Noon flight from Manchester. A simple plan. Leave Halifax at 7.30am. Collect Chris in Oldham at 8.30am. Arrive at Mark’s for 9.30am for a lift to the airport and get through security to be in the lounge for a bacon sandwich and champers by 10am. Fly south at high noon.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well the Oldham traffic for starters; we left on time but the sat nav said the drive to Mark’s was going to be nearly two hours. Stress. Not disaster as I’ve built enough slack in. But pressure nonetheless.
Using my knowledge of the football ground I took a rat run around Boundary Park, slipped past B&Q and Tesco before eventually heading down Manchester Road to the motorway. ETA 9.45am. Back on track, sort of.
Mark supplied his usual efficient and much appreciated Manchester drop off service and we successfully joined the Club Europe queue to drop our bags off. Well, no queue for us. A dozen or so in the riff raff queue stared at us as we overtook.
22kg for Chris, 16 kg for me. 154kg under our allowable limit. Easy bag drop and despite the small security delay we hit the lounge at 10.20am. Then disaster struck!
No, not the 15 minute delay for our flight, but the complete lack of bacon rolls and champagne in the Manchester BA lounge. A vague notion of switching lounge using my Priority Pass was dismissed as I selected strawberry yoghurt, choc au pain, toast and croissant to go with my coffee and orange juice.
As we ate the board showed an even longer delay for our flight. 12.15pm became 12.45pm and finally 12.55pm. Chris knocked back some Tiger lager ahead of his two week prohibition in the USA. I found the chilled Baileys in the absence of champagne. We eventually heeded the call for the flight.
A delay of an hour didn’t really bother me. I’d factored in nearly seven hours for the Concorde Lounge at Heathrow. I’d already thought I might be overdoing it on free champagne there!
Shortly before 1pm we were on the plane. A few minutes later, belted up and ready to fly came an announcement. I don’t recall the exact words but paraphrasing it was something like “ha, we got you out of the lounge and away from the free booze to sit you in a plane that’s going nowhere”. The collective groan through the A319 aircraft told the story. Something to do with the jet stream blowing planes around a bit.
Those of us at the front of the plane were offered water. Those behind the curtain, who knows? Who cares! I’m posh today! Let them buy Percy Pigs, as the French would say.
Will we make it to London today, let alone Boston? Well we took off at 2.30pm and then spent a fair bit of time circling Heathrow and burning extra fossil fuels before we hit the tarmac. The circling helped. Our meal and first glass of champers was only half eaten when the descent started. An adequate beef ciabatta and rather tasty trifle were rapidly consumed before cabin staff grabbed our plates and removed the glass from the rapidly consumed brut.
A classic London / Thames aerial view opened up as we dropped beneath the cloud. It is a magnificent city. Then a landing.
It might be a rush to get to our 4pm massage on time. Pressure!