Archives for December 2010

O Tannenbaum


So, another week or so and I forgot to update while on “holiday”. Oops.

I hope you all had a great Christmas break. We pretty much missed all of the fun, having landed at Heathrow at half 6 in the morning after a dreadful flight from New York with American Airlines (like I needed confirmation that I wouldn’t want to fly with them again!) then got a hire car and drove back to Bristol. (Same hire company that lent the boyfriend a SUV (I think a Chrysler Aspen? in California would only let him have a Vauxhall Corsa with an extra cost because he’s a “young driver”. Oh dear. He wasn’t too happy about the Corsa, since he normally drives a BMW!)

I went back up to Chester on Monday (as soon as the trains were running!) and spent a few days with my parents in their new pub and seeing Four Feet (current aim is to get all four in one room soon – maybe when we go see Take That in Manchester?) but am now back in Bristol with lots of photos to work through, lots of things to say, and a lot of mess to tidy up (because the boy decided to be productive while I was away and rearrange the whole house. I have my own office now, but that means there are boxes of STUFF everywhere. Ugh.

Oh, and thats the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree – so pretty (although I heard one girl say it was ugly because “it doesn’t have any ornaments on it” Riiiiiiight.)

Why I’m In New York

Obviously with the news that various flights were getting cancelled, we were quite worried that our flight would be amongst them. On Sunday, we took a late check out (figuring that if the flight was cancelled, we could stay in San Francisco an extra night before heading back to Palo Alto so Alex could work) and all day had the American Airlines webpages open on our iPhones and laptops, constantly refreshing to see the current status of the flight. We were flying from San Francisco to New York (JFK) to Heathrow.

Current status: On time. Current status: On time. Current status: On time.

Everytime we refreshed the query, the flight AA 142 was still showing as on time. Boarding for our flight from SFO happened at about 10.45pm (PST), and we did one last check before switching off our phones.

Current status: On time.

The cross country flight was about as pleasant as an Easyjet flight with a drunken pilot. I had a kid behind me kicking the back of my chair, and another one next to me crying for the whole flight. I think I managed to get an hour or sos sleep sat in an uncomfortable position (a movie was shown, and I know I was awake for the beginning and the end of it)

We landed at JFK at about 7.30am (EST) and walked quickly to find a departures board to find out where our flight was to leave from. You already know this bit. Flight AA142 to Heathrow: Cancelled. Nothing else. We went down to baggage check (if a flight is cancelled, we’ll need our bags!) but they didn’t appear at all. We went up to the check in desks where 2 desks had been opened up to deal with the people who were supposed to be on that flight. We joined the queue at 8am, with about 10-15 people infront of us. It took 2, 2 and a half hours to reach the front of that queue.

In the meantime, Alex and I sat on the cold hard floor (my bum still feels a bit numb) and pulled out our laptops and phones. He was talking to his colleagues to see if they could sort out anything, and I hopped on Twitter. We contacted the European American Airlines account and by the time we reached the front of the queue (literally, receiving confirmation as we went to the next available desk), we had been booked onto a flight to London leaving Xmas Eve.

We got to the desk to check the amendment, and to get the info on times, etc. We asked where our bags were and told (quite rudely I thought) that they should be downstairs – “the flights cancelled, its not like they can go anywhere”

Eventually we found our bags, had an hotel booked by Alex’s company and got a taxi to the hotel.

At no point did any American Airlines representative come round to explain the situation. No one said “Sorry about this queue, we’re trying to get everyone rebooked onto flights back to the UK”. We were treated as if we were an inconvenience. When we got to the front of the queue, the woman on the desk was rude and abrupt.

I know that we are very lucky compared to most people. Alex’s company will cover the cost of the taxis to and from the airport, and the hotel. If we had been paying for this trip ourselves, then we would be totally screwed.

It seems that Heathrow is getting back to normal now, so hopefully we’ll be able to get back to London on Christmas Day (meaning of course that I can’t go home to be with my family). Without sounding overdramatic, Christmas is cancelled.

Whilst the @AAEurope Twitterer has been super helpful, I doubt either of us will choose to fly with American Airlines again – especially considering that other airlines were able to fly into Heathrow that day from JFK.

Fairytale of New York

When we were planning the trip to California, I thought “great! I’ll be able to blog every day because I have nothing that has to be done”

Well that failed didn’t it? Between shopping, watching daytime TV and going out to dinner with the boyfriends colleagues, I somehow lost track of time and all of a sudden, it was time to fly back to the UK.


Well, this is the view from my hotel room:

Yeah. We’re in New York. Thanks American Airlines, for being so utterly useless. Thanks snow for being there. Thanks Heathrow for being so crap at dealing with snow.

We’re here till Friday so any recommendations or suggestions as to what we can do (cheaply!) would be welcomed.

(Its a day after our flight was cancelled, and I’m still too angry to put it down into words. A blog post on what happened to come when I don’t want to punch people. So that would be May.)

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