Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

Homeward Bound

I got up just before 9 and went down for breakfast in an otherwise deserted hotel restaurant. Because I'd had two dinners in the hotel restaurant during my stay, I was entitled to a free full breakfast

I wandered back to my room and stayed there until 1130; I really didn't want to get hot and sweaty for the journey. I checked out of the hotel a lot more easily than I had checked in and took a taxi to the airport, realising when I got there that the young taxi driver three days ago had ripped me off by a few dollars.

There was little sign of life at the BA check-in desks. I asked when they opened and was told that the official time was 1330. I made two invalid assumptions at this point. First, that when she said "officially" 1330, there might be an unofficial chance of checking in earlier. Secondly, I assumed that I had no choice but to sit and wait in the non-air conditioned main terminal area. The first assumption was wrong because the agents (not BA staff) turned up at 1350 ... so "officially" had really meant "that's when they're supposed to be here, but you'll be lucky". The second assumption was also wrong because, as I was to find out at check-in, there is in fact a lounge at BGI and it's landside!!! I had sat on a stone bench in stifling heat for an hour and a half, for no reason. Aaarghhhhhh!

Much, much worse was to come. Although the lounge - the Caribbean Club - was ok, I decided to go at about 1550 as I don't like brinksmanship. I got the shock of my life : while I had been in there, the terminal had descended into utter chaos, with people milling around everywhere and the most enormous queue snaking round the whole building. With only half an hour to go until the gate closing time, I knew that the queue was not moving anywhere near quickly enough. Yet no announcement had been made in the lounge and most other premium-cabin passengers were stuck well behind me. This was the only thing that prevented me from panicking. What was very annoying indeed was that several people managed to get waved through, but when I and a few others pleaded our case we were contemptuously sent packing   One woman demanded to know the name of the official concerned, which he refused to give her. As I eventually passed through security (which also struck me as a total shambles) I felt that this experience had coloured my whole attitude to the place and made it much less likely that I would return. I also wondered rather bitterly whether this was truly a suitable last resting place for one of the seven precious BA Concordes - if the airport couldn't even organise its own security procedures, was it really a fitting guardian for a piece of world aviation heritage?

Even after I calmed down a bit, I reflected that both my arrival (the hotel had never heard of me) and departure from this island had been chaotic. It was an unfortunate ending, but it made the contrast in stepping into the BA First cabin all the more striking.

(Link to flight log in side panel)