I was busy with my 5’1 height trying hard to reach for my bags in the cabin section before a Nigerian brother came to my rescue. He was kind enough to carry my bag even as we got off the plane in Paris’, Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). We were met by a long line of people queuing to be cleared at the passport control, guys I have never seen such a long queue and it was not moving. There were two separete queues for the European Union (EU) citizens and non EU citizens. According to my calculations, since I was to catch my connecting flight in Orly Airport, that was an hour away by bus, I wanted to be quick and clear from CDG before 0740hrs so that I could catch the next bus to Orly. The current time was 0700hrs.
The French Embassy officials had taken me through on how I would maneuver to get myself to Orly within a span of 3hrs because my next connecting flight to Guadeloupe was leaving at 1050hrs that same morning and last checking in was at 0920hrs.
It was close to 0800hrs and I was still in line. My heart was racing and then out of nowhere I see a notification from Google that my next flight was delayed by 2hrs 15min, if this was not a miracle then I do not know how to explain it because there was no internet at the airport that was connecting to my devices and boom this notification shows up.
Two hours later I am cleared, I go collect my luggage as I had to check them in again at the other airport as it was a different flight too. The now Nigerian friend who is still with me offers to show me where to buy my bus ticket before he leaves for his home in Luxemburg. (I didn’t know where that was till Bill, my boyfriend, told me it’s a small country in Europe haha; I am still a work in progress people).
Did I mention how cold it was? I had my sweatshirt on and added my hoodie on top but I still felt the cold. Anyway the bus arrived and I loaded my luggage and was good to go. I still doubted if truly my next flight was delayed, my thoughts were disrupted with the series of me dozing off. The bus ride was comfortable and quite spacious; maybe someone who is not my height would have a different view ha!
The bus driver made sure he dropped me at my terminal; even though I was the only passenger remaining as everyone had gotten off at the previous stop. There was even someone to offload my bags. It was drizzling and dull at this time, total opposite of what I had imagined Paris to be. I directly made my way to the screens to confirm about my flight, you should have seen the relief on my face and an airport attendant further confirmed it as she showed me where to check in my luggage.
I wasn’t ready for what was about to happen. The lady attending to me at the desk says, “Your ticket indicates zero bags,” and I’m like, “…mmmmm,” in total confusion. I asked her what it meant, she goes ahead to explain that the bags were just paid for the airline from Nairobi to Paris and not from Paris to Guadeloupe. (Guadeloupe is an Island south of France, a French territory also known as the French Caribbean or French overseas region). She calls the head office for them to check and confirm if what she was saying was certain, and it was. On asking what I was supposed to do, she tells me I am to pay a sum of 200euros for my 2bags.
My face dropped. My knees were wobbly, I wanted to cry eh. So many emotions were in the air. I should mention that this information was not at any single point shared to me by the booking agency as they said they will do everything for me. They hadn’t even provided me with my ticket number until the last minute. I trusted them and did not have any worries as they had been recommended by the embassy. Of all the information they were to relay, they omitted this one. I remember having been very inquisitive on very many issues especially concerning the transfer from CDG to ORLY, but at no single point did they touch on these extra fees.
Thank God my card had some money and my bags were cleared. (I have since reported the matter and the embassy is following up) I noted that it was like an assumption that everyone speaks French, because even the attendant conversed in French with me till I said a phrase in English and she remarked, “Oh, you speak English,” She was kind enough to inform and give me details for paying for my luggage online on my return as it would be cheaper, bless her soul. Fun fact though; this part of France has not seen the new East African passport yet, she marveled at how unique it was and loved its blue color.
I had a few stops before getting to my terminal. There was a beauty palour station and not so far from it was a Play Station point these were new things I saw aside from the normal shopping outlets. Great pass times for long lay overs.
Since France is 6hrs ahead of Guadeloupe it made my flight 8hrs since apparently we were gaining time, but on the ticket it read that departure was 1050hrs and arrival was to be 1330hrs the same day. That is as far as I understood, geography people we need your help here. I slept in through most of the flight because I was so mad at what had just happened and sleep was the only thing that made me forget. I woke up a couple of times just to eat and grab a handful of the chocolates and minted sweets that were being passed around, to console me.
On arrival everything was swift, there was no passport control, it was just direct, getting my bags and heading out. On walking outside the airport, the scenery just swallowed all my sorrows for a moment. I was awed. It was the total summer vibe with a touch of palm trees all round. It was beautiful. I enjoyed the scenery as we drove off with one of my reference teachers from one of the schools I would be teaching. I slept immediately after having dinner. I was tired and it had been a long day plus I felt my head was dizzy or as Aggie, my sister, said; it was the effect of the new oxygen hahah.