Letters / Glutton for punishment

Glutton for punishment is the life lesson for me today. After my first go with the new Eastern Airways/Flybe franchise you’d think I’d of learnt my lesson…sadly I’m a sucker for a bargain and a complete fool.

Up at 04:45, set off from the house at 05:30, crawled our way to Sumburgh through snow and ice arriving at the airport a good hour before the morning’s Flybe 08:05 departure to Aberdeen.


Checked in, informed the runway would be open at half eight. Our flight had departed Aberdeen and all was well in the land of Flybe, the greatest aviation company the isles has ever seen.

Breezed through security and sat down to a delightful bacon roll and chamomile tea to be welcomed to a tannoy from ground staff announcing our flight was overhead and it would now simply circle around Sumburgh until the runway opened…superb! On the ball I thought to myself, what a team…what could possibly go wrong.


Ten minutes later a second tannoy goes out “We regret to inform you, the airplane has run out of fuel to circle and is returning to Aberdeen”. You can imagine the profanity that left my mouth. I could just picture the pilot sitting tapping the fuel gauge looking to his second in charge saying “I thought you fuelled her up” and receiving a reply “I thought you did”. Hanging out the window with a jerry can topping up the reserve.

Third tannoy goes out “Next update in 20 minutes” .


Forty minutes later, fourth tannoy goes out informing us that the decision had been taken to amalgamate two flights and we would now be going to Aberdeen via…Glasgow. When we land a bus will be waiting to whisk us north. Alternatively we could go along a few desks and see if Loganair has any seats spare on their next flight (wise words).

After a further hour’s delay we departed for Glasgow at 12:00 (didn’t listen to those wise words), landed without issue, to no ramp to get us off the plane (minor). Went to Menzies Aviation desk (Flybe have no ground staff) to find they had no idea we were coming and were unaware of any taxis or bus to truck us north. After half an hour of hunting and and a few phone calls to Sumburgh the bus was finally located.

To the amazement of the driver eight of us jumped onto his 52 seater coach, and we departed for Aberdeen at 14:00 via the M74 where we stopped on an overpass to get transferred into a eight seater taxi just outside Airdrie!

Three gruelling hours later, where we drove through snow and ice, we finally arrived in Aberdeen at 17:15. I feel sorry for the pregnant lady who accompanied us.

“Here yesterday (stuck in Sumburgh), here today (stuck in Sumburgh), bring on tomorrow (stuck in Sumburgh)”. You can’t polish a turd.

Big thank you to the Eastern ladies at Sumburgh during these uncertain times, never an easy task and very often people take their frustration out on you when they don’t mean too. You both handled the situation very professionally.

Best regards,

Frequent flier Craig Johnson