Friday, 13 July 2012

Trip Report 12: BHX-FRA-WAW LH Y

Sometimes you forget, memories fade. My last few FRA transits have mainly been Schengen-Non Schengen, which apart from the Tunnel of Hate, is the best way to do the damn place. Anyway, WAW beckoned and the only way to really do it without either a really short connect at ZRH with double Fokker fun was a double FRA. 1:15 connect on the outbound, 1:45 on the return. Easy-peasy, right, after all Minimum Connecting Time is 0:45.

Anyway, BHX, no problem, check-in showed that last-time wasn't a one-off, security was swift, polite and professional, straight to The Meriden for a bacon bloomer and a black coffee and, what's that appeared but a smoking terrace. Bless you, BHX. Boarding was better than normal, but the two lads doing it were hampered by the machine that goes beep breaking down.

Anyway, this was one of the LH flights operated by the airline formerly known as BMI under a wet lease. so I was quite looking forward to it. Firstly, BMI crews are good and usually better than FRA crews, secondly, they have decent seats not the NEK monstrosities. However, we were a bit kettle-ridden today, which meant a) more hand luggage than you can shake a pointy stick at b) slow boarding and c) people who have flown Liarair too much just grabbing any old seat. Anyway, we all got aboard and the crew carefully evicted the self-upgraders from Business Class (But they said we could sit anywhere), gate checked a couple of rather large suitcases which wouldn't fit in the bins and sorted out the squabbles of people who wanted to sit somewhere other than they had been assigned to. I refused a trade for a middle seat on the grounds that I'm not stupid and in return got evils for the rest of the journey. Please note, I will only trade for a similar or better seat. I certainly won't trade 3C for bloody 17E on a short connect at Frankfurt unless there's serious totty in 17D and 17F. No Senator blocked seat for me, but with 138 in Y, that's not surprising.

Anyway, the flight was fine. Food offered was a "Posh Wrap" - scrambled egg and tomato, I understand. I declined, I had breakfasted previously. I had just had coffee and water. Not bouncy, but miserably weather all the way. Then we get to Hell-on-Main. Remember a) I have a 1:15 connection, b) Minimum connecting time at FRA Schengen to Non-Schengen within Terminal 1 is 45 minutes. c) the UK is a clean country and I should not have to re-clear security here except that FRAport are cheapskates.

Anyway, here's a blow by blow. Note, nothing really goes wrong here, it's just that even with a connection 30 minutes above the minimum you are up against it from the start. Yes, you will make it, but you will be reduced to a sweaty, semi-psychotic mess by the end of it and no, security is not like this in DUS, MUC, CGN, NUE, HAM, DRS, LEJ or even TXL (although they can be snarky so-and-so's at TXL).

09:50 - Wheels down, somewhere near Rüsselheim
09:55 - Still taxiing
10:00 - Still taxiing, entire length of the airport it seems
10:05 - Are we taxiing to NUE?
10:07 - Phew, stopped, doors open
10:08 - Two buses, and damn them, two sets of stairs, take a punt on which one bus goes first
10:14 - Kettles milling around outside buses having an argument and not getting on. I'm handing out the evils now.
10:16 - Finally on way to B-Non-Schengen Bus Arrivals, which is, of course, at the other end of the airport
10:20 - Still on bus
10:23 - Bus doors open, duck, weave and probably shoulder barge kettles to find more kettles milling around waiting for lift and blocking the way to the escalator. Shout in four languages to get them to move out of the frigging way. Note new immigration cubicles mentioned by Newbie Runner and notice they are not open. I wonder what they are for.
10:25 - Play "select an immigration queue" - pick the right one for a change.
10:27 - Play "Transfer Security" or "in and out" - pick transfer as it's raining - PROBABLE FAIL
10:28 - Notice that Fast Track security flights mainly consist of ones that have left - FRAport fail, Notice only four out of six machines are working. Wankers.
10:32 - Get assigned to queue for machine out of the snake onto what looks like the slowest moving queue.
10:33 - Get told one item in each huge bin. Yes, kiddies, that's five bins. One that contains only my belt. Wankers.
10:34 - Work out what new stupid game they are playing and sigh deeply. Yes, You can only be allowed forward if there is a free officer of the correct gender to search you. So several mimsy-equipped travellers go ahead of me. The search officers in my section are three women and one man. Wankers.
** NOTE MCT expires here **
10:36 - Am finally allowed to go forward as the penis-enabled person is now free, for once I don't set the FRA WMD off.
10:37 - Get told off at other end of queue by officious Beamte for not having collected my bins earlier. Wankers.
10:38 - Beamte decides that she has to rescan my bins because they came out of sequence. Wankers
10:39 - Finally allowed to proceed
10:40 - Hurtle down stairs to Tunnel of Hate
10:42 - Get lift up other end of Tunnel of Hate (I'm not that stupid)
10:43 - Look at the FIDS board - WAW flight is boarding, so I will have to forgo the pleasures of the Turkey Weiners in the Senator Lounge slum at A26, leg it towards A10, stopping swiftly at cancer corner.
10:45 - Swear violently in cancer corner after working out A10 is a bloody bus gate
10:50 - Get to A10, grab a bottle of Apfelschorle from cafe and get on the bloody bus.

On boarding the A320, I noticed it looked a bit full. The overheads were full already, I heard various American voices - which is why the overheads were full. My seat opponent was French from one of the grand écoles, but she hadn't learnt enough to not pour the whole bottle of Canal No 5 over herself when flying. 

Anyway, full again, so no seat blocking. Off on time, decline drink as I've still got Apfelschorle, accept Butterbrezen - which turns me from mildly psychotic to a happy bunny in seconds because I really like Butterbrezen, laugh at Americans looking at Butterbrezen suspiciously and very, very quickly we are in Warsaw. Warsaw airport is a bit luridly coloured, but seems nicely organised enough and my bag is off within 15 minutes of landing and I'm in a properly marshalled taxi within a couple of minutes. Note Bene: there are a lot of gentlemen at WAW with official looking ID in the arrivals hall who would like to offer you a taxi. I do not recommend using their services and speaking Welsh at them usually makes them go away, go to the marshalled rank which is used by three firms with a high reputation and proper use of meters.

Oh well, only three more FRA transits this year (I hope) and one of those is of the "get off plane and get into limo" variety, I bet one of the others is A42-C13.

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