Finally, D-Day (Departure Day!)
On Easter morning, Sunday the 31st, we checked out of our hotel room and headed to Reno-Tahoe International Airport with all our (much downsized) worldly possessions and Kiara the Chihuahua.
I dropped Tracy, Kiara, and the bags out in front of the main terminal and swung around to return the rental car. As I walked back to the terminal I found our niece Lyssa, her husband Chris, and baby Selah saying farewell to Tracy and Kiara. Tracy also had for Lyssa a bag of 110 volt hair care appliances that would completely “self-destruct” if used with Europe’s 220 voltage system. With final good-byes complete we headed inside to check-in with Delta Airlines.
To our surprise we found that our two checked bags would go all the way through to Toulouse. No having to reclaim the bags for customs inspection in Paris. Yippee!
The we met Delta agent, Sarah. What a joy! She was extremely helpful ensuring Kiara was booked for cabin travel with us on every leg of the flight. She made sure we had copies of Kiara’s cabin booking to show the gate agents in Salt Lake City and Paris, if needed. Especially in Paris where we would switch from Delta to Air France.
Interesting to note that with the exception of asking if we had Kiara’s veterinary and USDA clearances, no one ever actually examined the documents. Although we will need the documents for the French veterinarian for Kiara’s EU Pet Passport, apparently we could have flown without all the effort of seeing the vet and USDA. But we operate on the “better safe than sorry” principle and we didn’t want the nightmare of being stopped at customs in Paris and refused admission or worse, Kiara being quarantined.
Although Kiara had to stay in her carrier aboard the plane, the gate agents in Reno-Tahoe, Salt Lake City and Charles De Gaulle airports graciously allowed Kiara to get out of her carrier, stretch her legs, and “strut her stuff” as an international jet-setter, a status she has long aspired to.
Kiara slept quietly and did not seem upset by the flights, although she would have been happier in one of our laps. Tracy did the closest thing possible to that with putting Kiara’s carrier in her lap with slipping her hand through the zippered door. No problems even medicating Kiara while enroute, though Tracy did forewarn the flight attendants that it would be necessary to do so because of her medical condition. Thankfully the flight attendants were more than understanding regarding the medication issue.
Upon our arrival in Toulouse we had the most amazing surprise of all . . . our checked luggage actually arriving with us! It was quite the relief to realize that there IS an airline that can get both you and your luggage to the same destination, at the same time. A feat that United, US Airways and Continental Airlines have never, ever been able to accomplish . . . ever!
Our final surprise was that our new landlords, British expats Jason and Annette, happened to be in Toulouse dropping off some paperwork for their daughter and offered to swing by the airport to pick us up rather than Tracy and I taking the train to Carcassonne. They were kind enough to drive us (and our luggage) the 54 miles to our apartment. That let Kiara ride in our laps for the final lap to our new home, and gave us a chance to get acquainted with another expat couple.
In all, the trip for Kiara (and us) was minimally traumatic, although our new “Miss International Diva” believes she now merits living in the adjacent castle of la Cité de Carcassonne. In the mean time, we are settling into our new apartment . . . without issue, well mostly without issue.