Trip Log: Getting to Eastern Europe, 10/8–10/9

This post covers our flights from Seattle to Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Planning this trip was very involved, but things came together pretty well. I'm lucky that Melody enjoys the research involved with such a task.

The first worry was whether we'd make it at all. Our flights were set up so that we had a comfortable layover in Chicago and a tighter one in Paris. Not long after we got the tickets, the flights were changed so we had about 45 minutes in Chicago, but a comfortable layover in Paris. When we got to the airport, we double-checked that the airline knew about our connection, and  were assured at that time that they did. We later saw the flight to Chicago was delayed, and our layover was down to 17 minutes. Again we were assured they knew about the connection, but this time were told that there was no guarantee they'd be able to hold the flight for us. Huh.

Not long before our flight was to board, we were told we had been rebooked to a direct flight to Paris, giving us even more time on our layover. What a relief. It's a good thing we packed so everything could be carried on, since that was what enabled them to switch our flight.

Since we were booked so late for the flight, we weren't seated next to each other (4 rows apart). Melody let one of the flight attendants know, who then asked the people around her if they were flying alone (none were). The woman next to me was flying alone, but she really, really wanted the window seat, saying that she had always flown in the middle section. I assured her we understood, but eyed her warily as the first thing she did was pull down the shade.

Neither Melody nor I sleep well on red-eye flights, and this one was no exception. We got to Paris Charles de Gaulle at about 8:30am local time, about three hours before our conecting flght to Dubrovnik. No problem, we thought. We landed and taxied for 15 or 20 minutes, ending up nowhere near a terminal, since they planned on using a shuttle to take the passengers to the terminal. After about 10 or 15 minutes of maneuvering, the truck with the stairs finally got aligned to the plane, and we were off to the terminal.

After asking several people, we ended up going to the same shuttle depot to head off to Terminal 1. Many shuttles showed up, but the terminals the guy announced had no correlation to what was posted on the actual shuttle. We were a little skeptical when he announced Terminal 1, but went ahead and boarded.

Melody at de Gaulle airport

Melody at de Gaulle airport

After seeing most of the de Gaulle tarmac, we got to Terminal 1, the arrival spot being one set of gates. Looking at the table, we saw Croatia Air was at a different set of gates, so we took the moving sidewalk (seen at left), which starts going down, then horizontal, then up, then slightly down before depositing you in the middle area. Looking at posted flights, it ends up our flight was actually in the set of gates we had just left. Back onto the moving sidewalk.

Dubrovnik visa

Dubrovnik visa

Next was figuring out what to do about boarding passes. There was a security check before the gates, and we were wondering if we had to go back (yet again) to the central area to get our boarding passes. One of the people at the security checkpoint said we should just go in, so we did. The kiosk which seemed liked the right place to get our tickets was empty, so we just sat down near it. After a while, a woman came through security, walked up to us, and asked if we were going to Dubrovnik. After saying yes, she handed us our boarding passes. They looked right, and did the job to get us onto the plane, so we figured everyting was OK. We landed in Dubrovnik got some local currency, and hopped onto a bus to the city.