The heading is not a typo. The saga of our return from BArcelona on BA bears telling if only as a lesson to others not to listen to the voice of authority.
We checked in at the airport in good time. We had had a very pleasant stay in Barcelona. We thoroughly recommend the Casa Camper as a hotel. Now though we had to negotiate a very tight transfer at Heathrow. When we reached the lounge the problems started. Delay! Not good on a flight connection of just over 90 minutes. Still, BA’s man on the spot, Juan, was helpful. He explained what might happen and the contingencies. We could expect someone to meet us off the plane and try to rush us to the gate for our HK flight. We did not have to change terminals.
In the end the delay was over half an hour and we calculated we had max 45 minutes to change planes. Still doable but maybe not for the luggage. On our flight to LHR the Purser was possibly the most unhelpful person I have ever encountered on a flight. She started by telling us three things I already knew.
The connection was tight.
Heathrow is a very big airport.
Heathrow is a very busy airport.
So big and busy in fact that there would be nobody to help us make the connection. Shortly afterwards she happily told us that the news was not good, even though she seemed pleased. We had already been taken off the flight. No chance to make the change over. We would not be accepted on the flight. I asked if by chance our onward flight might be delayed. No she retorted. It will leave on time. Had she checked? I know what my guess is.
After I pushed again she told me that we would have to circle in the stack over Heathrow and she estimated we would have max 10 minutes to change. Not possible. Go straight to Zone E. Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200 or your luggage. A few minutes later the pilot announced we had clearance from ATC for a direct approach and would land in 20 minutes. So I calculated (again) about 35-40 minutes to make our connection. We were willing to rush. A rare offer from us.
witch from hell Purser calmly explained that we had been offloaded like a bit of luggage and would not be accepted on the flight. Implicitly the attitude was “stop bothering me with your problem you piece of garbage”.
We landed and I had a decision to make. Go to Zone E, wherever that was, or ask the friendly looking gentleman at the entrance to the channel for transit whether I could try for the flight. 35 minutes was worth a go, he said. Top bloke. So Mrs. Ha and I went to the transit point only to be told that the gate was already closed. Despondency. One minute later the lady said she had spoken to the gate and they were willing to take us. We ran up the escalator, negotiated security, went down the wrong lift, back up the wrong lift, along the corridor, down the right lift – are you still with us? – and waited for the train to take us from Zone A to B. I have no idea what happened to E. We then rushed to Gate B44 and found……..
we were still listed on the flight and our onward flight was delayed. Go and sit in the lounge. Put your feet up. Have a drink. We had never been taken off the flight.
That flight finally took off late enough for our luggage to make it onto the same flight as us. Amazing. The crew of BA27 were brilliant. Complete opposite of the hell-Purser on the short haul leg. The man in charge told me he had seen us listed on the manifest as ‘possibly needing assistance with the short connection’. Oh really? Well that was a surprise although it was exactly what Juan had said he would put on the system. So the score so far…. Barcelona Juan 5, Linda from hell -10, cabin crew of BA27, +10.
We landed late of course but my luggage came through quickly. The cabin crew boss from our flight even came across to see how we were doing and we had a chance to thank him again.
Mrs. Ha however was not so lucky with her case. . I thought I saw her suitcase but although similar it was not hers. Soon alarm bells started ringing in my mind. The similar suitcase had been round the carousel 4 or 5 times. I wondered, just a little, whether somebody had taken Mrs. Ha’s case by mistake. Another BA star to the rescue. Ivy, I think her name was. She started checking the system and pretty quickly confirmed my hunch. Mrs Yeung had left the airport with Mrs. Ha’s case full of goodies leaving us with her cast off. I bet her first name was Linda.
Well 2 hours later the cases were swapped over and I just about resisted the temptation to hurl Mrs. Y. from the 6th floor window of HK International Airport. She seemed to think it was Shirley’s fault for having a suitcase like hers. She stomped off in a state of high dudgeon. We did get home eventually but of course jet lag kicked in and we were wide awake at 3am. I have downloaded a few shots and here is my first offering to cheer me up, if not you. The angles are as I shot them. I was not drunk.
And for you B&W junkies…. All the young dudes.
And to prove that you can enter a red light district without realising it….. well it was mid-afternoon, there were no lights on and I blame Mrs. Ha. I was just following her. We are not good navigators!