Saturday, 21 November 2015

Pauline, Jonah and flights of fancy

I may have to change my name, certainly my recent travel experiences have made Pauline think so! We are back in France but only just!

On her last trip to visit her mum in Scotland Pauline had a bad experience while travelling alone. On boarding her first flight home down from Glasgow to Stansted she was 'encouraged' to put her carry-on luggage in the hold, a practice that Ryanair have now adopted along with their two bag rule. It is, I think, not a bad long as you remember to pick it up at baggage reclaim!! Because she was always used to marching right out, that is exactly what she did...minus her luggage!

This of course meant seeking help as to how she retrieved it asking the nearest company employee proved to be ill advised as he sent her to the opposite end of the airport where she got some other advice to visit another location before finally ending up six feet from where she started. With the clock ticking with regards to catching her next flight it was lucky the original helper wasn't there as he would have had to bear the brunt of her anger. she had to be taken through a 'special' door and go through the 'departure' process again (clock still ticking) which wasn't helped by her 'handler' choosing to 'fast track' her after she had put her handbag on another line, his reassurance that it would be alright didn't sit well with her. She did eventually get reunited with her bag which by this time was dizzy from quite a few rounds of the luggage carousel' By the time I picked her up at Poitiers she had a rather grey complexion,she doesn't cope well with these situations.

Anyway the point is, after this experience she decided making the trip on her own wasn't a good idea so on the next trip I was to accompany her. Although you would think after our recent experiences going to and returning from Canada she might have thought twice about it.

Our two flights to Scotland did however go without mishap but returning proved that I may not be the best choice as a travelling companion. Glasgow to Stansted proved, by our standards, to be quite uneventful although we did have a mother and her 4 month old baby asking if she could exchange her window seat for Pauline's aisle seat so as she could 'walk' the baby if she had to,no problem other than it proved not to be her seat at all which meant I was accused, rightly, by another lady of having her seat  The solution was simple enough with the lady taking the mother's allocated seat,although without at first giving me a bit of a stare! The journey passed relatively quickly with Pauline at times left holding the baby,filling bottles and making funny faces when's like riding a bike!

We had a light lunch and as it was approaching time for our gate to be allocated I suggested we start walking to gates 40 to 59 where we always fly out from. Anyone who knows Stansted will know it is quite a walk to these outer limbs of the airport so to find on arrival that no gates were allocated for the Tours' flight meant we had to return,rather promptly against the flow of departing travellers back to find out what gate we should be at...this is when Pauline probably began to think me being with her wasn't such a great idea. We should have taken the shuttle train to gate 33!! If any of you had someone you know at the airport yesterday let them know we offer our apologies for getting them the least concerned by the image of two old buddies dashing around trying to get close enough to a screen to confirm the'exact' gate,must have been a little alarming for some! Now this flight never leaves from anywhere else! Mrs Craig,who was that funny colour again, let me know that (between breathes) it was not unheard of and that we should have waited the couple of minutes until the flight was announced, she was of course right.

Anyway we made it, as I had tried to reassure her that we would (even though I have to admit a slight feeling of panic as we waited for the shuttle train).Once on board we again had a bit of seat juggling (is it us?) as a group of young travellers although booking and travelling together had been allocated random seats throughout the aircraft,maybe they expected trouble if they were all together,who knows? The charming young lady,with the window seat (why don't we ever get one) asked if she could swap for the aisle seat as there were a few empty double seats around that the flight attendant said she could have but only after take off as moving would upset the balance of the aircraft...I found this a little disconcerting as there was nothing of her.

She did get to sit beside her (I think) boyfriend but only after telling us they were taking advantage of the low fares and a friend's house in Loches for a weekend's break. We made good time and got to the  "crew 10 minutes to landing" but then the twist...the 10 minutes became 20 before our friendly captain let us know that wind conditions at Tours meant we would not be able to land and may have to divert to Limoges, he said we would try 'holding' at 5000 ft and see if conditions improved - they didn't. Fortunately we were diverted to Poitiers rather than Limoges but this meant 'bussing' us back to Tours where we could be reunited with our car. The landing was very bumpy, probably due to the fact that the young lady failed to return to her seat and the 'balance' wasn't restored!.

The day did however end well with friends Peter and Jane having prepared a lovely meal along with a great doze of hospitality for us to arrive to.


  1. Remind me never to travel with either of you...;0)

    Glad you are back in France, safe and sound, and rested enough to tell the tale.

  2. Travel can be so stressful.....especially if one chooses the wrong travelling companion!.....
    I hope life soon returns to normal and your flights become a distant memory which you soon forget....

  3. Oh lord! I agree with Gaynor - you're on your own the Craigs!! xx