Sunday, 24 January 2010

The staggering journey

Well, I don't know what I have to do to get a normal trip by plane. Yesterday's trip to Holland was full of weird events. It started at Stornoway Airport, when my 09.00 am departure to Edinburgh was delayed by ice. The flight to Glasgow, departing at the same time, left without problem, but the aircraft used for the Edinburgh service had to be de-iced. Normally, the plane would have been sprayed with ethylene glycol, but that is not kept at Stornoway. So, the groundstaff set to with scrapers, more commonly used on cars with iced-up windscreens. After it was established that the ice grew back as soon as it was removed, they moved the aircraft into the hanger, which is kept at 21C / 70F at all time. That would certainly thaw any ice, but by the time it returned from there, the sun had appeared, and the mercury had risen by 2 degrees, from -1C / 30F at 9 am to +1C / 34C at 10.30 am.

The flight to Edinburgh afforded some stunning views over the west coast of Scotland, from Lewis all the way to the Paps of Jura if not the mountains of Mourne in Northern Ireland beyond. The Isles of Skye, Rhum, Eigg, Canna lay in full view, and it wasn't until we crossed over the spine of the country that cloud increased. Rain fell heavily over Fife and it was dismally grey and wet over Edinburgh. We landed at around midday, but I did not mind that delay. I was scheduled a 4 hour stop-over there, so it would shorten that wait.

Well, it wasn't long before the departure screens announced my onward flight to Gatwick to be delayed by an hour. Which did make me a bit concerned about the connecting flight to Amsterdam; I had 90 minutes at Gatwick, so it would be a very tight connection. We left Edinburgh just after half past three, more than an hour behind schedule. The delay was caused by a flat tire on the aircraft (i.e. in the landing gear), which had to be replaced before the aircraft was able to leave Gatwick on its inward journey. Beautiful flight to London, during which I saw nothing except for the sun and low clouds. Arrived at 4.40pm, and my flight to Amsterdam was going to leave at 5.10pm.

If memory serves, the plane from Edinburgh disembarked near gate 59. We were bussed to the terminal building, and that was where the mad dash began. First to passport control (for a domestic flight???), then to Arrivals, up the stairs to Departures, through Security, and then into the Departures lounge. By that time, it was 5 pm. My flight was marked as Final Call, so I hared down the stairs to gate 59. After a few minutes, all passengers were allowed on board, and I sat in my allocated seat, 23A. If this was the same plane that had taken me from Edinburgh, all I could have done was move from 23F to 23A and not have done that blessed half marathon through the North Terminal at Gatwick. OK, I'm only joking.

Left Gatwick at 5.35pm for Amsterdam. Halfway across the North Sea, the snow began and we arrived into Schiphol at around 7.40pm, broadly on time. I waited at the baggage reclaim, but no bag. When the belt was stopped, I proceeded to the service desk and filed a report for a missing bag. Then, I went to Schiphol railway station and travelled to my dad's house near Arnhem, where I arrived at 9.50pm.

I was quite relieved when I received a phonecall at 1pm today to say my bag had arrived at Amsterdam Airport, and it would be delivered some time tomorrow morning.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Thankfully you arrived safely . I don't think you'd know what to do it all went smoothly.

Jeanie said...

That mad dash up and down the stairs must have given your lungs a good old airing Guido. lol!
Snow too on your way to Schiphol airport? Heck! Heaven and the elements were giving you a run for your money.
The scenery en route from Stornoway sounded delightful. Especially as you flew over Beautiful Skye.

Linda's World said...

Pardon me for giggling...but it seems you never have a totally smooth journey when you visit your dad. You should write a book about air travel in your area. Now I bet if you came to the US, everything would go as smooth as glass. I'm glad you arrived safely (finally) and that your bag is going to arrive eventually. Have a wonderful visit. Linda in Washington

Andy said...

The joys of flying!

Sybil said...

OMG you think you could become a travel writer !! what a journey..there must be something about you that causes hearts to flutter or something..I reckon the air crew don't want you to leave them !! Thank goodness you are fit to be ale to dash to the boarding gate...hope you can now relax at your Fathers for a wee while.
Love to you both Sybil