Journal of Alice

ive seen 10 countries since my last post im

10 February ’14

I’ve seen 10 countries since my last post. I’m clearly not very good at keeping this updated.

It’s been a month since my last holiday, so I thought it was a good time to redeem some avios on a LBA -LHR-PRG return for a weekend in Prague.

I’ve stated before that I never use online checkin because I prefer the personal touch. But yet again I knew more than the checkin agent, this time she was sure that I would be flying out of T5 and when corrected told me to catch a train to T3. I was happy to get 6F on the first leg, until I saw 1F was free.

Security scanners at LBA were far more sensitive than usual, causing a big queue for non fast track people. I managed to set it off, which led to a patdown search and being asked to remove my shoes.

I spotted the plane on gate 8, and for the first time realised that real gate numbers and the ones that passengers see bear no resemblance at Leeds. Gate 8 being passenger gate 7.

A jovial crew on the flight down and a fairly standard flight into T5.

I was the only one on my flight connecting to T3, picking up a few more later. No checks of boarding pass or passport, I got on the bus with half a dozen people returning to USA on American Airlines. Through security where I didn’t set off any scanners and into T3 airside.

I’m only a lowly blue flying in ET so I set off looking for lunch. Rhubarb seemed the best of a bad lot where I had an over-priced and not very good burger and a really small Fentemans ginger beer.

The incoming flight was delayed a little by the strong winds so I had plenty of time to get to gate 24A. Showed my boarding pass and passport and then waited in the gate area for a bus to the plane. I rather hoped the woman doing surveys about food at T3 would come my way but alas it wasn’t to be.

Another fairly standard flight to Prague until the approach where we had to go around due to changing wind direction. This being my first time into PRG I barely noticed anything unusual until the captain mentioned it. A flatbread sandwich and a drink were provided to those of us in the cheap seats, whilst Club Europe passengers apparently got afternoon tea.

T1 at Prague is where non-Schengen flights arrive. I also got to see much of T2 before finding somebody to ask where the Marriott Courtyard hotel is. Opposite T1 is the answer, ignore any sales pitch about covered walkways; I’ve still not found how to get to it.

A 24 hour public transport pass will get you into and around the city for around £3, paid by credit card at the kiosk in T1. Not the one which advertises public busses, the one which advertises public transport.

Prague is another of those airports where security is done at the gate. I suppose it makes sense but I do like getting it out the way at the beginning. Anyway, easy checkin, straight through passport control, quick over-priced drink from rude wait staff in the bar, and then through security to the gate.

Same chicken on flatbread sandwich as the outbound flight, slow serving of drinks, but an otherwise ok flight to LHR. Same seat as the outbound but on an older aircraft.

Arrival into T3 was another bus job into the terminal. Then round the winding corridors to the transfer bus. There were a dozen of us transferring to T5, mostly from the Prague flight. Into T5 to join the other transfer passengers, through immigration then security. A late lunch/early dinner at Giraffe with the usual friendly welcome.

My usual favourite spot in T5 is by the play area when it’s closed as it’s nice and quiet with good views. But as it’s still early that’s not an option, so it takes a while to find somewhere to sit near a working charging station.

A very routine flight back to LBA, and bus/train back home.


10 January ’14

latvia lithuania estonia

9 September ’13

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

My first trip on Avios

1 September ’13

This was my first trip paid for with Avios, I saw an availability window open up and jumped for it. I initially regretted not taking the time to take in Sweden at the same time, but I actually needed this weekend getaway to myself and it had been proving difficult to get availability on this route at the same time as availability at the hotel.

A quick overnight in Stavanger, or more accurately Sola, was an easy win. An hour and a half flight from London, and Sola Strand is a nice spa hotel right on the beach and just a mile walk from the airport.

Stavanger airport is nothing special, a few interesting local airlines, and very little Oneworld Alliance presence. Passport control is weirdly between gates 7-9 and the rest of airside, as most departures are EU or national. The airport offers free wifi, but you need to be able to receive sms; alternatively there’s a Boingo hotspot, and both taxis and buses have onboard wifi. You’ll also find free umbrellas all over the place, so maybe I wasn’t just unlucky with the bad weather this weekend.

28 countries down, bookings made for a further 8.

sola stranda the view from my bedroom this

17 August ’13

Sola Stranda, the view from my bedroom this weekend