There’s a coach around here, I swear…
Aircraft Interiors Expo 2022: Back in Person
- Redemption seats exist for a reason
- Off to LHR, Terminal 5 South Lounge
- BA0974 London Heathrow to Hamburg (Club Europe)
- Into Germany and IBIS Hotel
- What you might have missed from Aircraft Interiors Expo 2022
- What do I get up to on the off-hours? (or “Do you have a life?”)
- Back to Hamburg Airport
- BA0957 Hamburg to London Heathrow (Club Europe)
- There’s a coach around here, I swear…
- Innovation continues
The joy of Heathrow and Homeward
With me off the aircraft, and into the bus, I was slightly nervous. We had spent precious time sitting on the tarmac doing nothing (thanks to British Airways being unable to organise a champagne reception in its own terminal), so I was watching the clock, as well as praying my keys were still in the bag.
And praying the bag made it.
The bus drove around T5B and eventually ducked into the tunnels towards T5A. the bus popped out and pulled to the arrivals and transfer area.
With this done, it was time for everyone to bail out and head into arrivals.
I followed the signage and headed to arrivals.
Up we go.
Chose your own adventure. Left for the United Kingdom, right for other lands.
With my passport still in “meh” mode thanks to the chip being mostly non-functional, I headed past the e-gates and towards the manual clearance.
I then saw the size of the queue for the UK and friends queue, and ducked into the e-gates rejects queue. Another 10 minutes later, I was cleared into the UK.
With that, it was time to head downstairs and to the luggage claim.
I thought there would be time for a quick comfort break before collecting my luggage – so I took it.
There were now four clocks running:
- How long will the bag take to arrive?
- How many Heathrow express trains were left towards the central terminal area (which were dropping by the 15 minutes)
- Could I make my coach?
- And were my keys still in the bag or was I truly screwed?
In terms of bag arrival, they started arriving around 25 minutes after I cleared immigration. In total, it took a total of 1 hour and 12 minutes from landing to get my bag.
Considering the flight I took was an hour, this is a British Airways crap show at its best.
I rushed out of the secure zone as someone was being dragged away for bringing too many cigarettes into the UK, and cleared the airside area into the ground side.
Whilst I was doing this, I decided to ring the Tile that was on my keys. As I walked along, I heard that classic Tile ringtone from the bag. Given that no other tiles were ringing, I was confident my keys were still in my bag.
One less weight off my mind. But I still needed to rush.
And I rushed. Mainly as I knew a Heathrow Express train was departing within 5 minutes which would get me back to the Central Terminal Area – where the bus station was.
Firstly get some tickets to access the Heathrow Express
I grabbed a Heathrow transfer ticket and headed straight down, where there was a train waiting for me. I bundled aboard.
Ah. Ironing board seats. Such a wonderful thing to see on a premium service.
Within a couple of minutes, the beep beep beep alarm went off.
I rang my keys with the attached Tile again, and lo and behold – it went off. My confidence increased that I would be sleeping in my own bed that night.
Getting off at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 station, I headed upstairs and cleared the gate.
I then went through the tunnels, and eventually popped out at the Coach Station with about 40 minutes to spare.
That – was too tight for my liking. If I had been five minutes more, that would be down to 20 minutes for the coach, or I would have had to taxi over from Terminal 5 to the CTA, as I was fast closing in on the last transfer services of the day.
And the Uber fare to Birmingham was not palatable.
Unless anyone would like to sponsor that.
I parked up at some seats at the coach station, then started stripping down the suitcase and rung the Tile. Eventually, I found my keys. These were moved to a more accessible location rather than the suitcase.
On the plus side, there would be no expensive hotel for Kevin that night or the joy of the emergency locksmith to deal with.
With the bags now secured for transit and me running very hot for some reason, I headed outside to wait for the 423 to Birmingham and Liverpool.
National Express 423 to Birmingham
About five minutes late, Coach 423 turned up. My bags were accepted for travel, and I went aboard to find a very full coach. If there’s a full coach, the simple rule applies – find the first seat you can, apologise to the person next to you and sit down.
I sat in the second row from the front. This coach had a new feature that I have not seen on some National Express coaches before – USB-A outlet ports. That’s a step up to the electrical mains electrical outlets that coaches sometimes have, which means you have to go fishing for an adaptor… if they’re switched on that is.
This is an upgrade – trust me.
There was some confusion about where people could sit (as the first few seats had been reserved), but eventually, everyone sat down on the coach.
With that, the 423 pulled out of the station and headed for the Heathrow tunnel. Again, this coach had experienced trained and someone else learning the route.
After the last experience I had, I decided to stay awake during the important bits. Although trying to get comfortable was a challenge in an aisle seat – to the point I crinkled my neck leaning right.
Nonetheless, the USB port charged my phone mighty fast. The only other annoyance was the beeps and gongs going off from the driver console. It appeared that the toilet was on the blink on this coach. Which is peachy.
Elmdon International Airport
The coach completed the reverse route – driving up to Oxford, then over to Birmingham Airport, and finally to Birmingham Digbeth Coach station, with the coach picking up and dropping off people on the way.
No matter for me – I was happily sitting back.
Around 10 minutes late, coach 423 arrived at Birmingham Digbeth station, ending this part of the trip.
I bundled out of the coach and grabbed my bags. With them in hand, I headed outside and hailed an Uber for the ride home.
With a semi-chatty driver – who was interested in chatting on the phone with his friend about the state of Uber in Birmingham and how people might switch to Bolt (although looking at the ride-share drivers in Birmingham, it’s not unusual for drivers to have all Uber, Bolt and Ola installed, plus also an app for a local minicab company), I eventually made it to the flat and my front door.
By 3:10 in the morning, I had made my front door.
Whilst I started the backup of the content I had shot in bed, let us just say that I was not awake to see it complete.
By the time midday the next day arrived, I tried moving. 5 days of lots of steps had finally taken its toll. I would be going nowhere until much later during the day.
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