The Voyage Home

An update on the long day I hinted at yesterday…

So, we get up at 0630 to dress, wake the kids, and catch the 0730 train to Gatwick. We could have slept in 30 minutes longer, but the very nice ticket agent suggested that we take the earlier train, since it started empty at our station.

We change trains at Clapham junction (with four adults, three children, and lots of baggage this is harder than it sounds :-), and arrive in Gatwick airport at 0845 to check-in for our 1155 flight home; air transat wants you to checkin three hours early for international flights. We clear security, deal with some VAT refund issues, and have breakfast in the departure lounge; all normal so far.

At 1055, we discover that our flight is delayed to (at least) 1615. Turns out the airplane was still on the ground in Manchester with mechanical problems. transat gave us all free meal tickets, and we hurriedly shopped for some books etc. to keep the children entertained. We played, shopped, had a long lunch, and eventually our gate was called and we were off again! Fortunately we were stuck in a real airport; I can’t imagine a 7 hour wait in an airport like Pearson, which has _no_ facilities of any sort inside the security barrier.

Anyway, air transat had diverted the flight from Portugal through Gatwick to pick us up, so we all had to get new seat assignments, an entirely manual process (sigh). We finally left London at about 1715, after spending eight hours in the airport…

We then spent 6 hours in the air, with the cabin crew being extremely nice to us (and showering us with free alcohol :-), only to enter a holding pattern between Ottawa and Toronto thanks to storm activity! We finally land, and taxi to the terminal to find that our assigned gate is still occupied… 15 minutes later we _finally_ get off the plane, at around midnight London time.

Every _other_ flight that was waiting out the storm had offloaded before us, so there were long lines at customs, and to pick up baggage. Finally some luck; we had no wait for a taxi home.

So, 20 hours later, we arrive home. The kids were _really_ good; they only really lost the ability to cope with the long day after we had landed at Pearson.

posted at 4:58 pm on Wednesday, July 16, 2003 in Personal | Comments Off on The Voyage Home

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