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March 9th, 2005

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02:14 am - Meg's flight cancelled
So, for completeness, Mum's cremation will be at the Mountsett Crematorium in Dipton, County Durham at 10:15 on Thursday morning. No flowers, by request; donations in lieu to stroke or arthritis charities. Meg is on the Virgin VS012 from Boston to London Heathrow, which was due to set off at 7:25pm EST, arriving in London at 6:55am tomorrow, from which point she will take the tube to King's Cross and a GNER train from London to Darlington and a local train from Darlington to Middlesbrough.

We have been watching the Boston weather with great interest, and yesterday we saw warning of a severe snowstorm. It snowed outside Meg's window while she was at work, it sleeted while Meg was in the car on the way to the airport and lots of aeroplanes boarded and departed early.

Not Virgin.

Meg has boarded the aeroplane, been waiting for three hours and just called me from her cellphone to let me know that the flight has been cancelled because the entire airport has closed. Meg certainly knows enough not to use a cellphone when the 'plane is in danger of doing any of the things that a normal plane does, like taking off and flying, but I think sitting in a plane-shaped box that isn't going anywhere is a different matter.

At this point I would like to say


I don't think there's anything that anyone can do at this point; it's a weather delay, after all, and lots of people are in the same boat situation, and it's in Virgin's interest to sort everyone out as quickly as possible, and there's not much to be gained from trying to transfer to another aeroplane from the same airport. An imaginitive solution would be to take all the passengers in a coach to somewhere the storm wasn't and from where a transatlantic jet might fly, but I'm not holding out much hope of that. I am not sure that even if any of you were to take "is there anything I can do to help?" exceptionally literally and run Meg 500 miles down the coast overnight to a non-weatherbound airport - which I'm absolutely not suggesting, over-eager potential volunteers - that it would actually help her.

Current mood: non-specifically pissed off, but somehow too glazed-over and too accepting of fate to actually be angry...

Edited 0009 Thursday: After about 24 hours of frantic transport negotiations, Meg's now in the country, staying with an off-LJ friend and is fully ready to make the trip up. Getting a taxi from a train station at 9:19 is apparently impossible because all taxis in the country are now booked up on long-term contracts running kids to school. Hmm! I knew traffic is bad at that time of day due to the school runs, but I didn't know that was one of the side-effects. Still, we've cracked 95% of things. Hurrah.
Current Mood: not good

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:March 8th, 2005 06:56 pm (UTC)
Would that I could. You and Meg get all my de-icing thoughts.
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Date:March 8th, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
Chris, I'm so sorry. I've just logged into my LJ for the first time in days and yours was the first post I saw. I wish there was something I could do for you, but I know there really isn't, so instead I will just think positive thoughts for you and hopeful thoughts that Meg will be with you soon. *offers lots of hugs*
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Date:March 8th, 2005 08:16 pm (UTC)
If I could get to Boston and back in time to get her on a flight at Dulles, Regan, or BWI (or, for that matter, JFK, LaGuardia, or any of the myriad of other international airports enroute), I would. Alas, it's an 8-hour drive each way (in good weather), and we need the van tomorrow :(
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Date:March 8th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you for even thinking of it, but I wouldn't ask that of anyone - not just because it's about a $2,000 worth of favour, but also because it wouldn't work; Meg's luggage is still on the plane and there's no way to get it off. Meg is screwed badly by this and is making her way home in 16°F snow, windchill -3&def;F. Taxis are not going to happen (think of the queue...) and all her warm top layers are packed on a plane that ain't goin' nowhere.

So, la. Or, more to the point, bother.

I would say words to the effect of motherfucking cunt-faced bastard bollocks at the coincidence of weather and occasion at this point but it doesn't really help anyone very much, not even me.
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Date:March 8th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC)
I've got the taxi bases covered I think. She's got to do the T til she gets to Harvard Square, but if she gets off the T and there's no taxis (I've *never* seen it without taxis and this is not our worst storm this winter), she's supposed to call me, and I have the numbers of several services on hand to ring. In fact, if I'm able to catch her, I'll tell her to ring me from Charles/MGH and I can try to have a cab waiting for her specifically...

