Sunday 10 September 2023

Trying To Get Back To West Cork.

 I got up at seven  on the Sunday morning and said goodbye to my friend and I walked to the bus stop next to the pizza shop that the bus station lady had told me that the bus to Nottingham stopped at.

No bus  however arrived at 7.40 and it eventually arrived at 8.40.  "Do You Ever Get One Of Those Days" by Elvis Presley comes to mind.

The bus fare was only 2 Pounds. 

We passed Trent Bridge and the City Ground and I alighted the bus and booked a ticket to Birmingham airport  via Birmingham New Street.  It was only 3 carriages and at every station another amount of people got on the heaving train.

So much for Covid and if you felt claustrophobic.  

I changed again at Birmingham New Street and caught the train into Birmingham International and caught the free train/ cable car to the airport. 

12.30 and my plane wasn't until 9.35.  I bought a drink and bacon sandwich in a cafe and spent the rest of the day mulling around the airport with my rucksack and eventually sat in a bus shelter for the afternoon.   A few people asked me when the next  bus was to West Brom or Birmingham and I told a lady I was passing time waiting to catch my plane. " Good idea", she said.  

I day dreamed and WhatsApped home and walked around again and eventually at 6.30 I checked my rucksack in.  

I walked into Customs and through to Duty Free.  They had all kinds of lucrative offers like a litre of Jamesons whiskey for 23 Pounds.  So I walked past all the alcohol and perfume stands and asked the ladies on the checkouts how many bottles could I take back to Ireland? "One" they shouted in unison.  So much for me bringing some presents home.  I just bought the one bottle.  "I said it's a bit different to the ten bottles they let you bring back from Portugal  per person".   One of the ladies said: "It's because it's one EU country going to another country." 

It was their loss financially.  Yet another good reason why voting Brexit was cutting off the hand that feeds you.

I went to the Wetherspoon's bar to get rid of some English coins.  I didn't pay 2 pounds six pence for a pint this time though.  It was four pounds forty.  I had two pints in total and waited for my plane.

About half an hour from boarding I looked at the flight departures screen and said my flight was delayed.  Myself and other passengers made our way to the departure gate and sat on the floor.

None of the airline company came round to explain what had happened.  At about eleven o'clock a very helpful airport worker said it was very common for late night Sunday flights to be delayed.  For example there could be a storm in Tenerife in the morning and that could be delayed for ten minutes and by the end of the day all flight schedules in Europe  could be hours behind.

A Polish lad who had obviously picked up on Irish sayings said to me: " It's a bollix.  This flights has  been delayed at least three times for me in the last six months".

Eventually we started to queue and the air staff insisted on priority boarding passengers going first.  Not that it mattered that I had already paid to put my rucksack and  camping equipment in the hold.

We eventually walked down the steps out of the plane and the Police boarded our plane that had just arrived from Cork.  Apparently someone said rthey escorted a drunk off the plane.

Quarter  past twelve we started boarding the plane.  My row was not there but a air hostess said two rows were not on this plane.  I sat in in my window seat and a lady started saying I was sitting in her chair.  It was like a Ryan Air Goldilocks and the 3 Bears scene.  "Who's been sitting in my chair?" I heard myself saying.  

The air hostesses made sure the people who had booked the seats were theirs and we who had no such seats because the plane had two less row of seats were gesticulated to follow the hostess and sit in a vacant seat.  

I vowed to a few agreeing and angry passengers that I would never use this cattle class airline again but I'm sure when the wife and myself book our annual flight in the Winter to the Algarve.  We will probably use them.  Maybe Easy Jet from Belfast or an English airport? Even Aerlingus? Whatever happened to the customer is always right?

The flight only took fifty minutes and wifey and one of my four legged pals were waiting for me outside the airport.

We got back to sleepy West Cork at 4 in the morning.  It had only took me 21 hours to get 

back home.  I cracked open the Jamesons and drank a can of Carlsberg.  It was good to get back to wild West Cork were my  life is so less stressful,  I reckon I could have got to Australia in the same time.  Perhaps next time if I ever visit Blighty again I will use public transport and the ferry?



12 comments:

  1. It's a shame you set out for the return flight so early in the morning thus making it such a long day Dave. I remember being in Paris once and getting to the airport at about 10 in the morning because I was worried about missing the plane and when Peter asked me when our flight was I said 9pm! We spent the day people watching and enjoyed ourselves in the end. Lots to do a Charles de Gaulle airport. Our plane was delayed too! Anyway, I have enjoyed reading about your adventures.

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  2. I flew from Ireland to Bristol Rachel. Then travelled around England and I wanted to fly back from East Midlands but there was no flight back until the Monday. I didn't if trains would be running after the strikes so I decided to set off early. I spent 13 hours at airport and the delay put the tin hat on it. I am glad you liked reading about my adventures.

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  3. Thought you might like to see this from The Guardian newspaper
    https://www.theguardian.com/money/2023/sep/09/be-very-afraid-what-i-learned-from-a-26-hour-ryanair-delay

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    Replies
    1. Thanks GZ. I couldn't believe when I got on my plane and two rows of the back seats with my number on it were missing. I honestly thought they were going to ask us to get off .

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  4. Welcome to English public transport- rail in particular. My suggestion would be travel by ferry and bring a bike.

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  5. Not a bad idea Tiggers Mum. Standards have definitely dropped regards public transport and cheap commercial flights. I would renationalise the railways and appoint an Ombudsman to oversee the airlines. I see why there are so many cars on UK roads. I wouldn't like to cycle on those busy roads either. Rural roads in Ireland are far from safe and they are soon reducing the speed limits.

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  6. You certainly could get down under in that time. I say it takes me 24 hours

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  7. Well your the one who would know Linda. My 50 minutes flight should have been at least an hour and twenty minutes. They didn't spare the horses.

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  8. Ugh. Airlines are ridiculous here. I had a two hour layover in Detroit, the third leg of my trip home. I bought and paid for the ticket. Within hours I received the news that my layover had turned into an 18 hour layover. It was awful. It was so perfectly awful. It was only when I paid for the tickets and printed out my itinerary that I received word of the 'change'. It would have taken me less time to rent a car and DRIVE home.

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  9. What an awful experience Debby. Airlines seem to be a law unto themselves Thanks for telling us about it.

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  10. What a nightmare just to get home! I'd be remembering that forever and never going anywhere again.

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  11. It's the lack of communication that I find so annoying and frustrating River. I believe in England railway companies are going to get rid of human operated ticket offices and it will be machines and no one around to give you travel information. The machines look like they are taking over completely.

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