web Musings of The Global Traveller

Monday, October 30, 2006

Locked in, again

A few readers may recall some months back I wrote of the time I was locked in an airline lounge. The other day I was again locked in at the airport, this time along with 90 other passengers.

We'd board the flight slightly late due to the airport putting 2 packed 737 flights scheduled for the same time, through the same tiny gate with only one screening station. We headed to the end of the runway for take-off. When we waited there for more than the usual 10 seconds I knew something was wrong. Sure enough the captain comes on the PA to announce due to low cloud surrounding this mountain airport we won't be taking off any time soon and return to the gate. Strangely, another airline's flight managed to take off straight away?

After sitting in the aircraft for a while we were asked to leave and go into the terminal. At the gate we were locked in the gate lounge for over 2 hours with nothing but a pay water & soft drinks machine, some chairs and a view through picture windows of the low cloud and rain outside.

Only after a couple of aircraft had successfully landed, were we allowed to reboard and take our flight.

While I can see that the airline wanted everyone in one place in case the weather suddenly cleared, given the cloud was set in it surely wouldn't have hurt to let the passengers out into the small terminal or alternatively make arrangements for food, hot drinks, etc to be brought into the gate?

This odd episode in my ongoing travels ended okay for me (although others weren't so lucky missing onward flights), but left a sour taste as could have been handled so much better and a nagging question of why we had to be delayed at all.

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