Do you still trust the airline information ?
I am writing this story after watching the NETFLIX series about the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 317 in the Indian Ocean. . If you still have this year's flying holiday ahead of you, don't worry, the plane always returns to the ground..??
My Dutch husband Paul and I once signed up for a French recreational rally in Uganda. January 2017, program for 14 days, all-terrain vehicle can be rented on site. As we were the only participants in the rally outside of France, we received a ticket from the organization from Prague via Brussels to Etebbe. The other French flew from various French cities to Brussels, where they transferred to a Brussels Airlines flight directly to Uganda.
Paul has a great allergy to the airlines from Belgium. He told me right away that he would not fly with a Belgian airline and certainly not from Zaventem airport for God's sake. So I asked the organizer for a discount for the flight that we would not use, and with that money we bought a ticket with Emirates Vienna - Entebbe, via Dubai.
We arrived in Entebbe early afternoon, perfectly rested, the day before the start of the race. We were the first. The organizer and head of the rally, Christian, had reserved for all participants a pleasant hotel with a swimming pool and gardens on the edge of Lake Victoria, 10 km from the airport. He and the other participants (ie about 25 French people) were supposed to arrive later in the evening from Brussels.
According to the program, we would pick up the the rally cars (which were already parked next to the hotel) and then chill - getting to know each other over a barbecue on the beautifully decorated terrace over the waters of Lake Victoria. To cut the story short. We waited, the waiters and cooks in the restaurant waited, the hotel reception waited, but we didn't make it. The plane did not arrive at the given time and the bus that went to pick up our group of Frenchmen at the airport returned to the hotel empty after hours of waiting. It is said that no one at the airport knew at what time the plane would arrive. Somehow it didn't seem right to me. We are in Africa, where anything is possible, okay, but the airport was quite modern, so they should know what time the plane would land.
Our stomachs were growling, the barbecue was ready, the terrace was decorated, but the guests were nowhere to be seen. At 10 o'clock in the evening. we asked for dinner anyway. We ate alone, surrounded by nervous hotel staff.. What's going on ? How late are they? The direct flight takes 11 hours from Brussels. Maybe their flight was cancelled? That's what Christian would have let us know. Cell phones work here, the internet too, Christian has my phone number, the hotel contact too, why didn't he inform us what was going on? We've known each other since 2008, we've already driven 2 rallies with him, I know how careful and reliable he is. So I called him. No answer.
I started collecting information about the flight online. Now, wait for it. I found out the following
1. Zaventem Airport in Brussels : ====> status of the plane => departed on time
2. Departures and arrivals in Entebbe: ====> the flight took off 3 hours late, the arrival will also be 3 hours late
3. Flight status according to the information of Bruxelles Airlines: ====> the flight has been cancelled
4. flight status on radar, which obtains data about aircrafts in the air at a given moment : ====> flight does not exist
So 4 different states of the flight, it is more confusing than Schrödinger's cat ! If someone from my family had been on the plane, I would have made a big fuss at the airport.
I called Zaventem, but of course no one answered at night. Help, what is there more to do ?
Christian finally called me around midnight. He was alive! He rang from Belgium, all Frenchmen boarded the plane at Zaventem airport waiting inside for takeoff for 8 hours and then they were told the plane would not fly. This explains that no one informed us of the situation. In the end, the whole group had to split up and book new tickets with different companies, with scheduled departures the following days.
While we enjoyed the Rallye, which we drove alone after choosing the best off-road vehicle, the French waited in Brussels for a new connecting flight. Paul and I bought water, wine, toilet paper and drove the rally route ourselves according to the Roadbook. We met the group 2 days later in the middle of the forest near the Nile at a private sanctuary for protected rhinoceroses, just as planned.