May 172010
 

Yesterday I had a really bad trip to London. I was arriving at abot 4.30 pm at the airport, just to read on the departure board that my flight was cancelled. When I got to speak to one of the Aer Lingus person I finally received the text giving me the slightly late cancellation notification. There was a queue of hundreds of people where I got sent to to wait to get further assistance. I went to another Aer Lingus service desk asking for additional service for frequent flyers. Nada. Nichts. Nope. I got the friendly advice that the internet is a faster way to get an alternative flight. Unfortunately my schedule didn’t allow just to wait until the airport reopens, especially as I wasn’t sure if I would get at the first flight out.

So I had a look to alternative options and learned a lot. Basically: there is no human friendly alternative. There is a late ferry to Holyhead  departing at 9pm. 4 h after landing in Holyhead there would have been a “connecting” direct train to London; as I didn’t want to spend 3 h in Holyhead at the mid of the night this wasn’t an option to go. There also hasn’t been a connected coach.

Lucky me, I found out that Dublin bus offered a 12 h 45 min direct trip between Dublin central bus station and London, Victoria station via ferry. Frankly the organization of the departure was chaotic – I bought 3 h prior to the trip my ticket but weren’t allowed to check in immediately, I was required to come back an hour later. I was wrong again when I expected that being checked in allows me to board. I needed to wait another hour in the bus station. Eventually the bus started – filled to the very last seat. Next to me sat a nice gentleman thanks to him time just flew by. Nevertheless, the bus wasn’t comfortable at all – not even arm rests between the seats – just to give you an impression: it was less comfort than in a Ryanair plane.

Before leaving the ferry the bus driver did something good: as there were 8 buses for the same way they just sorted people according to their destination, so I was on the bus which didn’t stop in Birmingham or Luton but got straight to London. Departing from the ferry at 1am I couldn’t easily fall asleep, as it was noisy, too warm and no space. At 4am the driver was required to do a 45 min break. Instead of silently leaving the bus he announced via speakers and then left the door open. I just used the opportunity to move and walk a bit. Back in the bus I couldn’t fall asleep anymore, sun was raising, random people were doing noises and the bus driver decided to listen to the radio for a bit. Eventually I arrived in London, got a taxi and got into the hotel for a 20 minutes power nap, a hot shower and a breakfast.

I am tired and not willing to move right now, and there are still 2 h to go for work. The hotel room was disappointing as there was no space whatsoever to put my clothes or my bag. I think I got lucky in the given circumstances by getting the bus, getting here in time and having nice company – nevertheless I just hope that something like this I have NEVER to do again!

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