One hell of a journey

Monday, March 30, 2015

We didn't start our big adventure too well. Actually it was a traveller's worst nightmare, and I hope to never experience anything like this again!





But let's start from the beginning.


On the 19th of February we left for Heathrow to catch our 11:40 Turkish Airlines flight. I should've expected the things to go slightly wrong when Adam got sick in the car - unusual for him, as we've travelled to Poland before and he's always been fine. But hey, I have a bit of a trouble with the car sickness, so he can too. But never mind, not a big deal.

Once we reached the airport, we had a quick caffeine boost and a breakfast, after which we decided to check our bags in. Heathrow has those self-service check-in terminals, but we weren't sure how to use one - then we were approached by the attendant who offered her help, so we followed her. She took our passports, but had some trouble scanning Adam's (probably because when we got a visa, they stapled it to Hubby's one), so we were sent to the regular check-in desk. The lady behind the desk took a moment, and then informed us she needs to check the status of our flight - apparently all connections in our direction were cancelled on the previous day, due to the bad weather. That made us a bit nervous, but luckily we were told we were about to fly that day. Bags dropped (we ended up slightly exceeding our luggage allowance, but got away with it ;)), time to go through to departure lounge. I must say that working for airport security myself, I was quite impressed with the process at Heathrow. Quick round of shopping at Boots and we're ready to get to our gate to catch our first flight to Istanbul.

Of course, our plane was departing from the farthest gate possible ;) Thank God for the moving walkways along the corridor - Adam had a bit of fun, and they made it a little easier for us to get there with all the hand luggage and a buggy.




Enjoying a ride with Daddy ;)




Adam checking out our plane!


One suggestion I would make - facilitate priority boarding for travellers with infants! Even when I fly to Poland with WizzAir, everyone with a child under two gets priority boarding. I know, there are no assigned seats on Wizz, so you can get a better place when you board first, but still it's so much easier to get yourself and a toddler sorted when the plane is empty, rather than squeezing through loads of people. But OK, we got there in the end.

Now for the fun part! The plane is on the move, we get the usual safety instructions... and then we stop. Initially it looked like we're just queueing for the take-off, but it soon turned out our plane was parked on the side. It was already nearly an hour after our scheduled departure time (which didn't surprise me that much, since Heathrow is busy and I didn't expect us to leave on time), but then there was an announcement from the pilot. We got told we're experiencing about three-hour delay, meaning we would be spending another two hours sitting on the plane. Apparently it was something to do with the bad weather, but we didn't know exactly what the problem was. 

As you can imagine, most of us weren't impressed - many passengers, like us, were expecting to catch a connecting flight from Istanbul. We were only supposed to have 2.5 hours between the flights, so hearing that we have a delay made us pretty stressed! But, as we weren't taking off just yet, I had a quick check of the flights from Istanbul - turned out that our connection was delayed too - what a relief!

Anyway, we finally left London and set off for Istanbul. I have no complaints about the flight itself - Adam got a little goody bag (watch, plane-shaped binoculars and inflatable plane), movie selection was decent, the food was pretty good.




We opted for grilled chicken, served with tomato rice, ratatouille, side of green beans and a plum cake for the dessert (every meal comes with water and pack of crackers with butter and yummy soft cheese).


Hopeful that we can make our flight to Lahore, we were following the flight status on our screens. But then, when we were supposed to reach Istanbul, pilot informed us that we would be circling over the city for about an hour, because of all the traffic caused by the weather. Well, that made us quite worried, as it meant we might not make our next flight after all!

We landed in Istanbul about 2100 hrs, instead of scheduled 1730. You can only imagine our surprise, when it turned out that all the delays were caused by... snow! Yup, after a snowless winter in the UK I didn't quite expect to have our travel interrupted by the heavy snowfall in Turkey!




Here's the source of all our troubles...



