Today was another work day for me. We had a relatively early client presentation (9am is early for London). We think it went quite well. More meetings in the office and then another client meeting in Canary Wharf. What I still find incredible is the public transport in London. I know people in London complain bitterly about it but coming from a country where we have none it is impressive. Just jump on the Docklands Light Railway (which always runs on time as there are no drivers to go on strike) and a few stops later you’re in Canary Wharf. It is the one shopping place Helen hasn’t discovered yet (fortunately). No one tell her please.
When I was finished my meeting Stephen sent a message to say he was checked in and going through security. All seemed to be well. He killed some time and then about an hour went to the gate and found that the plane was gone! Every time he sent a message like that my first thought was ‘he’s kidding’. But it turns out he wasn’t. They only managed to fix the plane at about 6pm and they took it for a quick spin to see the engine was ok. That isn’t a job I would like – pilot a plane just after they replace/fix an engine. And from then on we got minute by minute updates from Stephen via Whatsapp (another wonder of modern technology). He sent so many (and there were quite a few replies from the rest of the family) that he managed to run his cellphone’s battery down to 20%. Helen said it was just like being there.
Stephen gave us minute by minute updates on the comments of the people around him, who went to the toilet when, what they were saying about the flight etc. Before the plane came back the news spread that the pilot was happy with the plane and shortly afterwards it landed and pulled back into the gate. Stephen counted and there were 4 engines attached still. They said it would take an hour and half to fuel the plane, load the luggage, food etc. The crew did get on almost straight away and they eventually started boarding at 8pm (the flight was meant to have left at 7:30pm). Stephen said the flight was pretty empty. He had landed with his ‘bum in the butter’ because I had used airmiles originally for the ticket and he was meant to fly economy class. My (wonderful) PA managed to get him upgraded to Economy Plus but BA upgraded him at no cost to us to Business Class. So after starting out expecting to fly economy the whole to LA and back he is now flying Business Class to London. And he is already checked into First Class from London to LA (again courtesy of my PA getting him upgraded). So he isn’t really slumming it and I am sure it will help him overcoming the disappointment of leaving a day late.
And the good news is that he is actually flying right now. The flight took off at 8:53pm (another wonder of modern technology is that you can track the flight the whole way). If you ever want to track a flight’s progress this is (in my view) the best website to do it with:
At the moment it says expected arrival time is 7:05am which leaves plenty of time for Stephen to still make his connecting flight to LA tomorrow. It also says there is 8:14 still remaining of the flight and he is currently over Northern Angola.
So many Whatsapp messages were coming through I almost forgot to make dinner for myself. A glass of wine was also useful to calm the nerves down. It is worse not being the one traveling and just having to hear what was happening and not being able to do anything. Hopefully tomorrow’s flights (both Stephen and mine – we are on different flights) will all go smoothly!
(Sorry – no photos today – too busy Whatsapping and weather wasn’t great here either again.)