Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Plan B

If bad thing come in 3's then I don't want to know what still awaits...

It all began yesterday evening when in my rush to clean the apartment, my camera slipped off my wrist as I dumped the garbage down the shoot.  The poor thing died upon impact - an 8 story drop will do that.  At least it happened at the end of the trip rather than at the beginning.  

Then this morning we got up at 3:00am and were in a taxi to Heathrow by 5:00am.  We had a nice quiet pre-dawn ride.  Along the Thames past the Tower, the Eye, and Parliament. Then down the Mall past Buckingham Palace and through Knightsbridge past Harrods and on to Heathrow.

I was thrilled to find based on my Chase VISA that we could skip the long Disneyland-like check-in line and instead use the no-line Priority Guests lane.  We checked in our bags and paid an hefty tariff for the extra ones.  Then on to security where Mom got stopped and her carry-on emptied.  The culprit - her British wedges of cheese! We were still very early so had time to peruse the Duty-Free shops and then off to Gate 31.

Again things went well as we were in the 2nd group to board.  I had us booked in a two person row near the back of the plane so we did not have to share with anyone else and were able to stow our carry-ons.

The flight had not an empty seat, but still took off right on time. We watched the English countryside as we flew along north and west...until...

..about an hour or so into the flight the Captain announced that there was a pressurization failure and we could not achieve the altitude needed for a trans-Atlantic flight.  We flew over the ocean and dumped our fuel load (see photo) to insure a proper weight for landing.  Then the plane flew back to Heathrow.

When we got there we were told the flight had been cancelled and would not be rescheduled until the next day.  We had to go through Customs and get all of our luggage once again.  We were given vouchers to the Sofitel Hotel at Terminal Five, but not provided shuttles to get there.  Instead we had to use the airport terminal train.  No trollies allowed on the train platform.  Thank goodness for the kindness of fellow passengers.  As my Mom had 5 bags she could not begin to manage alone.

Hot and sweaty and stressed (me anyway) we made it to the hotel.  
It took quite some time to get checked in with the number of people from the flight suddenly thronging the reception area.  While we waited another passenger let me use her cell phone and I was able to rebook us for tomorrow. The hotel has treated us very well.  They provided a Mark & Spencer sandwich, fruit and drink to get us something to immediately eat.

Tonight we had a nice buffet dinner - several choices of mains and a good selection of desserts.

After dinner we wandered back over to Terminal 5 to look at this courtyard.

The wheelbarrows are a fun piece of art.
The courtyard also has this lighted art - airport destination codes.
Isn't it great?

So not exactly how I expected to spend today.  By now we'd  expected to be in San Francisco.  "The plans of mice and men go often awry".
And "Tomorrow is another day!"
Anyway - we were never in danger and another day's stay here does not impact our plans at all.  We talked to people starting their honeymoon, and other's with very finite travel plans who were impacted by the flight cancellation.  We were just inconvenienced. 

22 comments:

Barb said...

I am so glad you and your Mom are not in any real sort of trouble just inconvenienced!Was that your good camera? I can only hope not. We often take our older one and leave the newer one at home. Good luck getting home tomorrow!!!

Pam in IL said...

Wow, what a day! Glad that you're safely tucked into a hotel until the next flight.

cucki said...

Oh dear ..what a day.
Sending you hugs x

Ann at Beadlework. said...

Oh Beth, I feel for you and your mum. Not the best way to end your trip - you'll just be wanting to get home. I hope all goes well tomorrow and the rest of your journey is plain sailing.

Melissa said...

Oh dear. Isn't that always the way with travel - there's always something. At least, as you say, it wasn't that bad (or, it could've been a lot worse).

Let's hope tomorrow will go smoothly!

Bev C said...

What a day, hope you have enjoyed your time in England, I really loved seeing what you got up to. Happy flying tomorrow.

Happy days.
Bev.

Vickie said...

Oh Beth! So that is what happened! sigh. Well, I am praying AGAIN for a smooth trip!! Oh, and I did ask that God would also let you go right on home this time. ;)♥

Margaret said...

Yikes! What a day! It IS good that it was just an inconvenience and not something that really messed things up. But your camera. :( Ugh! Well the hotel seems nice at least. I hope things go better tomorrow and you are home safe and sound without another hitch.

Cricket-bug Corner said...

at least all your bad luck was at the very end of your trip! And it worked out ok!

April said...

I hope things are better tomorrow for you! I have so enjoyed my trip through you!! lol Sending good wished for a great flight!

Samplings from Spring Creek said...

Wow! You are a seasoned traveler. Sorry about the loss of your camera, what is your replacement of choice?

Lisa M said...

that happened to my friend a few years back... she got on the plane - is terrified of flying so took her sleep pills - the plane taxied down the runway then turned around and came back - problems... She was zonked out on the pills. They took all the passengers to a hotel but it was after the dinner rush so there was no food at the 'free buffet' and she had donated all her local currency to the charity box before boarding her flight. A total nightmare!

Annette-California said...

Thank God the plane turned around. Better to be inconvenienced and SAFE! See all of our well wishes for you worked - no flight accident.
So sorry about your camera - and the cheese:(
Well maybe you will get to camera shop soon. Lovely hotel. Glad to hear you and your mom are in good spirits. I do wish you safe travels home. love and hugs Annette

Angie Burrett said...

Oh dear Beth - but you and your Mum's safety comes first. But I can imagine the sinking feeling when told you were returning to Heathrow. At least the hotel treated you kindly and hopefully you are now well on your way home - second attempt!
Will look forward to knowing you are home - safe and sound. Shame about the camera - no more disasters please! x

Chris said...

I hope that you are closer to home now. I hate that you had to drag around your luggage and are delayed.
The hotel looks lovely and the wheel barrows are cool.
I hope that you were able to sleep on the plane :)

SewAmy said...

wow... what a day. Thinking of you and sending you a big hug!

Mary said...

Goodness...you do seem to have had to make many travel adjustments on this trip...trains now planes...you do seem to be taking these all well...I know you will be glad to get home. Again thank you for letting me tag along...

hazel said...

Oh Beth what an end to your wonderful holiday if I had known I would have come over to the airport and spent some time with you and your mum.

Sorry about your camera.

Hope you are safely on your way now.

Love
Hazel

Melanie said...

Yeeeeeesh. No fun. :(
And I'm sorry about your camera too. RIP Canon - you deserved a rest after working so hard this trip but not in THAT way. Poor thing.

Melody said...

Let's hope the rest of your trip back home is uneventful. Sounds like you were taken care of tho.

Maggee said...

A tiny bit scary, don't ya think? But the accomodations look great! Food sounds great, and the artwork in the terminal--an unexpected pleasure to see! Hopefully, you are on the way now (I am a day late)...

Giovanna said...

So sorry you had the mishap - I was once stuck for an extra unscheduled 24 hrs in some American mid-west town which shall remain nameless, on my way back to Europe, and even had to find and pay a hotel all by myself. I was NOT happy... a nice London hotel definitely sounds better :-)