Travel 2003 – Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, Macau

Friday 7th/Saturday 8th/Sunday 9th November 2003 – Getting to Macau (Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, Macau)

It started well enough until I left the office to head out for Schiphol Airport. I arrived slightly ahead of schedule to be told that my flight had been cancelled and that they were therefore putting me on an earlier flight. This was fine with me – except that I had a business class ticket and they only had economy class seats left! I accepted the arrangement because I didn’t dare get the later flight and risk that being late in to Heathrow where I was supposed to be meeting three other members of my party. I did manage to persuade bmi that I should be given some compensation and came away with a voucher for £50.00 towards another flight in the future, and duly got on a very overcrowded plane.

And you can guess what happened next, can’t you? I made it to Heathrow on that flight, but my luggage didn’t… my luggage might be on the next flight, the one I’d decided would get me in too late to make the connection comfortably. Anyway, I met up with Lynne, Andrea and Bob and we did the only thing possible, which was to get them and their luggage checked in and to check me in with the proviso that if it arrived in time I would bring my suitcase to the Virgin Atlantic check in and if it didn’t it would just have to follow – 24 hours later to a place where everyone is about three feet tall and a size 2. Not a lot of help to a great big round-eyed devil like me…

Anyway, we had a meal and eventually, with about 40 minutes to spare, the bmi luggage desk people called to say that they had my suitcase. So I legged it to T1 from T2 and grabbed the case, took it to the check in desk, and found that – despite the fact that there was nothing in it that hadn’t been in it in Amsterdam – it weighed 7 kilos more according to Virgin than it did according to bmi. So I had to take stuff out and carry it on to the plane. It still ended up on the plane, and the girl at the check in even offered me a bag to put it in, but if it had stayed in my suitcase it would have cost me the best part of 400 pounds. And it still went on the plane with me – so what difference did it make?

The Virgin Atlantic flight was pretty good – they had the new entertainment system on it, where you can choose from fifty or so films, and you decide when you want to see them, as well as being able to pause, rewind and fast forward them. Some sort of digital trickery I assume, but very welcome.

I finally got to see “Whale Rider”, for a start, and it was superb. After that I watched “Pirates of the Caribbean” again, then queued up “Fellowship of the Ring” and “Two Towers” on the grounds that I know both of them so well it wouldn’t matter if I fell asleep when the sleeping tablets kicked in.This was all a welcome change from the normal entertainment system, where you have a half dozen or so films that start at set times, and you have to hope there’s something you want to see.

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