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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Don't fly Continental...

...or United. I have suffered some bad airlines before. Canada air used to be atrotious, they picked up their game though, Iberia I will not tollerate and I thought I had seen the worst. Until we flew from New York back to Munich with Continental/United. Now, we Europeans are used to having a beer or a glass of wine with our meal, usually complimentary as we are not flying Ryan Air. Entertainment  is usually a nice touch screen with on-demand films and programming. Food is usually on the edible side of bad. Children recieve a small toy to keep them busy for a few minutes, they enjoy getting a present, then they watch a film on the screen. Check-in desks are usually staffed, especially when travelling with a child with friendly folk.

I will start with the check-in, maybe it is just Newark but we arrived late, our fault, only to be greeted by a row of machines. Machines which should scan our passports, but didn't quite manage, would be fine if more than one person was there to help people using the eight screens. Eight people who all needed their bags tagged, their passports entering and their bottoms wiping. I imagine when it works it is great but when six people are checking in at one screen, three of us at another and all the rest then things become confused. We were late but said member of staff did not help us before she had sorted out the noisy women checking in all at once. I have heard of economising but this was ridiculous, one person and some dumb machines.

On the three hour flight from Miami to Orlando we are asked to pay for our entertainment, $5, I think not. Three hours and not even a sandwich, I remember vaguely getting a drink, of water.

Once aboard our Munich flight we tried to switch on our screens. Black. Nothing. Zero. The in-flight magazine touted plenty of films I had not seen, should be good, if only the screen worked. Eventually they reset the system, bingo, a picture. But we were informed that the entertainment system is "tape based" and is prone to bugs. Tape? I think I owned one of those in the 80's. So the films on the tape were complete crap, nothing I could show my daughter. Then the screens went blank, for the two of us. Time for the laptop and some Bambi time.

Then the drinks arrived, juice and soft stuff unless you wanted to pay for it, on principle I would not.
Then the "food" arrived. "Chicken" with "rice" was rice, I am sure of it, but it had a funny texture and absolutely no taste. My daughter loves rice, she did not eat this stuff. The "chicken" was definately protein based but thank goodness, for my daughters sake, I had brough beef jurkey and nuts. We had a feast while those around us suffered.

Now in the USA we never ate at a restaurant which did not cater for children. My daughter always recieved crayons, paper and a cool plastic drinking straw cup. So it came as a suprise that on a flight costing quite a bit, and she being nearly three paid her seat, we recieved nothing. Zero. Nada. Which was hard to explain to her as she thought the lady would let her chose a small something, which she gets on every flight in Europe, even the short ones. It is something to look forward to, a sweetener for the nine hours of misery to come. Looking after children is, afterall, in their best interests because one day they get big and travel.

So Continental is on my black list, I would rather fly Cousin Cletus Air and pay for the outside toilets and live banjo show than give any money to that company again. That our luggage remained in Miami was just the nail in the coffin.

Rant over. Here is a nice photo from the trip ;)

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