Actually, well, more like iDTGV hates us and by us, I mean Canadians.
For those that don’t know, iDTGV (not affiliated with TGV) is a train service in France that I keep calling iDTVG for some reason. Seriously, though, iDTGV is an interesting train service because it caters to my demographic – you know, the one that doesn’t appreciate screaming freaking kids running amok while you’re trying to enjoy some quiet time, a baguette and maybe a bottle of wine en route to Nice from Paris. They have train cars that cater to a number of needs – iDzen for the traveller who may want to chill out or sleep, iDzap which has a jovial and engaging atmosphere, a bar that feels more like a real bar / cafe and iDNiGHT which is the overnight dance party train with DJ and liquor service.
Pretty cool huh?
Sadly, on a recent trip to France, I wasn’t able to actually experience iDTGV. You see, despite booking some reasonable tickets online and being assured everything is copasetic, hours later, the system would tell me that my credit card has been refused. After what seemed like hours on the phone to my credit card company, they noted that no authorization was attempted, so I was like WTF?!
After trying to reach the company, pacing around, trying every credit card in my arsenal, losing my reservation and the likes, I took it upon myself to visit a train station that purports to have an iDTGV booth. Guess what…. it was a freaking Internet kiosk with no people in sight! After making several enquiries, I was told that in most cases, there are no iDTGV staff at train stations except to manage departures. GREAT!
BTW – while I was out on my escapade, and thanks to SFR’s 3G+ internet service, I received the following reply from iDTGV:
From: Service Clients iDTGV [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 5:51 AM
To: Rajesh Taneja
Subject: <Ref3688321> Question sur le paiement
Dear Sir Taneja,
We acknowledge receipt of your message on the payment of your order.
Please note that for security reasons you can only pay by credit card French, European or American.
We remain at your disposal for any additional information you consider useful.
Une question sur iDTGV ? Consultez la rubrique « Besoin d’aide » de notre site !
Du lundi au vendredi
de 09H00 à 18h00
(sauf jours fériés)
<rant>So what? In France, Canadians are chopped liver? What about Vimy Ridge, Juno Beach, Operation Overlord and the Battle of Normandy? Haven’t we paid our dues? If it weren’t for the Canadians’ presence in France, I suspect that Nadège might’ve been Wilhelm and French would be an elective in secondary school.</rant>
After the whole excercise, we wound up at the SNCF booth and booked to be on a TGV train to Cannes the following day, screaming children in tow *sigh*.