Saturday, March 17, 2007


Had to go up to Edinburgh on a business meeting on Thursday. Rose at 6 a.m. to get down to Southampton for the 8.25 flight (my meeting was not until 2 p.m.). Yes, it was a bit foggy driving down, but no big deal, I thought.

Apparently the pilots don't like taking off when they can't see the end of the runway. 8.25 came and went, and all around me flights were dropping like flies. But Edinburgh remained mysteriously uncancelled, with new advertised departure times of 10.45 and 11.15 passing uneventfully.

I figured my drop-dead point was 12.30. At 12.28 at gate 8 I asked the attendant the flight time to Edinburgh. "About an hour" she lied. Then she called boarding and the die was cast.

We landed, of course, at 14.15 and after getting a cab, I was 30 minutes late for my meeting. As it happened, this was OK and the trip had, just about, been worth it.

The meeting had been billed for 14.00 - 17.00 so I had elected not to take the 6.30 p.m. flight back to Southampton, just in case the meeting over-ran. Of course, we actually finished around ten to four. A coffee and cake later, I was at Edinburgh airport and sitting at the gate watching the 18.30 leave. I was booked on the next flight two hours later.

People are interesting at airports. Many of them do strange things. There was this asian guy, mid-forties and very slim, and looking slightly scarecrowish, who walked past the gate area where I was sitting, stopped, spun on his heels, walked briskly back the way he came, then appeared to inconsequentially stop, turn around, and repeat the process.

The first twenty times he did this I, of course, didn't notice, but then I became fascinated. I never did discover exactly what he thought he was doing.

My flight was again delayed, but we landed in Southampton around 10.15 p.m. and I was home for the end of Newsnight.

I still quite enjoy the ambience of airports, thankfully!