Friday, May 16, 2008

It's called Terminal for a reason

Here I am in Terminal 5 at Heathrow. I was here yesterday afternoon and evening too, thinking (foolishly) that I had beaten the curse of BA by having no bags to check in. I am trying to fly to Budapest.

Everything went well yesterday until about an hour before boarding, when a delay was signalled. OK, not too serious, and a gate allocation duly appeared, and we all duly appeared at the gate. To wait. And wait. About 50 minutes after the new departure time, with no boarding and no announcements, the sign went blank and then blinked "Gate Closed". The five members of BA staff at the gate clearly did not have the full picture of what was happening. Terminal 5 is not short of BA staff, as I found out on my depressing journey back through the arrivals area after (finally) the cancellation of the flight was announced. They pretty much lined our route, handing out bottles of water (a la London marathon drink-stations) and leaflets telling us that BA were unable to arrange any hotel accommodation. The reason for not being able to set people up with hotels was basically that London is full of people watching Wimbledon (that's what it said!). The silver lining in this cloud was the BA staff member on the customer service desk, who was polite, empathic and able to book me on to flights the next day. I've been up-graded, too, which means instead of paying £1 for 10 minutes to surf the net outside the omnipresent Starbucks, I am in the BA private lounge watching the departures board - which is now showing my re-booked flight as delayed!

At least I can do some reflection. And reading (I'm reading "Mind & Nature: a necessary unity" by Gregory Bateson, which will be worth several Blog postings in its own right. And surfing, of course - I'm now fully up to date with all my Scrabulous matches and I've seen my book jump in the Lulu rankings from 99,326 to 44, 885 (a seismic move that even Henley would envy). Not bad what 8 copies sold can do for an author.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Remember that, as a passenger whose flight has been cancelled, you can claim up to €600 following the European directives. For example, if the flight had been to Barcelona, it would be €250 on top of the expenses of taking care of you for the night, of course.

At least it wasn't T5's fault :D

Best regards