The journey started well enough. Carrying large suitcases with three small children and taking one bus and two trains is challenging, but we managed in good spirits. At Schiphol we also had a reasonably good time. Someone told us there was a children’s corner with climbing racks and such, which we managed to find in due course.
Problems started when the British Midlands flight was delayed. First by 5 minutes, than by 10 — and eventually we landed an hour late in London. Which was more or less the time our flight to Sydney departed, which didn’t seem to interest the BM people one single bit. Lesson learned: even if they don’t want to do it, insist that all boarding cards are given at the first check-in point. With a boarding card we would have had a chance, now we were doomed.
Even getting to the connecting flight is abysmal at Heathrow. We were all in a hurry because the flight was late, but the security staff just very slowly changed shifts halfway helping us, adding another 10 minutes to the wait. Every bit of luggage needs to be in separate crates, your coat and vest, laptop and camera need to be in separate crates and in in addition to the belt Tim had to remove for check-in in Schiphol they now wanted everybody’s shoes in separate crates too….
It’s a shame I can’t draw, since these situation conjures up all sort of cartoons in my head. Rooms filled with fundamentalist Muslims taking the vote on where the next possible bomb should be planted. Bra’s? Knickers? Or immediately go for the place the sun don’t shine?
We missed our flight though and had two options presented. Be on standby for the next flight to Sydney via Singapore, wait for 9 hours and hope they’ll screw up the connecting flights for that one as badly as ours so there are 5 spare seats we can fill. Or get a confirmed flight to Sydney via Los Angeles. The first would get us in Sydney at 6 o’clock in the morning on Sunday, the latter would get us there one-and-a-half hours later.
Since flying via LA was confirmed and 07.30 in the morning is a more decent time to be picked up, we decided to go for that option. I am writing this piece in Heathrow, waiting for BM to confirm both our flight and the fact that we don’t need visas for the USA. Our already long journey just got 14 hours longer- and the kids are already getting cabin fever. Interesting times lie ahead of us…
Update: We’re now almost 4 hours later. The British Airway guy at travel interconnect worked hard to find a solution and finally booked us on the flight to LA after confirming that we didn’t need visa for just transferring. Unfortunately he didn’t know that the US now requires seperate passports for every traveller. The kids are in my passport, with photo and all, but when we went to the gate to fly to LA they sent us back.
I guess it could have been worse; we could have flown to LA and be sent back from there… And I remember that our fantastic holiday to Kenya had quite a few bumps on the road before we actually could start our safari there. If the number of difficulties is an indication, this holiday will be truelly superb… once we are there.
Tim is sorting out other options with someone from BA and they parked us in the Business Lounge where there at least is a kiddy corner with a tv. The kids are doing fine so far, but are getting cabin fever – and who can blame them.
If there is an opportunity I’ll give an update once we know how we fly, but it might be some time. Of course the one thing I couldn’t find before we left was the world-travellers-plug, so I cannot charge the laptop here.