So what do you do when you’re stranded at the airport, five hours to go, two coffees down, twitchy and more than a little bit sleep deprived? In my defence, the airline decided to switch terminals somewhere in the middle of last night. “Did you not receive an email from us this morning, Mr. Gordon?” asks an even more sleep deprived-looking attendant at Heathrow check-in. I glance at my watch and politely reply I didn’t get chance to go online before I left the house at 5.30 this morning. (Which poor BA minion was charged in the depths of the night to hurriedly attempt contact with a plane full of slumbering passengers?). So yes, I have missed my flight to Budapest and am now stranded, joining the ranks of flightless passengers who seem to have become a common sight at Terminal 5. Yes, did I mention that, it’s terminal 5!
Despite the frustrations there are at least some advantages to missing a flight in such a helpless manner:
1. An unexpected and quite sincere apology from BA staff who mixed up the terminals.
2. Free coffee. A little too much free coffee actuallyy.
3. A little time to catch up on some reading, stop, rest and pray. After a difficult week I admit I wasn’t quite ready for another full on conference and the free half-day afforded here comes at just the right time.
What to do then but read, wait, write this blog entry and hope there’s room on the next flight. For we Londoners, doing nothing for five hours is a rare experience and one that really should be relished rather than rejected. The chance to stop, reflect and pray should frankly come more often and be initiated rather than enforced. This little experience comes at a timely point for me and needed reminder that life should not be run at a rush hour pace. It just shouldn’t take a missed flight for me to learn these lessons.