Still stuck in Oslo – Heathrow terrorist problems and British Airways fiasco
My wife and I are STILL stuck in Oslo after our
second third fourth flight has been cancelled by British Airways.
Its as if we are doomed to stay in Oslo! Worse still is that the its 2 am and I’m sitting at the hotel window in the centre of town trying to get a wireless connection so I can rebook the flight. But can I? Ooh no, the online service conveniently won’t allow me to rebook any flights for today and BA’s operating hours (why the fuck the BA ticket booking service isn’t a 24/7
operation I don’t know) for the ticketing service are 6am onwards. I thought BA was a worldwide airline!
All of the above wouldn’t really bother me to be honest. Oslo is a lovely city to be stuck in and the people couldn’t be friendlier. The real killer is the fact that (to my knowledge) none of our costs will be reimbursed by BA or my travel insurance.
Cost of Heathrow fiasco to myself sofar:
- 4 extra nights at a hotel –> Â£380
- 5 extra meals in Oslo –> Â£150*
- 2 tickets to London with Norwegian Airlines (backup plan) –> Â£220
- Other miscellaneous stuff like travelling to 3 different hotels, wireless internet to get our flights sorted, extra clothes from H&M as we only packed enough for a few days and cinema to keep us from killing ourselves, mobile phone roaming calls to BA… –> Â£250
Total: Â£1000 and counting…
* you’ll find it difficult to spend less than Â£15 pp on a meal here, its very expensive, most main dishes are Kr150.- upwards
Our flight details:
- Initial flight to London BA769 10th Aug 06 – Cancelled
- 2nd flight to London BA769 12th Aug 06 – Cancelled
- 3rd flight to London BA761 13th Aug 06 – Cancelled
- 4th flight to London BA763 14th Aug 06 – Cancelled
- 5th flight to London DY1306 14th Aug 06 – Backup plan…
Other alternatives I’ve looked into (all prices for two people):
- Fjordline Ferry from Bergen to Newcastle – Â£200 ex. cabin/Â£320 with cabin + Â£100 for train from Oslo to Bergen)
- Rent a car and drive – too expensive, I’m not sure we could do it in a day and not sure if any rental firms allow you to drop a car off internationally
- Motorike – too much luggage with us, but would be great fun, could do it on my Kawasaki Z750 :)
I’m really lost as to what to do next.
What could have been done better in my view:
- BAA should have rehearsed for these kind of scenarios, I don’t honestly believe that, after 9/11 and the day tanks turned up at UK airports, nobody had considered the fact that security procedures might have to change and that these changes would have an impact on the flow of travellers. BAA should have contingency plans and resources to implement them.
- BA could fly us to small UK airports that aren’t suffering from the same problems and bus us to a pickup point near heathrow, then fly the aircraft back to heathrow for the return leg.
Update 13th Aug 06 6:22am: I have just woken up to call British Airways on skype (its cheaper than mobile!) and am on hold… whilst listening to the lovely holding music and advertising I’m wondering who else is in this situation.
With each additional flight being cancelled the list of people waiting to rebook must be increasing with the exception of those that were travelling on business or holiday who have cancelled their trip all together.
Arrrgh line just dropped!
Lets start again then… ok, booked via the online system for tomorrow 14th August 06 on BA0763. I’m not going to hold my breath though. Something tells me I’ll be rebooking it again!
I’ve now also considered other options… train, ferry (via Bergen), car… none of which seem viable at the moment or indeed financially realistic.
Update 13th August 06 9:23am: I’ve just checked with the hotel to make sure we can stay here another two days if necessary. They have been very helpful and I would thoroughly recommend them – Thon Hotel Stefan.
Worryingly though, as of Tuesday there are no more rooms available for a whole week because of the Jazz festival. I’m really hoping we’ll be able to get home by then…
Update 13th August 06 9:40am: Tom, a norwegian friend on mine, has suggested we look into flying Norwegian. As they fly to Stansted they are less likely to cancel the flight. :)
Update 13th August 06 10:10am: I’ve on the mobile phone now for 30 minutes waiting for British Airways to answer, no luck. I reckon Â£1 a minute?… What a nice way to waste Â£30 :(
“Heathrow is slowly but surely returning to normal,” said Tony Douglas, managing director of the British Airports Authority
Yeah right!! So why am I sitting in Oslo without a means of getting home!!
