Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I had it coming; I have nobody to blame but myself.

Feeling smug, I changed my profile status on facebook on Monday to read something along the lines of Barry doesn’t care about the snow because he works from home , I felt at the time that I might have tempted fate somewhere. It appears that it stopped me from playing the European Deepstack Poker Championships today.

I organised my taxi to take me to the train station yesterday on Wednesday night, the woman on the phone advised I book it an hour before my train was set to set off, so I booked it for 8.15am, feeling content that I would invariably get there way too early and be bored, but secure that I was getting there no problem. So naturally I was a bit worried when my taxi driver eventually turned up at 9.00am.

Somehow he got to the station for 9.18am and I had just missed the train, amazing I got there at all because he couldn’t appear to drive at all, so in the snow I guess I am lucky I am still alive at all. The next train wasn’t till 10.11am and my flight was at 12.15pm. This was not good, I am very anally retentive in this department and I am never late for anything, in fact I am usually painfully early for things as important as a plane. I had to buy another train ticket for about £20 too.

The train arrived in Manchester Airport at 11.25 and I would love to say I sprinted, but my suitcase was way too heavy and instead adopted a quick, camp, waddle to the Aer Lingus desk, where I discovered the check in desk shut at 11.30, it was 11.31 and I was told I wasn’t getting my flight. I’d love to say I shouted at the woman, used my most manly voice to put her in her place, but instead I begged like a hungry dog until she reopened the desk.

I had to shell out £15 to get my luggage fasttracked on the plane but now I had another problem, the printer for the boarding pass suddenly stopped working. The woman had to keep changing the computer she was using and get about three of her colleagues to try and rectify the problem, all the time muttering to herself “he is going to miss this flight”. Thankfully we overheard the plane was delayed and she managed to manually produce me a boarding pass and the sprint (Sorry, camp waddle) was back on.

I haven’t been in Manchester Airport for a while and they have completely changed the way Terminal 1 is organised, so I got a bit lost but made it just in time to see the departure lounge to see the flight was still delayed “Thank god” I thought, feeling victorious I made it and relieved I can go and relax, get a coffee and calm down.

Two hours later, they announced the flight was cancelled.

They gathered us into a departure lounge (When I say us, I am also including those two twins that were on Big Brother a few years ago, I always see (vaguely) famous people at Manchester Airport, I saw Tyrone from Coronation Street, Keith Duffy from Boyzone and the thin bloke from Gavin and Stacy) and told us that Dublin Airport was closed and we had to go back into the main part of the Airport.
Everybody started smiling, joking and generally taking the news in good British and irish spirit, all of us acknowledging nothing could be done with good gentle gallows humour.

Step forward a big, fat, ginger, curly haired, bearded, chav, scouser who interrupted saying “sorry, I missed the start, what are we talking about?”

“Well sir, the flight has been cancelled....”

“Cancelled???? I need to get to Dublin, and I need to get there NOW!” he screamed louder than anyone has screamed on the show ‘Airport’

“There are some later flights, but its first come first served....”

“I’m first, I’m FUCKING FIRST”

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhh” came the assembled noise of about 20 senior citizens, as he stormed off effing and jeffing, punching the air and hurling abuse at anyone who would look at him.

I detest people like this, people who throw the dummy out, disrupt everyone elses journey and expect a customer services rep to be able to solve a weather problem hundreds of miles away. People like this are what’s wrong with the world, those that cannot see the world beyond their own nose.

So with that, it was back to the Aer Lingus desk to book in for the 10.20pm flight (It was about 2pm at this point). We all managed to get on the next flight and I was left wondering what to do for the next 8 hours. (Walking about aimlessly it would appear to be the crux of it)

During one of my many wanders around, I checked my emails on my phone to find out one of the many poker media outlets I write for might be no more. I can’t say anything more about that at the moment (It’s not a particularly big one) but it was great to hear about a nice little loss in revenue during my limbo period inside Manchester Airport.

Eventually I went and got something to eat, then found a nice hotel bar, plonked my stuff down, wired my laptop up, shelled out an obscene amount for the internet usage and started getting drunk and surfing the net. I was actually starting to relax a little, discovered that ice on the runway had temporarily closed Dublin airport, and started looking forward to the competition.

Until about 6pm when I found out that Dublin Airport was closed for the rest of the day and my flight was, once again, cancelled. I went back to the Aer Lingus desk (Say it aint so Are Lingus) and found out that I probably couldn’t get another flight till late afternoon the next day, so alas, I resigned to giving up.

I had to buy another train ticket, because the return I bought was for Monday, and I reckon I wasted about £100 on nothing yesterday, not to mention whatever I get charged for cancelling my Dublin hotel. It looks like Winamax should be able to refund me the €1600 entry fee, or exchange it for the shorthanded festival later this year, which is fine by me. It was very depressing arriving back home last night, but I would have loved to have seen the big, fat, beared, curly haired, ginger, chav, scouser when he arrived back at the Airport at 10pm last night, almost makes it all worth it.
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