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Skiers heading for Val d'Isere via Chambéry go to Lyon, back to Cardiff, then Milan etc.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A group of skiers flying with Crystal on a Thomson flight from Cardiff had their Chambéry flight diverted to Lyon. But - after seven hours on the plane there - they were not disembarked (the reason for this is not explained in the following article). The flight returned to Cardiff, with an overnight stay, then a (delayed) flight to Milan ... eventually arriving at Val d'Isere after 42 hours travelling.

This report from WalesOnline.

Quote:
Swansea solicitor Fiona Griffiths, 48, who was among those who endured the trip, said “We were hostages to the whims of the Lyon Airport staff and that’s the really annoying thing.”


Anyone know why this happened at Lyon?
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The report says;

"Ground staff at Lyon refused to allow the passengers off because airport authorities were trying to stop holidaymakers being bussed to resorts on treacherous roads."
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Sorry - missed that. Why would that be the concern of the ground staff? It seems a total smokescreen. The passengers could have been off-loaded and accommodated in Lyon, if necessary.

I wonder if the tour operators were asserting any control over the situation?
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Now we are all back in the UK I am very interested to hear if anyone knows the whole truth about what happened at Chambery on Sat 9th ?

We were on the TOM 2626 from Manchester - we were informed that the flight would be diverted from Chambery to Lyon before take-off.
We were also made to 'sit' on the plane for seven hours. We landed in Lyon at about 14-30 and just sat there for four hours - the only contact was through the
Captain who was presumably following company orders. We were informed that all resort roads were closed and that we were to return to Manchester.
A group of passengers stated that 'they were refusing to fly' - which meant that eventually the Captain was forced to disembark all of the passengers.
We then waited a further 2 hours for luggage to be delivered.
At this point we could finally get into the main terminal to find out what was going on - Bearing in mind the descision to fly to Lyon had been made by Thomsons
at 11-00 and that the plane had now been on the ground for over 6 hours, and the roads to resort / Chambery were not closed,
guess what.........no reps no buses no accommodation.
Eventually Crystal Reps did arrive to inform us that they did not know what was happening !
At 23-00 they informed us that we would probably be spending the night on the Airport floor - we then ordered a private taxi and eventually arrived in resort at 04-00. (So still skiing by Suday afternoon Very Happy ) I intend to try to claim the taxi fare back.
Interested to hear what others went through and what compensation offered - we were flight only.
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parallel lines, sounds grim. But if you were "flight only" why didn't you head off from the airport the moment you landed.
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pam w, wish we had - but we had transport arranged from Chambery, and had been told by the Captain that buses were on the way to take us there.

Two buses did arrive - but only took passengers from another flight direct to resorts.
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parallel lines, oh, I see. What a pain - the weather was exceptional, though, and Chambery is dodgy at the best of times. Even Geneva - normally the most reliable airport for serving this area - had some major problems.
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parallel lines,
Could you give us some more details about this "refusing to fly" tactic. I have been stuck on a plane in a similar situation before, not as long as you were though, and was on the point of trying something like that but assumed I would be arrested, sued, banned for ever, classed as a terrorist etc. etc. I am pleased it worked for you guys though.
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skitow, The man who went down this route seemed to know what he was doing - apparently if you refuse to fly the Captain of the plane MUST not take off with you on board, the problem then is that he also cannot fly with luggage without the owner/passenger on board. So when a group of passengers said that they did not want to fly - he had no option but to advise ALL passengers to get off.
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Flew out of Gatwick on Saturday 9th Jan. Arrived above Chambery but then got diverted to Turin where we were told that buses were on their way. Ended up waiting 9 hours in the airport before buses arrived and took us to Val D, stopping off at Moutiers on the way. Heard some horror stories in resort of people taking 48 hours to get to resort and then some of them without any luggage.
On the way back, our flight was delayed (we were told) due to "technical difficulties" and "bad weather at Gatwick". Once on the flight, the captain told us we were delayed because the airline had decided (on the night before) to delay the flight because they "expected" bad weather at Chambery on the Saturday rolling eyes
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Bloody hell, what a nightmare! I have just made a mental note never to fly to Chambery.
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We took off from Gatwick on the 9th at about 730am (due to take off at 6am) and flew to Chambery where we landed at the second attempt, and only after the captain announced on the radio that it was a 50 / 50 chance of landing! I think (hope) he meant that it was a 50 /50 chance whether he attempted to land......

