The morning of our 6am flight from Prague to London, we were up at 4am, and at the airport by 5am.
“Our flight’s been cancelled,” Tall said after consulting the departure board. I smiled weakly at his feeble attempt at a joke at such an early hour.
“No, seriously,” he said. “And all the other Sky Europe flights have been cancelled, too…”
I squinted up at the departure board. He was right. Every single Sky Europe flight had been cancelled.
“Wait here,” Tall instructed. “I’ll be back in a sec.”
I seated myself on our little suitcase, feeling weak from morning sickness and hunger. Luckily we’d saved some fruit from lunch the day before, and I began to tuck in while I waited.
Tall came back with a grim look on his face.
“Guess which airline’s just gone bust?” he asked.
My jaw dropped. I blinked rapidly a number of times. I stared at him in disbelief.
“Sky EuROPE??” I squeaked.
“Yep. And their office is locked and no one else seems to want to tell me what’s going on.”
Now, if you’ve ever watched one of those airline shows, you’ll have seen this happen. And you’ll have thought, “Oh, those poor b*st*rds, that would suck”, and then you’ll have felt an almost-smug sense of relief that this unfortunate incident has ever happened to you.
Well…I can tell you that it does suck, and that when it happens to you, you have two options. You can fly into a rage and scream and yell and cry and throw your toys, or you can calmly shrug your shoulders, take a deep breath and work out how you’re going to get home.
By some miracle, Tall and I both went for option number two. He, by nature, is calm and rational. I, by nature, am emotional and often irrational, but I was exhausted and unwell, and didn’t have the energy to waste on getting worked up about a situation that was so far beyond our control.
We found an internet station and tried to book our way back to London by any means possible. We emailed our workplaces and told them that the chances were we wouldn’t be back that day, as planned. We listened to a young English guy talking to his girlfriend on the phone; she was obviously p*ssed at the delay, and he was getting angrier by the moment, at her and the situation.
After coming up with no financially viable options for getting back to London, we started to do the rounds of the other airline counters. In line for British Airways, we listened as the price per seat went from just under £300 (already ridiculously high for a one-hour flight that had initially cost us less than £50, total) to just under £1000, as the line grew and people got more and more anxious.
There was no way we could afford that kind of money, so we found another airline counter – for the cutely named Wizz Air – that had just opened and managed to buy two tickets for the following morning, at a much more affordable price.
Then we headed back into the city, checked back into our hotel and spent another, unplanned day in the beautiful city of Prague. And when I say “we” spent another day in the city…I mean that I slept and Tall went off exploring on his own.
Needless to say, we made sure we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare the next day, and made it back safe-and-sound to London.
(And in case you were wondering, we had sensibly paid for our Sky Europe flights with credit card, and were refunded the costs of our flights. Your lesson to take away from this? Always, ALWAYS pay for flights by credit card if you can!)