Saturday, July 11, 2009

more delays

As usual, this is the place for my rant about flight experiences. But this time I found out it may serve a new purpose: it might help some other people feel better by knowing other people (me) have even worse experience than them.

I won't bother you about what the trip is for, what exactly does the airport code DUS stand for etc, but instead just go straight about the travel itself.

Outward flight: LHR->DUS

The outward flight only had, relatively speaking, minor troubles. The flight was delayed by roughly 2 hours, but it is not the interesting part; the reason for the delay is more interesting. It was because "the toilets are not fully operational", resulting in a need to find a replacement plane.

When we arrived at DUS another trouble surfaced: all except a handful of the passengers lost their checked luggage. I didn't have any checked luggage, but other people travelling on the same trip did, and I got to see a hundred people hanging outside a small room filling forms etc. In fact, it looks like another flight also had the same problem...

Inward flight: DUS->LHR

I need a bullet list for this:
  • During the whole week the weather was fine, but just when we were about to get a train to the airport, there was heavy rain. As a result, the train to the airport was delayed by 15-20 minutes. This was still fine, but...
  • At the airport, we found out that the flight was delayed by "only" 50 minutes. This was still ok, except...
  • I needed to catch a train at St Pancras. I've put in 2 hours between the original landing time of the flight and scheduled train departure time, which should be more than sufficient, particularly with Heathrow Express. And normally the plane can fly a bit faster to catch up at least some of the delay. But
  • The plane circled at least 3 times above London before finally landed. And after landing, as the pilot put it, "to add to the misery", the air bridge to the terminal didn't work and we had to take a shuttle bus even though it was just 30 seconds walk away from it. And the shuttle bus needs (due to some ground traffic regulations on the airport ground) to make a big detour and travel round a loop.
  • Then, long queues as usual at UK Border. Actually this time it was slightly faster with some more counters open.
  • (If you need proof that worst-case analysis is useful:) then I missed a Heathrow Express train, and had to wait exactly 15 minutes when they have one every 15 minutes.
  • Then there were further delay on the Hammersmith-and-City tube line which means overall it is actually not faster than taking the Piccadilly line directly to St Pancras.
  • I was fearing the worst (I seem to recall the only other train departs at midnight and arrive at 3am or something like that), when actually there was one at 23:15 which I was able to catch. Usually such late trains stop at every station and takes about 1.5 hours, but this one was even worse due to construction work which required a hugh diversion costing some extra time.
  • So I finally arrive Leicester at 1:38am. This was "only" 98 minutes later than scheduled, and when you take all these incidents together, it isn't too bad.
The irony is that I went to a scheduling conference...