Do you remember that one time when I spent 12 hours in Heathrow airport while trying to get to Beijing?
Well since then I just can’t keep away from London Heathrow.
I’m now on my way to India, where myself and 4 friends from university are spending a couple of weeks, before heading off for a 6 week stint teaching in Nepal. But back to the real story: 8 hours after I set off from my house, once again I haven’t actually made it onto a plane thus far.
I don’t know whether it’s just my bad luck in general, or whether this is just the effective karmic balancing out of an incredibly successul gap year, remarkably unblighted by misfortune, but our flight to Geneva got cancelled before we even got to the check-in desk. However, the fact that I am now writing this from the comfort of a hotel room bed (one of the two beds that is in the room that I have all to myself) proves that this experience so far has been altogether different from the nightmarish journey to China I endured at Easter.
I arrived at the airport this afternoon, fresh-faced with excitement after only minor last-minute packing woes, and waved bye to mum at the drop off point (she’s so past emotional goodbyes by now, more concerned by short-stay car parking fees than making sure I find my way to the right desk). On walking into the terminal building was immediately confronted with a board displaying words no traveller wants to see: flight LX357 – cancelled.
I have to say, I wasn’t even put off that much by this revelation – it’s only the word ‘delayed’ that now strikes fear into my heart – so I just headed to the Swiss Air desk and prepared myself for a long queue, waiting to get our flight rebooked. I met Tyler on the way to the desk, broke the bad news, and we queued until our whole little group was assembled, passing the time in chat about summers and the minutiae of what we’d packed (dramatic scenes ensuing when Tyler realised he’d forgotten to pack his moisturiser). After what felt like minutes in comparison with the five hour wait I’d had at the Austrian Air desk way back in April, we made it to the front of the queue, and were all booked onto the next flight to Delhi, missing out on a direct BA flight by a whisker. There are fewer worse phrases to hear after being tantalised with a direct BA flight than, “Oh, no, I’ve found a Lufthansa one.”
I’m not bitter.
But seriously, I’m not. We’ve been booked on a flight to Delhi via Frankfurt tomorrow morning, checked into a shmancy hotel, provided with free dinner and breakfast vouchers, and only denied our two prospective 6-hour stopovers in Swiss airports. Result!
So instead of kipping on an airport floor, I’ve eaten a ‘three course buffet meal’ (when I wore leggings to travel in, I never thought overeating would be one reason to be glad of them’) and had a bubble bath, and am about to sleep in a comfy bed. The beds here have bolsters. I don’t even know the function of a bolster. And if the fanciness of a hotel is directly proportional to the mirror-to-person ratio, well, I have 8 of them…
So a cancelled flight is not the end of the world. I feel that in general our situation has improved because of it. And knowing that we legally have to be provided with accommodation, food, and a new flight did definitely relieve a lot of the stress that I might have otherwise felt. And it’s a much more pleasant experience when you’ve got four other people to queue with.
Having said that, here’s hoping the next leg of the journey runs more smoothly…