The alarm went off at 0515 and we were up like larks! 2 cups of coffee later, we bid the house a fond farewell till the spring and were on our way by 6.
Arrived at Ercan at 7 and parked the hire car, dealt with security and check in , through security and passport control and into the gate and then it all went wrong……… terribly wrong…..
Our flight to Istanbul was at 9am and that came…… and went……. and there was still an empty apron outside, devoid of a Turkish Airways aircraft. When the clock rolled round to 930, we looked at the boards and went in search airside of a TA staffer. No one. Nothing. We looked at the Turkish Airlines website and it gave us the horrifying news that our flight was delayed till 1130 and would arrive in Istanbul at 230…. pretty tight for our 315 connection. There was no announcement. Another flight came and lined up at our gate so I button holed the TA staff. They knew nothing…..
Then we saw the flight was delayed again to 1540…… this put us beyond our connection. And there was no later flight into the UK that night. Again another flight lined up and I buttonholed the girls. They knew nothing but would find out. I stood at the end of the check in line so they couldn’t run off but this failed when they lied to me and said they were going back to the office to check with Istanbul and would make an immediate announcement.
When the flight moved to 4pm with still no announcement or board change here, and the departure lounge getting pretty crowded we decided to pay to go into the Lounge. 70 euro for the two of us but as it happens money well spent. I have charging points for the laptop and phones so we can get things organised.
About 1230 a man came up (not a TA employee, I think he worked for the lounge) and had our names (and others) and some news. Our flight to Istanbul was delayed (!!!!!) and they could offer us 1. overnight in a hotel in the airport and a flight tomorrow or 2. a flight by any airline today. A quick check revealed there wasnt a flight by any other airline into London tonight so airport hotel and flight tomorrow it was to be.
This is complicated in today’s environment. We had pre departure tests timed for flying today. Not tomorrow. We have locator forms for today not tomorrow and we had arrivals tests booked for today. We had a tescos delivery booked for tomorrow, post office delivery coming tomorrow and various other things.
It is now 1331 and thus far there has been no announcement over the tannoy of what the problem is, what is happening etc etc. No meal vouchers have been given out. We aren’t the worst off. One poor elderly couple were flying to Toronto which has tight and complex entry rules. They will not only miss their connection today but tomorrow’s flight is full and so they will have 2 nights in the airport hotel and fly on Friday necessitating new PCR tests, and many forms etc. It’s like that joke: first prize one night in the airport hotel, 2nd prize: 2 nights!!
Really TA staff here are just awful. Probably not empowered to do much except refer to Istanbul but a bit of honesty and just some information would be so much better. Running off and hiding is just appalling. Thank heavens for the Lounge Guy.
Eventually the flight arrived and we took off at 430 a whole 7.5 hours late. There had been no announcement, no reason given, no apology…… No one has any idea why we were so late leaving. We got to Istanbul at 730 local time and then it was pretty stressful getting through the transit desk (long queues) and then passport control, customs and out to the TA hotel desk where there was another….. long queue. And then another queue to get on a shuttle bus. By now it was 845…. the shuttle bus took 45 minutes to deliver our group of weary travellers from all over the world to a 3 star airport hotel. A pre-ordered dinner awaited us (not as bad as it could have been) and we are here till 11am tomorrow when the shuttle will return.
We have had to cancel our arrival tests for today – they will be refunded eventually – and book two news ones for Friday morning (nothing left at Gatwick for tomorrow) at Bluewater, Dartford. We’ve done new locator forms too. Yikes…. travel can be complex these days……
Glad to have a bed for the night anyway…… more tomorrow……