I had checked in 70 minutes earlier and had coffee with friends in the sunshine before going through to the departure lounge. We had just spent a full on weekend together and they were reluctant to leave me, as we were aware of the blanket of thick fog that had lovingly wrapped itself around the island that I have come to know and love as home, Jersey.
“If the flight is cancelled, we’ll take you home with us.” My friends had just said when a gate number seductively flashed on the departures screen. So I said my emotional farewells, stripped off to go through security, then found a nice comfy chair to sit on to await my instruction to board. I had barely sat down when a hesitant voice came over the tannoy to announce that my flight was cancelled. By this time, my friends where well on the way to their cosy sitting room with its wood burning stove, footstool and about to pour a glass of wine.
60 minutes post-cancellation and back in the check-in area; I was beginning to get a little tetchy. I was also peckish. Peckish and techy is a bad combination. I had viewed what was on offer at the café several times and didn’t see anything I fancied. The sandwiches had run out and a local delicacy, sherbet lemon popcorn, failed to excite.
So stranded at Exeter Airport. It was not the airline’s fault. Nothing had fallen off our ATR prop job, its instruments hadn’t gone techie. No, it was tantalisingly parked just outside the terminal building, soaking up the Devon sunshine on its stand.
Hanging around, waiting to hear what an airline has planned for your nocturnal comfort, the minutes begin to feel like hours. 120 minutes post-cancellation and I was getting annoyed. Why was it taking so long for the airline to sort out transportation to take us to one of the nearby hotels for the night?
Pumped up by the blitz spirit solidarity shared with my fellow Strandees over the last three hours, I start throwing my defiant weight around and making myself generally unpopular with the airport staff, who were doing their best, given that there were other passengers still hanging around whose flights had been cancelled a couple of hours before ours.
Then, a glimmer of light. We were issued with a goodie bag containing water, a very recently prepared sandwich and a bag of the sherbet lemon popcorn which turned out to be delicious.
Shortly after our spirit-lifting snack, we were whisked away to an oasis of comfortable Devon hospitality. Hot running water, a comfy bed to sink in to. Dinner, bed and breakfast all on the airline’s tab. OK, I had to pay for the wine, but it was a very small price to pay for being pampered due to adverse weather conditions.