And now for something different
Birthday Adventures to Geneva – with EasyJet
- Where the heck do I want to go?
- Off to Elmdom International Airport
- EasyJet EZS1498 Birmingham Airport to Geneva Airport
- Into Switzerland and Geneva
- Crowne Plaza Geneva
- A Morning Walk Around a Quiet City
- Back to Geneva Airport
- EasyJet EZS1493 Geneva Airport to Birmingham Airport
- Through to the coffee shop…or not…
- To New and Old Adventures
Saturday morning. Actual morning, not idiot o’clock
You’ll forgive me when I say this, but it’s nice not being awake at idiot o’clock to catch a flight from a local airport, and I can get up at a reasonable hour, throw a change of clothes, a Chromebook and camera gear for an overnight and head on out the front door.
It makes a change from the 3 am bus from the Coach station down to the airport, to put it mildly.
Still, early enough to skip taking the bus and take an Uber to the train station.
After another chatty Uber driver moaning about life, I was dropped off at New Street Station, where I headed for a ticket machine for a train ticket to Birmingham International. Another £4.60 vanished from my wallet, and I was on my way.
The ticket machine failed to encode the ticket correctly, so I had fun crossing the barrier to the ticketed area.
I found a train heading vaguely in the right direction of Birmingham airport – I had just missed the fast train, so I had a train ride that lasted a whole 14 minutes to get to the airport.
Still beats taking an Uber to the airport and allows me to pocket the savings (the best part of £15).
That looks like an airport.
Arriving at Birmingham International, I headed up, and eventually through the ticket barriers.
From here, it’s time to head to the Air-Rail link that connects the Birmingham International station to the airport.
And for my US Readers, yes, it is free to use. I know this scares some airports, but it is possible to build hub connections like this and operate them as part of the passenger facility fee, rather than ripping people off $7 a time (plus however much they charge for fare media).
Arriving at the airport, I headed to the security area, as I had no luggage to take. Sadly, the quick bit of travel had ended – we were now at the fun of Birmingham Airport security queue – with a 25-minute processing time.
Welcome to the Abyss.
It could have been worse I suppose. Suffice to say the airport has invested a lot of money in tensabarriers to make the queue feel… something.
By 2024, they’ve got to do a lot more, as the demand for CT Scanners will be in place.
Something the airport has to invest in is Windows 10 upgrades. As their screens show.
I hope those Windows 7 machines are isolated on a separate network, with only access to the feeds of data they need and nothing more, as Windows 7 exits support with no further updates for it (including the browser). Because that thing isn’t getting much support now, and endpoint protection is also starting to vanish too…
Arriving at the head of the queue, I was slotted into a security lane. The security staff were requesting people follow procedures and remove items – warning of a 30-minute wait for re-screening of items if they failed.
It seemed to work well, although plenty of trays were being sent for re-screening.
I passed through without incident – and headed through to Duty-Free and the departures lounge.
Because the airport has to make some money along the way.
Birmingham Airport – alas, treats itself as a glorified mall with jetbridges and prefers to keep passengers in the waiting lounge as long as possible rather than distributing them to the gates.
I had more idea from the easyJet app what gate I would be at than from the airport screens. That says a lot.
I did make one purchase – a Boots Meal Deal and some water. As I don’t have a lounge membership (and was not in the mood to pay out to use a lounge for an hour), a Boots Meal Deal was far better value – even if it is at airport prices.
Although even airport prices apply here – £4.99 for a sandwich, crips and drink get a little stupid.
With a gate declared and the sandwich consumed, I headed towards Gate 48 slowly, watching the local traffic at the airport. Because the scene changes- no matter the year.
SWISS Airbus A220
FlyBe De Havilland Dash-8 Q400.
I even spied the aircraft coming in – and with those big engines, it would be clear that easyJet would be sending out one of their 186 seater A320neo aircraft to operate this flight.
There she blows.
As it touched down with ease and taxied back to the gate, the waiting pen was finally opened up for passengers. With a little school-style management (line outside the pen, and not in the hallway)., it took a few minutes to clear the queue.
Eventually, my boarding pass was scanned and I was allowed to enter the pen. This was perfect timing as I could see the A320neo coming to a stop at the stand.
Ryanair Boeing 737-8 200.
It was interesting to see the number of people disembarking – with only a few dozen leaving. Meanwhile, in the gate pen, it was filling up – showing that we would be having a busy flight with those mainly heading to ski resorts (the reason this service exists).
Boarding was finally called, with SpeedyBoarding passengers allowed first. I took my leave of Birmingham and headed to the stairs to the sky.
Next: easyJet EZS1498 Birmingham Airport to Geneva Airport – More to the passenger experience than just a seat.
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