18th July 2007
Photo © Gerry Hill - WorldAirImages
(outbound trip at BMI-Baby, WW1995 BHX-MRS, 11-07-2007 (+photos) (by Rogbi200 Jul 13 2007 in Trip Reports) )
Following a week in the glorious Provençal sunshine, it was time to return the hire Peugeot to the rental stand at Marignane and set off for MP2, the new lo-co terminal.
I had allowed far too much time for the journey to the airport with the result that I had an hour to kill before check-in opened, and rather than haul my luggage around to visit the other terminals, I found a seat in the departure hall (only one small café the only facility) and immersed myself in book and iPod.
Exactly two hours before scheduled departure three check in desks opened and I was quite quick off the mark to join the queue and be one of the first through. My suitcase had put on a little too much weight during the week but fortunately this wasn’t noticed and I wheeled it off to the bag drop point and joined the queue for security, which was slow going with only two scanners open, and about a 25 minute wait, not that impressive as I had already abandoned my bottled water- I rather wish I’d kept it.
My laptop bag with all its fiddly pockets received a thorough manual search for the first time ever, though my comment ‘il y en a trop’ received a smile from the security officer.
Airside there was a small lounge area with a handful of shops and a small snack bar- not a BAA style haven of commerce but fortunately slightly better than terminal three at CDG, which I endured about 18 months ago! There was a reasonable view of part of the apron and I found a table to excavate my baguette and watch the world go by.
The incoming flight was on time and we were called for a short walk to passport control and onto the gate.
The 737 was close enough to the gate to avoid the need for a bus so up the airstairs, and onboard. About a 70% capacity flight, which left on time, though taking off on 13L as the direction of operations must just have changed- I was watching flights land on 31R as we boarded.
The flight itself was uneventful and smooth, but with only the single pre-flight announcement from the flight deck.
The route took us up the Rhône valley, past Avignon, just to the east of Paris (with views of Orly and CDG) and then over London and straight in to Birmingham on Rwy33, some ‘25 minutes ahead of schedule’ (ie par for the course- schedules have plenty of slack built in so that punctuality rates can be massaged!). Also a good view of the Gaydon test track (Land Rover and Aston Martin, as well as the Heritage Motor Museum).
We did have a 10 minute delay getting on the gate as the staff weren’t ready, but the biggest delay was in the immigration hall, as we arrived shortly after an Air India 777; time I registered for IRIS, I reckon! 20 minutes later and in a pile of suitcases in the baggage hall I found my case. Fortunately, a train from Birmingham International station was due in 10 minutes, and it only took five to get from Terminal one to the rail station, the train was on time, and I was soon home.