I'm home from my French holiday and have had a thoroughly wonderful time :o) I'll write about it over the next few posts, and today I'll tell you about my journey out there.
The flight from Newcastle left on time, the weather was fine and all looked good for an easy time to Exeter, and all did go well until we got to Exeter ... or rather, all went well until we got *over* Exeter. I had a window seat and could see the patchwork world get closer, the dingy-toy planes sitting waiting at the airport as we flew over it, the sea and the land alternating as we flew round and round in circles, and gradually it began to dawn on me that we'd been circulating the area for sometime and I was sure we'd started rising again. I thought this was a bit weird, but figured that it was better to be unexpectedly going up than unexpectedly coming down. Then the captain came on over the tannoy, with that special, calm voice that people use when trying to placate themselves and pretend that everything's okay.
'Ladies and gentlemen,' he said, 'we had expected to have landed by now, but are experiencing a slight technical problem with the undercarriage. We are working to rectify this and then we'll have to do all the checks again, and get back in the flight queue. Then hopefully we can land.' That 'hopefully' was somewhat telling of the captain's feigned calm, and I could imagine him sitting in the cockpit swearing like a trooper, then composing himself and steadying his voice before speaking to his passengers.
A few panicked looks passed between one or two of the other passengers, with one of the ladies in the row in front of me asking with alarm, 'What does that mean?!' The guy next to me, who'd earlier told me that he designed/built helicopters, leant over to the woman and said, 'It means the wheels won't come down so we can't land.' This didn't calm her any.
I wasn't particularly concerned for some reason and just got on with enjoying the view, although I did eventually begin to get a bit bored of circling the same area. So we circled, and we cirlced, and we circled, and time ticked on, and on, and on, and eventually the wheels came down, and the captain came on the tannoy again saying, 'Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure you'll be relived to know that we have rectified the problem with the undercarriage and we're now preparing to land ... You may even be as relieved as I am' !!!
As we were leaving the plane the man who'd been sitting beside me asked one of the cabin crew how little fuel we had left. Her reply? 'You don't want to know' !!! :oO Running out of fuel would've been one way to land, I guess, but I'm glad that we managed to avoid getting down that way.
The rest of my travel to Rennes was thankfully uneventful, although there was a lengthy delay in getting onto my connecting flight as Flybe had been going to use the same plane I'd just got off for the next flight. We had to wait while they had another plane flown down from Birmingham instead, and ya know, I'm pleased they did.
Holidays need a bit of excitement ... but maybe not too much excitement.