The holiday season is just about to enter full swing, and inevitably the usual topic of conversation after we return, apart from how great the break was, usually turns to the problems we faced.
High on the list of problems will be that word DELAYS.
Any movement of people, from point A to point B, is an exercise in logistics and coordination. The more factors added into that equation, increase the risk of a delay happening.
It is a miracle of human ingenuity that any of us get anywhere on time at all!
It is thanks to the British that the contractual idea of delay even exists. In an effort to coordinate railway times in the 19th century Greenwich Mean Time was adopted, (GMT).
At the International Meridian Conference in 1884, GMT was internationally commended for land based matters, albeit that shipboard time was still run on solar time.
Time thus became the controlling element of travel worldwide.
So, as we approach holiday time just remember time and your part in that equation, and how you can avoid contributing to delay.
Get to the airport on time, check the local radio, and the web for any route delays, either by train or road. Book any taxis well in advance, alerting the taxi company to the reason for the booking and the destination. If you are taking your own car, first check it over for any problems the week before, and thoroughly find out, if using “airport parking”, the location of that parking, the procedures, and regularity of transfers to the terminal.
Check all your documentation is in order, and check that passports have a validity of at least 6 months, as some carriers and countries can have varying time limits as to remaining validity on passports.
In many countries extra security has been put in place since the Zaventem atrocities in Belgium, with pre security checks outside terminals. Allow extra time!
In the UK there are no immediate plans to increase security save and except by a heightened presence of armed response police in and around the terminals.
Ok. So you have got to the airport on time, you have packed your bags yourself, without any banned items, and within the weight limit of your chosen airline…any breach of those will cause unnecessary and stressful delay.
You arrive airside in the terminal and, look at the departures information, and your flight isn’t yet showing. And here there can be a real worry, and one I can give personal experience of!
Flight departure information can change rapidly, and can even be inaccurate. Once at Sao Paulo airport my inbound BA flight to London had been delayed by at least 5 hours. I went and secreted myself in a comfortable airport bar, and looked up, regularly at the departure screen. 4 hours passed without any indication the BA flight had arrived, or was going to depart. I went to stretch my legs and happened to walk past the BA check in desk to politely enquire if there was any news yet. The plane had landed 90 minutes earlier, all passengers had checked in, and I was being searched for by the cabin crew of the 747.
It was, then, in 2008, a peculiarity of Sao Paulo airport for them to provide a “normal” airport service to TAM,TAP, Iberia, and Alitalia, but to treat BA with some disdain. BA staff confirmed that no notices had been posted on departures.
The disdain continued when airport security refused to give me and priority whatsoever in the lengthy queue of passengers filing there way through for other flights.
I was last on board the 747, despite having been at the airport for hours, and I personally delayed the plane by 25 minutes! I was not popular, particularly as my error impacted on the airlines schedule, and contractual obligations to its passengers to fly on time!
That plane set off some 2hrs later than scheduled but on an 8,500 mile flight, managed to arrive in London only 20 or so minutes late….a fair wind, and the pressures on airline schedules can make all the difference!
And as you can see, delays can come in a thousand forms, and airlines dealing with 200 plus passengers per flight, air traffic strikes in France, increased security worldwide, passengers taken ill, or passengers taken by alcohol, mechanical problems, weather, baggage issues, staff illness, staff shortages, fuelling or deciding delays,….delays are inevitable!
We are here to listen to all your stories and to help you out…some of those delays are going to be ones where you and your family can get compensation, some won’t be….but give us a call or drop us a line and we will help!
In the end we wish you all trouble free holidays and delay free journeys, but thanks to GMT, you never know when or how the next delay will occur!