London

Cancelled flight
London, United Kingdom

Christmas Day 2011. Leaving England for what ended up being an 18 month journey. It started off being a 5 month plan….


The 20 minute drive to the airport was fairly uneventful. The roads were deserted, I was expecting/hoping Heathrow to be similar.

Not quite – London to Nairobi clearly the most popular flight of the day with a queue half way down the terminal to drop off baggage! After an hour of queuing to leave my bag, walked through security with hardly another person in sight! In plenty of time for 2 hours in Heathrow-Shopping-Centre to peruse items I can no longer afford.

However, I did treat myself to one last luxury in the shape of some new mascara (!). My flight was at 7pm, so accordingly at 6pm we were given a gate number and told we were to be boarding at 6.20pm.

At 7pm, still waiting, an announcement to apologise for the delay – just waiting on a spare oxygen tank to arrive…random. ‘We’ll be about 10-15 minutes ladies and gentlemen’.

At 8pm. Still no announcement. At 8.30pm. Flight cancelled.

No more information.

No more apologies.

Bit later on, 350 people all herded like sheep out of the terminal, back through passport control, not allowed to collect any luggage and towards the Hilton hotel in terminal 4.

No news on a new flight departure time. After another few hours of queues (to get a room, have some dinner, find out about rearranged flights etc etc etc), apparently the plane will depart at 10.30am tomorrow.

Only 15 hours late and meaning a whole day lost. So, although I am spending the night in Hilton ‘luxury’, or rather non-descript room that could be anywhere in the world, it is probably the comfiest bed I will have for the next 5 weeks. So I am torn between feeling annoyed, miserable and comfy. Nevertheless, nothing that can be done about it.

The lack of wifi a definite downside.

Lesson of the day, always carry spare toothpaste, underwear, deodorant, facewipes and a phone charger. Unfortunately I only have the former two items, so not particularly well prepared for such a delay. Second lesson of the day, never travel Kenya Airways ever again. What a great start to my 6 months away and really not how I wanted to spend Christmas day. I suppose it can only get better.

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