Friday, 16 December 2011

Our cruise - part 3

Saturday 29th May 2011

One niggling little annoyance with Silversea is they have great ground staff but rubbish admin staff. I had informed their admin department several months previously that I wasn’t able to board the coach to take us to the airport when we go leave the ship.

“Don’t worry Mrs Harper”, reassured one of the admin staff, “I’ve made a note on your file that you will require a car instead”.

While we were waiting to be called to leave the ship, Mark, one of the Officers who we had had dinner with one evening, came over and said, “there seems to be a little problem with your transport. Head Office haven’t told us you require a car, and unfortunately there’s no time to arrange one now”.

So with a lot of heaving, lifting and generally being manhandled, I was put on the bus….

When we arrived at Rome airport Silversea had arranged for a guide to get us priority check-in, and then he stayed with us until the airport’s special assistance came to take us to BA business class lounge.

On arrival into Heathrow airport we were passed from one ‘special services’ purple buggy to another. We. As BA had taken Wizzy from me at the flight gate, and was told I wouldn’t see it again until we landed at Newcastle, I was simply ‘deposited’ in BA’s Club Lounge.

Although we’re not big shoppers as we had three hours to wait for our connecting flight from Heathrow to Newcastle, it would have been nice to look around the shops in Terminal 5. However as I didn’t have Wizzy we couldn’t do it. We were stuck in BA’s Club Lounge.

First of all it was huge. John had a good look around and said the place was unbelievable. Want something to eat - a salad, no problem, would you prefer some pasta, or maybe soup and a roll, or breakfast cereal, or biscuits, or crisps. All there, and all free. Then there’s an entire wall laid out with bottles of wine, and fridges full of beer and soft drinks. We hadn’t seen anything like it. Shame we were too knackered to appreciate or use it.

There was one small flaw to me being in the lounge – Wizzy was on his way to Newcastle and the little man had taken away his purple buggy. How was I got get around !!!!!

Thankfully Stickies had remained with me so I was able to walk a few paces. Had that not been the case, I would have had to remain in my seat until the ‘purple bug’ came to take me to the departure gate. Here’s an interesting thought. Say I didn’t have Stickies, what would have happened if I required the use of the loo? Wet myself….

Given that we had bought a Business Class ticket, surely a wheelchair could have been provided for me use whilst in the lounge. Passengers with young children who have their buggies and prams stored in the hold are handed them straight over as soon as they leave the aircraft. Why can’t this happen to wheelchair users. Instead we have to endure the degrading and embarrassing situation of having to be pushed like young children in purple buggies. The Customer from Hell will be dealing with this when we get home….

We had been told by the special assistance little man that someone would come at 5.10pm to take us to the departure gate. 5.10pm came and no purple buggy.

5.15pm. 5.20pm. 5.24pm. Still no purple buggy.

At 5.30pm John asked BA’s Customers Service Reception in the lounge if they could find out when someone would be coming to collect us. They too were a little surprised that no one had come. John were advised that ‘someone would be there shortly’.

At 5.45pm ‘Mildred’ finally arrived. She pushed the buggy toward me then turned to John and asked him ‘can she walk’….

BAD MOVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just because I may not have good use of my legs that did not give ‘Mildred’ the right to treat with me such disrespect.

John was caught off guard by her remark and simply said, ‘yes’.

I snarled, ‘YES!’ at her.

She tried to make conversation as we walked towards the departure gate but I refused to acknowledge her. I was too angry.

Normally ‘special assistance’ passengers are first on the aircraft, however given the lateness of ‘Mildred’s’ arrival, we were one of the last to board. Consequently we were stuck in a long queue of passengers and the constant stopping and starting of the buggy as we slowly moved really set my back off. I couldn’t wait to get seated and take some painkillers.

I don’t know if my face was telling the story of my woes but when the cabin crew came round with drinks, I just asked for a diet coke.

“Here”, he said, handing me a bottle of white wine instead, “you look like you need it….”.

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