I am royally peeved about the luggage too. Didn't want to mention in my last comment in case you hand't yet known as didn't want you to worry. But what kind of company *does* that? You send your passengers away from the airport without departing, you send them with their bags so they are free to choose another fricking carrier.
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Date:March 8th, 2005 08:42 pm (UTC)
YOU ROCK. (...and you've got mail.) Thank you so much.

I think the reason why Virgin left the things on the plane is that it was the last flight of the shift, everyone had reached the statutory ends of their shifts and had to go home for their statutory breaks between shifts and/or it was so windy that it wasn't safe to get the luggage off the plane.

Not quite the Virgin service I'd've hoped for, but there has been pretty frantic ringing around from this end. Virgin's US call centre closed at 11:30pm EST, so Virgin is closed for the night, but the UK call centre opens at 7am GMT (2-and-a-half hours) so the round of ringing round and trying to find the one person with the ability to go that little bit further begins again. I am going to frantically try to pull in favours. Not to the extent of dispatching zorac personally to knock on the front door of Sir Richard Branson's house (he's known to live within, ooh, 2-3 miles of chez zorac) but a few other things...
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Date:March 8th, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC)
Ok, that makes more sense. I do know airlines have to have strict rules to make sure their pilots and crews get enough rest, and that is something we can all get behind even when it may result in something so maddening. But I maintain they should've got the bags off the plane *befroe* end of shift, then.

I have a favor to ask of you: Once you know Meg is home safe tonight, unless she needs you, try to get some rest if you can for that hour or two until you can start making calls. She'll need you healthy, and more importantly, you'll need yourself healthy. Even if you just lie down and try to relax and can't sleep.
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Date:March 8th, 2005 08:20 pm (UTC)
I got your text and called her just now as she was in the shuttle to the T to go home for the night. Maybe not late enough to give up hope entirely; one never knows if there will be a chance for transfer in the morning once the airlines have sorted things out more. I'm not sure if she was going to call me again but I meant it, anything I can do I will. I will check with the travel agents at work tomorrow to see if they have any ideas.

And no matter what.... she'll get to you. Even if it is too late for the ceremony, she'll be there for the rest of the week, and it may be that after the other mourners have departed is when you'll find you need her there the most.

Hang in there.
*huge hugs to both of you*
[User Picture]
Date:March 8th, 2005 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks times lots. You're getting mail next.
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Date:March 8th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
Any specific or preferred arthiritis or stroke charities in the UK that are preferable? Namely ones which accept donations online and from American sources?
Date:March 9th, 2005 11:45 am (UTC)

Journeyplanner thoughts

There is stuff we can do for you... if nothing else, the practicalities of getting from the Heathrow area to King's X by 6.0, in time to catch the 6.15 train. (Darlington 9.1, Durham 9.30-ish) given that Ceefax p433 says the flight's not getting in till 11.20, and last train is 11.49. Not gonna happen.

£14 one way + £2 tube is a lot of money, but it's cheaper than a taxi... Heathrow Express leaves terminals 123 at 5.12, arr Paddington 5.27, then 5.33 Circle train (pushing it!) gets into KX at 5.46. The next Circle train leaves Paddington 5.45, gets into KX at 5.55. If this is your option, pass left along the platform, the exit at KX is to the front of the train.

Alternatively, from Paddington to KX, go to the bus stops, buy a ticket, take bus 205 to KX, arr 5.55.

First tube from Heathrow 123 leaves at 5.13, arr KX at 6.07. I wouldn't care to take that.

Night bus N9 will go to Earl's Court and Trafalgar Square, but I don't have times or any other details.

Airbus A2 doesn't start till 6.0. Crap.

There's a Hotel Hoppa service running between the central bus station (handy, I presume, for the tube) and most hotels.

The second train of the day is the 7.0, arriving Darlington 9.29, Durham 9.59, which I fear would be too late for comfort.

Also: don't fear asking the receptionist for advice. They know better than I what buses are around their hotel. And try to get some sleep.

Good thoughts all round.
[User Picture]
Date:March 12th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear about everything. I hope your life soon takes a turn for the better. I'm sorry, but I don't know what else to say.

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