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Live from London

26 Feb

I made it to London.  England, not Ontario (which in Michigan, makes sense.)

The trip here was anything but easy.  It snowed all day in Michigan on Wednesday, when I was supposed to fly out.  When we got to the airport, I checked to make sure my flight was on time before my ride left.  It was.  Great!  I grabbed my bags and checked in.

However, in the fifteen minutes between checking in and getting to the gate, my flight went from on time, to delayed by twenty minutes.  Okay, not bad, actually quite understandable.  There was snow to deal with and we had to wait for the plane to actually arrive.  So I waited.  I met a mother and daughter who were also headed to London, and we started chatting.  And we kept waiting.  Eventually our plane arrived.  We were supposed to leave at 8:15 pm.   I don’t really recall as there were no clocks around to figure this out.  We had to wait for the other passengers to leave, wait to get on, wait in line for de-icing (which frankly, I was happy to wait for), and finally took off sometime after 9 pm. 

My connecting flight to London was at 10:25.  I was supposed to have a three hour layover at Chicago O’Hare.  By the we got there, we had twenty minutes to go from one terminal to another.  There was a group of us heading the same direction, so I hooked up with the mother and daughter and we started to run.  But on our race to the next gate, we saw that the London flight was delayed.  We were happy about this at that time.  We weren’t going to be happy about this in a few hours.

The flight that was supposed to leave at 10:25 pm Wednesday evening left at 2:45 Thursday morning.  First we waited three hours in the terminal while they fixed the engine.  Apparently there was an oil leak in one of the engines and it was leaking oil.  I’m all for waiting for planes to be fixed.  I waited quite patiently.  Finally at 12:30 or so, they said all was well, let’s board the plane, please take your seats quickly and we’ll be de-iced and on our way in about fifteen minutes.

They lied.

We sat on the plane at the gate for two hours.  Two hours of de-icing.  It wasn’t that the plane was that icy.  It just took them that long to get around to it. I’m not sure why.  At that point, we were about the only airplane out there.  But it took that long.  After one hour, people started complaining.  By the time we took off, you could hear people cursing the airline.  Me?  I was just happy we took off at all. 

Now here was the catch of the whole situation – Josh’s plane was coming into London a couple hours before mine.  The plan was that he was going to wait at Heathrow for me and we’d head over to the hotel together.  He even got me a phone that would work in the U.K., so I could call him as soon as I landed.  However, I thought I had forgotten to get the pin number to unlock the phone, so when I finally arrived at Heathrow, five hours late, I had no way of calling him.

Meanwhile, Josh waited around Heathrow for an hour, then checked my flight’s status.  And saw it was set to arrive at 5 pm.  Five hours late.  His first response was “What the ****?”  Then there was a bit of panic on his part.  Knowing I do well in these sort of situations, and that he had a meeting to be at that afternoon, he left the airport.  But then more panic set in when he tried to call me after 5 pm, only to not have my phone work.

Being someone who can handle this sort of situation, I found a pay phone and called him.  Or as Josh said “She went old school.”  He told me what trains to take from the airport and I met him at the end of the tube line.  Ironically, my first sight coming out of the Underground was a McDonald’s and a Burger King.  And rain.  Though I’ll admit, after snow and cold, 45 degrees and rainy seemed quite balmy to me.

But I made it, in one piece, I barely got lost at Paddington Station (I asked a man there how to get to King’s Cross without getting lost and he helped me out.)  Once I got to London, everything has been great.  I’m not going to think about my trip home just yet, I’m just going to enjoy my time here.  The best part is that once we all got on the plane, everyone was exhausted and we all just slept.   I went to bed about midnight last night, woke up at 9 am, and am good to go.  No jet lag.  Which I earned that after spending five hours at O’Hare Airport.

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