London, Part 8: Waylaid by an ash cloud

By Laura Grimes

“Headline: ‘British air space may shut as ash cloud resumes.’ Would someone please tell my husband I might be late for dinner?”

I put that post on Facebook a few days ago. It was soon followed by a comment from the Small Large Smelly Boy: “Are you going to be home for dessert?”

It turns out I won’t be home for several desserts. My flight was cancelled and I rebooked it for four days later. (The Pantsless Brother, too.)

Oh, to be “stuck” in London. Oh, to have to rebook a flight in a travel industry that surprisingly doesn’t know how to deal with it.

Let’s see … I am flying Continental, operated by United, reserved by Air Canada, booked through Travelocity. Continental won’t take calls, United doesn’t recognize me, Air Canada won’t deal with a Continental flight, Travelocity can’t make sense of it.

It took hours of internet clicking and even more hours on the phone. I couldn’t do it online and I couldn’t reach anyone to deal with it. Each phone call took many, many minutes, mostly on hold and sometimes up to an hour. Mostly a recorded voice at Continental said they couldn’t take calls and hung up, but when I was lucky enough to wait on hold for at least 15 minutes and reach someone, they said I had to change my reservation through Air Canada. After waiting on hold for many more minutes, Air Canada was astonished another carrier refused to rebook their own cancelled flight (no kidding!). So I started the bad cycle with Continental again — dialing, dialing, dialing, waiting on hold for forever … then I was transferred to their “international” flights department, which was the recorded voice that hung up.

Multiply all that by the number of passengers on 1,000 flights that were cancelled across the United Kingdom.

I guess it could be worse. I could be traveling like this.

Thumbs up to Travelocity for finally sorting it out.

JoJo, however, continues his insatiable search for buddies. He is bravely coping with the layover …

JoJo and Tusker

These “buddies” were too timid to come out to play, and JoJo just couldn’t understand why (frankly they creeped me out):

JoJo Cuttlefish

For the record, we are having a really miserable time. It’s just terrible being stuck in London for another four days.

This is where Mr. Scatter needs to cover his ears and go “LALALALALALALALA!”

To everyone else, I’m whispering: In truth, The Pantsless Brother and I buy four beers each night and sample them. Hobgoblin is our ace in the hole and we buy it every night and three we don’t know. Once the bases are loaded, we have the Hobgoblin beer batting in the cleanup position, and it always produces. That way, no matter what the other beers are, we’re never disappointed.

Since I started writing this post, we’ve gone from this:

JoJo and the Tiger

To this (I think JoJo’s a little scared of this one):

JoJo Hobgoblin

Now you get to play Sherlock Holmes. Can you guess which part of the evening we’re at now?


So, buh bye for now. I have to get back to my really terrible time. (Hic!)

(JoJo, c’mon! Don’t worry, the Hobgoblin’s gone for the night. Yes, you can keep the Tiger cap.)