There was to be a terrible shock for the whole world of aviation before I flew again.
Anyway, I was investigating possible ways of reaching Gatwick in the morning, saving us the cost of a hotel at Gatwick. I didn't find one, so it was necessary for us to spend the night before the flight in an airport hotel. We chose the Gatwick Penta Hotel, one of only two airport hotels ever to have received repeat business from us. After a train journey to Gatwick, we arrived and spent the night, before wandering over to the terminal for check-in, a considerable change from anything we had ever known before. This was the world of charter, and one which I hope not to repeat in this form for a while. Not only that, but everybody was still reeling from the shock of the Pan American flight 103, which had exploded over Lockerbie just one week before. To think that just six months earlier, I had flown that very route with Pan Am. Checking in was not too bad, nor was the wait for the flight. The delays for which charters are notorious did not affect us greatly, and we were only a couple of hours late leaving. Our flight took us over France and Spain. Spain is much more mountainous than is generally imagined, and I have been told that in Europe, only Switzerland is more mountainous. Whether this is true, I couldn't say.
Our flight took us down to a very small, sandy island, and it was there that our 737 came to rest. This was Fuerteventura, formerly a one-horse town until the unfortunate demise of the horse.
We were not encouraged by the fact that on the coach transfer from the airport to the hotel, our hostess said she would tell us the things of interest in Fuerteventura. Five minutes later, she switched off the microphone.
The airport is probably their most important attraction, as it offers the means to leave. So does the wharf. We were not troubled by a large choice of day-trips. The only one which really appealed, a flight to the African coast, had been cancelled due to lack of interest. If by some mischance you do find yourself in Fuerteventura, take a trip to Lanzarote and look at the volcanic activity there. It is much more exciting, and a much more developed island.
So it was that 1988 finished, on a rather disappointing note. All the same, the year had furnished a total of fourteen thousand, one hundred and sixty-six miles travelled.