On Saturday, I learned that my presence was "required" at our lovely Chennai office ASAP.
The earliest (I almost wrote 'Soonest' :P) possible for me was Tuesday, and out I headed to the fantastic Bangalore International Airport (I will sing its praises in a future post *is not sarcastic*) to catch a flight to the land of humid weather, polite people, Rajinikanth and sambhar
I had my tickets booked for Tuesday (Jet Airways) with a return planned on Friday (Air Deccan).
Wait at the wonderful Bangalore airport lounge : 8:00 am to 10:00 am - 2 hours ( I like an early check in)
Some 4-5 minutes away from boarding the flight, I got a call that inform me that the reason for which I was hurriedly headed to Chennai no longer existed. *Clicks a finger* just like that!
Given that the tickets were already booked and at that moment, Chennai was 45 minutes away compared to my Bangalore office that was a minimum of 120 minutes away, I decided to fly out anyway!
Some confusion about the boarding gate (Hey we are boarding at gate 8, err actually gate 10, hey guess what peehpul! Gate 11 it will be!) and off we flew to Chennai.
Flight time en route to Chennai: 1 hour
Reached the Chennai office, socialised with the crowd (a few old faces a few new) and decided to reschedule my friday evening flight.
A quick lunch, some more socialising and an auto ride saw me at the Chennai airport, at 4:30 pm well in time for the Air Deccan flight scheduled at 5:30pm.
At check-in I discovered that the flight was late by 40 minutes (The plane has not yet arrived saar!)
siiiggghh, I settled down to catch up on the days news, A TOI, an Indian Express and 15 minutes of watching cyclic clips of the latest developments in the Arushi murder case on the airport telly and I was all set to board the flight
Wait at the Chennai airport lounge :4:30pm to 6:10pm - 1 hour 40 minutes
They took us in the bus to the plane, got us to sit in the plane, gave us a couple of Kingfisher mineral water bottles and then the Captain's voice boomed on the PA system
"Welcome on board our flight #### to Bangalore, we have an engine failure and hence are presently unable to take off"
"You know it is after all a machine and is liable to fail anytime, thank you for understanding"
*Makes a straight face*
Fail anytime!?? wow!
Some reassurance that! So in about 20 minutes it was decided that the plane is not going to be air borne anytime soon.
Waiting time in immobile aircraft : 30 minutes
Off we were loaded back into the bus on the way back to the waiting lounge.
After the screaming and shouting at the Air Deccan ground staff, we were pacified with "refreshments" which included what seemed like a fruit cake, a mango juice in a tetrapack and 2 slices of bread with some cheese within.
We were to be put on another Air Deccan flight scheduled for later that evening at 8:50 pm
Out came the P.G. Wodehouse, Thank heavens I had carried it along.
Waiting at the Chennai Lounge, Phase 2: 2 hours 10 mins
at 8:50pm, we were told that the flight is delayed by 15 minutes, (The plane has not yet arrived saar!) a wave of Deja Vu.
Waiting at the Chennai Lounge, Phase 3: 30 minutes
Finally we did board the flight at 9:20 and this time it did take off and stayed aloft long enough to reach Bangalore!
Flight time back to Bangalore: 1 hour
That makes it a total of 8 hours and 50 minutes at the Airport or in the plane!
And I have not even factored in the time to get to the Airport and Back.
Whew! a long day and a long post :)