I have been in UK for 10 days now. My mum’s operation went well and she is recovering nicely. I will write more about this later.
My flight over to UK was extremely eventful.
I travelled with Cathy Pacific which flew me first into Hong Kong where I had a pleasant but boring wait in the lounge.
We left HK on time and were scheduled to arrive at Heathrow early. I settled down for a nice sleep and managed to achieve about 3 hrs. I had just woken up and got a coffee and sandwich when the pilot announced that we were going to land at Moscow airport because we had a problem which wasn’t life threatening but could become so if we didn’t get it sorted.
As we were coming into land the pilot spoke to us again, “by the way I radioed in a “Mayday” which is normal in the circumstances so please don’t be alarmed by the fire engines with flashing lights as we land”!
We got down safely and spent the next 6 hrs sitting on the tarmac in the aircraft! The temperature outside was -9C and it was snowing (the first snow I had seen in 3 years). We were not allowed to get off the aircraft because it was Moscow and none of us had visas allowing us into Russia. We had 3 police? people (men and women) standing at the bottom of the steps the whole time we were parked and yes their was a wind chill making it feel like at least -15C.
The problem, I think, was with the navigation computers. They showed indications of overheating and the pilot, after seeking advice, decided he didn’t want to chance having to fly a big aircraft without computer help.
I was OK during this whole problem as I was in business class thus had lots of room as well as being able to watch movies of my own choosing, but I felt sorry for the poor sods in cattle class. Of course, after 6 hrs. on the pan, waiting for engineers to service and then sign off the problem, refuel and deice, our crew had run out of time which meant we had to fly to Helsinki where we would change crews; or so the story went!
On arrival at Helsinki airport, we were asked to stay on board because the airport couldn’t handle a sudden influx of 500 passengers thus began another 11/2 hrs wait. Again I felt sorry for the tourists in the back.
Finally the, first and business class, passengers left the aircraft and were ferried by bus to the terminal where we were herded through security and piled on to a Fin Air flight. The big problem with this was that our original flight had begun in Hong Kong with a lot of passengers from Australia. The rules in Asia for boarding aircraft are not as strict as they are in Europe and a lot of passengers had bought bottles of booze and perfume etc. When we went through security in Helsinki all this was confiscated because “You are in the EU now and those are the rules” stated by youthful security guards when I complained at the absurdity of it.
Shades of Hitler Youth?
Perhaps we were going to bomb the Fin aircraft? This made a lot of sense after all we had just spent almost 20 hrs on the Cathy Pacific plane!
It seems to me that Europe has run out of common sense, and Finland is definitely not high on my list of places to visit!!
We arrived safely at Heathrow almost 12 hrs late, safe at least.
All through this adventure I had nothing but praise for the Cathy crew and personnel who helped us at Heathrow, however everyone else left a lot to be desired.