Monday 11 January 2010

Travel chaos (Part 2)

When the chap at the British Airways desk told us we were booked on Flight BA500 to Lisbon at 07.30 the following morning (Thursday 7 Jan), he was careful to point out that there was no guarantee that that flight would actually depart.

When travel chaos strikes Heathrow in the shape of half an inch thick of white fluffy stuff lying on the ground, BA respond by cancelling some of their flights in order to keep the rest of their flights moving. I'd love to know how the flights to be culled are chosen - is it random? Or do they have a computer which calculates how few of their customers will be pissed off by any given cancellation? And/or, if a flight to Lisbon is axed, does that mean that no further flights to Lisbon will be cancelled and that it will be Copenhagen's turn next? Or perhaps it's alphabetical order and it's Lyons?

Whichever, it was with low expectations that we pitched up at Heathrow on Thursday morning (via, due to the early hour, a cab to Paddington and the Heathrow Express (as opposed to the Tube the previous evening) at a total cost of £51 which BA will be picking up the tab for). So we were pleasantly surprised when BA500 did actually depart only about an hour late.

On arrival at Lisbon, our luggage wasn't there. Oh well, I suppose that was too much to hope for. All further flights from Heathrow to Lisbon that day also cancelled (so that blows that theory) so not likely to be reunited with a clean pair of socks any time soon. After lost luggage palaver, we were too tired to attempt to source new socks/pants in Lisbon and just time (or rather inclination) for dinner at our usual restaurant, the very excellent but unpretentious and reasonably priced Adega Sao Roque (€45/£40 for two course meal for two inc. wine, Irish Coffee and tip).


Kathie said...

My theory of the criterion for flight cancellations is that it's all a matter of money: the ones with the fewest passengers booked that get axed.

Did you receive my killer icicle photos via email? Did the calendar arrive yet via snail-mail?

Kathie said...

Erratum: Should read, "the ones with the fewest passengers booked get axed."

Neil King said...

Kathie - no icicle photos or calendar yet (mind you, as flights arriving on Flores have been v sporadic of late due to our own version of weather induced travel chaos, I wouldn't be getting too worried about snail mail yet.)

Kathie said...

Someday I'll inflict upon you the whole saga of our most recent journey to Ponta Delgada lasr fall, which took 40 hours on a total of four flights (on maybe 6 hours' sleep total), via Boston, Newark and Lisbon. Once we arrived in mid-morning I had to spend the entire day/evening at the conference I was attending, including giving my presentation on the translators' panel. I skipped the after-dinner program, and according to my husband passed out within ONE MINUTE of my head hitting the pillow, once we got back to our room.

I will only say that the principal fault was our domestic (i.e., US) carrier's. But it was pure misery. Fortunately, our flight home from PDL to Boston via SATA went smoothly, as did our connecting flight home the next morning.

Mary said...

Lanzarote calling! Stranded here since last Friday when flight to Edinburgh cancelled. Should get away tomorrow to Prestwick. Bad weather at home? No de-icer? Who cares - sun, beach, compensation, reimbursement, not least a few more priceless days off work. Three cheers for Michael O´Leary!

Neil King said...

Mary - what a result! Like you, I could get used to mooching about hotels at the expense of the airline industry.