Once we landed, everyone rushed to the transfer gates. It was crazy! All the flights were experiencing delays because of the snow, so the Turkish Airlines' transfer desk was busy. And when I say busy, I mean the queue that didn't seem to have an end! We never travelled with a transit, so we weren't sure what to do. We had our boarding cards for the connecting flight issued at Heathrow, and the sign above the desks said it's for people without boarding cards, but Hubby went to get some information first. Of course no-one knew anything - typical. After finding out that out flight to Lahore was scheduled to leave at 0030 hrs, and it was already after 10pm, we decided that we'd just go to the transfer area. Which we should've done straight away, but hey - you always learn from the experience, right? At least we know for the next time ;)

Once in the departure lounge, we had a quick meal, managed to catch a free Wi-Fi and update the families that we're delayed but fine, and after Hubby saw the gate number on the screen, we wanted to head to our gate. Then I decided to have a look at the screen myself, and nearly got hysterical - our flight, which supposedly had the gate number announced just a minute before, was delayed until 3am. SEVEN hours later than its original departure time!




Delayed, delayed, delayed...



Exhausted, without a stroller but with still lively toddler, and 3 rather heavy bags, we went towards the gates' side anyway. We managed to find a free socket to charge our phones, and then Hubby had a nap (luckily followed by Adam after a while).

When at 2am our gate number still wasn't displayed, I was ready for a meltdown - but then there it was! Obviously the farthest one again, but we just rushed to get there.

Great thing was that the plane was nearly empty. Well, it didn't matter that much for us - once Adam fell asleep, we let him lie spread on both of us, while other people got comfortable on the empty seats. We didn't take off until about 4 o'clock, but we were finally on our way to our final destination! We caught some sleep, got another pretty good meal, Adam got a pilot teddy bear, and after 5.5-hour flight, we landed in Lahore. "Only" 8 hours later than we were supposed to, but we made it!




First views of Lahore




Lahore airport




I was so relieved to finally land in Lahore - after such a bad journey, I was really looking forward to having a good time there! Luckily the rest of our trip was amazing, and you can read all about it in the coming posts :)


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17 comments

  1. oh my goodness what a stressful time. It's bad enough but when you have a young child its hard. Glad you finally got there xx

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  2. You poor things, that sounds like a hellish journey. It's bad enough being delayed as an adult but having a toddler too must have been really tough. Sounds like he was quite a little trooper though.

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  3. im so pleased you had a lovely holiday after all of that , what a nightmare, but look at his smile he isnt bothered at all is he x

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  4. Goodness me, what an epic way to get to your destination! IWho would have expected snow in Turkey. I'm glad that the rest of your trip was amazing.

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  5. Oh no what a nightmare of journey for you all! x

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  6. Sounds like a bit of an ordeal, travelling with kids it tough too. I found it hard enough taking my boy to France when he was 4 months old, and nothing went wrong! xx

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  7. oh no sounds awful but glad you had a nice time in the end!

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  8. Gosh, that sounds like a nightmare - hope the trip made up for the bad start - looking forward to hearing about it!

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  9. Wow, what an absolute nightmare journey. Getting delayed when you're travelling with kids is the worst and that really is some delay. Looking forward to finding out more about your trip!

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  10. Oh my god, that is any travellers worst nightmare.
    So stressful without children involved.
    Well done on keeping cool, I know I wouldn't have

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  11. Wow that sounds like such an awful journey you poor things! no wonder you were glad to get there and enjoy the rest of your trip! x

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  12. I struggled with boarding with Seb last year - even checking in and bag searches were painful and then trying to lift him over people and seats was a real struggle. Glad the rest of the holiday was good

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  13. Sounds like a hideous journey! Hope you've been able to recover since.

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  14. How awful and exhausting for you, glad you got there safely eventually!!

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  15. Oh, this sounds so challenging. Difficult enough without children, let alone with a 3 year old. I'm glad you enjoyed the rest of your trip

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  16. ah what a nightmare journey! sounds like you coped very well x

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  17. Delays are everyone's worst nightmare! I'm glad you had a fab time after all ;) Smiley face speaks for itself!

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