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Getting back to UK in an emergemcy


dave21478

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My mum has taken seriously ill. Its not a surprise as she has had a form of dementia for a few years, but from what I gather, she is likely to die some time "soon", although the profesional opinions of "soon" vary from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, perhaps a month.

My question is this...are "standby" seats still available on airlines to UK? ie turn up at the airport and wait for a flight with a spare seat? if so, what are the prices like? It seems a bit scrooge-like to be worrying about money just now, but flights back for 2 people without knowing a specific date to travel for can cost up to 4k, which is just unfeasable.

Things are complicated by distance too, as we need to get from Toulouse (or carcassonne or rodez) to Aberdeen, and at short notice its tricky to get connecting flights to link up without huge expense and overnight stops along the way.

Driving is the cheap option, but its over 2000kms each way, and whilst I have done it many times before, it takes 2 days each way, to say nothing of the exhaustion, plus I dont wish to travel by road right now if weather reports are to be believed.

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Thanks.

I can reasonably often get an all-in price for two people on a round trip for around 700 - 800 for various dates, which is fine but it seems to be lucky dip as occasionally, things jump up by a factor of 3 or 4 with little or no visible reason behind it.

BA.com seem to be the most consistant though. It all depends on how much notice we will have for departure.

I was really just curious about the possibility of standby seats - or has modern paranoia about security perhaps put an end to this? or would it just be like paying normal "on the same day" prices?

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I am so sorry Dave, and really feel for you. I came to see mum 'as an emergency' so many many times over a period of years. In the end she I wasn't there for her when she did die exactly 1 year ago. S*ds law. Thinking of you.

I was able to book on the internet for EasyJet every time within hours of flying. Otherwise I would have turned up at the airport, go to the desk and explain and wait. Bonne chance.

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I used to travel this way years ago as a student and contacted a number of airlines to ask if this was still an option (for international i.e. transatlantic) travel and was told no - it's now only available to airline employees because of security issues. I know when my brother-in-law missed the (Ryanair) check in time at Amsterdam (~4 years ago) he had to buy another ticket at the airport for the next flight out - but it wasn't cheap.  Maybe you could give the airport a call?

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For this kind of situation you are unlikely to better Air France. They can get you back from Toulouse to Aberdeen at less than a days notice, with a choice of 3 or 4 flights changing at CDG.

If you are lucky it will be around £450 single, but if demand is high it could be up to £900.

But in this kind of situation there really isn't much choice or  opportunity to book ahead with Ryanair.

 

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Air France is one option but the Toulouse - Aberdeen trip is one I do every 3 weeks and I would absolutely choose the equivalent KLM via Amsterdam every time. Turnround time in both Paris and Amsterdam is tight, as little as 45 minutes sometimes on AF, but KLM are far more punctual and even with 1h turnrounds in 2.5 years I have only missed a connection once, and that was after Christmas because of the snow and because the inbound KLM was hours late into Aberdeen. The equivalent AF didn't even fly on that day and I frequently sit in Aberdeen on the way home and see the AF late which would mean me missing my Paris connection if I were on it.

Top Tip: Whether you choose AF or KLM do not take checked in baggage as there is virtually zero chance of it making the connecting flight nor are you likely to have the time to collect it off the first flight and check it in for the second.

Good luck.

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This is something I have been wondering about too.

We went back to see my mum at the beginning of the month.

Spent a week in England visiting her in the care home every day.

We have also booked another week next month so that we can visit her again.

However, in the meantime, she has suffered a massive stroke and is now in hospital. The prognosis isn't good.

Yesterday she seemed a little better but there is still the distinct possibilty that she won't make it until the middle of March when we visit England next.

It seems silly that Ryanair fly planes not full but you cant simply turn up at the airport on the day for a cheap standby ticket. Can that possibly make economic sense?
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[quote user="bubbles"]

It seems silly that Ryanair fly planes not full but you cant simply turn up at the airport on the day for a cheap standby ticket. Can that possibly make economic sense?[/quote]

My sympathies to both of you.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that they do not want to get in to the position of package holiday companies - where people waited to book last minute because it would be cheap. Plus, if you need to fly at short notice then they can make plenty of profit.

Paul
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My thoughts are with you and your mother too.  I was sadly in a similar situation last year except my mother passed away suddenlly and unexpectedly in the middle of the night.  I had to wait until around 08:00 before I could ring around airlines (couldn't find any flights online) but no luck at any price, it was peak holiday season too. 

 I found that there were spaces on Norfolk line ferries so jumped in the car and got to Dunkerque and took the next boat.  I only had to get as far as London from Luxembourg so no real issue about distance but if it were Aberdeen I don't know what I would have done

One thing that was positive was that the airlines I spoke to were sympathetic and if there was a seat available I could have bought it, no security issues there, it seems that you just can't book same day online. 

 

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[quote user="bubbles"].......... It seems silly that Ryanair fly planes not full but you cant simply turn up at the airport on the day for a cheap standby ticket. Can that possibly make economic sense?[/quote]

Where did you get that idea from?  You can turn up and get a ticket at the airport if there is room on the plane.

Another/Ernie, you saying that Ryanair used airports have no check in staff, who checks in the AirFrance flights at Rodez then?  Friends of ours had to fly back for a similar reason to the OP from Rodez and got tickets on the day at the airport.

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My godson was in the same position when his mother was taken ill whilst visiting us.  He got compassionate leave from the army and turned  up at Stanstead to try to get on a plane to Tours.  Ryanair would only sell him a full priced ticket so he phoned his wife who then booked him a 99p effort for 24 hours hence and he slept on the airport floor (squaddies are tough chaps!) whilst waiting for the time to pass.

Most transport companies operate a similar policy - cheap tickets are sold in advance (by internet these days but in the days when I worked for the railway, by phone or post, often via promotions) and a certain number of full priced seats are left available for emergency purchase as any company in the trade knows that those in need will pay full price so there is no need to offer them at a reduced rate.  I well remember an American friend of mine who regularly travelled to visit her parents in Raleigh, having to pay over £3000 to travel home on the same day when her father was taken ill - having been more used to paying around £500. Whatever, I imagine that Eurostar/tunnel will be the same as the airlines,..

So sorry to hear your news, David, I guess we all know the day will come eventually but it's never pleasant when it does.  How about companies like lastminute.com?  Aferryto used to be quite good also, but obviously you'd need to drive to the channel which is not always what you want to do when you're feeling sad.

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Sorry to hear your problem.

Certainly Brittany Ferries will let you on their boats at last minute for the normal fare, and I think Eurotunnel are the same.  Of course as other poster says you do not always feel up to driving to the ports in the circumstances.

French Railways want you to book in advance and it appears so do the cheap airlines.

Good luck

WendyG

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[quote user="WendyG"]

..........French Railways want you to book in advance and it appears so do the cheap airlines.

WendyG

[/quote]

That is not right[8-)] You can buy a ticket at the station on the day of travel and even buy a ticket on the train on SNCF, done it many times when the ticket office has been closed.  And as myself and others have posted you can also turn up at most airports and buy tickets certainly the two the OP would use, Rodez or Toulouse.  What you will do with the lo-cost airlines is pay a premium fare, but that is how their fares policies work.  However they are not always bank breaking, Toulouse to London tomorrow is only 122€, much cheaper than the same flight booked in advance for some Fridays.

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