Getting deals for one traveler is much easier than getting…
We decided to take a trip to Spain for a couple of reasons. First, of course, it was already on our very long list of places we’d like to go. Second, we were able to get a pretty good deal on the flights out there. Finally, we had a big enough chunk of time available that we could take a 14 day road trip starting in Madrid and covering most of Andalucia. I’ve always heard that Andalucia is the most traditional part of Spain, the most immersed in History and some of the traditions that Spain is most famous for. It’s a huge area, so having a long trip was essential if we wanted to get more than the barest whiff of the culture.
We booked the flight just 8 days before taking off and decided to spend an extra $50 to fly on Air France, one of our favorite airlines, instead of taking an American carrier where we would have to pay for our checked luggage thanks to stopovers on the East Coast. In those 8 days, I mapped out some highlights, bought some guidebooks for advice and insights on the local history, and booked all of our 9 different hotels and our rental car.
Our flight out of LAX was on a Thursday afternoon, with a connecting flight in Paris to Madrid. We flew out of terminal 2, which is one of the nicer terminals at LAX, and our flight took off just a couple of minutes behind schedule.
It was not one of the best flights with Air France we’d had, and we were pretty disappointed with the service. We were seated next to a professional agility dog trainer on her way to the world championships in England. Naturally, we showed off some pictures of our dog going over her agility jumps at him. Her dog was in cargo and she couldn’t get a flight attendant to double check that she made it onto the plane – despite the fact that the attendants at the gate told her to do so.
It went downhill from there.
The cabin got extremely hot during the flight and flight attendants were informed by us and everyone around us multiple times that the cabin was uncomfortable. There was a lot of turbulence during the meal service, so service was interrupted… and did not resume at any point. They didn’t even put the mid-flight snacks that you can usually get on AF flights out. I understand turbulence, but that is a long flight to be entirely ignored by the flight crew.
On the plus side, Air France had chosen our flight to hand out consumer satisfaction surveys. And the two gentlemen seated in front of us worked for Expedia – a fact advertised by their bright blue Expedia t-shirts. Needless to say, they got terrible feedback. I wished that I didn’t have to do it because Air France is normally so great, but then again, that is what makes the bad flights all the more disappointing. I thought it was funny how the flight attendant captain acted shocked and surprised that the cabin was too hot, and pretended that he hadn’t heard any complaints – even though the Expedia guys were the ones who had complained to him several hours earlier.
We we glad to get off the plane in Paris and grab a snack in the lovely Charles de Gaule airport before our connecting flight to Madrid. We actually almost missed the flight because, although we had been checked through to Madrid in Los Angeles and had boarding passes, at CDG they want you to check in again and get new boarding passes.
We were still on Air France and this flight was perfect – great food, outstanding service and a silky smooth flight. The fact that the weather was good and the countryside sunny and beautiful was a nice bonus. This flight was what we normally expect from Air France and, it was so good, that it almost made us forget the previous flight entirely.
We landed happy and ready to start our tour of Spain