We were notified that our British Airways flight was delayed for 3 hours but there was no guidance about whether we could arrive at the airport and check in 3 hours later so we had to stick with the same check in time and spent 6 hours waiting around at the airport.
Like most things, it seemed worse than it actually was. By the time we’d gone through all the formalities, had something to eat (BA very kindly supplied us with a voucher for 350 baht which nearly paid for a Burger King Meal) and wrote up my Blog it wasn’t long before we started boarding.
We had paid to pre-book our seats and when we looked at the seat configuration on the web site there were two seats in the middle Isle at the back (Row 24) that were on their own. It meant I didn’t have to sit next to someone who would undoubtedly annoy me all the way back to London. So we chose them. The price you pay for this extra freedom is that you are right by the toilet’s (though that did make it easier to get to in an emergency) and they don’t recline fully.
When we got to row 24 I was horrified to find they were in a row of three and i spent an awful 20 minutes watching fellow traveler’s walking up the Isle and praying they wouldnt sit next to me.
There was one particular Brit I spotted in Burger King when I had my nearly free meal that I particularly dreaded sitting next to me.
He was a big old guy, maybe in his sixties (what am I saying?) About 6 foot tall, broad with a big blue drinkers nose, long grey greasy hair and a smokers cough which he obviously topped up as I saw him going into the smoking room.
I knew he would be my worst nightmare. The smell of stale smoke for 12 hours!
Fortunately as it turned out, this seat is used by one of the cabin crew for take off and landing and I got to speak to a very charming young lady from Dublin who was on her last flight as a stewardess and would be starting a new career as a trainee optician in the new year.
Once the take off was over I had her seat to myself and we could spread out a bit which helped offset the cramp and fatigue.
So we ‘Pushed back’ and set off down the runway slightly more than 3 hours later than expected.
Then we sat there for longer than expected.
The Captain then made an announcement.
Apparently we had been ‘Re routed’ which meant we didn’t have sufficient fuel on board for the new route so we had to taxi across the airfield and meet up with a tanker that topped us up. An activity that eventually took an additional hour and a half.
So, we were actually airborne about 5 hours later than expected.
This was obviously going to complicate our plans to get back to Bristol as we expected to catch a National Express bus, be back in Bristol late afternoon and then catch a local bus back to home. Landing as we did at about 2120 we would have to try for the 2330 bus which would get us back in Bristol at 0200 in the morning and the local buses have stopped running by then
However, those people who had connecting flights booked had all sorts of additional problems that made our issues seem trivial.
We cleared immigration with ease which is strange given all the turmoil about BREXIT and the Open Door Policies on Immigration. There seemed to be less formality, fewer barriers in the UK than anywhere else we’d been?
Following the signs to the buses we came across a bank of screens that allowed us to purchase two tickets for the bus as there is no staffed desk available.
The airport, at least this section of it was deserted and had a slightly sad feeling about it. We could see the drizzle through the windows and felt the cold when we ventured out to check on the bus stop.
There was a solitary coffee shop which offered some comfort and we took advantage and had our first cup of English Tea.
Sadly this too closed at 2300 hrs so we spent the rest of the time sat on a bench reading a discarded copy of the Daily Mail which still contained enough right wing vitriol for spontaneous combustion until our number 200 bus arrived.
Our Welsh driver Dave was a larger than life Taff with a Hacking Cough and a runny nose that he sniffed and sucked all the way to Bristol.
The bus picks up at Terminal 4, then 3 & 2 before hitting the M5 where it comes off again at Reading.
We finally got to a deserted Bristol bus station at 0215 hrs and found the taxi rank next to the station, by the Eye hospital had been moved and it’s new venue was a bit vague.
However a Bristol Taxi (Blue) arrived and offered to take us home for £30 which I thought was expensive but Jaki assures me is reasonable at that time of night.
Sadly once home, we weren’t able to sleep and spent a very restless couple of hour’s wandering around the house (which Georgia left absolutely spotless,well done Kid ) which was how I discovered the washing machine was leaking when I stepped in a puddle with my stockinged feet.
Jet lag has gotten the better of us and I write this at 0406 in the morning of the 13th December.
This particular week has historically been a “Bogey’ for me.
It is a week I dread. Most of the bad things that have happened to me have happened this week. I separated from my first (and Only ) wife this week. My Dad Died this week.
Even John Lennon died about this time.
All the really shitty things seem to happen this week.
I’m even predicting my ultimate demise will be this week.
At some time in the future a Doctor will look up and say. “Im sorry Mr Hendy but your gonna Pop yer Clog’s the week before Christmas”.
In order to while away some time i caught up on Twitter and there was an advert asking if I had been the victim of a 3 hour flight delay in the last 6 years if so this company could get me compensation.
So I did some research and it would appear that:- Flight Cancellation and Long Delays: Notification of Rights under EC Regulation No 261/2004 (as required by Article 14.2) means you can claim up to 600 Euro’s. However as you would expect the information on BA web site is particularly complicated and Im not quite sure where to start?
If I understand correctly I first go to my Travel Agent (Trailfinders) who no doubt will tell me it’s not their fault.
Then I go to BA and there is an on line form which looks predictably complicated before finally going to the CAA?
I will keep you informed of progress but what Im concerned about is that I wasn’t given any advice about claiming and neither, I suspect, were those people who had onward flights, or who spoke no English.
Surely it is the responsibility of the airline to make passengers aware that the law allows them to make a claim.
Or am I being silly?