maandag 24 november 2014

The Importance of Being Patient

A lot of people have the theory that when you fly with Flybe you should be prepared to flap your arms to get into the air. They fly old types of Bombardier equipped with propellers. I must admit that I never had any complaint while flying several times with them. I never had a delay and the staff was always friendly and very professional.

So it was no surprise that my flight arrived on Norwich Airport even a bit early. All 15 passengers got off. There was a British couple with two children, two British gentlemen who travelled together and the rest of the people, including me, came from the Netherlands. There were two girls among the Dutch who really drew my attention; one was quite small and had dark hair and the other was the tallest blonde that I had ever seen in my life. Because they had been sitting in front of me, I had overheard that they were heading for Great Yarmouth. This should be quite a lovely beach-town according to them.

Like always we were lead to the airport building on an outlined path. Two women in yellow jackets kept an eye on us in case we got out of line. The passengers were well trained and so we arrived safe and sound in the luggage reclaim room with its single luggage carousel.

When waiting for the arrival of my luggage I always have to think about that famous 12% of luggage that worldwide get lost on flights. It happened to me three times but after some days it always shows up. It is a nuisance but the most important things like money and passport will not be in it and there’s always the insurance to get it even with.

The fifteen of us had been waiting for half an hour at the luggage-carousel. Luggage for so few people shouldn’t take that long, we grumbled. New passengers already had boarded the plane.

The children were led off by the mother and were having a drink. The rest of us stampeded to three women with yellow jackets behind a counter. One of the British men became our spokesman. He explained patiently that we would be very happy if we could have our luggage. The three yellow-jackets just smiled at us. We should be patient and wait.

The dark-haired Dutch girl had a vision: “Our luggage is still on that plane!” So we now shouted all together that they should get it off. One of the yellow-jackets told us that the procedure not allowed the staff to go to the plane now. The engines obviously had been started. We threatened to get the luggage ourself but the women behind the counter just smiled at us.
A fourth woman with a yellow-jacket appeared and she joined her colleagues behind the counter.

We started to yell at her too. She mentioned us to be quiet and she took a sort of walkie-talkie out of her jacket. She mumbled a bit in it and then waited. A few minutes later she was able to tell us that all of our luggage had been taken from the plane. She spoke a bit longer with her colleagues and then went away.

The plane taxied away to the runway. “Bye bye luggage”, said the dark-haired one and she almost cried. A man who stood behind me cursed loudly and suggested that we should demand to see the management. The blonde Dutch girl exclaimed that she would drag one of the yellow-jackets over the counter. Our spokesman advised not to do such a thing: it would not help us very much. Their only action still existed of having these smiles, to me they seemed amused, like they would have a nice story for a next birthday party. The fourth one appeared again with a tray of four coffees. The passengers were not exactly amused, some were ready to explode.

The plane had flown off and we still stood there in despair. All of a sudden the other British man shouted: “I think I know what to do! Follow me.” I thought he would lead us to the management or such, but instead we walked through some corridors. It all looked very poor, some doors had “STAFF ONLY” on it. There was no-one to stop us. I thought this was the wisest the staff could do regarding our state of mind.

Behind the last door we met on this quest, was a room that looked like a shed. And here was another luggage carousel, maybe the first this airport had got in its existence. And here we found our long-lost luggage.

I think we all showed a lot of anger on our faces, customs never worked quicker. And after almost two hours I could finally go to my wife who had patiently been waiting all this time. I told her about the reason of the delay and she told me that this had been the last Flybe flight between Amsterdam and Norwich. I couldn’t have cared less!

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