Okay, so that’s a slightly melodramatic title for a blog post, but it made you click so I’m going with it.
It’s my birthday this week and in the usual tradition, husband and I had booked a few days away to celebrate. This time round we had planned to spend three nights in Berlin, exploring and generally having a nice break from work.
Unfortunately, the universe had other ideas.
We arrived for our flight at Manchester Airport on Sunday afternoon, having driven across the Pennines through a heavy snow shower. We successfully negotiated a very rude woman on the security desk and had a mini panic when husband realised he’d lost his phone.
After a meal and a browse round the shops in Terminal 1, it was time to board our easyJet flight. Boarding was a few minutes late, but not massively so. No more than I’ve experienced on numerous occasions in the past.
Soon we were all seated and the pilot announced that we were just waiting for the plane to be de-iced and we’d be on our way.
Twenty minutes later and she had another abrupt announcement: the flight was being cancelled. Not due to the weather or problems at the airport in Berlin. The slight delay had taken her too close to the limit for the number of hours she could work, and as she had a holiday booked off work the following day and still had to fly to Berlin and back, there was no way she could continue. With no replacement pilot available, the flight was cancelled.
So we sat on the plane for another hour, waiting to be allowed back into the airport and through passport control.
The passengers were told to use the easyJet app to rebook onto another flight, but the next available was three days later, on Wednesday. With me due back at work on Thursday, it was a no go. And with a whole plane of people to accommodate, the few remaining seats were soon booked up.
In the end, we chose to make the 120 mile plus trip home, giving up on our trip.
Now, I know we were actually the lucky ones. We didn’t end up sleeping on the airport floor, or being stranded abroad for days as other people who also had flights cancelled over the weekend did. We didn’t have to queue for hours to speak to the one customer service rep at the airport, or struggle to get through to the helpline.
And we managed to laugh about the experience, although I was feeling pretty gutted by the time we arrived home, close to midnight.
We’ll get the cost of our flights refunded and I’m hoping to reclaim the cost of the hotel too. We might even qualify for compensation.
But I’d rather be enjoying a festive break in Berlin. It’s six months since I took any time off work and the change in plans is disappointing, especially since it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to squeeze in another trip for a few months.
Still, in a weird way it was quite a nice day. Things have been really busy the last few months and I haven’t spent as much time with my husband as usual. It was nice to go on a road trip and just chat and enjoy each other’s company, despite the circumstances.
Here’s hoping next year’s birthday works out a bit better!