This is the email I sent to Wittertainment, (Edited to say, they’ve now moved from the BBC to their own podcast called Kermode and Mayo’s Take) but it didn’t get read out. It’s an overview of the flight from Melbourne to London that started on 24 March 2017. I’m not going to re-type it, so sorry, (not sorry), for the in-jokes and Witter vernacular…
Dear Captain Kramer and Captain Oveur,
I get to watch your bad selves on the live stream this week, for the first time evs. because as much as I love you and Jason, I ain’t getting up at that time of night in Australia. I’ve been listening to you since Radio 1, and Viggo Mortensen answered a question of mine in an interview.
Thank you for keeping me sane over the past few days. I’d stockpiled some podcasts and redownloaded, (is that is a word??) some old favourites for my trip back to the UK from Melbourne. When it all got too much, your witterings, bickerings, dulcet tones and the rants kept me grounded (hysterical laughter).
On Friday night, my husband, son and I had dinner at Melbourne’s Airplane Station. The boys went home and I checked in to fly to the UK for my brother’s 40th. After a busy week, which included Adele’s concert on the Sunday night, I was shattered and fell asleep straight after take-off. I woke up after ten hours (unheard of) and watched La La Land; the enjoyment of which was somewhat disrupted by rather a lot of cabin announcements.
What happened on the journey is either a farce, or a Monty Python sketch, I’m still working it out what comedy genre it fits into. However, in terms of flight bingo, does this clear the board?
- Late departure by half an hour.
- Approaching Dubai, our Captain excitedly explains “It’s very unusual not to be put in a hold pattern at Dubai, but we’re number three in the queue!”
- “We’re being put in a hold pattern”
- “The weather at Dubai is terrible, we’ll circle for a while”
- Two hours later, “We can’t keep circling, we’re running out of fuel, we’re checking our options”
- Diverted to Muscat in Oman.
- We circle around Muscat for another hour.
- We get a bird strike on our way to land in Muscat. They’re also still building the new airplane station. The A380 that we’re on is much bigger than the planes they normally see. The pilot edges us around buildings carefully, construction workers are taking pictures on their phones and watching in awe.
- On the tarmac in Muscat for three hours, “While we’ve been refuelled; we can’t take off until we know we can land in Dubai, and the weather is too bad.”
- “Now the weather is heading towards Muscat.”
- “The crew have run out of hours.”
- “There’s a replacement crew coming in on a private jet.”
- “We’ve got to cancel the flight. We’re going to deplane you, put you in hotels overnight, to come back here in the morning.” We all pile off the plane, onto buses to the old terminal. As we’re heading down the stairs, the Captain explains that 30-odd flights had been diverted to Muscat’s airplane station.
- We get into the terminal, are directed upstairs to the arrivals lounge, then get asked to go back downstairs. We need to complete visa paperwork, to leave the airport, to go to the hotels. One man begins to hands out carbon paper copies to 400+ passengers, we run out of forms.
- We wait for more forms.
- We wait for a bit more, as we don’t know where we’re staying so we can’t complete the forms.
- We have forms.
- We wait for our stamps at immigration.
- We wait for a bit more. The staff were great, just completely overwhelmed with the amount of people.
- We have stamps.
- We wait for buses.
- Nearly eight hours after landing at Muscat, I’m put on the last bus.
- Arrive at the hotel to be met by an amazing Manager, who assesses the bedraggled state we’re in “Some of you check in now, some check in later. Lunch is all ready and waiting” (it is nearly 5pm). I’ve not eaten since the last meal serving on the flight, which was about 6am – I’m coeliac – all the snacks on board have gluten in, I could have eaten my arm off.
- The next morning we get told we’re being collected at 2pm from our hotels to fly out at 5:30pm.
- A whistle-stop tour of Muscat is arranged through the front desk, including a visit to the Grand Mosque, which was stunning. While we’re out and about, my flight to the UK is confirmed for 9am the following day – I’m being put up in a hotel again in Dubai overnight.
- 2pm we’re collected in a bus, head back to the airport. All our boarding passes have been printed A-Z by surname, we rattle through collecting them and head to the gate.
- 4:30pm we start getting on the plane, again being bused out as we’re miles away from the terminal. The Captain has his window open and is hanging out waving and posing for selfies. People are standing on the tarmac taking pictures.
- 6ish we take off and head back to Dubai.
- We land and are advised to head to the transit desk to sort out our flight details. There’s 400+ passengers, all waiting for boarding passes, individually printed off with connecting information on. More by luck than judgement, I’m in the right place at the right time and hear London Heathrow being called; my hotel booking is written on my boarding pass.
- Head up to the hotel in the airport, we’ve all been booked on the same reference number, that the hotel staff have no record of.
- We wait for a bit more.
- An hour later, I have a room! My meal voucher is also given to me, it’s now 9pm, I’ve not eaten since lunch. But I have to get a train to another terminal to eat. I’m now in sense of humour failure.
- I head back to the hotel room, have a shower and fall into bed.
- Up with my alarm, I collect another meal voucher for breakfast, this time I can walk there.
- I find the gate for the flight, we’re boarding – yay timing!
- I go downstairs to wait a bit more in another lounge. I might have another sense of humour failure.
- On the plane, I put on Singin’ In The Rain [Oi kaan’t stand it], raise a glass to the venerable Debbie Reynolds and suffer uncontrollable AALS and guffaw through my tears.
- “Is there a doctor on board?” We have a medical emergency on the flight.
- We get closer to Heathrow, we are told we’re landing without going into the usual holding pattern. We come screaming into Heathrow, to be met by ambulance, a mere seventy-two hours after we left Melbourne.
- When we get to the baggage hall – you know where this is going already – they’ve lost our bags too.
- And I’m Not Even Joking.
Tinkerty tonk old fruits. x