Not fun.

There are some things about my life that I know sound like great fun.  I will admit that I have a lot of run in a lot of what I do.  Even the story that I am about to tell you is fun in its own way.

On Thursday I got up early, and had a taxi sitting outside the flat in Germany at 5.15am.  I was off to the station and then the airport.  It is difficult dragging yourself out of bed at that time, particularly as it was snowing at the time.

Arriving at the airport I had plenty of time to go to the Lufthansa Business Lounge to grab breakfast.  I do not fly business, I should add, but fly enough that Lufthansa looks after me.  So cornflakes, fruit juice and a fruit salad, and off I went to the gate.

This was the smallest plane I have been on for a long time.  A Dash-8 owned by Tyrolean Airways, seating 50 people.  I was on my way to our distributor near Salzburg, just for a chat really, for the day.  The snow though was falling and there was a delay of 40mins.  Not too bad.

The visit itself was just the relationship part of my job, as the distributor here is one of the best that we have.  They understand the product fully, know about how to portray it to the retailers and the benefits of it.  They have enthusiasm for what we do (which we sometimes test to the extreme) and the day in general was a good one.

Business done, it was back to the airport.  Check in, and then sitting in the departure lounge.  It was then that it all started to unravel.  The flight was firstly delayed by an hour.  Heavy snow all day in Austria, and also in Frankfurt where I was returning to, before taking an ongoing flight to London.  I found a kindred spirit, also travelling through FRA to London.  Fairly obviously we were at the mercy of the weather, so we grabbed a beer and waited.

The flight left approximately an 1hr 30mins late, however, as expected the ‘connection’ but fortunately at that time, the ongoing leg was delayed from 21:20 to firstly 22.45 then 23:05.

My travel partner and myself made a line for the nearest lounge.  It was packed.  There were delays on every flight leaving Frankfurt, and many had been cancelled.  The staff though were still cheerful and helpful, despite a large group of disgruntled passengers and status flyers demanding unreasonable amounts of service.  This was the weather, nothing else.

I went to the buffet bar, grabbed a couple of gin and tonics, some food, and went and sat down.  We had a good hour and a half to kill, leaving the lounge at 22.45.

The flight finally boarded (or at least to the bus) at 11.30pm.  I phoned The Pretty One to give her an update.  Relieved and tired that the flight was leaving, and that we might actually manage some time in each other’s company while we were awake.  It was at this point that we were told that the flight had then be cancelled, had to get off the bus and return to the terminal and head to the transfers desk to be assigned hotels.  This was to do with ‘night flying restrictions’ going into Heathrow.  These exist, but – and this is the point – you can still land if you pay a lot for the privilege.  At the desk there was about 200 people queuing.  I looked for the ‘business class / first class’ queue that my status with the airline allows me to use.  At this point, they changed their minds, and there was then another announcement that we should return to the gate, where the flight was going to board after all.  This caused problems as most security staff had left.  It also placed me at the back of the queue.  The fight eventually took off around 0.45am or later.

So there we have it.  Being part of ‘The JetSet’ as I am often accused of is not as glamorous as it seems.  Waiting for a taxi at 2.45am at Heathrow in the rain is not one of them.


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