So I've been a little unhappy with the state of my house. Over the last few years we've collected some really nice things but in the big scheme of things we have a boring, disorganized house punctuated by some nice things. I'm always amazed when we walk into friends' houses and they're so... grown up and put together.
I've decided to slowly make changes and make it a bit more livable and pretty, and started by going through my ever-growing magazine pile, for both inspiration and culling. Which leads me to a total digression. In one of the house magazines I was going through a designer was asked what superpower she'd like to have and her answer was "Flying, so I don't have to go through airports." I'm SO with her and present to you our travel (mis)adventures of 2010. We were hoping 2011 would bring us better airport karma but the return leg of our Christmas 2010 trip proved otherwise.
Flight from Manchester to Munich visa Paris, with Air France. CDG closed the entire morning due to freak storm with hundreds of cancelled flights, Manchester ground crew just said there were some winds causing delays and still sent us to Paris. MAYHEM at the airport, missed connection, and only thanks to M's pushiness, a voucher for a hotel. Eventually made it on a flight the next day.
Just yesterday I learned that Air France is not so fondly referred to as Air Chance in England.
The Cloud. Flight from Manchester to Munich with (sl)eazyJet. Flight cancelled due to the ash cloud. Sleazy has no partners so can only rebook on their next flight the following evening. Next day arrive at airport, check-in and after being called to the gate and waiting, waiting, waiting for ages, someone from Sleazy saunters over to check what's going on. Flight cancelled due to insufficient crew to operate the flight, told earliest we were likely to be rebooked would be Thursday - YAY! Mobile battery dead, don't even know how to use payphones anymore, somehow manage to make it back to Preston on the train and M guessed which train I'd be on so he picked me up. Spent several hours looking for alternate routing, booked flight on SAS via Copenhagen next morning. At the gate we're told that all of northern Germany and Scandinavia are severely affected by downed traffic control system and landings only done at airports on sight, meaning only a few planes an hour can land. Eventually depart and make it to Copenhagen just as flight to Munich, clear across the airport, is boarding. Copenhagen airport has a lovely floor - it was the only thing I was able to note during mad dash. Just make it as gate about to close, then delay announced. Eventually make it back to Munich nearly three days late. Hug cats, collapse in bed.
About a month later I meet a friend of a friend and we're talking about air travel - turns out she was on the same Sleazy flight and didn't make alternate arrangements, only to be told by Sleazy on four days later that they can't help with alternate arrangements and passengers would need to make their own. Awesome.
Air travel this month - A DREAM. Marry me, Singapore Airlines. Flew to Manchester and were going to drive the car to Inverness, Scotland. Lemony nature of car makes self known, end up having to rent a car. Grr.
M flies Liverpool to Berlin with Sleazy. Flight delayed a couple of hours. Next day as he drives our German car on the highway, the gas freezes since it's summer fuel (did you know there was a difference? I didn't. Car hadn't been in use since September, hence problem.). Replacement rental car hell, return flight first delayed, then cancelled. He's told he won't be able to get another flight before Thursday (this was on Sunday) but somehow jumps queue to get on a Sleazy flight to Gatwick, 400 some odd kilometers south of home. He rents a car with four Liverpudlians and drives all night through fog to Liverpool, since none of them had license. Taxi we had prepaid on his departing leg stands him up, bus driver won't take him to train station because he couldn't make change for the 10 pound note M had for the 2 pound fare. Eventually makes it to town, boards train, arrives home.
Manchester to Berlin via London Heathrow with British Airways. Both flights delayed but passably so. Train from Berlin to M's home town delayed 45 minutes, apparently since there were so many passengers pre-holiday that each stop took longer to complete. Taxis at taxi rank? None, we walk about 5 kilometers in zero degree weather, while carrying our suitcases. His mother is upset with us because there are no taxis. Yeah, me either. Anyway.
Return leg, ground agent starts checking us in and asks if it's deliberate that our continuing flights from London are booked one via Heathrow and the other via Gatwick. Uh, NO, apparently M's company screwed up the booking. We manage to get it changed at no cost. Flight to London delayed half an hour. Flight to Manchester delayed half an hour. M's suitcase does not arrive, we miss last train filling out paperwork. Suitcase sits at Manchester airport for five days before being delivered to us.
So what to conclude?
1) Would rather teleport than fly;
2) Never travel with an airline with no/few partners;
3) Low cost=nonsense;
4) Regular airlines=nonsense;
5) Thank you, UKBA, for keeping me grounded for the next few months!
6) We're due some massive travel karma.
1) What superpower would you want?
2) If most travellers are low-cost, why do all airports still have these crazy designer stores that no one can afford? Just wondering who still goes to the airport to buy their 3000 pound Prada gown. Has anyone done since 1975?