The funny thing about all this is that it is actually funny. Or at least, one tries to make it so. Mrs. VB and I have made some firm friends in the queuing process these last two days. One nouveau riche couple – English and Latvian – were supposed to go Riga, London, Buenos Aries, Santiago, Easter Island, for some romantic Christmas getaway. Just outside of London their plane was turned back to Riga, and the Latvians, imaginative bunch that they are, thought sending them to Berlin might be a good way to get them to London. Heathrow closed in the meantime, and the Germans lost their luggage, in which they’d packed their medicine. Oh how we laughed! She chortled so much her mink coat nearly fell off.
Today we spent chatting to a motley crew of international travellers, upgraded to business yesterday like us, downgraded to chattels today. The prominent member of this group was a lovely and elegant Parisian lady, with whom we partook in devious queue strategies. She was trying to get to London, and when that failed yesterday she had been booked on the same Düsseldorf flight as us. Then, a London flight opened, but they wouldn’t bump her to that one because she was clearly booked on a flight to Düsseldorf. Why should she want to change it? We laughed so much it hurt! Another lady, from Singapore, was told to board a plane to Cologne (why not? She was going to Düsseldorf and then Munich, after all) that hadn’t even left Cologne yet. They were good enough to lose her luggage, and she re-joined us in the queue after an hour or so of staring at the space where her plane was supposed to be. We could barely contain ourselves! The third member of this group was a jolly Austrian with bad teeth, attempting to get to Vienna. Since it all seemed so hopeless, he had the idea that Lufthansa would book him into the Kempinski Presidential Suite, and we’d all be invited for Christmas on the airline’s dime. He was so thrilled by this idea that he practically begged the Lufthansa agent for more bad weather. We all looked like the prancing orphans from Oliver! singing Food, Glorious Food, and pretending that there wouldn’t be gruel. Meanwhile, the local news had sent a camera man, pushed on a luggage trolley by his director, who secured a terrific dolly shot of all our smiling faces. The viewers of tonight’s local TV are in for a treat.
We waved goodbye to everyone as we left for home (again), wishing merry Christmases and happy travels, and hoping never to see each other again, with the best will in the world. We left our little patch of muddied red carpet – seriously, the business and first-class line had red carpets covered in snow and grit – and walked back past the economy queue, which stretched from gate 10 back way past gate 7. I reckon it was at least a six-hour queue. Everyone looked so happy!
I hope not to write to you tomorrow, because I shall be travelling all day. It seems a shame in a way – cancellations are too much fun.