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.

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