Oh doesn’t it sound glamorous? ‘Are you in the office tomorrow?’ ‘No I will be flying to Germany for the day’… But is it really?
Yes ever so often my trips are day return trips rather than overnight stays. And whilst it obviously has the benefit of me sleeping in my own bed and not dragging a suitcase around with me all day (just a very very heavy work bag), it usually means a rather long day ahead of me.
To give you a glimpse of my reality, I kept a diary yesterday, documenting that day from start to finish.
3.35am Alarm goes off for the first time… why oh why.
3.40am Alarm goes off for the second time… time to get up and hit the shower.
4.25am Cab shows up to take me to the airport – 5 minutes early
5.18am I arrive at Heathrow Terminal 5. Really quick journey this time. At this time of the day it is usually fine, but with a journey of almost 60 miles, I prefer to play it safe and leave early. Rather have spare time at the airport than break a sweat worrying about missing my flight. Especially on one-day trips this would seriously mess up my day if I were to actually miss a flight (touch wood, this has never happened to me yet).
5.20am Head to the fast track security… can see the end of the queue even before turning the last corner. Not good.
5.36am Security checks over I head to the North Lounge. I am advised that my flight will depart from B-Gates, so do I wish to move to the Gallery Lounge in B instead? Of course I do. The Gallery Lounge is actually the nicer lounge. A bit more remote and therefore less busy.
5.44am After taking the transit train to B-Gates, I arrive at the Gallery Lounge. Time to settle, get a breakfast and a coffee. Making the most of the wait time, I start checking emails.
6.41am Boarding starts. As per the new BA boarding arrangement, we board by group. Thanks to silver status I am group 2 and board fairly early.
7.01am Boarding completed. The flight is only half full, so the middle seat in my row is empty.
7.11am We leave the gate and head towards the runway. 4 minutes ahead of schedule.
7.28am Take Off. Flight time is around an hour to Stuttgart, so lets make the most of it. Quick 30-minute nap (getting up this early starts catching up), then dealing with a few more emails.
now on Europe time, so +1 hour
9.35am Touch down in Stuttgart
9.48am Out of the airport and into the waiting car. En route to the dealership.
10.10am We don’t get far until we hit the first traffic jam. But hey, we are well in time, so not a problem.
11.15am Arrive at the dealership and start the consultation.
1.15pm A rather quick one today, so we are back in the car and on the road again.
2.10pm Back at Stuttgart airport. Needless to say that I am now facing a five and half hour wait. So let’s get through security, head to the lounge, grab a coffee and get some work done.
2.30pm After a short delay at security I stand in front of the lounge, only to discover that it is closed until 3pm… that’s a first for sure.So let’s find an alternative seat somewhere and call my colleague.
3.05pm Lounge take two. And this time the door is open. The reduced opening hours are due to low passenger numbers. Since AirBerlin went bust the lounge is British Airways only… and since there are only a few flights a day departing from Stuttgart, it isn’t quite worth keeping the lounge open all day. Oh lucky me.
3.10pm Settled with a coffee in front of me. Unfortunately food offerings in Stuttgart are very basic. Just a few snacks and nibbles, no proper food. So let’s get some work done.
4.50pm I am getting a little bored with the wait… and the food offering… and there are only so many coffees you can drink before you feel sick. Am considering moving out of the lounge and into one of the restaurants… just three more hours to go.
5.45pm Ok I give up and leave the lounge in the hunt for some food. Also because the silence in the lounge feels quite intimidating rather than calming.
6.07pm Not much on offer in the rest of the airport either. Eventually I settle for ‘Maultaschen & Kartoffelsalat’ (a regional dish) paired with a nice window seat.
7.01pm With dinner over and another 45 minutes of work and blogging done, I pack up once more and finally make my way towards my gate.
7.09pm Arriving at the gate I realise that boarding has already started. But I am not yet the last to go on board, so no panic.
7.35pm Boarding completed and we leave the gate. However we are not quite ready for take off, we need to get the wings de-iced first.
7.48pm Take off – let’s continue with some blog posts for the hour
Back to UK time, so -1 hour
7.52pm We start our descent into London.
8.11pm Touch down. A little ahead of schedule. We are parked on a remote stand, so waiting for busses before disembarking.
8.26pm Luckily hardly anyone at border control, so straight through, no queues.
8.37pm Down to the tube station. And for once the Piccadilly line just pulls into the station as I approach the platform. Great. If all goes well, just two more hours until I get home.
9.50pm Time to change tubes. Two more stops to my train station and my train leaves in 5 minutes… tight. Very tight.
9.51pm Oh no, we are being held to regulate the service… that’s it for my train.
9.59pm Arrive at my train station 4 minutes late. So no chance of getting this train. Next one at 25 past. It will be 11 by the time I get home.
10.25pm Finally on the train. By now I am so tired that I can barely stand up. And I am cold. So cold.
11.01pm Home Sweet Home
11.15pm Hello bed, how I missed you. Nighty night.
So tell me. How was your day?