We were incredibly fortunate to make it to La Plagne that day as all the other guests in our chalet arrived over the next day and a half, having seemingly been here there and everywhere.

Nick
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Flew into Grenoble a couple of years ago with Easy Jet and having landed (slightly early) we sat for a while with the crew stood at the front looking slightlty bemused, finaly the pilot came on the pa to explain that there was a problem in obtaining the steps and passengers on the terminal side of the aircraft may be able to see the reason.
Two airport staff were arguing, seemingly about whose turn it was to 'drive' the steps to the aircraft! A few minutes later another bod arrived and drove the steps the 50 yards to the aircraft Laughing
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More and more reasons not to ski in France maybe?

Did people flying to Turin/Milan/Salzburg/Innsbruck/Zurich have all these shambolic problems?
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Hurtle, I didn't make such a mental note but then, I still didn't fly there anyway Toofy Grin
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queen bodecia, I flew into Salzburg that day (from Gatwick).

With take off from Gatwick due at 08:15 on the 9th, we were actually only an hour late, and landed at Salzburg with no problems at all. I was in the hotel (Kirchdorf) about 14:15, having expected to arrive between 12:30 and 13:30.

Somebody else in our hotel, on a later Thomson flight from Gatwick had been due to arrive in the hotel around 4PM, actually ended up arriving at midnight, due to delays building up during the day at the Gatwick end.
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queen bodecia wrote:
More and more reasons not to ski in France maybe?

Did people flying to Turin/Milan/Salzburg/Innsbruck/Zurich have all these shambolic problems?


We flew Gatwick-Geneva with Monarch on Sunday 10th, sat on plane at Gatwick for 90 mins as Geneva was closed due to snow on runway and couldn't get air traffic clearance to fly. When we arrived at Geneva, there was luggage bedlam as all that morning's flights arrived around the same time, our transfer was held up waiting for Birmingham passenger's ski bags. Got to Zermatt about 4hrs later than expected, not too bad... but a couple from Edinburgh had a 24 hr journey because aircraft were not positioned correctly or something and didn't get to resort til 3am.
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Quote:

Anyone know why this happened at Lyon?


Well, you're the one who likes to bang on about journalism - why don't you ring Lyon airport and find out, then write the answer down on here?
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flew swiss to Zurich, no hassle, flight cost reasonable considering we booked day before (£140inc free ski carriage) food and two bottles of wine each on the plane - luggage on the carousel before we got there. I'll never fly anyone else!
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Doesn't have to be all about France. I flew LBA>GVA on monday 11th Jan, was supposed to leave 8.15am, but nothing left LBA that morning due to snow on the runway and ice on the wings. Finally got to GVA 6 hours late, sat next to me on the shuttle to the hire cars were passengers on the LBA>GVA from the day before! They couldn't leave Leeds as the plane was stuck in the Geneva shutdown, so were put back 23hrs, to then be stuck in the LBA shutdown. They had got to GVA an hour before me (so only 29hrs late) but having luggage caught in the GVA scrum had delayed them enough to be on my shuttle!

Heading back on thursday I was pleased to only pick up a 3hr delay due to the plane being stuck in Leeds again in an ice induced early morning shutdown.

Still only a total of 17hrs of airport/airplane/hire car for my 16hrs on the slopes. Well worth it. snowHead
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We had problems at Manchester on Saturday the 9th of January. We were booked on a Thomsons flight scheduled to leave at 14.45 to Innsbruck. Unfortunately as it turned out our slot was reliant on a Thomsons flight coming out of Chambery to Manchester. We were informed that Chambery airport was closed due to adverse weather and of course the plane was grounded. Hence no flight out of Manchester to Innsbruck that afternoon. We were put up in a Hotel in Manchester over night and flew out 24 hours later. We of course lost a day's ski-ing - however we semi made up for this by ski-ing all morning on the day of departure as we did not have to leave the resort until 14.00 hours. Anyway in 20 odd years of ski-ing trips this has never happened before - so I suppose our luck ran out. It did however put it all in to perspective when we saw the horific footage on CNN following the disaster in Haiti a couple of day's later. We still had a fantastic holiday ski-ing a large part of the Ischgl area including a gem of a resort called Kappl with 1500 meters of vertical and some powder. Role on Feb 27th for our next adventure. Very Happy
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parallel lines wrote:
Now we are all back in the UK I am very interested to hear if anyone knows the whole truth about what happened at Chambery on Sat 9th ?

