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Trip Report Murphy's Law for Travelers Who Need Assistance

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I thought that I would add some observations about our trip to Provence last year.

Notwithstanding anything critical, we had a great time and will return again this September. Our trip was on Air France from Toronto to Marseille with a stop in Paris

Never assume that just because you informed the airline in advance that assistance will be provided as a matter of course.

Our first problem was in Paris where we missed our Marseille connection because the bus for handicapped persons was late. To this day I still do not understand why we were told to take the bus since our flight to Marseilles was from the same terminal. That was one of the reasons that I booked Air France to start with.

There were no seats on the next flight to Marseille and thus a four hour wait. We almost missed that flight since, despite my speaking to Air France staff, a person to assist us with a wheel chair never came. I met him after I found a chair and was wheeling my wife to the gate.

The lift to take us down a short stair was not working. My wife can walk with difficulty but someone who would be less mobile would be in great trouble.

I had an instant sinking feeling when we got to Marseille and one of the pieces of our luggage was missing.

No problem. We were told that it would be sent to where we were staying ...except it never came because the wrong address had been copied.

Our expat hostess spent hours trying to locate our bag. Turns out that it went to Madrid but that it would delivered on Saturday. We had arrived in Marseille the previous Saturday and since it was my wife's bag she was getting frantic by the hour.
Our hostess returned my knowing look about Saturday delivery and I said that I would drive back to Marseille to get it myself which I did.

On the way home from Marseille no one showed up to assist and I wheeled my wife for a long stretch for boarding.

The only compensation that I got from Air France was a $100 voucher for our next trip and oddly enough they paid the claim I made for getting our hosts a restaurant gift certificate for all the time they spent helping us. So French that.

Lessons learned:

Avoid changing in Paris if at all possible. Hence this year we plan to fly from Montreal direct Marseille with Air Transat.

Split packing by sharing suitcases so that if one gets lost there is a cushion until things get sorted.

Fly premium economy. It's worth it for more room alone. Air France and Air Transat both have this class.

Keep calm. This too shall pass.

Enjoy the food, the ambiance, the markets, the customs, the light, the air, the fragrances, the quirky cars, the people, the architecture and all that makes France such a wonderful place to visit.

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