Monday, February 21, 2011

A New Adventure - Asia

I wasn't going to blog this trip because it's not like I'm the first person to ever go to Singapore, Thailand and Poland (although most probably do not do that itinerary), but it's already shaping up to be slightly eventful.

My plan was to leave Boston early Sunday morning and arrive in Singapore Monday night, leaving plenty of time to get to a meeting at which I had been invited to speak. My portion doesn't start until Wednesday, so it gave me a day to get acclimated. Unfortunately, the plan isn't working out that way.

The connection from Heathrow to Singapore was tight and a few other Boston passengers and I were whisked off the plane in London and quickly escorted to the Singapore flight. We had been in the air only a few minutes when the pilot announced that the "undercarriage was operating improperly" - how understatedly British! What had actually happened was that not all the landing gear had retracted, creating drag on the plane (and using more fuel) and leaving the question of landing with partial gear. The pilot told us were were returning to Heathrow, but it would be about an hour as 80,000 gallons of fuel had to be dumped before we could land safely.

Upon hitting the runway, we were met with a fleet of fire engines and ambulances, but it was an uneventful landing. All the passengers were given vouchers for a night at the airport Sofitel, as well as dinner, breakfast and lunch the following day as the next flight out wasn't until 6:00 pm. As we all waited by the baggage carousel, it was clear that the only people still hoping to see their bags were the Boston passengers. We were reassured that although it appeared that our bags had never made it on the Singapore flight (and we wouldn't see them that night), the delay would give them a chance to catch up with us. Supplied with overnight kits and our vouchers, we headed to the hotel bar.

I considered spending the following day in London, but since my coat was in my luggage and it was a cold, rainy day, that seemed like an undesirable option. Instead, I've spent the day at the British Airways executive lounge (a reason why it's really great to not fly economy) catching up on work and watching planes and people. Hopefully, we will get off the ground tonight and stay there for 12 hours until we land in Singapore.

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