I had checked in the previous night via the Easyjet app, but as I was en route to Madrid Barajas airport at 1415 , I received a notification telling me that the flight would be delayed from 1635 to 1755. No explanation was given for the delay, only the information that gate opening and closing times hadn’t changed and that passengers should still make their way to the airport for the original departure time. As I was already on the metro, I continued my journey, arriving at the airport at 1500. I went through security at the airport’s T1, which was quiet for some reason, and was through to departures by 1515. The gate wasn’t showing at this point.
At 1540, I received another notification on the app telling me that the flight had been delayed until 1840. The app has a function that allows you to track the aircraft in real-time, which showed it making its way from Gatwick to Madrid, somewhere over the Bay of Biscay. I settled down at one of the gates to make use of Barajas’ free wifi and do some work. An hour and a half later, at 1700, I checked the display screens, which now instructed passengers to go to gate A7. This was about a ten-minute walk from the B and C concourse, facilitated by a long moving walkway. The gate was full of people when I arrived, and I wandered around Duty Free for another hour until boarding was called at 1800.
As I had Speedy Boarding, I was allowed access to the priority queue, though this was almost as long as the queue for passengers without it. We were made to wait another 20 minutes on the air bridge, and I was finally on-board at 1830, two hours after our scheduled departure.
The A319 has 156 seats with a 29-inch pitch and 17.5-inch width. I was sat in 4C in the aisle, with a free seat between myself and the passenger at the window. I was glad to be at the front of the plane so I would be able to disembark quickly.
At 1840, the captain came over the tannoy to inform us that the reason for the delay had been due to one of the undercarriage systems having to be replaced at Gatwick. He told us that he would aim to push back within the next half hour. At 1905, the captain came on to say that there was 747 in front of us, immobile, and that we needed to wait for the aircraft to move. We finally took off at 1915. At 1945, the trolley came around offering food and drink for purchase, but as I’d had a meal at the airport I declined. The rest of the flight was uneventful and the captain came on at 1930 UK-time to say that we would be landing in 30 minutes.
This was one of the more dramatic landings, or lack thereof, that I’ve yet to experience – as we came in to land, the engine was suddenly ignited again and we pulled up, climbing quickly. Passengers were startled, but a crew member quickly came over the intercom to reassure us, stating that this was normal procedure and that the captain would tell us more when he was able. Once we reached cruising level, the captain apologised and said that the reason for the sudden ascent was due to air traffic control having miscalculated how close we had been to another aircraft on the tarmac, and they had requested that we pull back up. After circling the airport, we landed ten minutes later at 2015, two and a quarter hours after our scheduled arrival time.
Once on the ground, there were no further delays, and I disembarked the aircraft and passed through immigration within 15 minutes, catching the 2045 Gatwick Express into London Victoria.
The delays were extremely frustrating and the landing stressful. However, the service on-board was good and I appreciated being updated on the progress of our delays and the reasons for each of them.