Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 1: Stranded in Brussels

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!

1 comment:

caroline parker said...

Hemant you survived!!!
Best wishes to you all.
We will email you soon!
More best wishes from fellow strandees Caroline and Maurice
P.S. Only just got our luggage back 10 jan!!!