Making Brussels Interesting – with TravelMagic and Brussels Airlines
Back to Brussels Airport, Brussels Airlines Lounge
- Travel? TravelMagic!
- Saturday Morning fun and games
- SN2050 Birmingham Airport to Brussels National Airport
- TravelMagic overview
- The Pantone Hotel
- A Day in Brussels
- Back to Brussels Airport, Brussels Airlines Lounge (THIS SECTION)
- SN2047 Brussels National Airport to Birmingham Airport
Back to the Airport.
Heading into Central, there was a waiting ticket machine (that again, accepted Mastercard and Visa – one heck of an improvement SNCB/NMBS), which spat out another €7.80 ticket to Brussels Airport. With the train running slightly late, I headed downstairs to the black of the station – it almost reminds me of Birmingham New Street (an equal black hole of nothingness).
Soon enough, a train came along… which looked… very modern. In fact, extremely modern. It seems I lucked out on this train – as this one was Class AM 08 train – a Siemens Desiro ML, which SCNB/NMBS are introducing to support their upcoming RER network in 2017.
Of course, it’s a Siemens Desiro. Whilst they’re common as heck in Europe, they offer a reasonable ride with reasonable comfort. I settled in for the ride back to the Airport, when all of a sudden I noticed a hat with an orange strip on.
Yes, it was the rarest of rare things; a ticket inspector came to clip my ticket (I’ve lost count of the amount of time I’ve ridden on trains in Continental Europe and not a single inspector has turned up). Whilst I always pay for my travel, it’s actually nice to see someone inspecting tickets for once.
The ticket… crimped.
The train took its time heading to Brussels Nord, and then powered out for a non-stop run to Brussels Airport.
Thalys service headed towards Brussels Midi
The busy yard
Closing in on Brussels National
Within 15 minutes the train started slowing again as it descended into the tunnels below Brussels Airport. Quickly enough, the train stopped and disgorged its passengers as they headed up to departures – many in a rush.
Train at rest
I however, was not. So I took my time heading up to the departure levels, making sure those who needed to get past… get past.
Rush rush rush….
After arriving at Brussels National Airport, I headed outside to cool down for a bit, watching planes take off and boosting my second hand smoke/nicotine intake. Well I suppose it makes up for the Jet1A smell. It also gave me time to divide the bags up for the chocolate I’ve bought for friends (yes, how cliché. I’m not objecting… nor are my friends). Thus the Antler “Stone” rucksack, now comes into play that had been hiding at the bottom of my Ettines Rucksack all weekend (packing is an art I seem to be getting better at – acquisition of things is something I’m NOT getting better at.).
That and I needed to check a snowglobe in too. It’s part of a continuing war with my parents about who can bring the tackiest gift from back from a trip (they’ve gone with Cuckoo Clocks in their last fight… I’m going back with a traditional snow-globe of the Atomium… which of course there is no picture of if you’ve read my last entry).
Heading back in…
I proceeded to consider another fight with the Check-in machine, but instead, I waved my Star Gold card, and headed to the Gold Check-in line.
Which was a good thing as the general check-in queues were stacking up by a good few switchbacks.
Gold and Business were rather busy too.
My Boarding Pass was issued (on proper cardboard stock), and my Antler bag taken from me (in a luggage bin – see airports of the United Kingdom… this is how we handle rucksacks, as opposed to dumping them in the oversized luggage area…), and I was off through passport control and security. These were handled relatively quickly – through to a quiet departures area.
They’ll try and make a quick coin whilst they’re at it though.
After a short walk up and down the B departure pier – mainly to see if there was anything interesting traffic (apart from Turkish 777-300ER and an Ethiopian 767… not much), I headed upstairs to the lounge
Lounge Stop – Brussels Airlines lounge
I was welcomed into the lounge, and my Miles and More FTL status was enough to grant me entry into this “Home lounge”. A WiFi code valid for an hour was given (with no more than two codes per visit allowed…), and I made my way in.
The lounge hasn’t changed since I last visited it a few years ago… and that’s not a bad thing. It’s well lit with lots of natural light, with lots of seating, with a few snack options (as well as Belgian Beer too).
Beer. Under Surveillance.
Rollls, Olives and hard salami
I settled in to relax after a long day of tramping around Brussels with a heavy rucksack. Whilst the snacks were not big or substantive, they did fill a spot.
The WiFi was a reasonable enough speed – enough for basic browsing
The lounge itself was very quiet – this being a Sunday. Of course, there were no toilets in the lounge, rather on the outside corridor. Lovely joined up thinking there.
Still, it was a nice quiet place to unwind – part of the point of the lounge.
As 7pm came around, I noticed an Austrian Airlines Dash8 had landed, which would operate the flight I had booked home. I took this opportunity to pack my trash up once again for the short hop home.
Heading to the gate, the airport was quiet – it being a Sunday evening. There were a lot of UK regional departures heading off (with two BMI Regional flights looking like they were doing a good trade, and a couple of Brussels airlines UK bound flights looking reasonable too).
But still… the airport had an almost eerie feel about it. Right for a regional hub… but not for a national hub.
By the time I got to the gate, the passengers from the plane were disembarking, with the ground crew readying for a departure. Looking at the gate area, the load looked light indeed. Boarding was called, and it was time to head downstairs to the waiting Dash8 for the short run home.
This way for home!
That one home please!