Thursday, 9 December 2010

A Poor Finish to the Holiday

Unfortunately we didn't manage to get away.  The flight from Newcastle was delayed and its re-scheduled departure slot was 1pm which would have guaranteed that we missed our connection to Luxor which was on time and scheduled to leave Heathrow at 1.20pm. The nice lady from BA swapped our tickets to the next available flight to Heathrow which strangely would leave earlier than the original flight as it had not been delayed.  So although it would have been cutting it fine there might still have been a chance of getting our connection at Heathrow.  We duly boarded the flight but then when we were all safely ensconced in our seats and eagerly anticipating take-off, the pilot announced that there would be a delay of an hour

When the announcement of the delay was made by the pilot one of our fellow passengers erupted with rage and went on a complete rant "An hour, a fucking hour?! It's just not on!!"  But it was completely pointless as it usually is in such circumstances.

We of course were boarded and  committed to the flight we were on but the tour company had advised us to get to London anyway and reassured us they would 'sort something out'.

So here is one of our 'holiday' snaps. We were forced to admire this view for some considerable time both on the runway and in the air.

We had allowed a few hours to catch the flight to Luxor from Heathrow but we were far too late for it.  Big discussions with the tour company who had, in the morning, told us to come to London and the would organise 'something' but when we got down there they suggested was that we put ourselves up in a hotel at our expense, phone in the morning when they would try to get us on a flight to Cairo, then a long wait in Cairo for flight to Luxor then they would try to organise a driver to take us to wherever the ferry had got to on the Nile, probably a 5 hour journey. All at our own additional expense circa £1500 and no guarantees of success! 

At this point we decided we had had enough and wouldn't have come to London if they had said that when we spoke to them from Newcastle.  Exhausted, we retired to one of the over-priced food outlets at Heathrow Terminal 5 to rest and consider our options. During that consideration process the permanent blue roller-point pen in Gladys's hand decided to erupt, making two eruptions in the day.

After a somewhat down-hearted and desultory discussion we decided we were exhausted and the thought of chasing around for a London hotel, a flight to Cairo and waiting uncertainly in busy Egyptian airports followed by a long, hot taxi-ride was just too much to countenance, not to mention the lack of guarantees and the considerable extra costs.  Was it really worth it? No.

We decided we would just abandon the whole thing and go home. We would take our chances on making an insurance claim to recover some of the money and didn't want to be digging ourselves in ever deeper.   What the tour operator was offering was unacceptable.  At worst we would lose the holiday money but would stand a good chance of getting some of it back on insurance.  If we had carried on we would have incurred yet more expense and if we had actually managed to get on the boat, reduced our chances of an insurance claim.  

So we trailed back to Terminal 3 and queued up in a long line at the British Airways desk for an hour and a half to try to get a flight back to Newcastle. Heathrow was in chaos because of the bad weather.  Our legs were aching and I have never had blisters before from just standing about! Luckily we did finally manage to get a flight initially on stand-by.  We waited and waited once more so here is my other 'holiday' snap.

Here the focus is on the Departures Board which our eyes were glued to intently but I thought I would include some Christmas decorations to salvage some festive spirit.

Luckily we were able to get a  BA flight back to Newcastle but unluckily they managed to leave our luggage in Heathrow (it was returned yesterday by courier).

So Monday was not a good day!  We spent Tuesday just resting and recovering from the experience, Wednesday sorting out the insurance claim and unpacking. 

Tonight (Thursday) we are going to see Kate Rusby at The Sage again which was unplanned and serendipitous but will cheer us up no end. 

I am going to take the remainder of the week off as I need the break but I am then cutting my leave short and returning to work next week. 

We seem to fare better with winter city breaks so we are thinking about going away in the New Year to Bucharest or Zagreb - just somewhere unusual that you know is going to be freezing cold but nevertheless interesting.  Alternatively we'll look in January for or some last-minute bargain to just about anywhere!

The Great Pyramid at Giza will just have to wait a bit longer for Gladys. Ho-hum.

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