A powercut has just stolen the long version of this post, so here is the short version… you can thank the power company later 😉
We’d booked tickets, then changed the departure date two months before departure. We’d paid by credit card, but although the changes to the departure date were booked our airline had not taken any extra “date changing” cash. So when we had queued for over an hour to check in we were told to queue for another hour to resolve the “payment issue”. By the time this was done we were advised to run to the gate as our flight was boarding and we had not cleared security at this point… not a smooth start then…
At the gate we offer up our three hand written passes to the ticketing gods. My wife is issued a ticket, our friend (travelling with us for the adventure) is issued a ticket, but I am not. After almost an hour I discover I have “volunteered” to fly the following day (“volunteered” in the sense that I am not on the plane and everyone else is!!!)
So I have no ticket, and this means I have no ticket linking me to my bag in the hold, which means my luggage flies to Heathrow even if I don’t! Although, in true Douglas Adams style, the airline doesn’t tell me this until four hours later by which point the hotel they ship me to has stopped serving food in the restaurant. Yes, dear reader, I was not a happy customer of the so far un-named airline. I was not alone, seven other travellers had equally “volunteered” and more than half of them were in a similar state of luggagelessness. In these post 9/11 days it is worrying that an airline can not only lose 5 peoples luggage, but also verify that a seat is occupied even when the ticket holder is stood beside me on the ground two hours after takeoff. We know the FIA took interest in this flight, especially as at 22:30 we were told the pilot was still contemplating turning back.
This all meant that instead of watching the England vs Ecuador game in a London pub, I watched it in the bar (closed, and non-serving) of the Hyatt Hotel in Dulles, Virginia, USA, with the wonderful, and sanity retaining George, Terri, and Barbara (All fellow members of the Washington Eight). It also meant that I arrived in London a day late, and that the unnamed airline had to put eight very annoyed customers into their first class lounge for the Portugal vs Holland game.
Ah well, my luggage was waiting for me at Heathrow, and I’m not that big of a football fan so can’t complain too much, after all we did clean up pretty well in the first class lounge… 😉