We were on the TOM 2626 from Manchester - we were informed that the flight would be diverted from Chambery to Lyon before take-off.
We were also made to 'sit' on the plane for seven hours. We landed in Lyon at about 14-30 and just sat there for four hours - the only contact was through the
Captain who was presumably following company orders. We were informed that all resort roads were closed and that we were to return to Manchester.
A group of passengers stated that 'they were refusing to fly' - which meant that eventually the Captain was forced to disembark all of the passengers.
We then waited a further 2 hours for luggage to be delivered.
At this point we could finally get into the main terminal to find out what was going on - Bearing in mind the descision to fly to Lyon had been made by Thomsons
at 11-00 and that the plane had now been on the ground for over 6 hours, and the roads to resort / Chambery were not closed,
guess what.........no reps no buses no accommodation.
Eventually Crystal Reps did arrive to inform us that they did not know what was happening !
At 23-00 they informed us that we would probably be spending the night on the Airport floor - we then ordered a private taxi and eventually arrived in resort at 04-00. (So still skiing by Suday afternoon Very Happy ) I intend to try to claim the taxi fare back.
Interested to hear what others went through and what compensation offered - we were flight only.


Ours was the Tom2626 the week before with loads of problems too. Good to know the "refuse to fly" thing. We were flight only - through Snowjet. They said they would pay our addittional 800+ Euro transfer cost ( arranged and paid for Chambery, then Grenoble then Lyon!). If they honour this they will get a good press on here
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Lizzard wrote:
Quote:

Anyone know why this happened at Lyon?


Well, you're the one who likes to bang on about journalism - why don't you ring Lyon airport and find out, then write the answer down on here?


I know but it will cost you £20 for the answer wink
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queen bodecia wrote:
More and more reasons not to ski in France maybe?

Did people flying to Turin/Milan/Salzburg/Innsbruck/Zurich have all these shambolic problems?


Not really, I ski in Serre Chevalier, France and visitors would be more likely fly into Turin than any other airport.
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queen bodecia, I flew into Salzburg that day (from Glasgow).
Flight was late as plane had been to"Chembery in the morning with all the problems their
It had been late leaving Glasgow waiting to get de-iced
We had a long wait at Salzburg for the luggage
Got to hotel about 11pm which was about four hours late so not bad compaired to some folk and not quite the longest we have been held up.
Not much you can do about the weather but some folk seem to have been messed about big time
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We had a similar experience to parallel lines but were flying on TOM 6634 from Bristol scheduled for departure at 0930. We boarded on time at 0900 but then sat at Bristol until 11am heading for Lyon but hoping to divert to Chambery at the last moment. Needless to say we landed at Lyon and weren't allowed off. We got the story that Lyon airport was overwhelmed and that we had to return to Bristol. However, by the time our aircraft could be refueled and de-iced the runway had shut. Eventually we were taken off the plane at 2130 by the Gendarmerie. So a grand total of over 11hours on the plane.
In the terminal it looked like all the staff had left and by 2330 when we got our bags the only people around were police and the red cross. Luckily we just ignored the Crystal rep and grabbed a red cross bed. Next morning they gave us some breakfast and got a coach to resort at 10am. We missed a whole day of skiing as we only got to resort mid afternoon.
In the resort the Crystal reps were very unhelpful and just gave us a letter to show our travel insurance. Mine doesn't cover a delay after departure though. Does any?
On the flight back we heard stories that other passengers had taken taxis costing €500 and been re-imbursed in resort. Also they were told that they would get compensation of £100 per person but we haven't seen anything.
A friend of mine was flying to Chambery on Sunday 10th and got diverted to Milan with a big delay. However, they had a letter of apology from their tour operator, TotalSki waiting when they arrived home. A nice touch. Shame that Crystal aren't so good at customer service.
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Shimmy Alcott,

Hi, we have spoken to SNOWJET and they have refused to refund our taxi fare - saying the delay was a result of bad weather.

When I pointed out that the descision to fly to Lyon was taken at 11-00 and we were told to sleep on the Airport floor at 23-00 the answer was that we had only been diverted to Lyon to sit on the runway just in case Chambery re-opened ??

uunder THOMSONS own 'Conditions of Carriage' and under the 'Air Transport Users Council' regulations it clearly states :-


DIVERSIONS : In the event that, for reasons beyond our control we are unable to land at the airfield at your destination and are required to divert to another airfield. We shall arrange alternative transportation to carry you to your original destination as set out in your ticket - without additional charge to you.

