Greetings from La Belle France!
I know. You are probably getting topsy-turvy following my itinerary. It doesn’t stop there. Day after tomorrow, I’m flying back to England. Two days after that, H and I drive back to Paris, straight to our new apartment where we will stay during his 3-month assignment.
I’ll say it again: I would rather take the train, travel by car or by bus, more so by ferry, than flying!
Or maybe it’s me? What is it with me that I seem to attract flying mishaps!
The last time it happened, it was 2 months ago, via CX.
The other day, it was via EZ, but nothing has prepared me for this.
My flight to Nice was at 6:20am.
At London-Gatwick airport, as early as 5:20am, my eyes were practically glued to the Flight Information Board to check which gate I should go to, pausing in-between microsecond browsing of The Sunday Times newspaper which I instantly regretted buying after the cashier announced that it costs 2 Sterling pounds! Half of the paper is crap advertising anyway.
I must have sat there for an hour and even if I did notice earlier that the flight info was not getting updated and the words “Please Wait” seemed to have stucked permanently next to my EZ to Nice flight, it did not bother me the least because I was so used to EZ getting delayed.
At 6:23am, I looked up the board again. Unchanged. “Please wait“. I stuffed the 2-pound newspaper into my bag and quickly got up. I knew I must do something. Then a sudden pandemonium occurred before my eyes. Several people were running, I heard a voice saying, “that screen is not working! go downstairs! check the screens downstairs!”
So along with several others, I hurried downstairs via the escalator. Upon seeing a flight info board, I was surprised to see that the entries were completely different from the big board upstairs. The 6:20 flight to Nice was not there! The flights that were shown were those from 7am onwards. I wanted to scream “Help!” but no words came out of my mouth.
– (talking to myself) No! don’t tell me I missed my flight! I can’t believe I missed my flight! I can’t believe this is happening to me, again!
My eyes quickly went on radar mode. I searched for an airport staff in the midst of hundreds of passengers striding here and there. Saw an ID’d woman who referred me to Security who, in turn, directed me to the Flight Info desk.
The lady on the desk seemingly took my problem with a grain of salt.
– “Please have a seat and wait for an EZ staff to come and attend to you.”
– (talking to myself) Why is her tone sort of bored-stiff? Heck, I think I’m not the only passenger who missed her flight!
– “Are there other passengers like me who missed their flight?”
Finally, after 20 minutes of fiddling about wondering what would become of me, an EZ staff came to our rescue. She took us to a labyrinth of passageways and secret doors so as not to go through security barriers. There were eight of us following her like chicks to their mother hen.
At the EZ desk, we were given new flights. A couple who was supposed to fly to Toulouse at 7am had to wait for the 6pm flight. I was luckier, there’s a 9:20am flight to Nice.
While we were walking (following the mother hen), I overheard her half-murmuring to herself half-telling another passenger
– “That board had stop functioning since 4am! We already reported it to BAA but they haven’t done anything!”
Two hours later, I went passed the non-working board again upstairs on my way to the departure gate and noticed that the same (wrong) information was still on display. Several passengers were still staring at it, looking for their flight information with crinkled foreheads. I told a woman, “That board is not working, madame. You should go downstairs to check your flight!”….. “Is it? Oh thank you!”
The next thing I heard, the Public Address System was announcing, “Please check your flight situation as some boards may not give you the correct information!”
That is London-Gatwick airport, my friends. Incidentally, it was FOR SALE sometime ago. I read in the news that the two strongest candidates vying to purchase the airport are Virgin boss Richard Branson and a member of the Royal Family in the UAE. Fancy selling Ninoy Aquino International Airport!
Note: Sorry, no photographs. Taking photos at any British airport is strictly prohibited.