It'll all end in tiers Tiers of a clown

Ooh, it's February. Time to get cracking on part 2 of my 12 part resolution.

Eagle-eyed and elephant-memoried readers may recall that I did a mental New York public transport holiday last September, the flights for which I purchased during a period where BA and its transatlantic partners went moderately crazy and sold business class return flights in the region of £250-400, from Norway to virtually anywhere in the 48 contiguous states. Well, the NYC return was not the only thing I bought in that madness, I also grabbed some flights to San Francisco because...

No, I don't seem to have an end to the previous sentence. I bought them just because. I mean, at the time I thought they wouldn't get honoured, but they are being, so fast forward 6 months and suddenly it's 5am on a Thursday morning and I'm being woken up by my watch vibrating, which is pretty impressive because I'm not actually wearing my watch and it's not resting on a hard surface. I shower and weigh myself and am a full kilo heavier than yesterday. Fucks sake.

It's dark and I have a cab booked for 6am. Bleurgh. I spent most of yesterday at work batting away looks and sounds spanning the spectrum of incredulity to ridicule as I repeatedly detailed the fact that I was going to San Francisco, even though I've only booked 3 days off work. Part of the problem was my inability to be dishonest. Someone would say "what? only for 4 days?" and I'd have to say, no, only for 2 days. Someone would say "what, isn't that like a 10 or 12 hour flight?" and I'd say, no, it probably should be, but not the way I do it, I'll be spending more time in the planes and airports than SF itself. And someone would say "why are you going?" and I'd say "I really like flying". And they'd scoff.

But you lot what read this thing, you understand me, right? So y'know what, fuck my colleagues (I love you guys really). On with the show.

The 6am cab turned up dead on 6am. It's a nicer car than usual and driven by a very dapper man. He is super-cautious getting a turn out of my cul-de-sac but on open roads thankfully drives at normal speed. It's dark the whole time and we chat a bit. He totally vindicates my continued loyalty to Mogul Cars of Surbiton, and tells me that they are a really good employer too. Damn I wish this paragraph was sneaky paid advertising, but it isn't. Mogul are great and I'm at Heathrow by 0635.

Inside the terminal I am unwittingly tailing someone loudly proclaiming "aha, the British Airways desks are straight ahead". Hint: there are no other airline desks at T5.

Security had no fast track but neither north or south were busy and by 0639 I am staring at my rucksack sitting in a tray on a stationary security belt. I'm not sure what the hold up is because after almost 5 minutes the belt moves again, and nothing seems to get sent for further inspection. By 0645 I'm in the lounge and by 0648 I have bacon. I know I detail this shit every time, but I really do think Heathrow t5 is a slick operation and the complaints when it's bad are valid, but need to be balanced with the fact that the vast majority of the time this place can process a shitload of people with minimal fuss very efficiently. At least in my experience.

The lounge isn't as busy as on the Geneva trip the other week. I thought early morning would be bad, but perhaps (comparatively) no-one likes to fly on a Thursday. I sit in what amounts to my usual place and the mini-baguettes are nice. I don't have any alcohol, nor fruit, but I do grab a danish. In general I'm thinking both of attempting to exercise a degree of moderation, plus pace myself. It's a long day, after all.

My seat is above gate A5 and I stare out at what I believe to be very hard, very sideways, but very fine rain. Once the sun comes up it seems that perhaps I'd just been staring at a sprinkler. I'm not sure. I ponder the fact that it's probably more than 15 hours until I next have the opportunity to go outdoors, and am startled by a man bursting out laughing upon reading something in the Financial Times.

First to check-in. Yes, I am keen.

Yesterday I got an alert telling me my transatlantic flight was delayed. Big scary red exclamation marks which only signified a half hour delay, I had complained to Chris, Mark and Helen that I actually wish there'd be some bigger delays sometime. And actually this morning I'd had alerts that multiple flights today were delayed, but none by more than half an hour. But in the lounge, every flight is being assigned a gate on the screens except mine. Time's a-ticking and given I'm not on the sauce yet I'm kinda bored and just killing time until I can go to the gate too early.

Just as I bitch about my lack of gate to Helen, I'm alerted via way too many apps that this morning I will be departing from gate A21. Good news, not the satellite! Bad news, the completely opposite end of the terminal. As I walk and go past the entrance to the south lounges, I wonder if today will be the day that which is south and which is north finally get etched into my mind.

Gate A21 is busy and everyone is old. There are no windows out of which to take boring shots of the same old BA planes as ever so I loiter and scribble, then suddenly boarding is announced. 6 of us use the fast track line, me being the last. There are only 4 people in business class, out of 12 seats and I end up having the whole of row 1 to myself. This is excellent.

The plane's livery looks odd and I can't make out what it is. Someone is directed to use the bins above seats 1A and 1C to store their bags, and he says "well can I just sit here?" to which the response is a curt, almost startled, "er, no! this is business class!" - not from me, but from the flight attendant. The captain comes over the tannoy and tells us this is going to be a lovely 1h50m flight to Bergen, sit back and enjoy the service.

Our climb out of Heathrow is fantastic because we pass through a clear gap between two layers of cloud and it looks awesome. Once properly airborne I retrieve my headphones and can't decide if I want to listen to a podcast, or learn Spanish, or watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Spanish wins to begin with, and I learn a few new handy phrases like soy increible and me gusta la cerveza. Which will come in handy.

