It’s now 20 hours since my last post, and guess where I am? Still at Auckland Airport.
After I posted that last entry, I heard an announcement that the check-in was now open – about 2100, local time. That was cool as it meant I could dump my case. Of course, the early opening was nothing to do with making it easy for me. It was because Passport Control closed at 0100 so all passengers had to be through by then.
So, I checked-in and went through to Departures and sat around for a bit. Then sat around for a bit more. Then sat around for another bit more. You get the picture.
About 0200 the flight gate was announced so all the passengers assembled there. We sat and waited. And sat and waited. And sat and waited. You get that picture too.
At about 0315 (boarding time) they announced that there was a technical problem and they would get back to us in 10-15 minutes.
We sat and waited
Nearly an hour passed. They announced there was still a technical problem, but would give us an update in 15 minutes.
We sat and waited.
Sometime after 0500 they explained that the technical problem was that the fuel shortage meant that engines had to be shut down, and now they couldn’t start them up again. They offered us vouchers for breakfast.
We queued for the vouchers, then queued for food, then ate the food, then returned to the gate and waited.
At 0630 they announced that the flight was cancelled.
We had to clear immigration – including completing an arrivals card: “what was the number of the plane you arrived on?” and “how long do you intend to stay?” caused me a few problems. Then reclaimed our baggage – after a wait of 20-30 minutes at the carousel. Then cleared customs (the only shining light in this rigmarole was that they didn’t require the bags to be x-rayed) and back to the check-in to find out what happened next.
What happened next was the mother of all queues – I must have been there at least two hours. But at the end of it, I was told I would be bussed to a hotel and to await further instructions.
Bus arrived, took me – and about a dozen other passengers – to a hotel where we queued again to check-in. At last – at 1030 – I got to a room where I could have a shower, cup of tea, and short nap.
It was a short nap too. Just after 1200 reception phoned to tell me the bus would be back at 1330 to take us back to the airport as our flight had been rescheduled.
Quick lunch, then back on the bus.
Guess what – at the airport was another almighty queue for check-in. I know check-in queues often move far slower than is strictly necessary, but this one broke all records. What was going on up there – it’s not as if they didn’t know who was going to turn up.
And that is where we are. Flight is now scheduled for 2100 tonight – three and a half hours’ time. But I’ve got another meal voucher.