You guys, I am stranded in London (and apparently, I can’t sleep).
Everything started out so very well. My flight from LAX to London Heathrow was (almost) on time, I was impressed with Air New Zealand’s extra leg room, in-flight entertainment, and food and I was seated next to two very lovely English ladies, who both had very English English accents (and who attested me an American accent in return. oh-kay?!)
Everything could have been so great! But then everything went down the wrong path. We landed in heavy snow fall, but it honestly didn’t look like it was going to be a problem. At least not a perpetual problem, but I learned soon enough that all flights to Europe for the day were canceled.
I mean, WHAT? That meant that I didn’t get to go home today, I didn’t get to cuddle with Greta and Tom, and embrace my family in a tight hug.
Ugh. Punch to my stomach.
Instead, I spent 10 hours at the airport trying to figure out what to do. Thank God for my iPod Touch and an Internet connection (since my cell phone doesn’t work in Europe). I was in touch with my family through Email and with friends through Twitter. They helped me out so, so much. I can’t even start to explain.
My sister spent numerous hours on hold with the airline (Lufthansa couldn’t rebook us, but said we had to call the Service Center hotline which – of course – a) I couldn’t do because I had no cell phone and b) which was completely overloaded, because hundreds, if not thousands of people tried to get a hold of someone at the same time.
My parents and aunt kept up my spirits by keeping in touch by email and trying to find a Eurostar (train) connection for me instead, and my friend Kim finally booked me a hotel near the airport through an online booking site, which turned out to be a real blessing, because I don’t think I would have been able to get a hotel room for the night, hadn’t it been for Kim‘s online booking. There was no way to get a hotel room (or if, not under 300 pounds) through the airport information desk.
I am hoping that the airline or my travel insurance will reimburse me for it, but it still has to come out of my pocket first.
I spent five freakin’ hours roaming the baggage claim area looking for my suitcase. It was completely chaotic! There seemed to be no organization whatsoever! You would think a big hub airport like London Heathrow would be a little bit better prepared. I am just so glad that just when I was about to give up and go to the hotel, because I was tired and exhausted, I spotted my suitcase on one of the conveyor belts near the exit. Total coincidence, but definitely a silver lining! Then I had to stand in line for 1,5 hours in the freaking cold, before one of those lovely, very original black cabs took me to my hotel. The cab driver said he had never seen such a long cue… ahm… line (the British English is so lovely :)) at the cab stop. And, OMG, I couldn’t agree with him more. The line was so insanely long!
Since this is my first night (ever!) in London, it was my first ride in an English cab as well and it was so strange to see the driver sit on the right and drive on the left side of the road! Heh!
Edit: I forgot to mention, my sister did get me rebooked on a flight to DUS tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. I can only hope that the weather has calmed down by then and that I will indeed be able to get on that plane.
I think I am going to try and sleep now. I’ve been up for way too long! Hopefully I’ll have better news for you soon!