My flight got canceled!

Posted by on Oct 29, 2015 in Blog | Leave a comment

I guess you could say that I’m a frequent flyer. But last Tuesday, something happened that had never happened to me; my flight got canceled! Not much we could do about it, but definitely an interesting experience!

I got to the airport a bit early, but I had already taken that into account. My camera and 70-200 lens were with me and I was ready to lurk a bit around the airport perimeter. The scheduled departure time was 14:45, but it was already delayed to 15:30 due to a delay from earlier that morning.

I went outside and spent about an hour in the parking lot next to the tower to watch the movements and take photos. 2 hours before the scheduled departure time I went to the check-in, which turned out to be a bit delayed as well. In the end, I secured 11F.

Once I got through security I hung around in the departure area, using the free Wi-Fi. Eventually, the aircraft finally arrived and boarding started soon after. We were already lined up outside, when we were told to go inside again; the aircraft had a problem and boarding was delayed.

Initially, the monitor said we were delayed 16:00. A bit after 16:00, it became apparent that the departure was pushed even further, to 17:00. In the meantime, we could see mechanics working on the aircraft. They started the engines a couple times and one of the engineers spent a good time on engine #2.

Some people were looking out a lot as well, some just sat down and used their phone, read a book or kept themselves busy another way. I took a walk through the terminal to try and find some good angles for photos. A group of friends started to play a bit of rugby in the terminal, which was pretty amusing to see. Eventually, they were asked to stop by security (video below!).

Meanwhile, I was also in contact with my colleague back home, who was waiting for our arrival. We kept each other up to date and at some point he said the flight was canceled. Since I just saw a pushback truck pull up to the aircraft, I figured he was trying to mess with me. Unfortunately, he wasn’t.

Ground personnel came up to the gate to advise us of the cancellation and what to do now. We were left with 3 options:
– Cancel our ticket, get a full refund and arrange further transportation by ourselves
– Get rebooked onto the flight for the next day
– Get rebooked onto the Munster flight the next day (it operates earlier than the flight to Groningen) and use ground transport to Groningen.

My choice was pretty easy: option 2.

All passengers were directed towards the security area as we made our way to the ticket desk, where they would help us out. For the people who got rebooked, flyBe arranged hotel accommodation, transport to/from the hotels, dinner and breakfast. Finding enough hotel rooms was a challenge though, as people there had holidays as well and many hotels were booked already.

After a few hours, we set off for the hotel. I had the pleasure of going to a Premier Inn, together with the rugby guys and another solo traveler. Check-in was a breeze and after dropping our stuff in the rooms, we went to have dinner in the pub next door. We enjoyed some good food, beer and in general it was just a fun evening.

The next day, the taxi arrived at 12:15 for our ride to the airport. The flight had a slight delay, but nothing compared to the day before. Everything went smooth and it took just over an hour to get home. A good ending to a nice ‘adventure’.

My thoughts;
* Sure, I was a bit annoyed about the cancellation, but in the end there is nothing you can do about it. At the same time, I found the whole process very interesting. Working in aviation, I have a bit more ‘inside’ knowledge than most passengers. Especially being in contact with my colleague back at Groningen, I was pretty informed about our status. The information we received at the airport was a bit late (next info at 17:00 was at 17:10 for example), but from experience I know how it goes behind the scenes and wasn’t too bothered by this.

* The guys playing rugby – just the fact they started doing that was awesome. It really defines “making the most of it” and it’s a great improvisation when you’re just waiting for time to pass by. And besides, who else can claim they played rugby at the airport?!

* We were in the queue at the ticket desk for quite a while. This was mainly due to computer troubles, so not the fault of the airport personnel. Once they got the hang of it, the queue was quickly dealt with. I was at the front of the line, so I knew what the problem is. The people behind me didn’t, so I can understand they were a bit fed up with the waiting time.

* During the entire wait, we were not supplied with food/drinks. While waiting for the airport and airline staff to arrange the hotels, one woman asked for some water. Subsequently, the staff went to get water for everyone. I feel the woman was right to ask, but she could’ve said it differently. I’ll blame the fact that some people were quite annoyed, but still no reason to take it out others.

* The airport staff remained very friendly and helpful throughout the whole process, so definitely can’t fault them in that area.

* We were well taken care of by the airline. They provided hotels, transportation and food. As one should expect, but I’d still like to go on record that they did a good job in taking care of the passengers.

* It’s fun to see how people can bond in such events. During dinner, we had some good laughs, talked about many things, all while enjoying some cool beers. I thought it was a pretty fun evening and it could have been much worse. Even the next day, the people were much more open than you would usually see, which made for a lighter atmosphere while waiting for the flight.

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