Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christmas Is Cancelled -- What a Blessed Relief; Stephen Robinson and Family Were Meant to Have Flown London by Now but Keeping Their Sanity Came First

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christmas Is Cancelled -- What a Blessed Relief; Stephen Robinson and Family Were Meant to Have Flown London by Now but Keeping Their Sanity Came First

Article excerpt

Byline: Stephen Robinson

AND with one click we were free. After four days of watching rolling news, checking hopeless websites, and making obscene gestures from the sofa at BAA's chief executive Colin Matthews, can there be two sweeter words in the English language than "confirm cancellation"? Until I pressed that little screen icon yesterday afternoon, I hadn't realised how firmly my life had become locked into a weird obsessivecompulsive world in which the only goal was getting the family to Barcelona for Christmas.

Ever since our flight on Saturday fell victim to BAA's decision to shut Heathrow down completely before the first snowflake fell on Hillingdon, we had been living in a strange bubble.

I am not suggesting we are victims of the travel chaos in the manner of those poor souls at Heathrow, clutching their bottled water and writhing like Ethiopian refugees under their foil blankets. We never even went to the airport.

But I was up at all hours splitscreening the BBC five-day weather forecast with the BA website, trying to outwit the elements and other passengers in getting four seats to Barcelona on the next available flight.

I only realised how odd my behaviour had become at about midnight on Monday when I found I had actually memorised my original flight reference number, so often had I entered it into ba.com for unforthcoming updates on the status of our rebooked flights.

And now, as I check recent emails and texts, I realise that almost all of my contact with the outside world in the past 96 hours has been with or about fellow struggling travellers on the global network of misery.

There was our daughter's godfather who was going to fly over from Hong Kong to meet us in Barcelona for a few days, who also conceded defeat and cancelled yesterday. Then the friend stuck in Washington, fulminating about how this was the biggest outrage since he was stranded for a week by the ash cloud, who finally made it home yesterday. And my niece stuck trying to get back to London from her studies at Princeton.

Even if you are not facing the horrors of indifferent staff and a total lack of information at the tacky shopping malls that double up as Heathrow's five terminals, you are nevertheless trapped in a world of BAA's and the airlines' making. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.