Holiday – Part 2

June 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm 2 comments

Viking Airlines logo

Viking Airlines logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is it with budget airlines? OK, I do not expect the greatest leg room, the best in-flight entertainment, the best looking air stewardesses, or haute cuisine. But, I do expect them to take off and land, and preferably at a time which is close to the advertised time.

C an I recently flew with Viking Airlines as part of a package holiday to Paxos in Greece. We went there last year as well, when our holiday was marred by an eleven hour delay leaving Manchester, because the plane had gone “tech”. We lost a whole day of our well-deserved, and expensive holiday. So, we were “encouraged” when this year, the airline had changed and the flight time had been brought forward to 05.40. That is twenty to six in the morning. That is early. That is very early. But, I consoled myself that it would mean that we would get off in time because a) the plane would already be there, and, b) it was too early to suffer the consequences of air traffic congestion. And, this would mean we would have a pretty full day of holiday upon arrival in Greece.

And so, C and I, dragged ourselves from our slumber pit at 01.30. That is half past one in the morning. And we made our way to the airport, checked in, deposited our luggage and went to see what, if any, shops were open at that un-Godly time in the morning. And, then we saw that the plane was delayed for two and a half hours. Why? How could it be. It was supposed to be the first scheduled departure of the day. The weather was fine. Well, when eventually on board, we discovered that the reason was “unscheduled maintenance”. Now, I know that the plane hadn’t flown in that morning. So, why couldn’t they have done their bloody maintenance the night before?

One of the consequences of this delay was that C had more time for a leisurely shop. This resulted in the purchase of toner (some girlie stuff that keeps her young and beautiful, apparently) and two pairs of sunglasses (C cannot go on holiday without buying a new pair – “fashions change” don’t you know) and a baseball cap. We resisted the temptation to join the great unwashed with their pints in the various bars. I think they need the drink to get over a couple of weeks without Jeremy Kyle, a decent cuppa and proper chips. Philistines!

The other consequence of the delay was that we missed our connection on the island of Corfu – the hydrofoil which was to whisk us to Paxos. Last year we had had to stay in Corfu port overnight. This year we had to wait three hours until the next hydrofoil. Consequently we got to our lovely villa far too late to consider going out for our much longed for dinner, and, only fourteen hours after we had got up. Much as we like Greece, I would have expected to be in South East Asia, Australasia, or South America in that kind of timescale, rather than southern Europe. We would have probably got most of the way there if we had decided to drive instead!

On the return trip we had to get up at 05.45. That’s quarter to six in the morning! For heaven’s sake, I am supposed to be on my holidays so what’s with all these early starts. We caught the hydrofoil and arrived at Corfu port on time. We then had an hour and a half wait at the port until our taxi was to pick us up to transfer us to the airport. Now, an hour and a half may not seem like a lot to you but would you relish the prospect of spending it in Digbeth coach centre in 30 degree heat. And, nor would I.

We were actually the first to check in for our return flight. We got rid of our bags and headed to the departure lounge and shops. Our plane was delayed for an hour and a half. The delay then turned into a two-hour delay. And, finally a two and a half hour delay. Why? Because of the late arrival of the plane from Manchester. Why? Because the plane from Manchester had taken of at 07.40 instead of 05.40. Suspiciously as it had the previous week when we were on it. Surely not more “unscheduled maintenance”.

As a consequence of the delay we had to endure more time than necessary with the great unwashed in a less than salubrious departure lounge where seating was at a premium. Thankfully C and I did find seats. Unfortunately, we were sat next to a shaven haired bloke from Birmingham who consumed a whole six-pack of canned lager in about ten minutes and twelve mouthfuls. Slob.

Why is it that holiday passengers cannot work out how planes work? They can never work out where their seats are. They become spatially unaware and having smacked everyone in aisle seat with their bag en route to their seat, they then block the aisle for ages while they take off their coats, get out their big book of crosswords, and stow their luggage. They can’t work out how the air vent works, confuse the light button with the one for calling the stewardess, constantly use their mobile phones. And, the stewardesses are constantly having to tell them to put their window blind up, their seats forward, to stow their table, to put their arm rests down, to fasten their seat belts, and to get their feet of the chairs. While those who have just consumed a six-pack of lager snore, burp and fart all too loudly!

The onboard service from Viking Airlines was I guess no better than you can expect from a budget airline. To be fair, the stewardesses on the flight out were easy enough on the eye. Not so on the return. One looked like she had applied her makeup in the dark, using crayons. Because the plane was, for some reason, registered in Canada, all of the safety demonstrations and announcements had to be made in both English and French – for a flight to Greece?!?!? At least there was food on board. Of course, you had to pay for it. Flying isn’t what it used to be. The service was slow. Consequently, by the time that they got to C and I in row 12, they had already run out of a lot of things, including the chicken sandwich that we had craved for. So, we had to make do with two cheese ploughmans (shouldn’t that me ploughmen?) sandwiches, two G&Ts, and a bag of mini cheddars – FOR FIFTEEN POUNDS!!!!!! Talk about abusing a captive audience. C declared her sandwich inedible and just picked at the cheese. As a consequence, she then helped herself to half of my mini-cheddars having previously declared that she didn’t want any. And, I adore mini-cheddars. It takes me back to being a kid, when they were a rare treat at Christmas or birthday buffets. I like the way that they go all mushy in your mouth and you can always manage to stuff some cheesy mush in your cheeks for later. Yum.cheddars

Viking Airlines shame on you! Please be aware of the knock on consequences of your untimely departures. When you are only away for a week at a time, such delays eat into precious time. Shame on you for your extortionate and inedible food.

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Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Holiday – Part 1 BP – Disaster in the Gulf

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. zjwriter.com  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Indonesia has managed to carve a place for itself in world tourism. The official motto of the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism in Bali, an island popular with those who love the sun and white sand beaches, Bali is wonderful island. However, those who have never visited Indonesia hardly know any about this beautiful and magical place.
    Bali is a paradise for nature lovers to spend vacations at the beach. enjoy a night of full moon, prepared in different types of games on the beach, organized by residents of the region. Bali was the right place in tropical temperatures all year. The dry season starts here in April and lasts until September, during the rainy season begins in October and ends in March. There are many activities you can in Bali, including select dive, snorkel and get a picture of coral reefs and their inhabitants, rafting on the Ayung River, mountain biking, a walk through the rice fields. Bali is largely occupied by Hindus.

    Thus, all the Hindu festivals are also celebrated the Hindu traditions and customs are respected. You will enjoy delicious Indian dishes. But if you do not want Indian curries, you can opt for Malaysian cuisine, Chinese cuisine, Moroccan cuisine or Mexican cuisine. A thing that you should not miss is the Balinese grilled lobster served with a unique and delicious sauce.

    Like

    Reply
    • 2. Middle Man  |  June 18, 2010 at 7:24 am

      Do you work for the tourist board by any chance?

      Like

      Reply

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