Monday, November 24, 2008

Getting to Egypt

Yes - I know I promised I had finished with the subject of Egypt, but the following tale doesn't count cos we weren't actually IN Egypt at this point*. In fact - at that particular point we all began to wonder if we were in fact going to get to Egypt in the first place.

In order to get to Egypt we have decided to take an aeroplane. This means travelling from Heathrow Airport's new Terminal Five, a decision which provokes comment from even the youngest members of the group, all of whom are aware of publicity regarding the disasterous opening of the Terminal a few months ago. Now was all this bad publicity fair?

The new Terminal Five is a massive facility, designed to relieve congestion at the airport and improve the travelling experience. It is designed to handle all of Briish Airways flights from Heathrow.

Unfortunately, the much-publisised opening was dogged by problems, cancelled flights, computer systems not working, massive levels of lost luggage; in other words complete testament to the fact that we British, when faced with the task of building anything larger than a garden shed, always manage to cock it up. In fact Graham who was one of our party and who is himself a frequent traveller, has an unfortunate friend who arrived at terminal 5 at 11 o'clock one morning, whose flight was cancelled at 11 o'clock the same night, whose luggage was lost in the meantime, and whose travel insurance was declared invalid since, technically, he had not travelled.

When one is due to travel via Terminal Five one receives a leaflet from British Airways telling one how to negotiate Terminal Five without stress. That didn't seem quite as reassuring as B.A. no doubt intended that it should be.

Our collective feeling of unease was compounded at check-in, where a unique system has been adopted by the authorities. What you don't do when checking-in at Terminal Five is go up to the check-in desk and check in. What you do is go to the check-in desk, get told to go to do-it-yourself check-in computer screens, check in each of the seventeen members of the party separately, get issued seventeen boarding passes where no two seats are together, go back to the original check-in desk to have all of the machine-issued boarding passes cancelled so they can issue new ones manually and try to seat the group in the same section of the plane. It is a unique system. And it took an incredibly long time which was why we all started to wonder if we were in fact travelling to Egpyt or not.

Still, all the hanging around sorting out our seats did give some of us the opportunity to read some of our travel guides whilst we were waiting and now I finally get to the one thing I really wanted to tell you about Egypt but had somehow neglected to in my earlier posts. I think you will agree that the following information was well worth waiting for.

One of the things we learnt from one of the books was that:

"The Egyptian pyramids are pyramid shaped structures to be found in Egypt".

As you may imagine - this came as something of a surprise.

* My blog - my rules to make or break as convenient.


Jay said...

As you may imagine - this came as something of a surprise."

Hahahahaha!!! I bet!

I would be feeling a certain amount of unease on entering Terminal Five, too - I'm glad you didn't lose your luggage. But I'm puzzled about the guy's insurance being invalid. I'd have fought that, I think. He had travelled from his home in good faith and was in the 'care' of the agency through which he hoped to travel. When my OH had flights cancelled in NY, and had to be put up in a hotel, the insurance covered that, so why not luggage lost by an airport before the flight?

J.J said...

Hi Jay - it does seem dodgy doesn't it? I assume he appealed the decision.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

"The Egyptian pyramids are pyramid shaped structures to be found in Egypt".

Classic. I've just giggled like a loon on reading that line. Well worth you breaking your own rules for...!

J.J said...

Lisa - we live and learn eh? :-)

badgerdaddy said...

I've not visited for a while, sorry. Where did you go in Egypt? I had a great time there, really enjoyed it. Also, I've used T5 at Heathrow and I had a very good experience there, too!

J.J said...

Hi Badgerdaddy.

Egypt was wonderful. We went to Cairo, Luxor and Aswan as well as a trip to Abu Simbel. Absolutely amazing all of it.