19 hours

7 Sep

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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 …

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