Terminal the sequel

The displays looked similar to this one...

© johnmcga, licensed: CC-BY-NC-2.0

I feel like Tom Hanks in "Terminal" now, having come back from the worst trip, I ever did. At 50h journey from St.Louis to Zurich, with a 30h stopover in London Heathrow. And I am lucky, I just got away, as the airport seems to have been closed for the next 2-3 days after I left.

All began on my way back when BAA took 30 minutes to position some stairs at our aircraft, so we could disembark. This meant, my connection flight to Zurich (which still left on time) was gone. And around this time snow hell started in Europe. I was rebooked on a flight to Frankfurt instead (which suited me well, as I had planned to visit my family in Germany anyway). That flight was first displayed as "on time", then as "2h delayed", then as "on time" again. Half an hour before boarding started, its status went to "cancelled". So were basically all other flights to Sweden, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany. So, I rebooked on the next flight to Frankfurt a few hours later. This one was cancelled too. So, I was rebooked on the next flight, leaving the next morning, which meant I would be spending the night at the airport.

I slept in a place like this.


I tried to book a hotel (250£), no luck all booked out. They called various other hotels, no luck either. So I slept on the marble floor in the airport (the rows of chairs all have screwed on handholds, so you can’t lie on a few chairs). At 2.30am some airport employees offered me a yoga mat and an aluminium foil blanket which I gladly took (the floor was really cold).

The next morning I tried to board another plane to Frankfurt. We sat grounded in the plane for 3 hours until they announced that the flight was cancelled. So I was rebooked to a flight to Paris, which was soon after cancelled. So I was rebooked on a flight to Milano (with the possibility to continue to Frankfurt or Zurich from there).

Our plane left half an hour late and while driving to the runway it started snowing. After 5 minutes of snow, at the starting position on the runway hour start was aborted (NOOO, that was close!!!). Back to the gate and Waiting for deicing: Another 4h in a plane on the ground. Fortunately, we then started to Milano, arriving with a 4.5h delay. One out of 2 Milano airports were already closed when landing. HURRAY, away from LHR!!!

Of course all connecting flights in Milano cancelled. I gave up on flying, managed barely to get the very last train to Zurich. Why do neither ticket vendors nor conductors in international trains speak at least a tiny bit of English in Italy? Thanks Giulia for helping me get a ticket (twice as expensive as Swiss rail suggested. By now I didn’t care about money anymore).

I made it home at 1am, after exactly 50h of traveling, and 30h in Lon. Heathrow. I have 11 boarding cards, organized 5 rebookings to Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, OR Milano and passed the security check 6 times in Heathrow alone.

While I can’t blame anyone for bad wheather, I missed my first flight (which was on time) because BAA did not manage to get some stairs to our plane in LHR for 30 minutes after us being in final position! Also had 200€ of lost expenses for hotels and trains I never took. What a horror.