British Airways BA238 Virus

Yes, the second half of the holiday was great too… 🙂

The flight back from Boston was on a Boeing 777, which I reckon is actually a nicer plane to fly on than the 747 we went out on. I think that the seats were just a little wider than before, but that may just be my mind playing tricks. I’m sure BA don’t give their economy passengers any more than they absolutely need to. In fact I am sure of it.

Despite the plane being better, the food most certainly was not. In fact, it was almost completely inedible.

On a roughly 7 hour flight, were were given a tray with a “full English breakfast”, of which only the inch-long sausage was anything like edible. Some passengers received yoghurt and fruit juice, while other lucky ones received two fruit juices. There was an apple turnover thing, which was just a mushy sticky mess that even McDonalds would have rejected, and a bread roll that I swear was so old, the wrapper had the BOAC logo on it. I kid you not. The plastic knife bent as I tried to cut into it. So I stopped.

That was breakfast. A few hours later they came round with lunch. A lemon and orange muffin. Which I rejected on my previous experience of all baked goods on their flights. It really is shameful. If they can’t afford to offer proper, edible food for the prices they feel they need to charge for the cattle class at the back, then just stop offering food at all. Allow people to bring on their own food, bought at the airport. Stop pretending that they are offering a full service and be honest with the passenger.

When I left the flight I was feeling not a little bit cheated and quite a lot hungry. One inch of sausage in 12 hours, isn’t great, to be honest.

By the Sunday night, I was feeling a lot less enamoured with “The World’s Favourite Airline”. (Do they still call themselves that? Was it ever true?)

I woke a couple of times during the night with severe rigors. I wasn’t sweating this time, but it was just like when I had the swine flu. I had a high temperature, but returned to the office and took some paracetamol through the day. By the time I returned home on Monday night, I went straight back to bed for another, similar night. This time the sweats returned and my temperature was 39.1C on Tuesday morning. Obviously I called in sick, and made an appointment to see the G.P. that afternoon. Unfortunately, all I could get was the chocolate teapot one who, as soon as he realised I was under the care of a haematologist, decided this was all far too complicated for him and that I should just get to see my main man ASAP. I will bear this in mind next time need my ears syringed.

Managed to get to see my man at Wednesday lunchtime. My temp was still 39C and they took some blood cultures, plus the usual blood samples. The cultures take a couple of days to grow, but the samples get done in the hour. By the time they had come back, and I had been told that I’d been drinking too much beer as my Gamma GT level was higher than “normal” (not true btw!) and my haemoglobin levels were not as they normally are, I was sent away with some anti-biotics and and appointment for the Friday. I was also asked to try to keep off the paracetamol, in case that would mask any benefit of the anti-biotics.

By the time I returned on Friday, my temp had begun to come down and the result of the blood culture was negative. The consultant advised me to continue the course of anti-biotics, and take whatever painkillers I need for the headache which remained.

So, all in all, I am not very impressed with British Airways, I’m afraid. Not only do they care so little about their economy passengers that they are prepared to feed them any old rubbish, edible or not, but they also provide a wonderful parting gift – a week in bed with a massive temperature.

Now, my circumstances are different from virtually everyone else on the plane, in all probability. The Rituximab maintenance does dampen down the immune system and I had received my latest round 10 days before we flew out, so the levels in my system would be at their highest, meaning that the immune system is at the lowest. I knew this before travelling. But, while over the 9 months that I have been receiving this I had experienced more colds than I would normally have expected to have in a season (entirely normal for Rituximab maintenance beneficiaries), I hadn’t expected to be hit so hard by one of the viruses that get you when you fly. After almost any flight, I would expect to get a sore throat a few days later, but this was in a different league altogether.

So a lesson learned. BA Economy long-haul really is terrible and being on Rituximab maintenance isn’t necessarily the easy-ride that I thought it was. Two lessons.

Now, to find some half decent shots from a very poor, thin stock…

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