Be Careful What You Wish For

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April 27th 2015
Published: May 9th 2015
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27 April 2015 Monday. So my last blog left off with me finishing writing my blogs for my Balkan trip while waiting for my 7:35 pm flight to Helsinki...yes, that Helsinki which seems to be my curse. You will recall that the last time I finished writing my blogs about my Silk Road Trip, Did I jinx American Airlines?, I ended up having a cancelled flight. So this time I didn't write anything in the last blog concerning the future travels home. Well, my flight to Helsinki went fine. I checked into the Hilton Airport Hotel, just across the street from the terminal, which would give me about 6 hours sleep before catching a 7:30 am flight to Brussels.

28 April 2015 Tuesday. And my flight to Brussels went off without a hitch.

Last June when I booked my flights to the Balkans and back, and saw that I had a ninety minute layover in Brussels, I wished I had more time there to see the town where I had lived from 1984 to 1995. So, when we boarded the 10:45 am flight from Brussels to Philadelphia, and the pilot announced that the bulkhead door had been shut and asked the flight attendants to get ready for take off, I wondered when I would ever see Brussels again.

Then fate intervened. Seconds later the pilot announced that the aircraft had an electrical problem which would take an hour to fix. Those who wanted to get off could, but we should be back in an hour. I got off and returned about 45 minutes later to find that all the passengers and my carry on bags had been expelled from the plane. Evidently the electrical problem was going to take a bit longer. So every half hour until 4 pm we got the same update...continued problem...until they cancelled the flight.

I was near the front of the line to get a voucher for the Sheraton Airport Hotel and meals, and was soon across the street checking into my room. Within minutes I was back at the terminal to catch the train into the center of Brussels.

Knowing every street and alley like the back of my hand, I quickly did my walking tour of the area around the Grand Place, to include the Mannequin Pis, and my favorite restaurants. Of course, I had time to buy Linda her favorite Belgian chocolates for her birthday that I was now going to miss, and a Belgian waffle for my self. I was amazed at the number of tourists, especially the Chinese, who were practically non-existent when I lived here. I returned to the Gare Central to catch the train back to the airport, just in time for the dinner provided by the airline.

Back in my room I lamented the delay asking my kids to call Linda to tell her I wouldn't be home for her birthday.

29 April 2015 Wednesday Linda's Birthday. This time my 10:45 am flight to Philadelphia departed without a problem.

When I arrived in Philadelphia, I check the departures board for flight to Dallas Fort Worth and noticed that there was an American Airlines flight departing an hour earlier than the US Airways flight I was scheduled on. If I could catch this flight I could get home three hours earlier. I went to the gate where the earlier flight was to depart and enquired whether I could have my flight changed as well as the following flight to Colorado Springs. I was informed that they couldn't change my ticket from US Airways to American
Mannequin PisMannequin PisMannequin Pis

surrounded by Chinese tourists
even though 1) I booked all the flights through American Airlines, 2) American Airlines owns US Airways, and 3) American Airlines had changed my ticket from British Airways to Finnair, so why not for themselves. The final irony was that when I landed in DFW on the later US Airways flight, the captain thanked the passengers for flying on American.

I arrived back in Colorado Springs at 11 pm, and found Linda waiting for me. I wished her a Happy Birthday...what was left of it. She did enjoy the chocolates! We got home at midnight. So my return trip from Ljubljana to Colorado Springs took from 7:35 pm on Monday to 11 pm on Wednesday...I was not a happy camper.

My son, Will, who goes to law school in Bangor, Wales informed me of EU Regulation 261/2004 that provides airline passengers whose flights involve an EU airport with rights to claim compensation for cancelled flights. I submitted my claims to American Airlines for two cancelled flights (Gatwick to Dubrovnik and Brussels to Philadelphia) and the hotel in Helsinki. If I get compensation I will use the money to go to his graduation in July. Should I give American Airlines another chance???

Additional photos below
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10th May 2015
Grand Place, Brussels

What drama!
But hey, you got a yummy free day in your sweet Brussels, a proper chocolate pressie for Linda's birthday, and 4 new countries to add to your 100. Great visit to the Balkans, with history galore, beautiful sites and a visit with your old friend Mike. Best wishes on getting goodies from the airlines!
10th May 2015

Should I give American Airlines another chance???
I've only flown American Airlines class from Tokyo to Lax. Only business class because I couldn't score anything else with Qantas Frequent Flyers...the best food I've had on any airline...still talking about it! Sheraton airport Hotel so you could visit your old haunts in Brussels...sounds like the hand of God here...couldn't have happened if not for American Airlines by your account. The Defense rests!
10th May 2015

The Hand of God...
not Fate. And I will give American Airlines another chance!
10th May 2015

Bad Connections
We'll keep our fingers crossed that you get a refund and can go to Will's graduation. That would be fantastic. Sorry you missed Linda's birthday. Glad you scored a room at the Sheraton. Always glad you walked in with chocolates. It can't hurt. I'd give American Airlines another chance just don't make short turn arounds. We often pick a 3 hour lay over rather than a 1 hour because we don't want the hassle. I'll bet it was fun walking those Brussels streets again.
11th May 2015

I think it was just the number of connections I had to make...
five flights there and five flights back, with every connection a risk of delays or cancellations or lost luggage. In the future I will try to limit it to two flights going and coming. But using frequent flyer miles makes one subject to going with whatever flights have seats available. I must give credit to the reservations agents who make my travels possible with such complicated routings.
17th May 2015

Refund should be given...
...after all that mess they should certainly provide you with a refund, not only being delayed but missing your wife's birthday. Well, if nothing else you did get a free day in Brussels which is always a nice city (despite the throngs of tourists). Seems highly unflexible of them though to not change your flight. Makes no sense at all. Glad that Linda liked the chocolate at least!
18th May 2015

I submitted my claim per EU regulation 261/2004 about two weeks ago....
but haven't heard anything back yet. Thanks for commenting.

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