After a very tiring 2 weeks in Le Sables d’Olonnes it was time to head back – finally. Work trips are always exhausting and this was no different. There had been some interesting events, including the French fishermen going on strike and blocking the port for a few days.
I left the hotel after having a quick breakfast, and drove to the office for some last minute work before heading to Nantes airport. After so many trips to France, driving on the other side of the road, is 2nd nature now, and I don’t have any problems with directions either, so the drive to Nantes was easy and relaxed – the most relaxing of the trip home as it happened.
A 318-111 Reg: F-GUGH
Depart time, scheduled 14:35 Actual 14:37
Arrival time, scheduled 15:40 Actual 15:39
After dropping off the rental car, I headed into Hall 1 to check-in. Air France had many employees encouraging people to use the machines rather than queuing up at the counters. For some reason the machine wouldn’t accept any of my details, but when an AF
person tried, it all worked..must have been operator error!
With not long until boarding, I had a coke in order to stay awake for at least the next few hours until I got to LHR
Boarding was very orderly and quick to. I was hoping that the Beluga wouldn’t move and that we would take off to the north so that I could get some better photos, however when I looked at the next plane to take off it was taking off to the south – damn. Pushback was pretty much on time and we headed to the runway promptly – shame it was 21 not 03.
After we took off, we did a quick 180 turn and headed towards CDG
, I also noted the Beluga had left so I wasn’t going to get a photo anyways.
Drinks and a snack was served but just after having a coke and chocolate, I didn’t feel much like any more food, so I rested for the hour long trip.
We landed and arrived at the gate about 10 minutes early but had to wait for an agent to get there and unlock the doors. Needless to say there was a huge rush off the plane but then only to another set of doors which we had to wait for someone to unlock.
After a 15 minute wait for my luggage I then walked to Terminal 2B. I know there is a good bus system, but I like to walk especially with a 24 hour flight coming up.
A 321-1231 Reg: N/A
Depart time, scheduled 17:55 Actual 18:25
Arrival time, scheduled 18:10 Actual 18:27
When I arrived at the check-in machines for BA
, the place looked empty except for a long line on the other side of passport control which I saw but didn’t think much about. I retrieved my boarding passes for this flight and also the trip to SYD
from the machine and made my way to passport control. This was quick and painless with the line moving very quickly, however I saw the next line which was very long. I soon realised that this was the line for the BA
luggage “quick drop”, and that was infact, a misnomer. This line took 1.5 hours to get to the head of. Surprisingly given this debacle, everyone was pretty patient and no ugly scenes at all. After this long line, the security check was surprisingly quick, however the ‘holding bay’ was very full – standing room only. Even though the departure board showed the flight was on time, the fact that this flight would be delayed was given away by the fact the inbound had actually not arrived with 10 minutes until scheduled departure. When the A 321 eventually turned up, the plane was turned around very quickly and boarding didn’t end up being too late.
As usual everyone had bought all their bags which much have included the kitchen sink on board, and I had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting to someone “of size’. It was made worse as the armrest was broken, and my seatmate assumed that it normal position was pointing to side of the aircraft, not parallel to the isle. No amount of elbowing and gentle and subtle hints would persuade her otherwise, so the 1 hour trip was very squashed – lucky I am reasonably slim.
JAL 772 taxing to active runway
Fedex arriving to CDG
Evening in London
When I travel, I have the largest carryon allowable, and my camera bag. With the UK baggage restrictions I put my camera bag in the carryon so I don’t get stopped at the transfer security line, however this time I couldn’t be bothered, and it seemed the people enforcing this couldn’t be bothered with me – after a few polite words I went straight through transit security quickly and easily and headed to the BA
lounge for a shower.
