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Trip Report TR Provence, Israel, Switzerland, Italy..April 16 a day of AA infamy

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Sometimes things happen that makes one wonder if fate is conspiring against a trip. April 16 dawned, a lovely day in MD and perfect for a flight. Our shuttle to the airport arrived at our home exactly on time and we learned we would be the only passengers - our private airport limo in van form - how good is that!? On the way to the airport I noticed the driver moving to the lane that would take us north on I95. Strange, since our airport was south. Uh-oh, the driver had the wrong airport, he was taking us to BWI rather than DCA. I had him pull over and found the dispatcher gave him the wrong info. I thought the fare was awfully low for a ride to DCA, but who was I to argue? We worked it out and turned to the south. All was well, or so I thought, innocent of knowledge of what fate had in store. Had I known....well, who knows.

To backtrack a bit, some of you reading this may remember a post that I had a real health scare just a couple of days before the flight but was cleared to go. I recently retired and this was to be the first time we were able to get away for a full month, the trip of a lifetime to celebrate becoming a pensioner and a new phase in our lives.

We get to DCA and our flight is on time. We were flying FF miles with AA and the first leg was to Paris via Chicago. We were to get to CDG the next morning at 9 and then a day and dinner in Paris, maybe an evening bateaux on the river before our early morning train
to Avignon. I had it all planned out - it sounds good, right?

Arriving at the airport with plenty of time to spare- I had built in extra time just in case, things still looked good other than DW losing her boarding pass somewhere between security and the gate. At the gate, things still looked good, The agent said there would be no problem about the lost boarding pass - she would just issue another. The flight was still on time, that is, until it was not. The AA agents developed a look of concern with lots of hush hush serious talk among themselves and shaking of heads. Finally, when it was well past the time for the flight to leave, we, the assembled passengers, were told there was some sort of computer glitch that would delay boarding, and indeed there was. I called my son who told us that AA's computers were down throughout the US if not the world. The agents were professional and tried to figure out work-arounds so we could at least board and be ready when they got the go ahead,. They made a passenger list the old fashioned way, with pen on paper and we boarded awaiting the "starting gun" and watched our once ample 3 hour connection time tick away. After about 40 minutes we were told that we would have to de-plane and wait in the boarding area. Amid groans and maybe a few curses we started to leave the plane only to have the Captain announce that MIRACLE he has a window to leave and stay on the plane. Those who had already left were gathered up and reseated and the flight attendants made four or five trips up and down the aisles trying to reconcile the hand written passenger lists with those on board, and of course at least one person was missing. Our departure window passed, or maybe it was never even there and after another half hour, we were told to de-plane once again and did.
Would we get to Chicago that day? Would we get to Paris the next morning? Would we have our planned grand dinner in Paris the following evening? Could we re-route? I called AA and was told they were overwhelmed with calls and would call me back in an hour and fifteen minutes.

Next: To err is human but to really screw things up, you need a computer.

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