Luggage delivery incompetence, last-minute changes, and CrossCountry Trains Home
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?
Getting off the plane, I headed to domestic arrivals. With the plane pulling in a few minutes early – I had high hopes I would make my coach, and get home on time.
Alas, Menzies Aviation were having second thoughts with on time luggage delivery- with first bag not arriving on the belt for at least 20 minutes after landing – and my bag again near the last off the belt.
So much for priority luggage, and handling.
I wasn’t exactly happy at that point – 30+ minutes to unload a plane and get the luggage from the plane to belt isn’t exactly what I call fast.
With my bags in hand, I headed out of the secure area, and begun the journey via T3 and T1 to The Station – and see what I could salvage from the coach ticket.
With my coach connection in the bin, I went to the National Express agent counter – who promptly told me to buy a new ticket for missing my coach.
Well, spank you very much.
So, what could I do? Pony up for a new ticket… or catch the train into Central Manchester, and book a cheap Advance ticket to Birmingham on the way?
It took all of 5 seconds to make a decision – Train it was.
Thankfully, the ticket machines at Manchester airport are easy to use to buy local tickets. Within minutes I was down at platform level to catch the local service to Piccadilly station to meet my connection for Birmingham.
Northern Train Manchester Airport to Manchester Piccadilly
Class 323, Standard Class
£5 Single Walk-up fare
For a route of this length, I don’t expect much, apart from a seat. And there were plenty of them on this local Manchester Piccadilly station.
For me – I wanted and easy on/easy off – and for me – that would be sat in the bike and buggy area.
With the train pulling out of Manchester Airport station, I fired up the CrossCountry trains site, and booking a train ticket for the 13:07 to Bristol – with my ticket valid as far as Birmingham New Street.
By the time I had reached the first stop on this local service, I had electronic confirmation that my ticket was ready for collection at Piccadilly.
All I could do then was ensure my luggage wasn’t falling over for the train journey.
20 minutes later – I was at Manchester Piccadilly. With limited time on my side, I headed straight to the ticket machine, punched in the collection code I got, and out spat a ticket and a seat reservation.
With that done, I headed to the gate line and towards the waiting CrossCountry Voyager, and the 1 hour 50 ride home.
CrossCountry Trains Manchester Piccadilly to Birmingham New Street
CrossCountry Class 220 Voyager – Standard Class
£18 Advance Ticket
£18 advance ticket on the day? It can be done.
With the seat reservation system off-line when I boarded the train, I took a wild guess at the carriage and chose a seat on it.
The train had a reasonable load for a mid-after run to Birmingham, with the train collecting more passengers each at each station on its way to Birmingham and Bristol.
I merely took my seat and thankfully, no one wanted to sit next to me. Which considering the amount of junk I was carrying – was no bad thing.
The seats and seat moquette is still the same as it was in the time that Virgin Trains operated these trains – and that isn’t too bad, as it has held up well over the years since its introduction.
Whilst these units have a reputation of being smelly (due to the toilet retention tanks near the exhausts of the engines), my nose wasn’t working. Or I was tired.
Either way, I slept for the majority of the journey once the train left Stockport. I woke at Wolverhampton – which is good as it means I have around 10 minutes to gather myself together and wake up.
With me awake and refreshed, I exited the train at Birmingham New Street, back into the black hole of Mordor Haptbahnhof.
Well – it’s still Mordor at Platform level at Concourse level, it’s gleaming glass and concrete as part of the Grand Central Complex.
With myself and my trash out of the train and out of the train station, I wheeled over to the taxi rank, and found an unhappy cabbie to take me the mile and a half on the final leg of this journey – to the entrances of my flat.
With £6.20 in his pocket and out of mine, I lugged everything the short distance back to my front door, ending this adventure.
Next: Why celebrate?
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