The journey was so traumatic it deserves its own post! Maybe writing about about it will help me recover??
So yes, my journey home for Christmas started last Tuesday morning, after an epic snowfall of 11 inches in Milan! I knew it was asking for trouble, the day before all BA flights to Heathrow from Linate, except for the last one of the day had been cancelled. But the weather was better, and the BA site that morning said that the flight was delayed by only 19 minutes, so I left for Linate feeling slightly optimistic, if still nervous.
It doesn't matter where I fly from in Italy, the state of check-in is always the same. It's never really chaotic, just not very organised, and never enough check-in desks open. I had a bit of a funny turn in the queue though, not exactly sure what provoked it, but I nearly fainted! And that was after I'd eaten something because I felt lightheaded!! But I managed to sort myself out somehow, get checked in, through security and on to the gate...
Where I had to go through passport control, and where there was nowhere to have food - only half-empty vending machines. No water, only fizzy drinks. Luckily there was some Fanta, it helps when I'm suffering from my low blood sugar. And then we waited. Boarding time came & went, and no news, not a peep. From the screens every single flight was delayed, but there was nothing about ours. Eventually someone turned up at the desk, and everybody got up to queue - even though there was no announcement or anything. Until the announcement that eventually followed that we would be boarding in 15 minutes. Fair enough, I'd still have enough time in Heathrow before getting my coach at 5.45pm.
It was when we were waiting at the gate that I started to hear people talking about baggage problems. I couldn't believe it. I'd had no idea about any problems, and hoped that everything was in fact ok. But when we got on the plane I found out that infact, everything wasn't ok. There were problems in the terminal, and not all of the luggage would make it onto the plane. I honestly started to cry. All my presents were in my case. Home was at least 5 hours from Heathrow, and with the bad weather & it being 2 days before Christmas I knew that I didn't stand much of a chance of getting it in time.
After being told initially that we had a 65 minute wait before take-off, that was then changed to 15 minutes a little later. We eventually left around 2 hours late. For the whole flight I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen that gave us the progress of our journey, and I tried not to think about the possibility that my case wasn't on the flight.
I arrived with around 1 1/2 hours to spare until my coach, and flew through arrivals!! Then it was baggage claim. I had to wait to see if my case would be there or not. More and more cases arrived, and finally - mine!!! I'd never been so happy to see my case!! And then I was off to find the coach stop!
I couldn't believe I arrived at the coach stop with 1 hour to spare!!! I decided to sit outside, I wasn't going anywhere and risk missing my coach! The National Express staff were lovely, checking where I was going, and letting us know what was happening with our coach home. The coach was nearly hour late after breaking down, but I didn't care. Even if I missed my connection in Swansea - where I would've had 70 minutes to spare - it was close enough for someone to come and pick me up. So I settled down for the journey, and tried to get some sleep.
The coach arriving late in Heathrow was actually a blessing, I only had to wait around 20 minutes in Swansea for my connection. By the time I had arrived it was around 11, it was cold, dark & wet. But I was nearly home, and too tired and frazzled to care.
I arrived in Carmarthen around 12.15am, after all the delays I was just about on time, to be greeted by my mam and my brother. I'd made it, and with my case full of presents to boot. After the snow in the UK and Milan, a 2 hour delay in the airport, and a broken down coach, I'd made it home!! Luckily the journey back to Milan was nowhere near as traumatic!!!