Flying has become a risky business

My life runs smoothly owing at least in part to the regular currency of International flights.

So I have recently come to realise.

You may have noticed I’ve not posted for over a month now, which must certainly represent the longest gap in RiskHeads coverage ever.

You see, I *was* stuck in Paris, but now I’m stuck in England.

Owing to an Act of God I had hitherto thought only affected ancient Romans and ski chalets, pretty much the whole of European airspace was closed for a week after my recent holiday should have finished, leaving me with no way to return to the Italian office. But of course you all know about Iceland’s charming Eugimmyflip volcano.

During my incarceration in that Paris hotel, there were French people in a nearby cell who could not return to their homes in northern France owing entirely to the land-based exodus from Paris flooding every route out: trains, hire cars and taxis had suddenly become a celebrity item.

And most of the US and UK travel pros I found in the lobby each morning were far more dedicated to the ticket search than I: they didn’t seem to sleep, preferring a continual supply of coffee, Skype, VOIP and Google.

What hope did I have of getting out? Or so I asked myself. And thus I extended my stay, having now just returned from the longest Paris trip I expect I shall ever make: 15 days. If you ever need a tour, I’m your man. I must now be one of the few people on the planet who can boast having studied properly more than 50% of the almighty Louvre.

In the end I opted to go to the UK instead of Italy, via Eurostar; it was all I could do. Now finally back at work and after an intense round of research and insurance software development, I’m finally back on top, and I think due to renewed energies after my break this next SchemeServe software release at ADM looks more exciting than ever; I’m really looking forward to it.

And so on this happier note, this morning I prepared to return to the Italian office, leaving home in Cambridge at 4am. And guess what? British Airways are poised to strike AGAIN, and that @&£#%*¥ dust cloud is back.

Only this time, BA’s website told me not to bother turning up for my flight at 8am: the flight information said it was delayed until 11:35, and phonelines were engaged this morning right up until 8. Hmmm, I thought, can I trust this information? I checked the BA iPhone application and it showed the same data, this time with the additional line of information to read “Re-warn 11:35”, whatever that means. So, with no humans about and their phone line telling me to check for the latest info: what was I supposed to do?

I chose to only half-trust them, and left home in time to arrive at Gatwick about 7:30; hopefully then if the flight really did leave at 11:35 I wouldn’t be waiting around too long, and I would be in with a chance of catchng the original flight if BA were openly lying to me.

Which they were.

On the way, I received a call from a friend to say the website and app were updated to remove the second line of info about the flight, BA effectively erasing history: instead of showing a second flight time change, they removed the first. Very sneaky.

In the end, Gatwick was so traffic ridden that I arrived ten minutes before the original flight time, the flight left without me – despite BA staff at the terminal still insisting until the very last second that the flight would not leave before 11:35 – and I was left with no option but Customer Services.

I’ll spare you the ensuing battle I had but the conclusion is that I might be allowed to sample this jolly fiasco all again for tomorrow’s dawn flight, when BA’s strikes are due to start.

I think I might just walk to Sicily this time. It might be quicker, and would certainly save a few bob.

Dust cloud ‘n strike flight risk insurance anyone?


Have you had a similar experience recently? Let me know, leave a comment below!

One comment

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