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Scargill’s 60th Birthday

60th birthday and I officially go from middle-aged to ancient – a joyous occasion, well, it might have been had EASTERN AIRWAYS not screwed it up for me.

The plan was to fly to Cardiff last night in time for a nice Indian dinner before embarking on a 3-day meeting session. I specifically booked flights to make sure I had plenty of time including the 1-hour trip and half-hour on-going journey in Wales. Sorted.

10 minutes before our flight was due to leave, the assistant announced that the plane would be delayed due to “engine testing”. No problem as the flight left a fair bit of time before dinner. 10 minutes later… “the flight has been cancelled”.

We were ushered back by the now hapless-looking assistant up to get our bags and go back to the checking desks where he had the NERVE to offer 2 Easy Jet seats – to the WRONG airport – and with an £80 surplus (yes, we pay them!!!) which of course they would refund – eventually. Given that the last cancelled flight refund is taking us 6 weeks to get back, I was not having that and said so quite loudly but it made no difference as two people, clearly desperate to take anything going, had already claimed the seats.

Here’s the best bit. Eastern Airlines had a flight this morning at 6:40am – but actually had the nerve to suggest that they could not put up passengers for the night if this was their originating location. I lost it I’m afraid – Maureen dropped me off here without any keys – why would I need keys – I’m being picked up in a couple of days! After I calmed down, the attendant, powerless to make any decisions other than when to go to the loo, went on the phone to ask permission to put me in a Hilton Doubletree hotel which just happens to be walking distance from the airport – and that is where I ended up – with a voucher which had just insufficient in it to buy a decent meal.

5am this morning I arose, cleaned up and headed off to the airport. After the usual anti-terrorist stuff, I ended up with minutes to spare for take-off – just in time for a message to say the flight was DELAYED. 2.5 hours later and with another £5 voucher – just enough to buy a sandwich but not coffee, we eventually set off and by 11am I was in Cardiff, a mere 16 hours later than planned.

Why did I chose to fly? To avoid nearly 6 hours of driving – on reflection – at least I would have arrived on time.

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