Our flight this morning was due to leave Bristol at 11am so we left the house by 7.00 to give ourselves plenty of time to check-in and get some breakfast before we left. We arrived at the airport before 8.30 and dropped our car off at the Meet-and-Greet, which is an excellent service. It is located at the drop-off car park and means a very short walk to the terminal. We’ll be using this service from now on as it’s worth the extra few pounds. They take your car and park it for you and it’s at the same place waiting for you when you step off the plane.
We joined the queue and soon checked in and went through the Fast Track security, another extra we pay for, and were soon sat down eating breakfast in the food hall. We had a nice breakfast, although it was a bit expensive, as once we’d finished and our gate was announced, we started our walk to the gate along with everyone else, keen to get on that plane and head south for a week.
We arrived at our gate just after 10.15am and found a seat and waiting until boarding started. However, this is when the fun started. We noticed some workmen under the plane and my husband and I started wondering why they were there. At 10.40am we found out why. There was a ‘technical fault’ with the plane, as announced by the staff as the boarding gate and there would be a slight delay to our flight.
At 11.10am, the captain came to the gate to say that the cable between the thrust and the cockpit was not working and the engineers were looking into it. He was waiting to see if it could be fixed and if not, another plane would need to be brought in. This was not the start to our holiday we envisaged.
Ten minutes later the captain returned to say the company had decided to delay our departure until at least 1pm while they tried to fix the problem. We all started questioning how this fault hadn’t been caught before we had made our way to the gate as in our eyes this was a major fault, not a little one! We were asked to return to the departures lounge and to keep an eye on the boards for updates as Bristol Airport, in their infinite wisdom, do not make announcements unless it is a gate closing!
We managed to get ourselves into the Executive Lounge via BattleDad’s Airport executive lounges card and got ourselves some pastries and tea and let BattleKid start on the snack we had brought. At 12.55, almost two hours after our original departure time, the boards announced that our flight was delayed until 14.50. At 13.45 that time changed to 15.00, the time we should have been arriving in Tenerife to start our holiday.
We left the lounge to get some lunch and only after we had ordered and paid for our lunch did we hear an announcement saying those of us delayed were entitled to a £5 refreshment voucher (which was not announced in the lounge we had just been in). Talk about one disaster after another!
We were finally called to our gate at 15.15 and finally boarded our plane at 15.35pm. And we were some of the lucky ones. Because they had to call in another plane, the only available one was smaller than our original one so roughly 30-40 people were told they would have to wait and get another plane, from another airport.
I think if it had been us I would have just gone home. Can you imagine thinking you’re finally going to be on your way to the sun only to find out you aren’t. Plus we heard rumours that those who were left behind didn’t arrive until the 26th December! Why would you even bother? I hope they got a lot of compensation!
We eventually took off at 4.10pm, finally heading south but still fuming at the chaos. We arrived at 7.50pm and waited almost an hour for our baggage. We made our way through arrivals and BattleDad spoke to the ground staff of Thomson’s to see if we would get dinner when we arrived at the hotel as BattleKid hadn’t eaten anything since lunchtime apart form a snack on the plane. They were extremely unhelpful and completely dismissive. BattleDad also enquired how long the bus would take, thinking we might still make dinner. 40 minutes is what was the response.
We decided to get a taxi to see if we could possibly make dinner. 20 minutes after leaving the airport we arrived at our hotel. Poor BattleKid was so tired that he fell asleep in the car and that was him for the night. The poor egg went to sleep that night without dinner. By the time we were seen at reception we had missed dinner and were told there would be something available in the dining room for us once we had gone to our room to put BattleKid to bed. That was something at least right? Wrong. All BattleDad could find was a few croissants, cold meat and salad. No hot dinner at all as we were lead to believe by reception.
The day just couldn’t get any worse. As the Sofa bed wasn’t really a sofa bed we had to let BattleKid sleep in our bed and BattleDad took the sofa bed. We went to bed at 10.30 and BattleDad had a horrendous night’s sleep due to the awful ‘sofa bed’ he was reduced to sleeping on. Had I known how bad things would have been I’d before we got on that plane I’d have never bothered getting on it! Disastrous day 1!
Stop by tomorrow to see if things improved on Christmas Eve.