Flying Home

7 Jan 2010

It was late in Melbourne when the Qantas flight left. An hour’s delay because of “technical problems”. That never bodes well when you’re on a plane that has to get to the UK. Still, the flight went well to Hong Kong.

Qantas 747 leaves Melbourne airportI’d ended up in the Premier Economy section this time. That made up for being right at the back of the plane on the way out. Champagne before take off and nice big seat were enjoyable. Dinner was served (with fancy big napkins) and afterwards I settled down to watch The Informant before sleeping for the rest of the flight to Hong Kong (late nights and white wine are good for sleeping).

The wait in Hong Kong lasted longer than planned. Those pesky technical difficulties were back. Once boarded the whole plane was shut down, lights went out, engine noise gone. The old trick, if it doesn’t work then shut it down and turn it back on again. I would not have been surprised if there was a bloke outside kicking the tires just to make sure it started up again.

More good food and excellent service from the Qantas staff. Don’t think I’ll ever fly with BA again if I can help it. Apart from their desire to go on strike the service pales in comparison to Qantas.

I worked my way through the movies, a few TV shows and had a walk up and down the cabin every now and again. Approaching Heathrow and we were informed that because of the inclement weather all the bags would be unloaded into Heathrow regardless of any connecting flights.

That sounded sensible. I was already going to miss the flight back to Manchester because we were running so late.

Once we landed at Terminal 3 I cleared customs quickly and waited for my bag to arrive on the carousel. Waited and waited and waited and waited. Once all the bags had been unloaded and mine wasn’t there I asked a baggage handler about it. He looked at my baggage stub, tapped on a keyboard and duly informed me that the back had been sent to Terminal 5.

After reminders from the plane that all bags would be unloaded into T3, mine had been sent on to T5. A quick walk down to the trains and a 10 minute ride later I arrived at T5 to discover that all domestic flights had been cancelled because of the snow. My bag was airside and I wasn’t.

BA were running buses to other airports to compensate for the lack of flights. That meant trying to find the buses (BA staff were at least helpful in that respect) and travelling the 4 hours to Manchester in a bus wearing nothing more than a t-shirt. I had packed my luggage so that a jumper and coat were easily accessible.

It took a little less time to get to Manchester than expected. Still freezing outside. Manchester Airport had all but shut down and I had to hope the trains were still running.

Fortunately the right kind of snow had fallen so I eventually got back to York on the train. Cold, tired and hoping that the baggage would follow in a few days.

It’s all part of the adventure.

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