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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

Driving home for Christmas

If you’ve been following my Twitter stream today, you’ll probably know that while I should be almost in Scotland by now, I am, in fact, still on Swiss soil. After the third early start in a row, when we headed for Geneva to catch our flight to Edinburgh for a two week holiday with family, the plague of flight cancellations finally reached us and scuppered our plans.

Having steadily watched the updates section on the EasyJet website and following updates which their customer service advisor has been posting to their Twitter channel, we saw that many other flights were being cancelled but our own flight was still untouched. As the flights being cancelled seemed to be focused around London, our trip to Scotland seemed to be getting past the swathe of bad weather.

Once checked in, and after we’d had brunch, we made it as far as passing through the security checks to see the board entry next to our flight change to the dreaded red: cancelled. Within reach of leaving, yet hopes dashed at the last minute.

After discussing the alternatives, including a sFr. 2,500 car rental to drive to Scotland and a 24 hour train journey via Paris and London, we finally decided to continue to pin our hopes on flights and arranged an alternative flight through the Easyjet desk. Unfortunately, options for Geneva flights were completely sold out following so many cancellations.

So, back onto the train for the second three-plus hour journey of the day, across Switzerland to Zürich. We’re checked in as I write and have every single appendage crossed, hoping that we can make it through to Luton tonight on the 19:45 scheduled flight. From there, we’ll be collected by my parents to stay with them overnight, with plans to drive from Hampshire with a rental car to Scotland tomorrow and on Friday, with an overnight stop in the north of England. The rental car is a story in itself, as the 12 major rental companies have completely sold out across the U.K.

We’re grateful for all of the help we’re receiving from family in the U.K. who have been bashing away by telephone and internet to help us get to our destination; whether tonight or over the next couple of days.

Driving home for Christmas, indeed.