On Thursday I went to Cardiff. Just a quick day trip, out in the morning, back in the evening. At least that was the plan...
When I checked in at the airport, around half past seven in the evening, the woman at the desk handed me my boarding pass and then said, as if it was an irrelevant little detail, 'oh and the flight's been delayed until 1.'
'1. 1 am?' I asked, thinking as I said it that it couldn't be because all the airports would be closed. But she confirmed it was so and handed me a voucher for £7 worth of 'refreshment' which is a misnomer if ever there were one: being forced to choose from a range of pre-packed foods under neon lighting is the antithesis of refreshing.
So, five hours in Cardiff Airport.
The time passes very slowly.
I kept thinking that as a resourceful Lady Traveller I ought to be able to come up with some super strategy to while away the time - turn lemons into lemonade etc. Weren't my airport reviews based on this very thing?
But unfortunately Cardiff Airport is little more than a shed and offers very little material with which to work. One bar, one cafe (closed), one WH Smith, one duty free shop (though it closed soon afterwards), voila tout.
My laptop was at home, my phone ran out of battery and I just didn't feel like starting in to writing a bestselling novel. So I read a little and people watched a little and watched the screens hopefully and eventually a plane materialised and I got home somewhere around three in the morning.
The next day, I wondered if there was a hint to be gleaned from the experience. Why, yes. Two hints, actually.
First hint: air travel is often exhausting and frustrating. Airlines treat you like a child, telling you half-truths (or not telling you anything at all); airports are most often horribly lit ghettoes with uncomfortable chairs and a smaller or greater choice of unappealing food outlets. There is nothing any of us can do when stranded at an airport except remind ourselves that the time will eventually pass.
Second hint: never, ever, even when just going on a quick day trip, leave your phone charger at home.