Saturday, December 25, 2010
Rest tomorrow or maybe later today! ;-) Heading out now! Ciao!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Got up late - bugged my sis no end (so much fun to bug her after so long) and had a lazy morning! Brrrrrrrrr.. is it cold or what here! So much fun! Left for London at about 2:30 in the afternoon.. Went to a mall in Brent Cross, my sis wanted a MicroWave and in any case we did not get one because the one she liked was out of stock! Sis wanted o go to Wagamama, but there was a queue and Ijust refused to stand in a queue as I had to stand in a queue everytime we wanted food in Brussels! So went to a sandwich joint had sandwiches and left! By the time we reached Central London (well my sis is in Harrow) was already 4:30PM and getting dark really fast! Started hunting for parking and that was a pain in the butt! Finally found some parking in Soho and she could not parallel park so parked the car for her and started walking around London! Got into the Original Tour. Went around London in cold pouring December rain.. was a lot of fun! Went for dinner at a small Greek joint in Hampstead.. had fabolous food and came back home for a whiskey which was a godsend! :-) Whiskey in this cold is so much more fun! Oh and we got to know that the Kingfisher passengers were ferried across the English Channel by boat.. Shudder to think how cold it must have been! Bloody cold it muct have been!
So much for Day 4.. the walk in London had its own horror which shall be told later! ;-)
Monday, December 20, 2010
So looking at other options: M went and asked the immigartion guys if they can get us a transit visa for us to travel by EuroStar and they said no and took her to the KingFisher guys who were here at the airport, surprisingly!! Meanwhile Jet is flying out of Brussels - which means that both Brussels and Heathrow are operating!!! Yippieeee!!!!! Anyhow, Kingfisher is saying that we will fly out of Brussels between 11 and 1 PM. Crossing fingers! Lets see!
Will keep you posted! :-)
Went back to sleep and woke up by 8! Went back in the queue to get some food … broke the line – no one figured out I did.. got food in an hour and a half what would have taken easily 3.5 hours! Ate a hearty breakfast, and M and me went back to sleep! Woke up by 10 and called my sister up – poort thing did not sleep a wink figuring out what the hell to do! Checked once again – the morons at Kingfisher haven’t done shit.. for all the customer service crap that Dr. Vijay Mallya spews out while taking off in a video .. we were left to do our own jazz!
So my sis then asked to check if there were flights from Brussels to other airports .. there is no information desk in the area where we were been shepherded like cattle (Damn.. Shashi Tharoor should’ve been on this expedition – He would have given a whole new spin to the phrase “cattle class”!!). Asked my sis to check if there are indeed any airports that are actually operating out of London and poor thing did check and get back that Manchester and South Hampton airports were indeed functioning, she booked M and self on the FlyBe Brussels to South Hampton flight at 5:55 PM! Thought we had to get the tickets from the Brussels Airline counter and stood in the queue for about 2 hours! Standing the queue gave me perspective on why jobs are getting outsourced to India! It takes 15 minutes to book an international ticket in India at the airport counter (did that last year for our Bali trip where makemytrip screwed up for us!) Finally after I hit the counter, get to know that they do not give flybe tickets and that we need to print on our own! Fortunately, the Brussels airport has enough Internet terminals with printers that allowed us to do that. My sis meanwhile (bless her soul) had even called up the Brussels airport authority and checked the gate where we had to egt in the flight! Came back, checked the gate and finally had the first hot meal in about 28 hours at the Bar! Typing this while M is passed out on the table and waiting for the announcement of the flight! Meanwhile, it is snowing here in Brussels and is tremendously pretty looking at the concourse with the planes parked all over! Meanwhile, no word from Kingfisher and even Air India had arranged for their passenger to be moved to Madrid and Jet Airways arranged for transit visas for their passengers and tickets on EuroStar! Talk about customer service! Korean Air, meanwhile, was the ultimate in customer service. They don’t have a hub in Brussels – they actually flew in a crew from somewhere so that they can keep their passengers updated on the status on a hourly basis! KingFisher for all its 5 star experience is shit!
Meanwhile the Kingfisher guys showed up and took everyone's passports except ours! :-)
So now we are stuck! Resting for the night at the Brussels airport in a tent bag! :-) Talk about roughing it!
Left early in the morning at 6:30 AM from home in Bangalore to catch the Kingfisher flight to Mumbai at 9:05. The flight was over 15 minutes late and landed in Mumbai at 11:40 AM. Kingfisher connecting Flight from Mumbai to London Heathrow was at 1:05 PM. As we were obviously late, the airlines arranged a bus for us to catch the flight directly at Mumbai. Connected the flight without much of a hassle.
Supposed to land at London Heathrow (LHR) at 6:30 PM London time and we heard an announcement in the flight that London Heathrow has been snowed out and the pilot will try to land at Manchester instead! Well, we had already heard that London is having the coldest winter in over 30 years so that was something to be expected! Crossed our fingers and prayed.. well, an hour after the first announcement, we heard that all the airports in London are closed and that all the flights are getting diverted to either Schiphol (Amsterdam) or Brussels. As luck would have it, ours got diverted to Brussels. I had never seen Brussels so was mildly excited. Landed in Brussels and were in the flight stuck for an hour and a half when the Brussels Airport Authority came on line and told us that they are expecting a lot of flights into Heathrow to be diverted into Brussels and we disembarked.
The Brussels airport authority was kind enough to provide us with Food Coupons worth Euro 13 per person and then started the troubles! Brussels never anticipated the kind of a problem this whole snowstorm was going to ensue. There was just 1 restaurant open at Brussels and we had to stand in a queue for about 4 hours before we got food! Getting food was pure mayhem. The restaurant am sure had made more money that one day compared to a whole year.. There probably were close to 3500 people whose flights got stranded in Brussels. Had dinner, slept on bedsheets given by Kingfisher on the floor of Brussels airport at about 5AM in the morning. Up by 6, to try figure out what the plan of action is! No representative by Kingfisher.. no one even knows that Kingfisher is an airline.. Right royal mess we are in!
Off to the UK for a holiday.. dreaming about a white Christmas in UK.. Given that we just completed our home improvement project (what a bitch that was!) we finally did manage some time to get Visas and buy tickets!!! Extremely excited about heading off there and capping a fantastic year..