To Fly Or Not To Fly

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 10th April 2010


Have you ever had a bad dream where you are desperate to get to a destination but the train/plane/boat has just departed.  Well, for the first time in decades of flying, I arrived at Cape Town Airport at 21.15 on Thursday evening and immediately felt this rather ominous lack of activity.  The porter approached me and when I said - Virgin Airlines - he replied that the flight had GONE.  WHAT!  There I was with my two hours booking-in time and the Flight had gone.  While I'd been having a lovely 'Au Revoir' dinner with my friends at Jakes in Kenilworth, the plane was already in the air.

I must say that Stephanie at the Virgin Atlantic Office couldn't have been more helpful.  She had to deal with a lovely German girl who was in tears - she and her friend were backpackers and they'd no more money and all they wanted was to get home.  I was offered a seat on the flight next day and it went via Jo-burg -  no thank you.  I loathe Jo-burg airport - once missed a connecting flight to Capetown because of the huge distances between International and Domestic - and as a woman on my own it's incredibly difficult to deal with luggage etc.  And a tremendous amount of luggage goes missing at Jo-burg Airport - so all in all that was not an option.

For reasons best known to themselves, Virgin alter their Flight departure times at the end of March and cease their flights to Capetown in mid-April so the last few flights were booked solid.

Fortunately my friends hadn't just dropped me off so at least they were there to drive me back to Capetown.  Needless to say I got very little sleep worrying about the dilemma.

As soon as they opened I was on the phone to Trailfinders in Canterbury.  Initially they insisted that I'd been told of the change of flight times but it transpired they had sent a text to my British mobile phone number and I don't use that in Capetown and had told them so.  Stephen Edwards then went on line and had to admit that all my contact details were there including my email which is the same whether I'm in the UK or Capetown.

To give him his due, he worked like a Trojan and after several hours came back with a booking on the flight tonight - Saturday 10th.  As the flights were completely full, he had to get an executive decision and they have got me the last seat in Business.  I must admit, I will only breathe easily when I'm sitting in that seat.

I have used Trailfinders many times in the past before I got caught up in the Air Miles trap - most times you can't use them!!  So they've totally redeemed themselves and I'll be using them again.  Also when you book with Trailfinders you get a designated seat No.  I also have to admit that I'd far rather deal with a person than a machine and I'm not good at trying to book on line so for a few pounds more I'd rather talk to a human.

As ever, I'm so sad to be leaving Capetown.  It is in one of the most beautiful locations in the world - the climate is excellent, the people in restaurants and shops so friendly and always prepared to go that extra mile. 

Can't wait to come back.

On the horizon - no work at present but a trip to Florence in the near future.  Went there when I was doing Open University aeons ago and loved it.  I've been back only once since then and can't wait to visit the Uffizi and sit in the square where Savanarola met his end.

Bye for now

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