As stated earlier:
Left home in Cumbria 02-30
We were due to take off at 08-30 for Chambery.
Diverted to Lyon at 11-00 (before we left Manchester).
Sat on the plane for 7 hours for 1 hr 50 min flight (like being Hi-jacked)
Waited 2 hours for luggage.
Told at 23-00 to sleep in the Airport.

We were travelling with our 8 -y.o. daughter so decided to get a private taxi.

Passengers travelling on Crystal package holidays were refunded their taxi fares by reps in resort.
Thomsons are going to phone me tomorrow with a descision - but told me that as they provided a bus at 7-00 the next morning they feel they have fullfilled their obligation under their 'Conditions of Carriage'

Wondering if any of our legal experts on snowHead s - have a view on this
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Parallel Lines: Hey, i was on the TOM2626, Jan 9th, what a blag!!! we were reinbursed the money for the taxi on the 2nd day into our holiday, and have also been given a £100 each compensation by Crystal. ended up getting to Val T - condition well made up for the wait!
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queen bodecia wrote:
Did people flying to Turin/Milan/Salzburg/Innsbruck/Zurich have all these shambolic problems?

This season Innsbruck hasn't been too bad, but speaking to one of the senior TO reps at the airport last week she said that up to 50% of her flights last season had weather related problems (serious delays, diversions to Munich where the hold the flight on the ground in the hope that Innsbruck weather will clear).

It's not a French issue, it's an issue with airports in the mountains being affected by mountain weather.
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Hurtle wrote:
Bloody hell, what a nightmare! I have just made a mental note never to fly to Chambery.


Joy I fly into there on Sunday! on a Flybe Q400 propeller plane

Toofy Grin snowHead
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rob@rar, maybe I've been lucky but have been on return flights to Innsbruck about 7 - 8 times over the past nine years and can't recall a single long delay. There may have been some short delays but nothing's stuck in the memory. Have flown out of Chambery once and was delayed seven hours.
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parallel lines wrote:
Now we are all back in the UK I am very interested to hear if anyone knows the whole truth about what happened at Chambery on Sat 9th ?


No idea what happened in Chambery but the weather wasn't particuarly bad. I remember driving to Chamrousse at 1750 meters and there was only snow on the roads from 1600-1700 meters and then nothing to really worried about. I think it snowed on the Thursday.

A lot of drivers without chains/winter tires/a clue though and maybe TO buses didn't have trouble getting up to resort but were then delayed in resort? Of course at somewhere like Val Thorens the weather could have been much worse.

The problem for an operator like Thomson/Crystal is they run so many passengers to so many resorts the whole logistiques is very complicated. It only needs a few things to go wrong to have big repercussions.

The 9th of January is hardly high season though.
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davidof, We left on the Friday afternoon out of Arc 2000 and all was fine until Moutiers from where it awful (snow and fog) until past Lyon. The bad weather seems low? that weekend effecting the airports mostly not resort level.
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thefatcontroller wrote:
davidof, We left on the Friday afternoon out of Arc 2000 and all was fine until Moutiers from where it awful (snow and fog) until past Lyon. The bad weather seems low? that weekend effecting the airports mostly not resort level.


Thanks for the info. Obviously localized weather patterns. Grenoble airport is built somewhere called "les terres froids" - the cold lands, it is an area of bitter winters where it is impossible to dig in your garden due to frost for months on end.
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flown to Innsbruck maybe six times in the last few years and never had any delays whtasoever Very Happy
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davidof, it's strange how you get these pockets of microclimate. There's an area of roads bordering on Hampstead Heath that I sometimes cycle through on a cold clear winter's night. I swear that the temperature there is always several degrees more freezing than elsewhere. The Heath gently rises from there for about 80m, so I guess it's a kind of temperature inversion, induced by the shape of the landscape.
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Quote:

No idea what happened in Chambery but the weather wasn't particuarly bad. I remember driving to Chamrousse at 1750 meters and there was only snow on the roads from 1600-1700 meters and then nothing to really worried about. I think it snowed on the Thursday.


I drove down from Tignes that day, leaving at 10 am. It was a bit murky but not too bad. A friend who left at 6 am said it was much, much worse earlier on. Single file to Lyon he said. By the time I came through a few hours later it was just a routine winter's day. Not pleasant but not spectacularly bad.
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