Personal Update: Travelling Nightmares

So, I thought that I should write a blog post today. I thought that I should archive my nightmares with my bi-annual trip and get on to something a bit more feministy/humanisty.

I make a trip twice each year, and have been for at least 2 years now, to the United Kingdom (UK). (I live in North America usually) I have family and close friends in the UK and I have to say that I love the place. I love that they have signs that for just about everything. I love that roads don’t have to be re-paved yearly. I love that they have (arguably) a better healthcare system then we do at home. But, most of all, I love my fiancée and I love my adopted family and friends here. This year they have been having a lot of trouble with the weather in the UK, especially the south coast. Usually, the weather is warm (relatively) with no snow, a bit of rain, and maybe a thunderstorm or two. This year, there is snow; lots of snow. There is enough snow this year to shut down London’s Heathrow airport (one of the largest and busiest airports in the world). And this is exactly what happens the day that I was to fly in.

My connecting flight was meant to leave Detroit Metro at 21:00  (9:00 PM) but Heathrow was closed at the time, desperately trying to clear the snow and ice from the runways. The flight was delayed (but not cancelled). We got the all-clear at about midnight and we started off. We flew for about 2 hours before we were told to turn around and head back. We were just off the coast of Newfoundland at the time. The Pilot came on and mentioned that we will be touching down in New York and waiting for Heathrow to re-open, but since we were overweight for a non-emergency landing, we will have to circle for a while to burn off fuel. Some 3 hours later, we landed in New York. Once on the ground, we learned that Heathrow was going to be closed for some time and we would be staying in hotels until we were able to get out.

That night, we were all loaded back up into buses and we headed back to the airport. After a monster of a line and a heck of a wait to get checked in, we all just assigned to flights. There were 2 flights that night that we could be on. Our scheduled leaving time was 22:00 (10:00PM) originally, but that was delayed. It was about this time that the rumours started. It was amazing to listen to these people, seemingly rational people, playing a large, tired, and annoyed version of telephone (or Chinese whispers [but I don’t like that name as it implies there is something wrong with those of Chinese descent]) with details such as who was assigned to which plane, why all the other flights were cancelled, when the flights would be able to leave, and who was that (*dramatized gasp*) person from New York that paid thousands of dollars to get on the flight and kick one of the Detroiters off.

We ended up leaving at about midnight. We made it to Heathrow safe and sound, and after a terribly long wait on the runway to get into the gate we got off the plane and into the UK at about 15:00 (3:00PM) local time. It was a tiring experience, there were a lot of people who felt really strongly about what the airline should or should not have done. There were people ready to get into fights. There were people who willing helped out others. I feel that I remained pretty cool and collected throughout the ordeal (after all, there wasn’t much that I could have done that would have improved the weather in the UK). But, looking back now (3 days later) it is interesting the psychology that came into play during this ordeal.

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