08:45. (Singapore time)
I’m now at Changi airport waiting for my flight to Doha. Changi’s always been on of the world’s best airports when it comes to facilities. Rather than being confined to the usual regimented rows of airport seating I’m relaxing in a single seat recliner with a table fitted with power sockets. I’m sat next to a large garden water feature, complete with fish to watch if you want to pass the time!
To give the Qatar airport staff credit. I was dealt with by a lovely young woman of Japanese extraction who heard my tale of woe regarding booking and immediately took me to a desk and found me window seats on both flights. I’d have thought they’d have all been taken but I expect I’m not alone in having problems checking in via their website!
I was looking forward to coming home but now the news has broken that the shitshow we call a government has postponed building sections of HS2, the new high-speed railway on cost grounds. The idea that a 2 year delay will save money is the stuff of fantasy, but it does show just how economically incompetent they are. They’ve already wasted hundreds of millions on the project with dither and delay which has led to plan revisions and more waste. I really can’t wait to see the back of this lot.
No doubt I’ll be blogging about this at greater length when I get back to the UK and there’s no travel tales to regale you with, In the meantime, I’m going to relax, enjoy the facilities at Changi and enjoy my flights. I’ve a rapid transit in Doha so there’ll be no time to blog there. What I won’t be doing in Changi is enjoying a drink. Apart from the fact it’s far too early this is one expensive airport. Here’s the bar prices. $21.50? That’s £13.35 a pint!
The next you’ll hear from me us when I’m back in the UK. Dawn (blizzards in the Pennines permitting) is coming to Heathrow to meet me. We’re having an overnight in a hotel before travelling home together, so don’t expect to hear from me later today, even though I do arrive back in the UK this evening!
Oh, shit! We’ve just been told our flight is delayed by at least an hour, so that’s my connection in Doha almost certainly missed (I only had 80 mins to connect). I’ve been told I’ll be put on the next available flight to Heathrow, but at this stage I’ve absolutely no idea when that will be.
I’m still at Changi airport. The Qatar staff had promised at 12:00 update. This has now slipped to 13:00. Looking out I can see our plane on the tarmac with the cowlings around one engine lifted. That means we’re going to be delayed for several hours yet. It also means I can kiss goodbye to getting back to the UK today. The last flight from Doha arrives at Heathrow at 22:00, two hours behind the one I should have been on. The maths simply don’t stack up. I await the 13:00 update with interest…
The 13:00 update was to move the time of the update to 15:00. It was clear by now this was no minor problem. Shortly afterwards we received the news that the plane was was being rescheduled – to 04:00 tomorrow. We were all to be taken back into Singapore where we’d be put up in a hotel until coaches came to collect us at 01:00. This meant going back through the faff of immigration and filling out online passport checks first, then collecting our baggage and jumping into taxis to take us to our hotel, the £200 a night Grand Park City Hotel, not the sort of establishment I’d normally stay in on my own unless I was on a press trip!
Dinner (on Qatar) is at 18:30. In the meantime I’m going to relax for a bit and enjoy the luxury.
Whilst I was writing this I had a phone call from the airline. They’ve pulled out some stops and rebooked me on a direct flight from Singapore to London with Singapore airlines. Now, instead of arriving God knows when, I’ll be in London at 05:55 tomorrow morning. Still later than arriving today, but a lot better than having to change at Doha and get a flight whenever.
The saga continues! I’ve just received an email from Singapore Airlines to say my new flight (SQ322) is delayed! Instead of leaving ay 23:45 tonight it will now depart at 02:10 on the 11th. I’m really not bothered as it means I land at a better time – 08:20, which means Dawn gets a lie in at the hotel!
I have this feeling of Deja Vu! I’m back at Changi airport only this time it’s terminal 3 not 1. 3 is rather like having an airport tacked on to the side of a shopping centre. Admittedly, there’s some interesting architectural features and lots of planting, but – it’s still a shopping centre.
Having been fed and watered at the hotel earlier I’m fine so resisted all the temptations. To be honest the price of local dishes isn’t bad. It’s the Western stuff thats ‘chingy’. But, right now I simply want to get on that plane and head home.
Still waiting for the call to head through security to the gate. Apparently (in contrast to the size of the rest of the airport) the holding area’s small. In an effort to stay awake I went for a long wander into terminal 1 where I was earlier. Changi’s a truly International airport. There’s folks from all corners of the planet here. Quite a few have bedded down as their flights aren’t for ages. No-one bothers them. It’s a marked contrast to the last time I spent a night at Stansted before catching an early morning flight. The airport had security going around harassing anyone who tried to get in a horizontal position as it was ‘forbidden’. I’ve ensured I’ve never used the airport since.
I’ve a small favour to ask…
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