Monday morning arrived, I repacked my perishables, said my farewells and boarded the bus for the airport. This bus was not as crowded as the one I usually take at 05.55, I had the seat all to myself The earlier bus is full of daily commuters. Imagine having to get up that early to go to work. It again made me appreciate how lucky I was. When I was working. I only had to roll out of bed and I could be in work in 10 minutes, if even that. How doubly lucky I am now, not to have to work at all. What time I rise is totally dependent on what I want to do, not what I have to do.
There is wifi on the bus. I found myself continually checking the status of my flight. It was still live. The cancelled flight yesterday had actually flown but had I taken the risk I would now be stuck in Istanbul as the Bodrum leg of my journey was now cancelled. Lucky, lucky me.
Checking my flight status was not enough I began to check the departures board in Istanbul to see if the incoming flight to Dublin had taken off. It was not good news, it hadn't departed yet but it was still not cancelled.
I arrived at the airport, quickly piled my bags on to a trolley. I had weighed them at home and i was a couple of kilos overweight, If they complained at check in I was all set to moan abut cancelled flights, a cancelled hotel reservation in Istanbul....... Winter clothes take up so much more space, especially my walking boots, not to mention the bacon, cheese and a lot of coffee pods. I can't get decaffeinated coffee for my machine in Turkey and after the previous week's caffeine overdose, decaff is a necessity not a choice.
I was still following the incoming flight which was now showing a three hour delay, it still hadn't left Istanbul. It was not looking good. When I got to check in, I was early but there was a still quite a few, who had also come early. Everyone was discussing the cancellations. One guy was making his fourth attempt to get to Istanbul. Like me he was following the departure board in Istanbul.
He had been rescheduled for the third time to fly on Sunday morning but like me had got a message to say the flight was cancelled. He and his wife had been having breakfast in the Carlton hotel, where Turkish Airlines put up their delayed passengers, when he saw the pilot. He spoke to him remarking that they were cancelled once again to which the pilot replied" No, I am flying" The man mentioned his message but the pilot told him to follow him, he was definitely flying. However, by the time the guy collected his bags, checked out of his room and got to the airport, the flight, though still sitting on the runway, was closed for boarding and reportedly took off with about 50 people on board. I assume this was because they had a short window to land in Istanbul.
So, back to Monday's check in. We were waiting with bated breath, but everything seemed to be normal. The staff began roping off their area to create an orderly queue and took their positions at the check in desks.
Ping! My phone. The dreaded email.Your flight has been cancelled! I broke the news to my new friends. A member of the check in staff was walking by. I told her I had just got a message to say the flight was cancelled. She replied quite sharply that they hadn't received that information yet. We remained in the queue. 2 minutes later the staff left their seats. It was official. The guy I had been talking to and I headed straight for the lifts...we knew the drill. Get to the office as quickly as possible and rebook.
There, once again I realised how lucky I was. One couple were trying to get to Oman, where a team were waiting for them for work, But her husbands passport, I didn't catch his nationality didn't allow him to transit through certain countries, Another guy had a final exam in Ankara the next day. You might say it was his own fault for leaving it til the last minute but he too had been due to travel on Sunday. Buster was the only one waiting,for me and Mr. Man was taking good care of him.
The Turkish Airlines staff, Caroline in particular were amazing as they worked to reroute as many as possible. How she knew so many different connection options was impressive. One couple who were on their way to South Africa for three months were rerouted that evening through Addis Ababa.
Me? I was re-booked for the Wednesday afternoon flight, put up in the Carlton Hotel for two nights with vouchers for breakfast, lunch and dinners. Life was telling me to slow down, giving me a chance to rest up between the mad rush of the last week and the resuming of my normal routine back in Bodrum...a mini break, The only pity was there was no spa in the hotel :-) I am joking of course.