Saturday, 21 July 2012

Trip Report 12: Part 2 WAW-FRA-BHX LH Y

The return should have been more relaxing than it was, but it was still better than the outbound. A taxi took me swiftly to WAW in lovely sunshine and then I had to queue to use the self-check in machines. I went to drop my bag at the business class counter, but was thwarted by a young lady who felt that because I was in Economic Class I couldn't despite flashing my shiny card. So I had to wait for a couple of people in front of me, which isn't a big deal. Had there been a big queue for bag drop, I might have made an issue of it.

Security, however, did direct me to the business class queue, which had no-one in it and so I was very swiftly through that. I then went to do spend some złoty I had left over. 800 fags and a small mountain of chocolate later and I still had some left, but I suspect I'll probably return to Poland at some point, so I kept them. I then went in search of a lounge, LH tries to direct its passengers to somewhere down by its gates, but as I had loads of time and as it wasn't that far, I went to the LOT lounge.

The "Polonez" lounge operated by LOT is quite nice, comfy chairs, cold beers and a selection of food. I took an early lunch in here with a cold bottle of Lech and then wandered out about 10 minutes before boarding to get a smoke before getting on the A320 to my favourite airport.

Boarding was a few minutes late and the strangeness that is Senator Blocking struck again. I was in 8C, no one in 8A but someone had been allowed to take 8B. Luckily, when the doors shut, he moved over to 8A. We pushed back on time and then we sat there. After about half an hour, there was one short announcement in very abrupt German which basically said, we will be taking off in a small number of minutes. No attempt was made to render this into Polish or English.

However, we were fairly quickly in the air after that and I think we did a direct routing to Frankfurt at top speed as we did arrive in FRA only 5 minutes late. It was the normal service, with a pot of pasta salad being the offering, I rejected it and stuck to coffee and water. Sadly, arrival was on the new runaway which is closer to Groß-Gerau than FRA, but I still had plenty of time. We had also lost our gate position and had to be bussed, but as the gate position was A40 and the A Schengen bus gates are much closer to the Tunnel of Hate than A40 and as they did the buses properly this time, that may actually have been a win.

It took about 15 minutes to get from A-Schengen bus gates to the B Non-Schengen Senator lounge. The Tunnel of Hate was fairly busy with people who were rushing to make flights. Not that this stopped a couple of late teenage girls from sitting down on the travelator blocking it. There also had to be a bit of queue selection at the border. Every now and again, I hear people moan about the queues at B Non-Schengen immigration and I sit there and think of the 70 or so times I've been through it and not had any problem. I suspect that some of it is because you come up from the Tunnel of Hate and see three or four queues in front of you and join them and not realise that a bit further along there are another group of kiosks.

Anyway, to the SEN lounge, where I quickly check the FIDS (there's a 20 minute delay on the BHX), use the washrooms and have a cigarette in the smoking room before investigating the offerings. They are a bit sparse really, but there are fish fingers, there is Bavarian potato salad and there is Coke Light, so I'm happy. Whilst most of the lounge is attractively decorated and with comfy chairs, the area by the buffet is a bit DDR-canteen territory.

Anyway, I make full use of my additional 20mins before wandering off for boarding, it is, of course a bus gate and I perhaps came a little early as there is still a bit of a queue. Anyway, we are fairly quickly onto the bus, but have a bit of a delay in taking off. I am slightly wary as whilst the seat next to me is blocked, I do have a small child with mum in the window seat. I'm also slightly worried because the BD crew look really pretty miserable. Both fears can are allayed. Mum has enough treats, toys and drinks to keep the small child fairly happy, he's not perfect but he's not disruptive and whilst the overall demeanour of the crew doesn't change, the service is fine. I pass on the "pizza wrap" and just have coffee and water whilst getting through some more Law and Order: SVU. 

We eventually land 25 late at BHX, no queue at the UK Border and about a 15 minute wait for the shiny case, the taxi takes about 25 minutes to get home where I am greeted by a shouty feline who has been left alone for the afternoon. 

Next really reportable trip is BCN at the end of August, although I have a couple of dull-ish flights before then.

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