Row 1.

Food arrives. Well, I'm asked what I want. The choices are full English, a veggie variety of the same, or cold meats and cheeses. I opt for the latter because I remembered that today was really meant to be brought to you by the letters 'ch' - champagne, cheese, chicken, chocolate, etc - and also because the January health kick is proceeding (with caveats) such that I thought the fried crap would be worse. And anyway I like cheese.

The food is excellent, much better than my last time on this flight. Oh, did I not mention where I was flying to yet? I'm on the way to Bergen, again. Conventional wisdom on flyertalk is that, when performing an immediate there-and-back flight to Norway with BA the best airports are Bergen and Stavanger, both of which decant arriving passengers directly into the departure hall without any requirement to pass immigration etc. And I've done it before, it's entirely idiot proof and risk-free.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the food. I also had a cup of tea, but no alcohol. Asked if I wanted anything else I said no thanks, I'm saving myself for the way back. Meanwhile 2 of the other 3 passengers in business got cracking on the champers or gin. My Spanish lessons take a backseat because I start to feel sleepy - that pesky altitude/pressure taking effect - so instead I put on a wrestling podcast and doze for a tiny bit. That doesn't last long beause the captain comes on the tannoy again.

This'll be the bit of the flight where he says ladies and gentlemen, an update from the flight deck, we're making good progress and I hope the cabin crew are looking after you, the weather in Bergen looks good and we'll be starting our descent soon. Except today, what he seems to be saying is that contrary to all expectations it's snowing so badly in Bergen they've just shut the airport and HANG ON WHAT THE FUCK REWIND SON.

Yes, Bergen airport is currently closed. They've been in contact with the ground and it might take them an hour to clear the snow, which is too long for us because we've not really got enough fuel to hang around that long. So we might divert to Oslo. Wait, what? This is fucking hilarious, for me, and probably a real pain in the arse for everyone else on board.

An attendant appears and asks if I want a drink. An emergency gin seems in order and for some reason I ask for a g&t and actually mix the tonic in. I think the absurdity of the situation has had an adverse effect on my judgement. I have a bit of a chat with the lady who serves me and she tells me that actually we might divert to Stavanger, but nothing's set yet because we're still circling and hoping Bergen re-opens.

I have to explain bits of what I'm up to, i.e. why I'm on the flight back. She's pretty incredulous and, I think, a tiny bit impressed. Later she comes back to tell me that one of the other attendants has just told her that yep, people do this, especially from Amsterdam or Dublin. Why have I chosen Bergen and how did I even find out about the price? Well, this internet thing...

The gin arrived at the time we should have been landing. We were circling somewhere. Out of the window I saw a snowy airport. Oh dear. Eventually the cockpit comes on again and says, right, we've been really clever with fuel management and Bergen is reopening so that's where we're going. Part of me is really bloody disappointed. Honestly, I would have (I think) really enjoyed the process of seeing how I was looked after during a big weather delay.

We land at a very very snowy Bergen about an hour, maybe 90 minutes later than we should have done. The brakes come on very hard as we seem faster on the runway than usual, and while taxiing on slushy icy snowy Tarmac people STILL get up before the seatbelt signs to grab their shit, while the plane is still unsteady. I mean, for fucks sake!

The flight attendants say "see you in a minute!" to me as I leave, and in the airport I almost accidentally go through immigration. Instead I go to the loo, and come back out to bring up the rear of a queue of angry Norse folk waiting for their poxy delayed plane.

Once we finally board again, I go straight back to the seat I'd only 20 minutes previously left. Again there is no-one else in row 1, and I'm asked how my airport experience was. Two attendants come and grill me about my wily scheme, and why I didn't do it from Dublin or Amsterdam (which they'd heard were also good). Heh.

The sun came out and we pushed back at 1316. This is pretty damn late. I really won't have long at at Heathrow any more. I know weather isn't covered, but since they were separate tickets part of me wonders if I'd be entitled to compensation for my outbound flight being delayed, ha! Not that I'd claim. No, seriously, I wouldn't.

Finally, at 1235 UK time, I get on the champagne. I am served an entire bottle, but of course this is 187ml, so a quarter of a full bottle. Before I've barely finished pouring the last into my glass I'm asked if I want another, which of course I do. The episodes of Brooklyn Nine Nine I've downloaded mostly don't work, only the first three do and I've seen them before.

I'm given a choice of food and go for the salad. Check me out! This in in spite of the fact that one of the other options starts with ch-, and this was meant to be a ch- inspired day of eating and drinking. I start blogging in a hurry; we are plainly not going to be delayed as the captain tells us we have tail winds of over 100mph. Other people have worse connections than me, and despite me telling each member of staff my final destination the main attendant comes back and tells me she knows I'm on the 1610 to New York, and I'll make it fine.

She also offers me a third champagne, but is scared of doing so because she doesn't want me to get drunk. Doesn't she know who I am? During our descent my champers is not taken away, but merely decanted into plastic. Huzzah! The views of London are great but in my encroaching haze I go.... hang on, aren't we flying the wrong way? Surely the dome and the Olympic Park shouldn't be on this side? And indeed we are going the wrong way, and we're directly over London City Airport too, but then we pull a u-turn and follow the Thames to Richmond before landing an hour or so late. Hello, again, Heathrow.

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