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19 hours

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That’s how late the flight was getting into Chengdu from London a couple of weeks ago. At least Etihad did have the courtesy to put me up in a hotel for the day and I managed to get a look at the magnificent Grand Prix track in Abu Dhabi. I would have appreciated an email from the airline afterwards apologising for the hassle, so I wasn’t too happy to be bombarded with adverts extolling their alleged virtues.

Nineteen hours isn’t a personal record as I was once stranded in the Emirates for six days. The flight from London to Dubai was on time so I was mystified when the check-in desk to Bangkok was deserted. It turned out that protesters had invaded the airport in Thailand and no one could get in or out. After nearly a week I got a flight to Kuala Lumpur and travelled to Bangkok by bus. It was an adventure, but one I could have done without.

The oddest airport experience occurred in India when I attempted to check in to an internal flight only to be told the plane had already gone as they had decided to send it off early. I was assured this wouldn’t be repeated on my return and a nice gentleman emphasised the certainty of this fact by stamping my ticket ‘confirmed’ with an authoritative gusto. When I reappeared at the airport two weeks later for the flight to Mumbai the check-in desk was uninhabited …

By andrewderham

My background in chemistry has taken me to live and work in the Arabian Gulf, Vietnam and China, but now I’m happily settled in Gloucester writing novels and short stories. There are currently four books featuring Harry Hart and Asha Kanjaria, with more to follow. The stories comprise suspense, laughter, tears, hard-nosed killers, barking-mad nutters, folks of monumental goodness and all the joys and miseries, vices and virtues of the human condition. I hope you enjoy reading them.

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