Monday Feb 25, 2008

Back to the US today

Flying with Virgin to Chicago, in order to join my America's co-workers on an in-house training course.

This is the emptiest plane I have ever seen.


A cabin to myself


But I was able to get a picture of the Union Flag decorated wing tips.


Virgin skies



Thursday Feb 07, 2008

Midnight at the Oasis

Or early morning at least.

It seems that Dubai's airports busy time of day is three in the morning. My return home is scheduled to take off at 3:45 this morning. I have just arrived; the traffic jam is horrendous and its heavingly busy. I have kept to my Rule No 2, and am flying out on Emirates. While I would have loved the miles and tier points with Virgin, they wanted £1000 more.

I reflect on the last few days, and its hard to avoid the clichés. It is a building site, the people are fabulously friendly and honest. The number of foreigners (and hence non citizen/subjects) present is huge. I avoided the obvious locations of ostentatious wealth, except for the hotel. I don't feel comfortable in those places; very few people in the west should. The oil-rich are just that, rich. Youn can tell be the number of super cars in the Hotel car park.

I look around and remember the journey in to the airport and its obvious that today is the start of half-term for many in the UK; a huge number of Brits have been arriving over the last couple of days.


Saturday Jan 26, 2008

A flying visit to Europe

I have just been on a flying visit to Luxembourg and Austria, and stayed over night in Krems Am Donau, where I was due to talk at a meeting of Sun's Partners. This was the view from my room in the morning.


Rooftops in Krems, Austria


I took this with the panoramic shot option from the phone. I am not sure how bad this is, or if in fact the light of the Danube makes it look poorly joined, its hard to say, but I think this is an area that Sony-Ericsson need to work on. I find using the panoramic join feature almost unusable.

Since my route had involved flying from London  to Luxembourg and on to Vienna, my journey home seemed quite simple although I was told by my travel agent that the last direct flight left too early for me to use, so I made the mistake of agreeing to change at Frankfurt. This meant my journey required four separate carriers and a paper ticket. While at Luxembourg, I noticed that they had two wings to the terminal building, with one of them reserved for Schengen Treaty destinations. (This is the EU treaty on common borders which allows people to enter Schengen countries from another without passport inspection.)  In Luxembourg, the distance between the Schengen gates and the rest of the terminal building is less than 100 metres.  The UK is not a full signatory to Schengen, but I didn't take this as a warning.

So I took off from Vienna late. I was flying with Adria (Air Slovenia). I didn't know Slovenia had a national airline and while the dinner was rather nice, when we reached Frankfurt they'd lost their landing slot and had to wait to land, delaying us further. We then had to wait for everyone to recovery their luggage before the bus could drive us to the terminal building, which was the Schengen entry building. The journey to the BA gates took over 30 minutes, with two luggage inspections, I missed the plane by  a couple of minutes and then had to travel back to the other terminal to get my flight rebooked. However, there are worse places to stay overnight than Frankfurt airport and the flight home on Saturday was very comfortable However I have renewed my determination to keep to simple rules when doing this sort of rush trip.

  • Don't rely on the last flight home, its often delayed
  • Try and leave an airport on the airport's dominant carrier, they're less likely to be pissed about
  • If you have to execute a change, leave enough time, and ensure you can check in for both legs at once
  • Use an E-Ticket

I don't see how I can avoid the Schengen problem i.e. I will always be in the wrong part of the airport, until the UK signs up. I'm just going to have to make sure that I have the time, and that my travel agents don't book something bloody stupid.


Monday Aug 14, 2006

A more exciting journey than expected

We arrived after a long and interesting journey. We've done the journey before and so the surprises were all at Gatwick and due to the emergency security processes. We had taken the advice to get their early and so were fortunate enough to be one of the first to be checked in, although somehow we still got seats nearer the back than front.

The security guards were very strict, confiscating throat sweets and a suduko puzzle, but since no-one had any hand luggage (and we were pretty early), the security checks were actually quite quick. We also didn't have to charge onto the plane to make sure that our hand luggage could be fitted in among the bastards that think a suitcase is hand luggage. (If its got wheels, its not hand luggage in my book, put it in the hold and wait for it to catch up with you at the other end. Here's another hint, if you take a bag (or lets face it a second bag) that's bigger than intended, you deny space to others; this is not the behaviour of good neighbours.) Despite not having any hand luggage, sufficient people in front of me found enough to place in the overhead racks to delay my exit from the plane, although why I worried I don't know since my holiday luggage had to catch up with me before I could leave Kalamata.

We travelled from Kalamata to our final destination by Taxi. This was fortunately an air conditioned Merc. So I tried to settle down and admire the mountain and sea views. This is in fact very important since double white lines in the centre of the road do not seem to mean either do not overtake, nor this is the centre of the road. I also started to get worried when our driver started to use his mobile phone, but I soon relaxed when I realised that he didn't use his second hand for steering anyway, so we were in no more danger. NB Its illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving a car in the UK.

Bottom line, Gatwick is always operating at the edge of its limits and it can be quite unpleasant, this was one of the easiest journeys through the airport I've ever had and the flight may not have been the most dangerous part of the journey :)

This was posted on the 24th August and back dated to the day it occurred.





« July 2016