B 777-236ER Reg: G-MMMN
Depart time, scheduled 21:35 Actual 21:49
Arrival time, scheduled 17:35 Actual 17:48
With 3 hours to kill between flights, and being very tired, I figured that sitting in the BA
First Class lounge was the best thing to do, eating some fine food and having a few drinks as well. At 9pm, and the departure board indicting the flight was boarding, I headed towards the gate, and to my surprise NOT found that boarding had not started. Eventually with 15 minutes until our scheduled departure there was movement at the gates, but not as I would expect. Firstly the families and mobility challenged people boarded, then instead of the premium passengers, it was a free-for-all, with every boarding pass reader experiencing problems at some stage. As I got to the head of the scrum, I saw the boarding pass of the person ahead of me noting he was sitting in 27K. When he got to the agent, his pass failed and the agent said “you have been upgraded to WT
+”. Being a Oneworld Emerald I thought that my chances would also be good for an upgrade, but no I got to sit with the rest of the great unwashed.
Pushback was a little late due to ATC restrictions, but a quick taxi to 27L meant that we were not too far behind schedule. Dinner was served pretty quickly, but I soon discovered I had a problem with my seat, or more to the point, the kicking of it from behind. Being very tired I was not in the mood to deal with this, so pretty quickly my elbow reacted to the foot from behind. The father of this uncontrollable child tried to tell to settle him down but with no success, so I had a constant foot in the back for 13 hours.
I did get some sleep during this time, but unfortunately kept being woken by this devil child, so I was pretty exhausted by the time we arrived in SIN
. During the descent into SIN
the person next to me kept leaning over to try and look out the window which was a bit intrusive to say the least.
Finals in SIN
As we arrived at the gate, we were given the option of staying on board or going into the terminal, which I always choose to do, however the person next to me thought that that meant I was leaving for good, and immediately jumped into my seat as I left.
B 777-236ER Reg: G-MMMN
Depart time, scheduled 19:45 Actual 19:53
Arrival time, scheduled 05:15 Actual 05:09
As usual after I disembarked the aircraft, I headed straight up to the lounge for a shower, and to see if I could swap seats and get away from the devil child, but unfortunately the flight was 100% full and there was nowhere to move to. After showering I went to use a computer to try and do some work, but they were all in use, so I headed for the business class lounge. When I showed the agent my boarding pass, he responded by saying that I was allowed to use the First Class lounge , but when I told him I wanted to use a computer which I was not able to do in the other lounge he showed me the direction of the lounge business centre. He told me he preferred I use those computers and not the general lounge computers, as it was much quieter – a nice thought.
Boarding started on time and I got back to my seat and found it was empty, my seat mate obviously decided to leave the plane during the stopover.
Again we were delayed at pushback due to ATC restrictions, and eventually followed QF
6 out, towards the runway.
Pretty soon after we took off, I felt the familiar kick in the back, and immediately responded in kind with my elbow, however this time the mother said to me that they had swapped with their other kid, and hoped it wouldn’t be a repeat of the last leg, to which I replied that I hoped so to!
Dinner was served once the flight levelled out, but I was more interested in sleeping so I took a tablet and tried to sleep. Before I nodded off, I noticed that the person in front was asked to raise his seat during the meal, something I was to remember later in the flight.
After a few more kicks in the back, I did get to sleep but was woken again by some more kicks in the back with a few hours to go until we arrived in Sydney.
Breakfast was served with about 1.5 hours until scheduled arrival into Sydney, however this time the person in front decided not to raise his seat. I don’t mind people reclining at all, but what gets my on my nerves are people who won’t raise their seat during the meal service AND
eat. I gently nudged his seat to remind him to put his seat back, but it was too subtle for him. After a few more nudges I was getting more and more annoyed and pushed the seat, to which he simply looked at me and pushed back on his seat. At this stage I told him “would you put your seat up while we are eating you inconsiderate little f&$K”. That did the trick, and I could eat my breakfast with a little more room. This person was a young teenager whose parents obviously hadn’t started teaching manners yet.
The trip to Sydney had been quite quick, and with the tailwind we would have landed earlier, but due to the 5am curfew we had to slow and make a little detour to kill some time before landing.
6 had arrived a few minutes before us, customs and immigration were very busy, but it didn’t take long to get through and out the other side. I made my way to the taxi rank and got a cab straight home. Just over an hour and half after landing I was home having a shower, and 2 hours after landing I was back in the office working – no rest for some.
I have 2 trips coming up;
in 2 weeks
And the same trip as above in mid October, but this will be WT
+ and Club World
Thanks for reading