To Manchester Airport and the British Airways Terraces Lounge
A celebratory trip to Chicago
- So, Chicago eh. That’s really different.
- Take the National Express, Manchester Airport, British Airways Terraces Lounge
- BA1385 Manchester Airport to London Heathrow
- T5 – Pick a lounge. Any Lounge – British Airways Galleries South, Galleries T5B
- BA295 London Heathrow T5 to Chicago O’Hare International
- The joy of O’Hare and Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Experiments with a Canon 40mm lens
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Using Amazon out of your home country in a pinch
- Back to O’Hare, The New AA Flagship Lounge
- AA86 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow T3
- Terminal change shenanigans, British Airways Galleries North
- BA1386 London Heathrow to Manchester Airport
- Luggage delivery incompetence, last-minute changes, and CrossCountry Trains home
- Why celebrate?
12am: My flat.
It seems when I go on holiday, I’m spending days tying up loose ends or arguments that have been ongoing since I was heading off. Again, I was working up to and beyond the cut-off point (to the point that I was on the phone to the office as the doors went to close on one flight).
With what I though with everything packed, I grabbed my bags and hailed a Uber for the short ride to the Coach Station. With a chatty and helpful driver, I was at the coach station in plenty of time.
My bags however were not in the mood to balance. What’s the term – the more things change… the more they stay the same.
But I was awake… and I thought that everything I needed for the trip was packed. Except as I discovered later- a hard disk, and more importantly, a photography softbox.
That however, is another story.
National Express 528 to Manchester Airport
With a Northern Irish crew, I was welcomed aboard this coach that would be going onto Belfast this morning. For me – this was a direct coach to the airport – and that’s not a bad thing.
Let’s do some passenger experience checks here. Whilst legroom is a bit tight towards the back of the coach, there was a Wi-Fi service for their Vuer In-Coach IFE system.
Not only that, there was also one 230v power socket per two seats. So if you have a plug adaptor with 2.1a outputs, it’s great for charging power banks and phones.
This is what I did. As well as settle into some appropriate tunes for the journey.
With a direct run, the coach blitzed down the Aston Expressway, up the M6 to a set of Motorway services – where the driver was due a rest for 30 minutes.
Whilst normally, this would have annoyed me, I had built-in more than enough time for this stop, Also, it gave me a chance to check with the help friends on Twitter what sort of plane I was on exactly.
Turns out it would be a Super Hi J between London and Chicago.
The coach made it to Manchester airport around 4:20 in the morning, and I was soon on my way through the blue tunnels of Manchester airport.
I believe this calls for another song.
Working my way through the blue tunnels, I popped out near Terminal 1. Dropping down to the ground level, I followed the signs to T3.
In the dim and distant past, you used to be able go through Terminal 1 through to Terminal 3 – However, the joy of Retail and Security has put paid to that – and that’s a shame as it was a pleasant walk. Instead, one has to go inside, then outside, then through a building and some odd undercover things before reaching the ground floor of the terminal.
So, not well designed for the foot passenger.
Eventually, I reached Terminal 3 – still coated in I Heart MCR stickers.
Because – we all do really.
I headed upstairs and headed over to the BA check-in area which was already open.
My passport was checked, and my baggage was accepted for travel. With boarding passes issued, my suitcase was taken away, and I dropped my big bag of stuff at the oversized belt.
With that, I headed through the fast track. I seemed to disappoint some of the staff as I didn’t buy a Fast Track sticker (yours for £5 a time).
My oneworld sapphire did it for me instead.
Security took a few minutes to do – again – Manchester airport is busy any time of day with the amount of different traffic the airport handles. Terminal 3 handles BA, AA, FlyBe, Ryanair, Air France, KLM, BMI Regional, Loganair, Iberia Express and Vueling – so a fair mix of traffic.
With security done and dusted, I was in the secure area. There is only one priority for me once clearing security – a bottle of water.
Rule one in the air as Miss All Over the Place, and many a cabin crew member will tell you – STAY HYDRATED.
The fact I used this water bottle the entire trip is besides the point.
That done, it was time to head up to the BA Lounge – which was just about to open as I was heading up to the lounge.
British Airways Terraces Lounge, Manchester.
I was welcomed to the lounge – and rather than make a bee-line for the food, I made a bee-line for the shower. Well, 1) no one else would be using one and 2) after toting my luggage around, it seemed a good idea at the time.
A warm and relaxing shower later I was 1) feeling human and 2) feeling like flying.
Checking out the catering, it’s the usual cereals, pasties, fermented bacterial products and fruit. Reasonable stuff to nibble on.
There was also a good alcohol selection for those who wanted to indulge first thing in the morning.
Meanwhile – it was dark outside- not so good to watch planes arriving. That didn’t stop me heading to a window seat… and firing up Microsoft Sharepoint.
You guessed it. Was I working on holiday once again? You bet your sweet backside.
And I really hate Sharepoint. Honestly, I can name some Microsoft products that drive me potty (as well as a bunch of VMWare Products), but Sharepoint is the one that someone needs to strip down, rebuild and restart from square one.
Tied that thing up to an Azure Active Directory that has its own quirks, and it makes for entertainment.
Thankfully, I had a breakfast drink once I finished doing re-permissions.
The lounge Wi-Fi was as disappointing as ever. I struggle to see why lounges can’t invest in decent wireless internet these days – even out out-stations.
The lounge hasn’t changed since I’ve started frequenting it – and that’s no bad thing. It’s a reasonable out-station for those who are connecting onto London (although those going direct to the USA might want to find some food to nibble to go in if breakfast pastries aren’t enough.
Boarding was called directly from the lounge – with domestic gate 143 declared.
I headed out of the lounge and down to the gate, firstly clearing the boarding pass scan and photographic match (all UK Domestic passengers need to pass a photographic match in case they swap their boarding passes).
With that done, I joined the queue for boarding – which was a few minutes away.
Eventually, the signal was given, and the priority line started filtering down. I filtered down with them for the domestic segment to London
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