Wednesday morning I got up early expecting to have to check out by 10am, appears no one really checks and I could have easily stayed in bed for an extra hour or so. I found out Jamie had actually managed to make it back to the hostel tonight and had actually had quite a fun night! Anyway by the time we were all sorted and we’d grabbed some food it was time for me to head on home. Jamie had to catch a later flight which involved an overnight wait in Düsseldorf airport. My flight was going back to Amsterdam before catching another flight on to Manchester. However before I went back to the airport I gave one final check to our snow/rock man in the nearby park. Someone had cruelly decapitated it!
The flight to Amsterdam went with out any problems, and I got myself to the Manchester flight gate easily. Then they proceeded to run security checks at the gate for everyone on the flight, this meant it took us a good 45 minutes to get everyone through the gate. Apparently the plane wasnt ready until about 10 minutes before everyone got through either. Then the plane had to be de-iced, we were running a good half hour late by this time. But we took off anyhow. About 30 minutes into the flight my ears start popping as though we’re changing altitude. A few moments later the pilot says Manchester Airport is closed due to a snow storm, as is Birmingham, East Midlands etc and that we’re heading back to Amsterdam.
We get back to Amsterdam and the airport is pretty much closed, as in there are no staff around generally. We’re given vouchers to stay at a hotel overnight and told to come back at 7am to get yourself booked on a flight. I considered staying in the airport bar and just waiting for the morning there, but I ended up going back to the hotel. I got checked into my room, threw my bag down and hit the bar straight away. 6 beers later and chatting to various other people in the bar from Manchester, as well as a random Aussie who turned up, I’m rushing around to go back to the airport. The first shuttle bus was at 4.30am and I had decided to just grab that and get there as early as possible to get myself booked onto a flight. I had heard that others had phoned up already and got themselves onto flights. After a short wait the KLM desk opened at 5.30am, I was booked onto a 1pm flight to Bradford-Leeds apparently. A load of other people were on an earlier flight. I was shattered, I grabbed some breakfast with a voucher they had given me and then went through security and closed my eyes inside the airport for a few hours. I’d met a couple of other people there and they were on the 9am flight to Bradford.
It turns out that their flight had actually been diverted to Liverpool as Bradford was closed, and our flight was cancelled but they didnt tell us until 15 minutes before it was due to be boarding. Cue some confusion and panic whilst they figure out what to do and the possibility of spending Christmas in Amsterdam was looming rather large. They flight company come back 10 minutes later and tell us all that we’re going to get put on a flight to Heathrow and there will then be ground transport upto Bradford. I explain that there are some of us who should be going to Manchester, as that’s where we were originally going, but the flight attendant doesn’t really understand what I’m asking.
Anyway we all queue up to get tickets, and it’s taking a bit of time. Then this one, slightly drunk and very rude man just jumps the entire queue, and then when he gets to the desk starts mouthing off to the attendants who are just trying to sort everything out as best as they can. I politely ask him to calm down and get his ticket so we can all go through. He squares upto me and asks me if I want to take it outside. A little shocked at just how much of a complete wanker this guy is, I just tell him to go get his ticket so we can all get home as quick as possible, this doesnt seem to sink into the idiot though. Anyway, he eventually goes back just as two security guards appear. I go grab my ticket from a desk away from where he’s getting his, and make my way upstairs to clarify how to get home after I get off in London. I’m assured there will be some way for some of us to get to Manchester.
Boarding for the Heathrow flight takes it’s time but we eventually get on. I’m right on the back row and as I get there the idiot from above is sat next to my seat, I’m thinking this just can’t be. Turns out he was sat on the wrong side, couldn’t even read his ticket. So he’s still on the same row as me, just opposite side of the plane. The plane takes off and there’s a very friendly South African woman sat next to me who makes the whole flight a lot easier and we have a good laugh. At the same time the guy on the opposite side continues to be rude to the flight staff. When they refuse to give him a second beer he squares upto the attendant and has a very rude conversation with him, swearing at him repeatedly. Eventually he sits down.
We arrive in Heathrow and of course the police board the plane and take him away. I approached one of the attendants and explain what happened back in the Amsterdam, they ask me to tell this to the Police. It was explained that due to it being on foreign soil nothing would in reality happen, however they take my details and I say I’d be happy to give a statement should they ever need me too.
Putting all this behind me I head on down to baggage collection, where of course my bag isn’t there. I file a missing report, and then it takes the KLM representative almost half an hour to sort out our transport home. The majority of people just went to Leeds/Bradford on two buses, and there was only 4 of us going to Manchester. They basically put on a taxi who drove rather fast and got us back to Manchester Airport in 3 hours. I eventually got home at 10pm on Christmas Eve. A cool 23 hours after I was meant too. But I was just very pleased to have got home safe and for Christmas. I still haven’t got my luggage back and several attempts to get through on the phone have failed. Some people reckoned that the luggage was going to be sent to Manchester Airport on a Christmas Morning flight. Hopefully I’ll get it back, it doesn’t have anything particularly valuable in there, just some very nice T-Shirts that I bought whilst travelling in the past and mean quite a lot to me, as well as everyone’s Christmas presents.