Sister’s Travel Adventure Series
Epic Cruise Adventure 2016
British Airways Flight 632 London to Athens, Cancelled.
We wake on the morning of our Epic Cruise Adventure to find out that our connecting flight to Athens is cancelled! All flights in and out of Greece have been cancelled.
The air traffic controllers of Greece have threatened to go on strike. We knew that they were threatening. We called British Airways yesterday to see if we should fly out early and they told us there was nothing to worry about.
Now they have cancelled our flight to Athens! Several more calls to the airlines and to Carnival Cruise lines. Our goal is to get to Piraeus in time for the ship but our backup plan is if we can’t get into Greece in time that we will fly to Malta and get the ship there.
Still hopeful we can get to Athens in time, we go to Logan for our flight for London and see what arrangements can be made when we check-in.
Standing at the British Airways flight desk we explain our dilemma to the customer service agents. One agent begins to check us in for our flight to London while another wonderful agent is looking for new flights that are being added to Greece. The two wonderful women are doing their best to help us get to Athens.
After several searches she pulls up a flight that leaves London 12 hours after we arrive. It is the first new scheduled flight out. Excitedly jumping up and down we thank the understanding and helpful British Airways customer service agents. We don’t even care about spending a day in the Heathrow airport.
Change of planes, change of plans. As we wait for our flight to London we cancel all our Athens reservations. We are not going to arrive in time to stay in Athens or take the tour of Athens we had booked. Knowing we will still arrive the day before our ship we book a hotel at the port for that Monday night before the ship leaves on Tuesday. Sitting in Logan airport waiting for our flight to London the beginning of our Epic Journey is revamped and rebooked.
Our flight to London is on time. We are on our way. Exhausted we arrive in London at 9 AM on Sunday morning. I tried to sleep on the flight but to no avail. It will be a miracle if either of us can get any sleep at the airport. The anxiety of not knowing if we would make it to the ship and now the time changes have me tired but awake unable to sleep.
The day is inching along moment by moment, hour by hour. Our flight isn’t even on the flight board yet. We walk around Heathrow to see the available food options. I need tea and food. We choose a restaurant and have breakfast.
We are in London and stuck inside this terminal. Susan is disappointed that we are stuck inside the airport and not able to at least go out and explore London. London is one of the places on her bucket list. If only we could go out and sightsee! All we are seeing of London is the airport.
Hours tick by….we close our eyes at times jolting awake just as we begin to nod off. We take turns sitting with the carry-ons and walking around the terminal. A few more hours tick by. We are constantly looking at the flight board for our flight to show up. We notice that the flights on the board do not list a gate but a time when the gate will be shown. Gates are shown when the boarding begins. We do not like this. We would like to at least be sitting around the gate or area where our gate for our flight will be.
Our flight is on the flight board! Still hours away but now at least we know that it is still scheduled. Rest my eyes, take a walk, look at the flight board, rest my eyes, take a walk, check the flight board, Rest my eyes, take a walk, have something to drink, check the flight board. Rest my eyes, take a walk, and get something to eat, check the flight board. Close my eyes, check the flight board, sit and look around, check the flight board. Hours crawl by. Check the flight board. Check the flight board again.
There are two ladies sitting nearby they too are waiting for the same flight we are. Time inches by minute by minute. It seems to be slowing down as we inch closer and closer to the time our flight gate is to be announce. All four of us now are annoyed. We have waited all day why are they not telling us what gate our flight is leaving from.
Then it flips over and says please wait. Please Wait! We have been waiting all day!! One of the other ladies goes and asks a customer service representative, Gate A1. We head in that direction. And finally it is announced, Gate A1.
The gate area is filling up quickly. We are told the flight is slightly delayed. Several other people are heading for the same cruise we are. Some people like the two ladies we have been talking to are heading home to Greece after being stuck in London for a couple of extra days.
And finally our flight boards. It is now after 10 PM London time. Sleeping is impossible. Everyone is restlessly awaiting arrival in Athens. Touch down is at 3 AM Monday morning. The airport is essentially deserted except for the airline employees, immigration and custom agents waiting our arrival. The immigration agent just takes our passport and stamps them. They do not question what we are doing in Greece, where we are going or how long we are staying. They just want to get us out of here as fast as possible.
Outside the terminal, in the dark we get a taxi to take us out to the hotel at the port and hope they will have someplace where we can sleep. We are way beyond exhausted now.
On our way our taxi driver points out the Acropolis light up in the night sky. That is about all of Athens we will see. We arrive at the Dream Hotel in Piraeus, Greece at about 5 AM Monday morning.
The hotel receptionist realizes that we are fatigued and tries to find us a room where we can sleep until our room is ready. She provides us with a room key and says they will call us when our room is ready. Grateful we head up in the tiny elevator to a small room and fall into bed and asleep.
At 12:30 pm the phone rings in our room. The front desk lets us know our room is ready for us to move into. We are beginning to come alive. We may not be in Athens but we are in Greece so we will venture out and see what we can see of this port city, Piraeus.
We are just happy to be in Greece in time to make the ship tomorrow. Today we step into our Epic Journey after having another misadventure to our adventure! It just wouldn’t be one of our Sister Travel Adventures without some kind of misadventure in getting to our starting destination. This time it was not just me who had the misadventure! It was both of us together.
Our misadventure to Greece was easy compared to some of our fellow cruise passengers. Some passengers had more difficulties and complicated journeys to get to Piraeus. Some passengers had to use the backup plan and catch the ship in Malta. Still others gave up and cancelled their voyage.