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Biography > Holidays And Travel

I’ve been flying up and down to Glasgow from Birmingham recently. Fairly often something happens to enliven the proceedings.

Both BE and BA have been flying the route. Initially I flew BE because it was cheaper but latterly I far prefer BA because they tend to be better.

Wrong Plane

On one evening I’m sitting chatting in the departure lounge when the flight to Birmingham is called. I go forward and join the queue to get on the flight. My boarding card is checked and the stub is handed back. They check my ID. I walk on to the plane and hand over the stub to the steward and he says “This flight is going to Southampton!”. Quick run back to the terminal building explain, get boarding card back and catch the right plane. What had happened was that both the Birmingham and Southampton flights leave at the same time, BE save money by not displaying flight info on signs and we had gone to the lounge which usually handled the Birmingham flight but not this time.

Wrong Boarding Card

British Airways allow you to check in yourself. So I do. I walk up to the machine. Touch the screen. Put my credit card in the slot. Choose my seat. Collect the boarding card that prints. Walk over to fast bag drop and drop my bag. The lady says that the plane will leave in about 20 minutes. I am surprised. I walk upstairs toward departures and then and only then do I look at the boarding card. It’s not mine! I vault down the stairs yelling stop the belts. They do, reassign my luggage, give me a new boarding card and all is well.

Wrong Cafe

Birmingham airport. I am queuing for coffee. Man brings back bacon sandwich complaining about tooth in it. Takes another from same pile and wanders off happy.

Wrong Planet

18/01/2007 worst storms ever. I fly to Glasgow. Plane weaves and bangs. Managing Director Birmingham Airport drives and dies in his car when a tree falls on it.

FlyBe- The Flight From Hell

I’d gone for a meeting in Glasgow. The meeting done I went back to the airport. I was early for the 6.45pm flight. So I bought a paperback and sat down to read it in the departure lounge. Around 6.00pm I was still on my own in the room which since we should have been boarding in 15 minutes was wrong. I found an information desk and was told that the flight had been cancelled. I dashed back out of departures back to arrivals and stood in a queue that was getting very angry. My boarding card was exchanged for one on the 8.40pm flight out. I breathed a sigh of relief and went to get some food. I got a soggy baguette and sat down to read my book. Then I went outside to kill some time with my book. It started raining again. I went back through security again and sat down in the departure lounge again. The place started to fill up. A good sign. We should be boarding at 8.10 my ticket said. 8.10 came and went.

No bother there was a plane outside and I’d be on it. At 8.40pm a little man appeared at the desk and said that the plane had technical difficulties. They would fly a plane up from Southampton and we and would now depart at 10.40pm. The collective anger was palpable. The man started to write out £5 vouchers. I walked off in disgust. I went back to arrivals again with a fellow traveller we chatted and had a couple of drinks in the bar. I felt a bit better now. We looked across from the bar and people were now boarding the plane. It was only about 20 past nine. Aghast, we dashed back again through security. They now insisted on frisking me. We ran onto the plane. They said the airport intercom had broken and that’s why they hadn’t told any one.

Breathing heavily I sat down and waited. People came and went. They announced 2 people hadn’t boarded the plane and they would have to take their baggage off. So we waited whilst that was done. Then came the moment. They shut the doors and started the engines. We started to roll backwards and then we stopped. The plane had failed a safety check on the deicing equipment again.

The pilot said that it had been repaired earlier but the checks now showed that it hadn’t. We taxied forward and a man got on and had a poke around. I just heard him say, “Not my job mate, I’m off shift”. He left.

The captain announced that we would all have to leave to get onto another plane, but since by now the airport building was closed we would have to get on a bus.

Whilst we were waiting it became rather important that I had a pee and in the loo I could hear the pilot chatting with his mates. He said “I’m in trouble if I don’t get into the air by 11.15pm I’m out of flying time. Even using all my discretionary I can’t fly” It was 10.30pm.

The bus eventually arrived and we boarded it. It was 10.50pm. It set off for the 20 second journey to the other plane and we got back onto the same numbered seats as in the previous. They shut the doors, the captain said it was important that we listened to the safety brief that we had listened to in the previous plane, again, and the stewards did the safety briefing again. It was all becoming a fantasy. Reality was lost a long time ago.

The plane taxiied forward, went round to the runway and sat there. I couldn’t believe it. Eventually they must have got permission to take off and the engine note deepened. We taxied forward and took off. They announced that we were now allowed a free drink and the plane landed around 12.30am. I had parked, as ever, in the station car park and paid for the parking when I left.

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