I’ve had a lot of nagging to do the next bit of this saga, so here it is. Just to summarise the story so far, we are at Heathrow on our way to Marrakech for a weekend away, Richy has retrieved the tickets, wallet and passports he left on the roof of the car in the long stay car park at Terminal 2, and we’re at Terminal 4 where we’ve just found out our plane leaves in 50 minutes from Gatwick. (see Part 1 and Part 2)
I had about 1 minute of completely frenetic thoughts around jumping on a bus/taxi to Gatwick instantly when the help desk lady said “You ain’t gonna get to Gatwick in time, you losers”. I then had a bizarre experience that may have been a breakdown. Richy, who let’s remember had taken sole responsibility for the passports and tickets for this jaunt (and was clearly doing a stonking job), ran round the terminal trying to find an Air Maroc desk. He came back to where I was sort of standing/sitting/in a fugue/heap/muddle and suggested that we could always have a weekend in London or, if I preferred, a country hotel.
“A.COUNTRY.FUCKING.HOTEL???” I won’t go into the details of the brief conversation that followed that suggestion, but the breakdown continued, and Richy went off to look for the Air Maroc desk again.
At this point I got a text from Ullamatey saying “Hey, you must be close to boarding! Have a great time!!” Hilarious. I tried to find our text exchange to paste here but I must have deleted it which is a shame. Anyway, I texted back to say that we would be boarding, if we were in the right airport and she instantly switched into travel agent trouble shooter mode (re-earning her great mate in a crisis badge). “There’s a flight from Gatwick to Marrakech at 3pm”, she said, “and there are still some seats available…”
The actual details of what happened while we were still in Terminal 4 are a bit hazy (though afterwards – to be detailed in Part 4 – we did wonder if our actions raised some security concerns). But Richy never found the Air Maroc desk and we decided to head for Gatwick. Now, I’ve drawn a picture here to illustrate the nightmarish level of travel involved here;
Each section of the journey (the Heathrow leg alone involved three buses, a taxi, two trains and a lot of walking) was misery. There is something very demoralising about parking in a long stay car park to go on holiday, and then returning to the car park an hour and a half later and paying a wad to drive away again. On the way to Gatwick, I called Trailfinders in Hometowny and booked two single tickets to Marrakech. Blokey on the phone was a bit concerned that we were buying tickets so close to the flight time and couldn’t really understand why we were driving to Gatwick without tickets.
“Ha ha ha ha ha”, I said. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha” Eventually I managed to explain what had happened, he sold us the tickets and then, just before I hung up, said we ought to check with Air Maroc that our return flights would be valid.
Text to Ullamatey: can u google if return tickets valid if u miss outward flight?
To be continued.