This is Part II of the (horror) travel story of my Friend "E" (The Other "E"), trying to fly from Rome via Zurich to Nairobi, last weekend. The only problem was, eh, there was rather a severe storm.
We pick up the story after "E" finally got to Zurich after a forced stop-over in Geneva. One aborted landing, one failed take-off and four gin tonics later:
James Bond always preferred his Martini shaken...not stirred....well, I did not have a choice, I was shaken AND stirred the whole day. As the day went on, things did not start to look any better:
I am kind of looking forward to try out the famous Virgin services on the flight from Heathrow to Nairobi. After a couple more hours of waiting around at Zurich airport, we now move on to Campari Orange (as I thought "enough Gin for the day!"), and we board the flight to London. Free seating on the flight and 400 CHF to anyone who is willing to take a later flight as they are overbooked and the plane is smaller. As we have to catch our connecting flight to Nairobi, we refuse the 400 CHF (in retrospect, we should have known better!) and board the flight. Filled to the brim.
We strap in... and are warned that due to severe weather conditions (which now moved further north) all flights to London are delayed for one to one and a half hours. "This means we will miss our connection in London", I say to my colleague. Off I march to see the flight attendant to explain our problem. He goes off to talk to the captain and after a short consultation, the captain orders are to remove our luggage and leave us in Zurich as he cannot guarantee our connection once in London. Another woman bound to Nairobi joins the group of now stranded, tired, and pretty tipsy women.
We are shown to the transfer desk where we join a very very long queue of... well people who wished they were somewhere else. But I was impressed with the people: nobody lost their temper while some had been there the whole day (such as yours truly). Some were looking pretty weak and tired but very composed.
So here we are queuing up and hoping that the lady at the counter (now exhausted as I recognize her from the morning) would find us a flight to Nairobi. We were open to anything. She suggests a flight through Cairo, but then could not confirm the Cairo-Nairobi segment. After a few minutes, she finds another flight via Johannesburg and some other “oh no, please not through there!” places. Or, we have the option to wait two more days for the next Swiss flight. So a quick decision was made: we go back to Rome. There is a flight in two hours. I had to be in Nairobi for the opening of the planning week so the first 2 days were the important ones for me. No point in arriving there three days late.
So, quick, another drink before take off, a couple of phone calls to Nairobi to cancel the airport pick up and to tell the colleagues we will not be there for the
Sunday opening, and we board. The flight to Rome was uneventful but icing on the cake of a Day in Hell: No suitcase when we get to Rome. Another queue to report the lost luggage with the hope they will find it.
Consolation: maybe this was not meant to be, and maybe even worse things awaited me in Nairobi!
Picture courtesy Nasa