Monday 14 July 2008

Squirrelling FUTILEs!

Gentle reader ... I am home AT LAST!
When last I blogged I was waiting for a backup to complete so I could return to Ireland with some important data. However some FUTILEs (F**k Up Travel Irish Leprechaun Like Entity) infected my travel plans. First off the backup took 2 hours longer than expected and went to 4 more 3490's than expected which filled my Knapsack to overflowing.

Then I got the Singaporean equivalent of Worzel Gummidge as a taxi driver. Who when encouraged to drive as fast as he could managed to accelerate from 5mph to 10mph for around 2 minutes,. for most of the journey we were passed by snails and sloths. I arrived at the airport with around 10 minutes until the gate closed at 10pm!

HOWEVER as I walked thru the doors of Terminal One a whole family of FUTILEs descended on my and my traveling companions and when I looked at the board to find where I should check-in there were the words that all travellers fear "FLIGHT CANCELLED"

I wandered up to the desk quite despondent to discover that a strike in Australia had grounded my plane and it would arrive around 8am and depart shortly thereafter ... a B*ggering 10 hour delay! Damn and Blast! However those lovely people at Qantas popped me in a taxi and took me to The Traders hotel on Orchard Road. Which I have passed several times and wondered what it was like inside ... it is very very swish and rather more expensive than I am used to. But we got free food and a beer before bed, which was a suite in which we could run ILUG next year and still have room for a few extra. Anyway I got 6 hours sleep before they woke me at 6am, showered, breakfasted and then popped on a bus delivered to the airport @7am on the plane @7:50 and take off @8:15 ... amazing!!! The FUTILEs must have been asleep.

(Rather embarrassingly I tried to make coffee in the suite's rice cooker ... I thought this kettle is taking an age [this was after 10 minutes] to boil .. then i noticed the nice friendly label under the handle "Hitachi Rice Cooker" .... hey ho ~blush~)

Anyway the flight itself was uneventful and we were looked after very well by a small army of Qantas staff. We arrived in heathrow 5 minutes early and then spent and hour on the runway waiting for somewhere to park. Another 45 minutes waiting for our bags and then I presented myself at the Qantas desk as I had been advised by the Qantas staff in Singapore to get them to organize my onward flight to Belfast (which I was now nearly 16 hours late for). Qantas looked at my ticked noted it was bought as British Airways ticket so they sent me to the BA desk.. after a spot of queuing, the BA staff told me to go to Qantas, which was a the next desk but the BA staff are not "allowed" to talk directly to the BA staff so I had to re-queue for the BA desk. Who once again told me to go to Qantas. I Pointed out that a Qantas person was 6 feet to their left could they please assist me in reducing the intra desk ping pong they were playing with me as I was getting dizzy and it was possible I may well throw up on one if not both desks.

Eventually i was given an 0845 phone number to ring .. which put me thru to Qantas ... in Australia! I explained my situation pointed out that I was now loosing the famed McDonagh patience and that the ability of Qantas and BA to find their collective arses with both hands and a map was now in question. The very nice lady in Australia told me I was already booked on an onward flight, alas the gate had closed some 5 minutes previously.

I passed my phone to the Qantas person who got an earfull of abuse form Qantas Australia. Suddenly things started to happen and a boarding card appeared for a flight that was due to leave at 5:30pm from a gate in terminal 1 ... it was 4:50pm and I was in terminal 4!

I made it ... just with seconds to spare ... and got home. Never has my own bed looked that comfy!

Thats it... no more travel for a month or two for this correspondent!

Although my troubles were only minor compared to Francie's but f**k it does travel have to be this hard? :-)

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