“Some day, my ship will come in, and with my luck, I’ll be at the airport.” So says a woebegone Charlie Brown on a treasured refrigerator magnet given to me long ago by a friend. After three weeks of travel and eight flights, I think my ship is in, and it must be the size of an aircraft carrier – and my husband has a matching one. Here is a summary of his, my and our air travel delays during a just-completed transatlantic trip.
October 4-5: Denver to Manchester, UK. Our British Airways non-stop from Denver to London/Heathrow (LHR) departed one hour late. Our BA flight to Manchester was one hour late in pulling away from the gate, and then, we sat on the tarmac for an additional hour before taking off. My husband and I both got our bags, which put us way ahead of some others attending the same convention as we were.
October 10: Manchester to the Isle of Man. If the EuroManx flight was delayed, it was by so little that no one seems to have noticed.
October 12: Isle of Man to Manchester. Our EuroManx flight was canceled. We were given a £5.00 meal voucher and several hours later, boarded a flight to Liverpool, from which we were bused to Manchester Airport, arriving something like five hours later than we expected. The good news was that we and our bags made it to and from the Isle of Man on the same planes we did.
October 13: Manchester to London (me). I took a series of three trains to London Gatwick LGW), where I picked up a rental car. The first train was 25 minutes late, which backed up my train plans. Manchester-Denver (my husband). He was ticketed Manchester-LHR and then on the LHR-DEN nonstop. His first flight was so late that he missed the Denver flight. He was rerouted via Washington-Dulles, connecting to a nonstop to Denver. That flight was also so late that he missed the last flight to Denver. BA put him up at a Holiday Inn overnight. When he arrived in Denver at 1:00 p.m. on the 14th, his bag was still in London. It was delivered at 10:00 p.m. the following evening – more than 48 hours after he and it were supposed to arrive at home.
October 18: London/Gatwick to Lisbon (me). I arrived at the airport uncharacteristically early, because I was quite eager to get rid of my rental car. My 4:00 p.m. The TAP Air Portugal flight was delayed until 5:05 p.m. My bag did arrive in Lisbon.
October 22, 2007: Lisbon to Madrid (me with a small journalist group). TAP Air Portugal flight that was scheduled to depart at 11:20 a.m. actually departed at 12:15 p.m. In order to delude passengers that they might actually be closer to on time, the gate agents scanned boarding passes, peered at passports or EU identity cards and allowed us to stand in a corridor and on the jetway for half-an-hour. A group of energetic young travelers entertained each other by making a lot of noise in this hard-walled tube. I don’t mind standing for half-an-hour, but I felt sorry for people who have a hard time being on their feet. Our bags did arrive — not on the carousel where our flight was posted, but on the next one that announced the arrival of bags from the Canary Islands. But I didn’t care, because my bag was on it.
October 25: Madrid to Denver (me). The London/Heathrow-bound Iberia flight took off 55 minutes late. In the Economy section, Iberia charges for everything, — even water (1.50 euros for about a 12-ounce bottle). I had lots of time at Heathrow, which is a good thing, since I arrived at Terminal 1, was misdirected to Terminal 2 where I cleared immigration, had to return to Terminal 1 to reclaim my bag and recheck it, because it seems that interline baggage transfer is not possible at Heathrow (or perhaps anywhere in England) and then to Terminal 4 for my US-bound flight on British Airways. London to Denver. That nonstop took off “only” 25 minutes late. My bag did make it on both flights.
Not counting my husband’s much-delayed return to Denver from Manchester via London, I calculate that my flight delays in the course of three weeks came to about 12 hours – plus the 25-minute train delay.