Plan B

Steve: Someone at British Airways will be in deep deep trouble. It can’t be fun if you’re the person who did the thing, whatever it was, that caused the shutdown of all BA systems. Turning it off and on again doesn’t work at this level.

After a much more leisurely than expected beginning to the day – no 4am wake up call – we spent a couple of hours trying to figure out if Heathrow was working again. The BA website wasn’t much use and the telephone number given for rebooking was effectively non functioning – you called, you listened to an apology, you pressed ‘1’, you pressed ‘1’ again and got a further message informing you that there was a high number of calls (surprise!) and you need to call back later. Note to BA: after you’ve repeated the previous process 20 times you really truly don’t want to hear the apology and the nice music yet again. Why not offer an immediate ‘Press 1 for rebooking’? Would save many frustrating minutes.

St Jean Pied de Port is rather awkward to get to and our booked route of Biarritz tonight, then train to St Jean first thing tomorrow was the best. Finding an alternative was looking quite difficult. So by 10am we thought, what the heck, let’s just go to the airport and see what’s happening

What’s happening was a very long queue at the BA check in desks. The extremely polite and helpful BA staff (another note to BA – your staff are excellent…) were working hard with minimal information, handing out hastily photocopied bits of paper with details of how to get refunds, and doling out bottles of water.  A super helpful lady whose name I didn’t get (she was working at the end of the queue at around 11:15, note #3 to BA – give her a bonus) was checking to see if there were any spaces on any planes going to Heathrow that would allow us to get our 17:15 LHR-Biarritz flight. No, was the answer. All flights were already overbooked. But after a further few minutes of to and fro she told us that if we can get to Heathrow by 7pm we should be able to get the delayed Biarritz flight (now due to depart at 20:50). “Keep all your receipts!” she shouted at us as we raced towards the taxi rank to get to Edinburgh Waverley in time for the noon train to London.

Plan B is now: get to London by train ASAP, get to Heathrow by 7pm and resume a modified Plan A.

As of 1pm – so far, so good.