Planes, volcanic ash, trains, a taxi, and Edinburgh

I’m dusting off my blog to catalog our UK trip to Scotland and England. Wait, I think dusting is not a good word choice here. Read further and I’ll explain.

We boarded our Virgin Atlantic plane around 4:30 pm on Wednesday. Thankfully, we had a two-seat across row, so it was just us in super uncomfortable, cramped chairs for 10-plus hours. The flight was uneventful and usual for a transatlantic flight. We tried to sleep, couldn’t. Watched some airplane movies (The Blind Side for me, Michael Jackson’s This is it for Shelly – who made the better choice? Discuss.) Snacked. Fitfully slept some more. Shelly had better luck napping, although her bobbing head every time she fell asleep was a little disturbing to watch.

Bored, I switched around the TV on the plane and clicked through SkyNews. And found this:


UK airports closed by ash cloud from volcano. Um, excuse me? Is this a bad ’70s TV movie? Where’s Linda Blair with her guitar (only Airport movie aficionados will get that)? I told this to Shelly who apparently was still asleep. The folks in front of me saw it as well and flagged down a flight attendant who knew nothing about it. She came back after checking with the pilot and said it was nothing to worry about.

Well, after circling Heathrow for a while and waiting 20 minutes on the tarmac for a gate to free up, we hear that planes are backing up at the airport. Backed up indeed. The volcanic ash, dust, disturbance, cloud basically shut down airspace over the UK as we were flying in. We were on one of the last planes to make it in before the airport shut down indefinitely. After we got our bags, did the customs thing, catching our BA flight to Edinburgh wasn’t going to happen. So, we rushed through the confused crowds of people, grabbed the quickest train into London, and booked a train to Edinburgh out of King’s Cross. Last-minute train bookings are not cheap but we wanted to get going.

The trains were unbelievably crowded, with SRO and luggage in every nook and cranny, but at 7:45 pm, four train rides and nearly eight hours after we landed in Heathrow, we made it to our bed and breakfast in Scotland. We stumbled around Edinburgh looking for dinner and settled on some decent Thai food. And that was the end of the longest day.

  1. #1 by kb on April 19, 2010 - 12:02 am

    Dude – you so lucked out getting there!! I can’t believe you made it just in time to be locked into Europe for a while. I guess they will eventually open up the airspace-they say tomorrow, but what if that unpronounceable volcano decides to keep blowing its charm over the continent? Sounds like a good time over there.

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