Narrow escape from chaos.
Flying around the world with kids is never easy. We left the UK on Thursday midday to fly to Taipei from Amsterdam. The flight took off late from Birmingham, with the KLM crew saying they were late held up due to the traffic. Isn’t Birmingham traffic always a little slow? It seemed a feeble excuse when many passengers had connecting flights to meet in Schiphol, sending them all over the globe.
We made the flight to Taipei OK with a few minutes to spare dashing to the gate as fast as we could. We boarded the plane then there was another strange inexplicable delay. The pilot said he couldn’t move the plane as there was no communication coming to him from the control tower. I don’t know if someone came running over to give him permission to take off, or what happened, but after thirty minutes we were finally cleared to take off.
Checking emails later on after the 12 hour journey, Mike asked me if we managed to get through Schiphol as the airport was closed for the day due to a power cut which affected the whole of Amsterdam, and much of the rest of Holland. How the hell? The news reports he attached suggested it was a technical fault from a tiny substation out in the countryside. That didn’t make much sense either. We must have been the last flight out before the airport closed for the rest of the day.
Amsterdam with no power for a whole day. Chaos.
Finally as we neared Taipei the flight map on the seat monitors showed us to be one and a half hours travelling time from Taipei as we awoke and the cabin crew served breakfast. Then the plane stopped flying towards Taipei, and headed South for an hour going directly over Hong Kong, from where the flight was still registering the remaining time to complete the journey still to be 1.5 hours. I have flown this route dozens of times over many years, and asked the head purser why the flight was taking this unusual route. She claimed she had no idea, and would ask the captain. She never came back to me.
The flight was two hours late into Taipei, and we then had an hour’s wait before heading on to Manila where we were also two hours late. It wasn’t that bad overall. The bags arrived as well, which isn’t always the case when flights get delayed. The kids were excited to get into the car and see their cousins once more. It was all a bit curious though. How come there are power cuts that close down major European cities, and unannounced and unexplained flightpath detours over China? And why are there flight crews who can’t get onto a 12 midday flight at Birmingham airport when they stay in hotels that are inches away from the airport?