About Me

Larbert, Scotland, United Kingdom

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Holidays and delays

I thought I had posted this last week but it seems i clicked 'save as draft'
Just back from holiday in Gibraltar. Though the journey back seemed almost as long as the holiday. going out we were beset by a 4hour delay at Edinburgh airport due to Spanish and French air traffic controllers strikes. they don't actually walk out, just reduce the number of planes they control so they cause inconvenience but still get paid (please note BA cabin crew etc). This meant a whole 3hrs sleep at Gatwick before getting up for the early morning flight on to Gibraltar which was a mere 45 minutes late (same reason as above).

Gibraltar was nice and surprisingly for a small peninsula half filled with a huge rock there was quite a bit to do, including a chunk of sitting in the sun on a beach or by a pool reading a book. We even spent some time on top of the rock watching planes coming into land and the connected road closures - the main road runs across the runway at the airport. Whilst up the rock, one of the resident apes also stole my brother-in-law's ice cream, much to his displeasure.

The day we arrived had been misty and muggy but the Sunday through Friday were clear bright hot days. there must be something to do with travel for the Saturday we were coming home dawned overcast and windy. We got to the airport early (Dad aims for 15 minutes before check in opens) and checked in before heading through to the small departure lounge, which rapidly filled up with passengers for three flights back to the UK - easyjet, monarch and BA. all were showing a 40 minute delay. Just at the time the first plane was due down, we got an announcement saying that due to the wind and poor visibility, the easyjet and BA flights were diverting to Malaga airport.

15 minutes later they announced that BA would be attempting another landing in 30 minutes but that Easyjet had cancelled their flight and we should all queue up for a new flight. a rapid sprint back to the check in area saw us join the long queue to rearrange flights. We managed to get seats on the 2230 from Malaga (it was about 1300 at this point0, but with self arranged transport to malaga airport. the airport staff advised that the express bus did not run on Sundays so our choice was a taxi at 150Euro. This we did and arrived after visiting a Spanish cashpoint and being forced to decide if my debit card was 'Current account', 'savings account' or 'credit account'. Turned out that it only gave me money if I clicked 'credit account', so I assume that is what I have.

Malaga airport is soul-less devoid of character, devoid of shops and aimed solely at budget airlines and the charter market. As was becoming a common pattern, the 2230 flight left at 0030 next day allowing me some time to book a room at the Gatwick Hilton - their last remaining room. The minor issue being that I wanted it for 3 - myself and my sister & brother-in-law. The room was allegedly a 'compact family room' with a double bed and 2 bunk beds, but Hilton said it could only sleep 2 adults and adults could not use the bunk beds. Aye right. After checking in around 3am, we found that the lower bunk suited me fine.

Next morning we headed over to the terminal to check in for the Easyjet 1500 flight to Edinburgh. Which suddenly flicked on the online departure screen to 'contact airline' whilst still being open for check in at the airport. a quick sprint to the airline desk confirmed that it was in fact cancelled. The next Edinburgh seats were Wednesday, but they had Glasgow seats at 2100 but no guarantee that the plane would run. As we pondered the cost of rail tickets or car hire, I called BA and managed to get us 3 seats on the 2100 BA to Edinburgh (where the car was). After another 8 hours in Gatwick, we took off almost on time and made it safely back to Edinburgh.

Time to dust down my travel insurance claim forms now and write the story with supporting evidence for them.

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