Update 13th August 06 10:50am: Finally got through to British Airways ticket service, only for my wireless network to drop out and kill my skype conversation. Now if only they would look up my account and call the phone number associated with my booking reference. That would be truly great customer service, but unfortunately my phone isn’t ringing.
I’ve moved onto skype as the roaming call charges will just kill me…
Update 13th August 06 12:20pm: I’ve just finished speaking to Melanie at British Airways who was next to useless. No flights on other carriers within the One World Alliance and they are not willing/able to book flights with Star Alliance, which would include Norwegian, who fly to Stansted.
Seriously pissed off and disspointed with British Airways. I could book the Norwegian flight home that leaves at 18:25, but the price has now risen to Â£200+ pp. If I wait until tomorrow then the price drops to Â£50. I reckon we’ll stay another night and see if the BA flight works out and also book the Norwegian flight as a backup plan.
Ooh and I’ve missed another day of work, great!!
Update 13th August 06 13:28pm: We’ve made the decision to fly back to Stansted with Norwegian Airlines. We’ve kept our BA booking open just in case, however I doubt it will fly.
Update 13th August 06 2:45pm: After a shitty nights sleep last night Liz and I are off to bed to catch up on some sleep. We’re fed up of museums for the moment and besides, we’ve done most of them :)
Update 13th August 06 8:24pm: Just got back from the cinema and the BA flight tomorrow is now showing up as cancelled… arggh!
Update 14th August 06 7:05am: Up early again because I haven’t received a text (sms) message confirming the cancellation , so I’m having to call British Airways to confirm. Its great when the information you are supposed to trust and use as reference, according to British Airways, is giving you conflicting information!!
The ‘manage my bookings’ section on the website says confrmed, yet the departure and arrival information says its cancelled.
Thanks BA, thanks!
Our flights confirmed…
Our flights cancelled…
Is it just bad luck that we happened to book ourselves on the one flight today that is cancelled?!
I’m still on the phone waiting for somebody to pick… in between the background music BA are also playing messages of delight such as “Are you ready for a change of scenery?… “. To which I’m screaming yes, yes and yes, but I doubt they can hear me :(
In other news, the “terror threat” has been downgraded from critical to severe. Meaning people can now take on hand luggage again (with restrictions). The article also talks about a flight from London to New York that returned to London mid-flight after a mobile phone was found onboard. Nuts… just nuts… IMHO, especially given the quote below from the article:
A businessman who was among the passengers told BBC News 24: “When the plane took off a mobile phone started ringing.
“One and a half hours later the captain made the decision, having spoken to his company, that we need to come back. He dumped fuel and we’re now back at Heathrow.”
My call just dropped after 45 minutes on hold. If only I could describe my state of mind to you right now.
I’m going to trust the cancelled status from the up-to-the-minute arrival and departure information on the BA site and go back to bed and get some sleep.
Update 14th August 10:22am: Its just dawned on me that if British Airways had their systems in order and properly flagged my flight as cancelled. I would be able to rebook my flight via their ‘manage my bookings’ to one of the flights this afternoon which is flying (assuming there are spaces available).
The BBC have confirmed that BAA have asked Airlines flying out of Heathrow to cut their schedule by 20%.
Update 14th August 06 2:38: We finally got the SMS and email confirmation that BA763 was cancelled, but only 1 hour before the flight. In my mind that’s just cr*p service, especially considering British Airways had made the decision to cancel the flight the night before.
Good news is we are off to the airport on a Norwegian Airlines flight back home. Initial checks I’ve made online show the flight as being ok…
Update 14th August 06 10:48pm: Finally, its all over, after 3 hotels, 4 cancelled BA flights and lots of Oslo museums our trip has come to and end. We are finally at home in London. Four days late, but safe and sound.
Thanks to Norwegian Airlines for getting us home in one piece…. and with regards to BA, well… you’ll be hearing from me very soon.
Good night everyone.