And so begins my Gibraltar wedding review…
AirFrance, we’ll never fly with you again! We’d hit the road at an inhumane 4:30 am to save ourselves the indignity of flying RyanAir. Normally, I’d be a big old witch at that time of day, but I was so excited about getting married in Gibraltar that I sprang out of bed wide awake without hitting “snooze” even once.
I’d gathered a whole trousseau for this trip, and it started with my travel outfit… black and white cigarette pants with a black top, black heels, a black poncho, and my Louis Vuitton Alma bag. It was warm enough with the poncho for early morning Danish temperatures, chic enough for the layover in Paris, and comfortable enough for Costa del Sol temperatures without the poncho.
As soon as we boarded, the flight attendant offered to hang-up our garment bag, it was so great to not be flying RyanAir! I looked forward to a mimosa with breakfast, but instead we were offered a stale (very) petit pain au chocolat and an equally petit cup of Nescafé. Lufthansa serves champagne on European routes, so I had similar expectations for a French airline. *le sigh*
I’m not a fan of Paris to begin with, but Charles de Gaulle airport is the worst! It’s poorly organized, difficult to navigate, and the signage is woefully inadequate. A tight one hour layover, and having to change terminals on a slow bus did not bode well for a happy ending to this journey, but things were about to get much worse.
AirFrance had sold our fares to a budget airline! In this case it was AirEuropa, which is basically RyanAir with nicer corporate colors. We’d made the connection by the skin of our teeth, and as the gate agent boarded us, she asked if we’d checked any luggage, we said “yes.” She looked it up in the system and said, “it’s ok” in a very it’s not ok sort of way. Then I said words I never thought I’d say… “we should’ve flown RyanAir.”
AirEuropa gave us the winged bus in-flight experience we’d been trying to avoid by booking with AirFrance… our wedding clothes were stuffed in the overhead bin, and there wasn’t even a complimentary cup of water in sight. In the event of a loss of cabin pressure I’m pretty sure you’d have to swipe a credit card to start the flow of oxygen to your mask. It was definitely not what we’d had in mind.
Things went further downhill in the Malaga baggage claim when the carousel stopped and we were the only two passengers left. I’d seen it coming in Paris, but I didn’t want to believe this was actually happening on this of all trips. We’d packed all of our wedding clothes in carry-ons, but having left at 4:30 am, I didn’t think ahead as much as I should have about cosmetics, spare clothes, etc. in case of this situation.
The desk jockey working the AirEuropa counter wasn’t particularly customer focused. Without a glimmer of empathy he told us our luggage was lost (no kidding, Sherlock!), filled out his report, gave us a copy along with two toiletries bags, and told us unapologetically that if our bags should turn up, we’d have to cross the border out of Gibraltar into Spain to retrieve them because they wouldn’t take them through border control.
No problemo… we’d have tons of free time to spend in the border queues ahead of getting married in less than two days in a place we’d never been before!
I did a rotten job of choking back tears. How were we going to (at best) find time to cross and recross the border or (at worst) make it four days without the contents of our luggage all because AirFrance sucks?
The now not so fresh outfit I’d traveled in was to be my only outfit until we could shop, or until the luggage turned up. It, not the elegant little black dress from my trousseau was what I’d wear to the Registry Office to apply for our marriage license.
My asthma medicine, all of my clean lingerie, skin creams, perfume, hair products and implements, eyeliner, and waterproof mascara were all lost in the Bermuda Triangle of luggage.
To be continued…