Back to Stuttgart Airport and checking out the passenger experience.
To Stuttgart and Schwabisch Hall
In this trip report:
- An Invite to Germany
- Testing and Paperwork
- Off to Heathrow, Terminal 5, and the South Galleries Lounge
- BA920 London Heathrow to Stuttgart (Club Europe)
- The joy of German Immigration, Into Stuttgart and the Novum Hotel Rieker, Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof
- Off to Schwabisch Hall, qubixx stattemitte Hotel
- Economy Class and Beyond at Recaro Aircraft Seating
- Back to Stuttgart and the joy of pigeons
- Off to Stuttgart Airport
- BA921 Stuttgart to London Heathrow (Club Europe)
- Welcome to Brexitainia, The Premier Inn Heathrow
- Off Home again
- Innovation is the driver
Off to Stuttgart Airport
Arriving at the S-Bahn station, the priority was to get a ticket. After getting lost in the cavern of the U-bahn/S-Bahn station, I found a VSS Ticket machine. Another unhappy card transaction later, I had a ticket for the airport.
Because if you think I would be caught travelling without a ticket after earlier, you’ve got another thought coming.
After a 15 minute wait for the train, I took the chance to repack from three bags, down to two, with me emptying my rucksack into the suitcase. I also packed in the old shoulder bag too to be cleaned when I got back to friendlier shores.
With a minute to go, the suitcase was packed.
I can’t plan this any better, I swear.
Boarding the train, I found a bay and settled in for the journey to the airport. The trains that DB Regio use on these routes are “functional” rather than comfortable – and whilst some might moan about ironing board seats, they’re passable – even if you’re forced to sit upright.
Enough for me to go through my day bag and confirm I still had my wallet and passport.
Eventually, the train arrived at Stuttgart Airport. Time for me to detrain and head away from the land of S-Bahn and back to the world of Aviation.
I proceeded into the airport, noting whilst there was life, it was still very muted (compared to Heathrow which seemed to be pretty much fully open).
A last-minute trip into the airport Edeka and I was set to go again.
Heading upstairs to the departure level, it was time to find where my flight would be checking in from. With desks 302-305 assigned, I suspected that a full-on bun-fight would be in progress.
I was pretty close to the truth – with queues everywhere at that point. Nonetheless, desk staff had arrived at check-in, making it a reasonable time to queue up to get the bags in and a boarding pass.
There was a short wait – least of all some of the people had failed to print out or store the documentation they needed to enter the UK (as BA’s ground contractors were checking for COVID vaccination status, the passenger locator form and that you had booked a testing package). As such, the check-in process was longer than usual.
I guess the world of paperless travel will still have to wait, post world events.
And don’t think you can skip this by skipping the check-in queue and going to the gate – the validation was happening at the gate too
With my papers all cleared for a flight, my new bag took its first journey into the depths of an airport.
As for me, I would enjoy Stuttgart Airport in public areas only – sadly, both the fast track security and lounge were closed.
Whilst annoying, neither are the end of the world matters, Security was quiet enough, I was processed through in a matter of minutes
As for a lounge… Well. There were some nice public areas to stay in, Sadly, food and drink options were limited, as were some of the shopping outlets – with the newsagent being consolidated with Duty-Free.
Although there were a few shops that were trying to do trade in these times.
I just took my time at this point – there was no point rushing around – there would be plenty of time for that later.
With time ticking on (and a quick check of FlightRadar 24, I noticed my aircraft home was making its final approach into Stuttgart. I took that as my cue to leave the Schengen Zone, and transit into one of the non-Schengen zones at the airport.
Another slam of stamping of my passport as I cleared Germany emigration, as I was in the waiting area.
Again, the area had been stripped back due to a lack of customers (the coffee shop gone, with only a few vending machines keeping the place company – along with the passengers queuing).
With the A320 pulling into the gate, people started lining up. This was not for boarding, but so that document checks could be completed.
Yes – no one escapes the document checker. No document check = no boarding.
It took some time for the passengers to disembark and for the aircraft to go through a light clean. After that, passengers were invited to board by group number.
With Group 1 being called, I had my boarding pass scanned one more time, along with my passport being checked. With those formalities completed, I took my leave of Germany.
Next: BA921 Stuttgart to London Heathrow
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