I think we can safely say that "Please wait" was the theme of our trip this time. We experienced quite some trouble both ways, thanks to this crazy snow situation in the UK, and there was a lot of waiting going on.
On the way over to Sweden, we had a two day stop-over planned in the UK with good friends. Luckily in a way, because Gatwick Airport was closed anyway those days! I just couldn't handle the uncertainty and not knowing how it was going to pan out very well, so I spent those days mostly worrying about whether it was going to open in time for our flight or not. I felt I wasn't really present, just constantly updating the Twitter feeds and thinking about a plan B.
We were lucky though (another theme for the trip - lucky!) and LGW just opened in the morning of the day of our flight, and we did get out. A couple of hours late (that we had to wait onboard the airplane because of queues for the de-icing trucks) but we got out.
The next few weeks that we spent in Sweden, there was no issues in the UK, or at least very few. The problems only started again two days before we were going to travel back home... of course. What's the odds??
So again, I started to worry and feel sick... This could get really bad if we didn't get on our flights, I could see Christmas getting messed up and everything...
Well, Heathrow closed down this time, and Gatwick only operated very few flights. Since we have a long drive to the airport in Sweden I kept updating the EasyJet flight status over and over again until just before we left, but it still said 'Scheduled' so off we went.
Checked in at Gothenburg and walked through the security, only to find out that the aircraft hadn't even left UK yet... Started to worry again, about the weather in LGW, and just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. My parents decided to hang around not far from the airport, in case they needed to come back and get us! Bless!
In the end we spent 3 1/2 hours in the airport just waiting (the plane finally dispatched from Gatwick), and then after boarding, unfortunately another near to 2 hours onboard since we had a bad slot into LGW...
Again, I didn't really mind, as long as we got there in the end, and we did.
All this wait cut into our resting time and we only got about 6 hours in the hotel, before it was time for the next hurdle, Heathrow.
They just re-opened LHR the morning of our flight (again, lucky!) and operated a very reduced schedule. Our flight was one of the few ones due to depart.
It was, as expected, total chaos in the terminal, pretty scary actually. I was afraid of loosing the kids so I told them to hold on to my jacket as we tried walking through the crowds. People everywhere, people sitting on the floor, sleeping under thermal blankets, people roaming around trying to find information about their flights - chaos.
We managed to check in and go through, and then it started again; on the board it just said "Please wait" next to our flight.
So we did.
We waited and waited and waited, and a little over an hour after we were actually due to depart, we got a gate, yay!
Waited a bit more at the gate, and then a bit more on the aircraft (they shut down the only operating runway for a while to check the break action...) and when we finally took off and the wheels went up - I didn't think about the 2 x 7-8 hour flights ahead, I just felt relief and I had big tears rolling down my cheeks.
We were going home.