Thursday, 22 April 2010

Home At Last

Events moved quite swiftly yesterday, and not without some snags as far as I was concerned. Seemingly the Thomas Cook coach picked up four people from my hotel at 13:45. I was in the lobby, on the Dell Mini 9 and, at times, talking to a elderly Ulster couple whom I had befriended. I had my luggage all ready and I kept an eye on the entrance. At one time a bright yellow security lorry parked right outside the entrance.

I had been advised to be there for pick-up between 13:30 and 14:00, which I duly did. No coach. I phoned them about three times and, eventually, I was told that the coach had been and gone; and that I'd have to get a taxi to the airport myself. This was at about 14:50.

Perhaps I had been distracted, though I did keep looking at the entrance for the coach every minute. All I can say is that the the Thomas Cook representative did not try hard to find me, because I was quite conspicuous in the lobby, facing the entrance about thirty yards back. If they had called out their name, or my name even, that would have done the trick. This has never happened to before, despite being a fairly seasoned traveller.

I got a bus to the airport myself. It arrived at the airport about 16:00. There were, indeed, signs of chaos. I checked the screen and the Belfast flight was due to depart at 16:45.

I accordingly went to check-in desk 78, where there was a queue of German travellers and nobody at the desk. Don't Panic! I went over to the Thomas Cook desk at the far side, which was three deep with Germans and others. Eventually I heard a chap asking about UK travellers, and he was told to go to the Phoenix desk, a hundred yards further along.

I followed him and, at the desk, immediately recognized Cook's uniforms. Success, but was I too late? I had been told by a member of airport staff that I had missed my flight.

Success indeed. I was personally taken to check-in desk 84, where they took my ticket and details.

On the flight I had an entire row to myself, and still found it hard to believe that I was going home.

Despite this, I was probably more fortunate than many during the volcanic crisis. I am home safely and count my blessings. Belmont prevails!


Sandy said...

Well done, although your "man" needs a severe talking to!
Easy though, staff are so hard to find these days.

There has been a certain smugness in the Sandy domain (of which I am not proud), knowing the hardship some poor folks are in, as I pull the curtains in the morning to the pastoral scene of cattle standing in a bog in the mist.

Timothy Belmont said...

Perhaps I'll forward this post to their customer services; though they've probably got other priorities. I wonder if they are overwhelmed with complaints, tales of woe etc.

kim too said...

Welcome home, what a trying few days you have had....

Enjoy the GOH, looking forward to your review, lol.

Regards Kim

Timothy Belmont said...

Thanks! Back to porridge again.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

glad you're home.

Timothy Belmont said...

Thanks, Alan. Good to be home, for once!