An Impromptu Layover in London

postcard design by C. Foster

“Keep calm and carry on”

After my connecting flight to Paris was cancelled due to severe weather conditions, the airline gave passengers hotel accommodations for the night. There were several airport hotels, but to our delight, the airline booked a rather fancy one for my family and me.

Look at the gorgeous chandelier that welcomes guests in the lobby:

We spent a couple of minutes fumbling in the dark before we read the sign saying you had to insert your door card (room key) in a slot on the wall to make the power sockets and lights work:

Snacks we bought from Marks & Spencer and Boots in the airport:

Look! Mariah Carey is on bags of crisps here

Giraffe

flat white

fish and chips with a side of pea purée (mushy peas)

non-alcoholic Elderflower Collins

Breakfast buffet at Steak & Lobster (restaurant in hotel):

Our stay was brief, but it was comfortable.

Like it says on the umbrella tag, the lovely hotel provided shelter from the storm:

After the tasty breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and caught a shuttle back to the airport.

Finally, we were on our way to Paris. Or, were we?

Another delay

We experienced a 90-minute delay in London. The captain told us that he was not confident to fly due to an earlier issue with one of the instruments. This meant we had to board another plane!

While we waited for the tram to take us to the new aircraft, the captain invited passengers to visit the flight deck of the plane, an Airbus A320! We got to briefly chat with both the captain and first officer!

After we boarded the new plane and got settled in, the captain informed us that the ramps and passenger stairs were stuck and couldn’t be removed from the side of the plane!

About 30 minutes later, we were ready for take off. Finally, we were on our way to Paris, for real.

From there, we’d catch our flight to our third/final stop: Berlin, Germany!

*More to come on our visit to Berlin

7 Words Francophiles Never Want to Hear

“Your flight to Paris has been cancelled.”

These are words that Francophiles, like moi, never want to hear!

Due to Storm Dennis, my connecting flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Paris was cancelled.

Safety first, my head says.

Think about the people who are experiencing strong wind, heavy rain, and flooding, or worse, my head says.

Yes, but my aching heart cries, Oh, c’mon! What a letdown!

In addition, LHR was experiencing technical issues so they put out large white boards to communicate flight information! Not a good travel day.

airline’s website on 16 February 2020

Because of severe weather conditions in the area, I had assumed other carriers were also grounding and canceling flights out of LHR that day.

I was terribly disappointed.

Reluctantly, I accepted the airline’s offer of a new flight to Paris leaving the following day. While I was happy to be rebooked, this new flight gave me only about an hour to catch my flight from Paris to my third/final stop on my journey.

Per their policy, the airline gave us weary, stranded travelers the following:

  • a voucher for a one-night stay at an airport hotel, breakfast included
  • vouchers for light refreshments from airport concession stands and restaurants
  • vouchers for shuttle rides to/from the airport

It was windy and cold at the shuttle stops. Add frustration and confusion and you get a chaotic scene!

For instance, a few shuttles didn’t stop at their designated spots so people had to sprint back and forth. Some people boarded a shuttle only to be told they were on the wrong one. Still others had to wait for the “next one” as each shuttle filled to capacity quickly.

Seize the Day

Eventually, I accepted the fact that my plan to visit Paris (for a few hours, at least) failed.

Perhaps spending a night in London instead was meant to be! Going with the flow, I decided to make the most of my impromptu layover in London!