It was all going too well. We had stepped onboard on time and with no problems or particular irritations.
The plane took off half an hour late from Heathrow. Operations were slower because of the fog across the South of England, but with two hours to meet our connecting flight in Dubai, we were not unduly concerned. Of course, we hadn’t apreciated that that they also had fog in Dubai, and that it would be worse than the UK.
Having relaxed in ignorance and luxury for most of the flight, payback for our smugness came when the Captain announced there was to be no immediate landing. We were going to have to fly a holding pattern for 20 minutes or so because Dubai airport was busy and fog was on its way. That 20 minutes became an hour , the fog duly rolled in and stayed and our arrival time, visible on the inflight tv screen, previously estimated at 1:40 am, became 1:50 am, became 2:00 am, became 2:25 am. Our connecting flight to Perth was due to take off at 3:00 am.
If we missed that flight, we had no idea when the next flight might leave. Staying only one night in Perth, we were due to catch the Indian Pacific train to Sydney early the following morning. That only travels once a week from Perth. Miss that, and we had a problem.
With very little in the way of good news coming from the flight deck, stress levels rose rapidly. It would be nice to say we were calm and had it under control, but that was not the case.
Anyway, we landed, taxied and left the plane at a brisk trot with 15 minutes to spare before the Perth flight was to be on its way. Given the fog, we had hoped that would also be delayed. Advised to contact ground staff at the gate, they told us the flight had left……..