This means we typically get the same flights in and out from Gatwick to Malaga on the Thursday and the return on the Sunday evening.
This trip has been going on for nine years and this year was no different until we attempted to travel home.
We were due to land at ten past four Sunday evening and all appeared well until we noticed that although we were slightly ahead of time, our plane had been circling for ten minutes or so. Eventually the pilot comes on to inform us of what’s going on.
It appears that there is a hole in the runway at Gatwick and it could take anything from half an hour to two hours to repair. We don’t have the fuel to circle so we’ve been diverted to Bournemouth…
Off we go to Bournemouth then
On landing, we sit for about two hours and watch whilst the plane is re-fuelled. This is where things start to go wrong.
Although the plane is legally ready now to fly the 15 minutes back to Gatwick and land, the crew it seems, are not. They’ve been on since 5 am and twelve hours is their limit.
It’s going to take at least two hours to bus a crew down from Gatwick (the one that should be taking the plane back to Malaga so we’re invited to disembark whilst we wait.
Now this isn’t a blog about BA or the crew messing up or the hole in the runway but it is an observation about the people involved on the plane and their responses or rather their reactions to the situation.
You see there were some people who actually lived in Bournemouth or on the South Coast and they could have just got off and got a short taxi ride home except, this was an international flight and to do that they would need to go through passport control and immigration. There were no immigration officials at Bournemouth as there was no expectation of an international flight disembarking that day.
It then materialised that there was no way we were going to get back into the flight plan around Gatwick to land as 92 planes had been affected and we were on the ground so less of a priority i.e. in no danger. “We’re going to put on a coach to take you back to Gatwick”. Great, except it hadn’t been organised so there was perhaps a two hour wait for that and then a three hour trundle up the A31, M27, M3, M25 and M23.
People at this point started to get irritated. Some people had started to get irritated when we were first informed that there was a hole in the runway and we were (for our safety) being flown to Bournemouth.
In fact, their attitude stank.
They started asking (stupid) questions of the ground crew who were doing the best they could with the little information they had.
They started moaning at anyone who would listen about how it was inconveniencing them.
They started Googling how much compensation they could get…. was it five hours or three hours before it kicked in?
There were some people who just got books out, bought a coffee and passed the time calmly or chatted to friends about the great holiday they’d just had.
By now, immigration was organised so if you lived nearby and wanted to leave, you could or if you wanted to get to Gatwick you could wait for a bus.
More stress, more irritation, more complaining.
The other three guys I was with are all entrepreneurs.
We decided to start planning how we could take control of the situation.
We did the sums. We could wait for another hour and a half, get on a coach laid on by BA and then sit on it for up to three hours, get our cars and drive home and it wouldn’t cost a penny.
We could find out how much a taxi would cost.
We hit the phones.
It’s a Sunday night in Bournemouth, there’s no Uber in sight and it’s not looking good. It took us eleven calls before we found our man.
“£140 quid mate”
“Excellent, how many can you seat?”
“With your luggage (we had golf bags), five I reckon”.
There were now three of us as one of our party had got a lift to his house 15 miles away.
“Brilliant, how quickly can you be here?”
Next step, we went and asked everyone who wasn’t moaning if they’d like a taxi to Bournemouth.
One group said “how much is it – oh – we’ll have a chat and get back to you”.
The next couple we asked said “yes”.
You snooze, you lose
We got in our taxi (whilst the BA coach was still an hour away) and in under two hours we were at Gatwick drop off.
£150 divided by five…..£30.
Bargain, I’d say. Some might say wow that’s a lot but I’d say it’s £30 quid to be home by 11pm in my own bed and that’s the price of taking control.
Now we could have waited, we could have moaned but we didn’t. We started, very quickly to find solutions to the problem we had in front of us. Even better, we didn’t do it alone, we worked together really naturally, delegated tasks, shared responsibility and took action.
Rather than just talk about it, we started doing and tweaked the loose plan as we went along.
We didn’t complain to the people that were trying to help us about a situation that none of us could control.
Moaning gets you nowhere, action does.
Having a rant at someone doesn’t help, it hinders.
We face challenges and problems, curveballs and situations that stretch us every day in our lives.
Stop complaining, take action because you can, because you’re an entrepreneur and that’s what you do.
If you’d rather complain, if you’d rather blame…
Go be something else