Friday, August 12, 2005

If only we hadn't picked British Airways...

Except for our flight to Copenhagen and back, all our flights were through British Airways. Their planes and staff were excellent and everything went fine...until...

We had decided to fly from Munich to Paris via London, because the price was about 1/3 as much as a direct flight on Air France.

As we waited for our flight from Munich to London, we were told that the caterers were on strike and so we'd have to carry on snack packs that they provided at the gate. This didn't seem like too much of an imposition and the snacks were good. Things didn't really start to go wrong until our flight landed in London and we had to wait in the airplane for about 40 minutes because there was some kind of 'baggage problem' and none of the planes could clear their gates. Eventually the plane at our gate did leave and we were able to leave the plane. Inside Heathrow it was total chaos - many flights were listed as cancelled and some that were supposed to take off hadn't even been assigned gates yet. We waited for an hour or so for our flight to arrive and its departure time came and went with no gate being assigned. The news was now telling us that various ground crew (including baggage handlers and bus drivers) had walked out. We then went to the gate for the Paris flight that had been supposed to leave an hour before ours.

After an hour or two, they finally told us that all the BA flights to Europe were cancelled and if we rushed down to the connections desk, we could beat everyone else since the general announcement hadn't been made yet. So, we did. But the line at the connections desk was at least an hour long already. We asked the BA dude directing people traffic if there was any hope at all of getting a flight to Paris that evening. At first he told us we'd have to wait in line and could ask at the desk. Then Emily said "we have no baggage", which turned out to be the magic words because he took our boarding passes to the counter and returned to tell us that there was no hope that we'd get a flight to Paris that day.

So, we sped through customs and out of the terminal. After asking several folks the best way to get to Waterloo Station, we ended up taking a bus and two Underground lines and arrived at Waterloo just after 7pm. We rushed over to the Eurostar counters and managed to buy tickets and get through security with barely enough time to buy sandwiches and board the train before the last train left for Paris at 7:43 (fortunately, with us on it.) :) Very few other passengers could've made it in time because they waited so long to announce that all the BA flights had been cancelled. So, about 6 hours late, we arrived in Paris and checked into our hotel.


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