Fury and other emotions

Well, I’m not in Norway. I arrived in London on Thursday night and went to a Youth Hostel (first mistake). Then I went to the cinema which was extortionate, and saw The Social Network. Quite good, but not worth the chaos it caused.

I didn’t sleep at all in the hostel because it was far too hot and there was a really annoying woman who was on her computer until well after 2am, which lit up the room and was really noisy. I got up at five to go to the airport by Tube (second mistake).

I arrived Heathrow Terminal Five two minutes too late to check in (third, massive mistake). I hadn’t realised I had to check in 45 minutes before the flight – I’ve always checked in online before, so I just didn’t think. The Tube had been slightly delayed and the airport was in chaos so I stood in a queue to check in just a couple of minutes too long.

For the rest of the day I queued for eight hours in total, first to reschedule my flight and then when that was cancelled to reschedule again, and when they announced they weren’t rescheduling any more flights to get a hotel. Luckily I did manage to get a hotel voucher, so I went to a Holiday Inn with the biggest bed I have ever seen, and ate a huge meal courtesy of BA. I woke up before dawn to re-reschedule my flight for that evening, then ate another huge meal and went back to the airport.

By lunchtime it was apparent that my flight was going to be cancelled again – around four inches of snow had fallen in the same number of hours and all flights had been cancelled until 5pm. Mine was meant to be at 5pm but unsurprisingly that was cancelled. I couldn’t get a voucher this time so I made my way back to the centre of London and bagged one of the last two rooms in The Rathbone Hotel (painfully expensive, but I can claim back the cost from BA if they ever answer their phones). While I was waiting for the train from the airport, I rang my dad who booked a new flight with SAS for me, for Sunday night. By this point I had paid three times for a flight that hadn’t happened – once for the one I missed, once for the rescheduled ones, and once for the new flight.

Sunday morning I woke to the news that Heathrow was essentially closed. I went there anyway, because there was no other way to check if my flight was cancelled or not – the SAS website is not very useful. It was cancelled. Terminal Three was like a war zone, far worse than Terminal Five had been, with people lying all over the place wrapped in foil and no one with any idea what was going on. Ever so often people wandered past shouting down the phone and looking angry but mostly there was an air of accepting despair. I queued for another hour to use the computers and booked yet another flight with BA (maybe the fourth mistake…) for Tuesday. Then I decided to go home.

So here I am, back in Shropshire for a day and trying to do something about the staggering amount of money I need to claim back – the cost of the upgraded cancelled flight was about £385, the SAS flight was a further £255, the hotel was £180, and I spent about £35 on food and travel that day. In theory all of that money is reclaimable and also I’m insured, but in practice no one is answering their phones and although they direct you to the website, I can’t do anything online and am just redirected to the phone lines. I am very glad I have such a good overdraft, but even so I am very worried as I’m now utterly broke and I still have to get back to Heathrow tomorrow morning.

I’ve been growing increasingly determined to get to Norway for Christmas, and hopefully I’ll be able to move my return flight a couple of days so that I don’t have to miss half of my holiday. That does mean that I have to replan the various trips I was going to make when I got back, so to anyone who I’ve arranged to meet in the next few weeks, I’ll get in touch with you when I know what I’m doing.

Man. This has turned out to be a much more eventful trip than I thought and I haven’t even got there yet. I’ll be adding more to this post (including photos of the amazing hotel rooms!) once I’ve dealt with all the money issues.

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