Yesterday saw me sobbing down the phone uttering the phrase.
But it’s Christmas…
The season of goodwill, family, friends and love. A chance to catch up with loved ones, both near and far. And for us? The start of a holiday of a lifetime.
Way back when in January my husband and I decided that this Christmas we’d head off on a cruise. We had such an amazing time last January on the Azura, courtesy of my wonderful mum, that we thought it would be the perfect place to spend Christmas.
So we booked it. Then as and when we could, we paid it off. A little bit here. A bit more there.
Then it was paid. It was official, we would be flying out from the UK to Barbados. Tuxedo, formal dresses, new shoes, special underwear. You name it, it was on my list to be collected.
Piece by piece.
The kids had been prepped, Father Christmas knows that he can only bring a little present to the “big ship” and any big presents will be waiting for us when we get back.
The only thing left was to get us to the UK in time to catch our flight to Barbados.
And that’s where it all unravelled
Having booked our flights, with a well reputed British airline, earlier in the year to ensure we’d beat the mad expat Christmas rush we felt pretty on top of it.
I would be flying in with the boys on an earlier flight to my husband, to give us all chance to get across London and the boys a chance to have a decent nights sleep before we embark on a 12 hour flight to Barbados to meet my mum. With my husband flying in later that evening once he’d finished work and friends coming across to meet us for a quick drink it’s fair to say we were feeling pretty smug about it all.
A tad too smug it turns out.
Yesterday morning I had a text message informing me that my flight back to the UK had been cancelled.
I was frantic
Even more so when my husband managed to get online, as I raced through the streets to get home to call, and informed me that according to the system the only flight they could get me on was the 23rd December.
A full day after we should have left the UK for Barbados.
The day that the ship will be setting off and sailing out for our Christmas adventure.
Then the number was engaged.
For the next hour.
I was getting more and more worked up.
At that point I gave up with the Qatar number, topped up my phone with a load of Riyals to get me through an international call, and rang the UK.
The tinkly advert music.
The advertisement singing down the line, had I booked a hotel, did I need to book a flight.
Then the most lovely man came on the line to try and help me as best he could.
5 minutes into the conversation, after which I was more relaxed about the fact that we could get there, I was frustrated at the time we were able to get there.
Leaving a full 4 hours after my husband set off.
Travelling on my own.
Landing into London in the dark, to hike the kids across town, to get them ready for a flight the next day.
My tears began.
And then I uttered that phrase.
But it’s Christmas and we just need to be together. We need to catch a connection. You know, like the bears. It’s family. It’s Christmas.
A sobbing mess.
He couldn’t help anymore. He had rules to follow and two flights only to offer me.
I spoke to his manager.
He couldn’t help either.
Their system was showing two flights only.
At that point we’d decided that I would be better going back earlier.
A day earlier.
So now, I am still travelling on my own with the boys, the flights are all changed, and we will meet my husband as planned at the hotel the next day.
Except I will be in the UK a whole day earlier. Another hotel to be booked. A worry about what we can do and how ill prepared we are for a freezing UK winters day given that we live in Qatar and are headed to the warmth of the Caribbean.
And I am thankful
Thankful that we are still able to go, to get there (fingers crossed) and have the holiday of a lifetime. But two weeks before we fly to cancel a Christmas flight? That I am not impressed me. Despite the service, and the fact I have been put on another flight, two weeks before we fly? At Christmas?
What about those who needed that specific flight?
Those who aren’t as flexible?
Flying to see family, to get home, to celebrate Christmas?
I can only hope that everyone gets to where they want to be this Christmas time. Despite cancellations.