It has been one of those weekends. I made the Alamo lot at Heathrow this evening with an hour and a half to go before my flight. I then sat in the courtesy bus for over 45 minutes, crawling through a massive traffic jam with the result that I arrived to check in with 30 minutes to go before the flight. How can anyone design an airport in which three terminals are served by a choke point of a two lane tunnel? Worse how can anyone allow the situation to continue uncorrected for over a decade?
Thanks to SAS generosity, people in the security queue who agree to let me push my way to the front, and a slight delay of the incoming aircraft, I am now writing this from the truly original Hotel Fox in Copenhagen. During a ten minute brisk (the walk and the weather) from the station to the hotel I reflected on a series of contrasts over the weekend.
Firstly, the last time I arrived late for a BA flight, with 40 minutes to go to scheduled departure and the plane delayed by an hour I was refused even the opportunity to try and make it. I switched to a Swiss Air flight by phone, checked in and eventually took off before the BA flight. Of course I expect little of BA, it being your privaledge to be allowed to fly with them. SAS in contrast this afternoon wanted to help, even though my Gold Card is with British Midland they honoured their Star Alliance Partnership. Again in contrast, BA refuse to grant the same status to my American Airlines Exec Platinum card that they do to their own gold card holders.
Secondly, ten minutes after I landed at Copenhagen I bought a ticket for the train to the city centre. It cost me 20% of the price of the same ticket, for the same length of jounrey in a less well designed train than the Heathrow Express.
Thirdly, I am now in a city centre hotel, which is costing me around £80. The hotel has 21 rooms, all designed by a different artist. I am in room 312 which has a japanese theme. It has free internet access, the price inclludes breakfast from what looks like an excellent restaurant, the reception was a delight. For the same price in London, if I spent some time seraching the net I might get a so called three start hotel. The room would be a quater of the size, it would be damp, internet if available would add £10 to the price of the room and breakfast if available would be around the same price for something greasy. Oh and the hotel would be in an area that means walking to it late at night would be hazardous to one’s health
London is a wonderful city, I will enjoy Trovatore there tomorrow evening but I will drive in and not stay overnight unless I can avoid it. Maybe London is just too big? I think there may be another natural number, namely 5 million: the maximum size a country can get and maintain the sort of cultural cohesiveness to treat you like a human being.
If course the worst contrast of all at the weekend was between a wonderful, championship decider of a Rugby Match between Ireland and France and the two boring and error strewn maches of Saturday. I would have been the airport if I had not stayed to watch the end of Ireland v France and a brilliant individual try by Clerc. Yesterday I wasted the best part of £300 for my son and I to watch the worst performance by a Welsh Rugby team for many a long day. Of course I flew to Edinburgh via British Airways so what did I expect, two years ago I used British Midlands and we scored 49 points in 47 minutes ..…
I am booking British Midland for a fortnight’s time, when we face the French; not that the Welsh are superstitious you understand, but until they sack the coach and choose the right team every little bit helps.
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