Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Home Sweet Home

Sorry for the delay! I arrived in the UK just after 6am on Monday morning after the journey back from HELL. It involved some panicked crying, endless phonecalls and time spent on hold to BA and a whole load of stress. Basically, I was getting home by a Jet Airways flight to Mumbai and then a British Airways flight to Heathrow. I had booked the whole thing through BA as Jet is an affiliated airline. I arrived at the airport in Colombo about an hour before check-in opened and made friends with a Consultant Radiologist who was Sri Lankan but works in the States. He was getting the same first two flights as me before heading onwards to get home and, though I didn't know it at the time, was a Godsend. When check-in opened we went straight away...and the problems started for me! I ended up spending over 2 tearful, stressful hours at that check in counter. To cut it short, Jet said that I had a ticket for the flight but not a booking...I have yet to work out what that actually means! I spent forever on the phone to BA in London who were baffled. Finally Jet said it was sorted, printed me my two boarding cards and sent my luggage off. I hung up and 2 seconds later was told that the boarding cards had just become invalid and they'd lost me off their system again. I ended up speaking to BA in the States via my radiologist friend Kumar and eventually after 2 hours, it was sorted. I had 2 boarding passes, was assured my bag would be put through and went through to security. It had taken so long that the check in man had threatened he was only going to be able to hold the flight another 5 minutes (at this point Kumar declared he was going to just buy me a new ticket-luckily it was sorted in the next minute but it was so kind of him to offer and to stay with me the whole time.) We went straight through security, to the gate and onto the plane. The 2 hour flight was, on my part, spent watching The Big Bang Theory to relax myself.

In Mumbai we were met off the plane by a Jet representative as we were transits. We were quickly told by the Jet personnel that the boarding pass that Jet Airways had given us would not be accepted by BA so we needed new ones. I was suddenly wondering why we had spent two unnecessary hours at check in in Colombo (whilst there they had said that as I had an Indian Visa they would fly me to Mumbai even though I had no booking but couldn't connect me-I had spent so long on the phone sorting it so they could connect me...) We had to wait for over 45 minutes in a big hall with no water, food, toilets or information but with 100000000000 mosquitoes whilst our passports, boarding passes and luggage receipts were taken away...not a good feeling for control freaks! Eventually though the lady came back with all our documents and our new boarding passes. We went through our own little security (still slower than a normal UK one but a million times faster than the normal one in Mumbai) and then Kumar very kindly took me to the BA Executive Club Lounge. I was so grateful and could finally relax (and use the wifi to let my worried parents know that I would in fact be getting home!) When we got to the BA gate we ended up having an extra security check. I was full body-searched and had two cans of diet coke that I'd gotten from the BA Lounge taken off me.They were even taking away liquids people had bought in duty-free. Not sure what that was about but I was so over it all by then.

Finally on board, the flight was comfortable (if very cold!) and I did end up managing to get some decent sleep. I flew through immigration and beat my luggage to the reclaim belt by about 20 minutes! As I pushed my trolley into the arrivals hall I saw my parents both waiting for me, cameras ready and despite my hellish journey, the biggest smile spread across my face. It was so good to be home!

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