We’d already queued once, so understandably I wasn’t too keen to wander the airport and return to another long queue.
Flybe added a new flight
We continued waiting and discovered that Flybe had saved the day. Our flight was not a scheduled flight, but an emergency flight put on for passengers just like us. Flybe were just as keen as us to catch up with Mickie and Minnie! Hoorah to them!
For some strange reason however, the flight had not been loaded correctly into the system, and despite the persistent efforts of staff, three hours after they began, no solution had been identified. As we are stood at the front of the queue waiting, we could see staff brainstorming options.
Despite suffering tons of flack for the disruption caused by Air France and French air traffic controllers, they valiantly waged on trying to find a way to check us in.
My seven year old niece Marisa was far from pleased at the news that she would have to go home if they could not figure out a solution.
Well good on those Flybe staff. They figured out a way to make it happen, checked us in and we had an amazing weekend in Disneyland Paris. Thankfully I did not have to deal with any hysterical kids (me included.)
Hats off to Flybe
Now you may be wondering why I’m telling you this. Let’s be fair, travellers suffering delays and cancellations can be scathing about their travels. The public are generally very quick to express their dissatisfaction on social media, and not always in a rational manner. I’ve had my own share of airlines treating customers badly, but on this occasion, Flybe pushed the boat out to get us to Paris. They deserve credit for that, and my family and I were super grateful.