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Lilly Blue Says: Walking would’ve been quicker!

Flying with Continental Airlines is an exercise in patience. A problem if you have precious little of it left.

My odyssey started on a rainy morning in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A dear friend brought me to the airport were we were greeted by a growing queue at the Continental Airlines counter. A truly scary view as most of the people didn’t look like they’d had their first cup of coffee yet.

We joined the queue and waited, and waited and…yes you guessed it…waited. Luckily my friend knew one of the Stewardesses and while talking to her discovered that we were in the wrong queue at the wrong counter. Huh? What? Ok then, so off I went to the suggested counter, got checked in and said a teary good-bye.

Shockingly the security check was a breeze and my flight to Halifax left and arrived on time (not being Continental Airlines probably helped). That’s when my luck ran out.

After a 6 (!!!) hour stopover I overheard a couple of people say that there was a delay. I joined them and we three hit it off instantly.

Now there's a suggestion that has it's merits.

While waiting for the next three hours, Vanessa (Texan), John (Irish) and I passed the time laughing over a few beers and martini’s. Once we boarded the aircraft we knew we had pretty much missed our connection flights in Newark. That took care of the panic of having to make it to the gate in only 50 minutes. Thank you Continental for your optimism into my abilities to make a run for it.

But wait, the saga continues. A lady from the ground staff  entered the plane and asked if three people would be willing to take a flight next morning. Apparently its tank had been filled too much, making the plane too heavy to take off. The next shock came when she announced that if there weren’t any volunteers she’d just remove people randomly. After getting a very angry response she stormed out. A short while later we noticed that luggage was being removed from the plane. A guy asked what the story was and she snapped “We’re removing 14 pieces of luggage to lighten the load”. On the question on how people, that had other connections to make in Newark, were supposed to get their luggage she shrugged and said “That’s not my problem!” (Everyone kept their fingers crossed that it wasn’t their luggage that got removed.)

Once we landed in Newark, John and I stuck together hoping that there was strength in numbers. We approached the Continental Airlines counter hoping against hope that there were other flights to Dublin that evening. Unfortunately there weren’t. Instead we were put on the next direct flight, leaving the following evening. So we negotiated some hotel and food vouchers and headed to the hotel for some shut-eye.

We breathed a sigh of relief when we boarded our plane a good 24 hours later. But of course it could have been too good to be true. True to form, the pilot made an announcement that there was a technical difficulty with the plane.


After one hour we were told to leave the plane as they had to replace a part. This took another couple of hours, by which time both John and I were at the end of our tether. We just wanted to go home and couldn’t believe it when we finally took off and landed in Dublin 6 hours later.  Tired and cranky but alive. Success!

The BEST holidays

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