This and 75 similarly disguised terrorists attacked Manchester Airport yesterday causing planes to be grounded, diverted and finally closing down the airport completely. NeutronNews was our on the spot eye-witness:
“I saw the terrorists parachuting down at Manchester's Ringway Airport... they immediately took up strategic positions on the runways and brought traffic to a standstill. Make no mistake – these were professionals.”
I left Liverpool at 2 to catch my EasyJet flight from Manchester to Munich at 5. Boarding card already printed out – no rush, no stress. Drove gently along the M57, M62, M6, M56 through air which contained about 1 snowflake per cubic metre. Arrived at 3, dropped off the rented car and went to return the key.
“I hope you get off the ground before they close the airport!” said the rep at the Sixt counter. I thought she was joking.
I went through passport control, was NOT selected for body-scanning (maybe they thought so much body would overheat the scanner), so consequently suffered the boots off, belt off, trouser clutching hopping and hobbling and went through to the departure lounge.
At around 4.30 Manchester Airport was “snow-closed” due to the aforementioned band of snowflakes. Now, I think EasyJet is fine if you just book your ticket online, print your own boarding card, catch the plane and get off at your destination. The problem is when something goes wrong. Then they start to operate their zero-information-shoulder-shrug policy. It becomes Don'tAskMeasyJet.
There was an announcement that the airport had been snow-closed but on the monitor my flight was still “boarding in 45 minutes”, then “boarding in 30 min”, “15 min”, “5 min”. Suddenly at half four the monitor said, “next information at 17.00”. Ten minutes later it said, “next information at 18.00”. Then at 17.00 there was an announcement over the tannoy... “passengers for EasyJet flight xxx to Munich, please proceed to gate 50. This is the final call”!!
General panic naturally ensued and in minutes there was a crowd of people milling around gate 50.
“Passengers for EasyJet flight xxx to Munich please proceed to gate 55. This is the final call.”
Imagine if the Olympic 200 metres had 150 runners all of whom had to wear winter style clothes, hats and gloves and had to carry or pull rucksacks and cases and who had to run along a track full of obstacles like asymmetrically laid out seating, random passengers guarding suitcases and push-chairs. Bang! And off they go... clatter, clatter, elbow, elbow, stumble, stumble.
Bugger that! I strolled to gate 55 to find (as experience had shown me) everyone who had pushed past now waiting there instead of where they had been waiting before. Smugity smug.
It was nice to feel smug again as I had been feeling less than smug before due to the sweatshirt jacket I was wearing (and which is my favourite and which I wear all the time). It's dark blue and has the logo MÜNCHEN in big white letters over the chest. I like it, it looks good... but in this particular situation, waiting for a plane to that very same München, it did make me feel like some mentally challenged doughnut who needed to have his destination stamped on his clothes in case he forgot where he was bound – duuh.
Anyway, a rumour, started by the EasyJet staff using telepathy, got whispered around that the incoming flight had started its approach 5 minutes after the airport had been closed and had been diverted. We would be transferred to the airport where our plane had landed and then fly to Munich.
So, come on, name that airport! Yes, you got it in one.
Next, smoke signals from the EasyJet staff informed us that the coach which was to take us to the airport was delayed on the motorway due to the “snow”. Finally we were Ouija-boarded that the coach had arrived.
And at 8, six hours after I had left, I was back in Liverpool, yes indeed, our plane had been diverted to Liverpool Airport. Nice to be back.