Bob Brown, glad you're back!

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Sep 22nd, 2003, 07:34 PM
  #1
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Bob Brown, glad you're back!

Read your posts on the Ireland thread. What a scary experience that must have been on the plane! Glad it wasn't more serious.

Weren't you also going to Switzerland?
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 07:42 AM
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Thanks. After our visit to Ireland, we flew from Dublin to Munich, and then took the train to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland for a week. So we visited both places.

The event with the airliner was for a brief moment anxiety provoking. Then the preparations for a possible emergency evacuation got almost everyone's attention. For one of the few times in my flying experience, virtually all of the passengers were paying attention to the details of using a life vest, etc.

The captain announced that he was taking the plane down to 10,000 feet so he could air out the cockpit which was full of smoke, but he also said that the fire seemed to be out. I do not know if the fire went out, was put out, or if it was still smoking when we landed.

The fire crew at Shannon came out and looked us over and said we could go into a gate so that all passengers could leave normally, although we left our luggage behind so as to get everyone off quickly. (Never quite saw the logic in that.)

Once the pilot said the fire seemed to be out, every one relaxed a little. Then the head flight attendant ripped up the carpet on the floor immmediately behind the cockpit. I learned later that there was a trap door under it that led to the forward cargo hold. I suppose someone was preparing to go down there with a squirt gun to fight the fire. We were not told why the carpet was ripped up, but why expose a door unless you intend to use it?

There was one moment of semi comedy after we got off the airplane. We were in a remote gate area with big windows that overlooked the tarmac. After all the passengers were off of the plane, the captain backed it away from the gate and opened the cargo bays. The Shannon Airport fire brigade then went into the cargo area armed with this huge fire hose. Four big men had hold of it by the nozzle and they crept onto the plane like they were hunting for lions or something. The leader of the nozzle squad was cautiously creeping into the plane motioning his men to follow. I saw no smoke at that time and none of my checked luggage smelled of smoke. Fortunately, the guys with the hose did not start blasting away for no reason.

I am however becoming increasingly concerned that US Airways has major troubles getting its flights off on time.

We were not scheduled to be on that flight in the first place. Our connecting flight from Athens to Charlotte was late so we missed our flight to Gatwick where we were to continue on to Dublin via Aer Lingus.
Instead, we spent the night in Charlotte and flew to Philadelphia the next morning. There we waited for the flight to Dublin, which was 4 hours and 3 gate changes late in departing. The aircraft we finally boarded was not the original aircraft scheduled for that flight. I was told by the crew that they were conscripts from another flight, and that we were within 3 minutes of being "illegal" when the pilot backed away from the gate.

Coming home, we were forced to spend another night in Charlotte because the flight to Athens was cancelled. The next morning, the first flight from Charlotte to Athens was also cancelled.

We ended up flying from Charlotte to Atlanta and being hauled to Athens in something that passed for a GMC van. It was an awful contraption to say the least. The driver would not listen to my directions as how to get from the Atlanta Airport to Athens and he drove right into a traffic jam on I85/75 that was caused by a multi-lane, multi-vehicle accident. We were held up about 45 minutes by the traffic mess.

Morever this is not the first time I have had travel plans upset because of cancelled flights with US Airways.
In fact, it seems like a disruption is the rule rather than the exception.

Suffice it to say the discount voucher for $300 off the price of future flights that US Airways gave each of us for our trouble does not begin to compensate for all of the inconvenience of the trip over and back.
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 10:15 AM
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Bob - Loved your reports. I was LOL so much that my DH made me leave the room as I was distracting him from hearing his t.v. show! You are a very comical writer, and I can always use the laughs. Thanks again!
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 12:49 PM
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Bob

Agree with Hagan, fire on a plane is my worst nightmare about flying. So glad for you it had a happy ending.

As for the rest, ugh, what a horrible mess. Sadly I think cancelled flights are no longer a rarity, at least on some routes. As for connections, increasingly I no longer expect to make them within a 3 hour window.

I suppose one could try water-skiing to Europe....
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Sep 23rd, 2003, 06:30 PM
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Bob, your travel ordeal makes our 4-hour layover in Miami waiting for a 36-minute flight home to Orlando seem like perfect timing!
I want to thank you for your suggestion to stay in Lauterbrunnen. It was wonderful advice, so glad we took it!

We stayed at the Hotel Silberhorn from Sept 8, left Sept 12. It was the perfect choice for us. Loved the convenience, the views, the lovely little village, just everything about it. We enjoyed visiting Grindelwald, Wengen and the others, but were always so glad to come "home" to Lauterbrunnen.

We definitely plan to return to that very spot someday. Again, thanks so very much for the recommendation!
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Sep 24th, 2003, 01:54 PM
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While I was there, we naturally visited Wengen and Mürren. I like both places, but near dark we usually wander back to our apartment just off the main street of Lauterbrunnen.

I will say this: both Wengen and Mürren have better baked goods.
I don't know why that is the case, but when we have the chance we shop the bakeries in Grindelwald, Mürren and Wengen in preference to Lauterbrunnen.

The two women who work the counter at the larger of the 2 bakery outlets in Lauterbrunnen seem to eat green persimmons every day for breakfast and lunch!
And they really resent the customers who come in at 11:57, right before noon closing.
(The town buttons up shop from 12 noon to 13:30.)
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Sep 24th, 2003, 07:16 PM
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Bob,
We have an interesting and funny (now!)story about getting stranded twice in one day in the Alps.

The first time, we were headed back by train from Grindelwald to lauterbrunnen, headed for Wengen. We didn't know about the train splitting, and we evidently got on the first car in the rear of the train, and ended up headed back to Grindelwald! Realized our mistake and got off in some tiny hamlet, where we saw the train we needed pull away as we were pulling in. Had to wait an hour on a bench by the track for the next train back, then another 1/2 hour in Zweilitschinen. Set us back 2 hours!

After dinner that evening, we decided to take the funicular to Meurren, just to check it out, since we didn't have enough time earlier due to our train mishap. We were leaving the next AM and really just wanted to experience the ride TO Meurren. When we got off the train, I asked the conductor when the next train back to lauterbrunnen departed, and he curtly told us to check the schedule on the platform. It said there were trains at 9, 9:30, 10 and 10:30. This was at 8:30.

Meurren was in the dark by now, and since we really couldn't see anything, we were back in the station by 8:45 waiting. By 9:15, no sign of a train. Starting to panic, I went across the street, ran into a hotel restaurant and asked the hostess about the train. She said she guessed "they decided not to run anymore tonight"!!!!

Really panicked now. An American woman at a table came over and told us to walk through town to the cable station and take that down to the bus in Stechelberg, IF it as still running.

Hubby and I trudged through the dark streets and finally found the station, only to find we'd missed the cable car by 5 minutes, would have to wait until 10:35 for the LAST one! Had a great beer and a few nervous laughs at the pub in the station, took the cable down, and the cable driver took us home in the little bus - the last one of the night. Needless to say, we'll never forget Meurren, even though we never really saw it!
Joyce
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