Friday, May 12, 2006

Flight of the Goat

Yesterday I arrived in England for a brief stop prior to heading off to Mallorca to go sailing for a week. To my tremendous surprise, I arrived at Gatwick at more or less the scheduled time and collected the rental car.

Driving on the left-hand side of the road aside, one of the first things that struck me was how the M25 in the morning peak is rather like the good old Sheikh Zayed Road. Incredibly busy, all lanes going at the same speed and with sufficient gap between vehicles to insert a five pound note. Yes, they drive like atavistic maniacs in Britain too. The only perceptible difference in attitude is that in queues of urban traffic (we're off the M25 now) drivers actually leave gaps to allow others to turn off at junctions.

Now back to the airline. Qatar Airways, in their mercy, permitted me to pay for a free business class upgrade on the Doha to Gatwick flight. The pivotal word here is free. Indeed, I was expecting the same sort of freeness that was provided on the Manila to Doha flight that I wrote about here. Back in November the upgrade was confirmed by the airline, who were extremely keen to subtract the air miles from my account. Then two days before the flight, I was summoned to appear at the Qatar Airways Dubai office.

Despite every QA computer on the planet showing the status of my booking, I needed to get a paper version of the upgrade. I was then told that as a business class passenger there was an additional tax to pay. I refused, on the very sensible grounds that the airline should have told me when I first made the booking. And so I flew in economy.

The flight from Dubai to Doha inexplicably left half an hour late. And then we spent a further half an hour on a taxiway. You know how you can sit at a T junction in your car, unable to turn into the main road because of a never-ending stream of traffic? Well, this is eactly what happened at the end of the runway at DXB. Lufthansa, Emirates, Swiss Airways, Emirates... I imagine that there was a queue of aircraft behind us all tooting their hooters in accordance with traditional local custom and practice.

My next forway into the wonderful wild and wacky world of air travel is on Sunday morning. I have to leave Plymouth an an hour so early it's actually still late in order to catch the BA flight to Palma Mallorca. And then a week of Tall Ships sailing. No rest for the wicked.


Mme Cyn said...

You sound remarkably calm, Mr Goat. Does this mean your vacation is already doing you good? ;^)

Lawful Good From Cowplain said...

No rest for the wicked
This being why I am well rested and you are still manic?

J. Edward Tremlett said...

"You sound remarkably calm, Mr Goat. Does this mean your vacation is already doing you good? ;^)"

wait until they try to feed him an eel pie, now minus all trace of eel.


Mistress La Bonque said...

Avast ye, Black Beardygoat Gruff! Saw an article in "Ver Sun!" entitled "Camilla in Goat Escape". Apparently she was attacked by a goat on a visit to a creamery. (Yes, you did read that right).

Have you been inciting goat violence & bad behaviour whilst present on these shores? Was that the point of your sojourn here? xxx

Grumpy Goat said...

Remarkably calm indeed. Unlike the Force 7 out of Soller, Mallorca. Seven knots on about 30 sq.m of canvas. And cloven hooves are dreadful on the ratlines.


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