Yet Another Annoying Airport Experience

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

I am sitting in the Aviance lounge in Birmingham airport as I am flying to Belfast today to visit family.  My day started badly with a mix up over time zones and meeting times which meant I had to rush to get to the airport at Copenhagen on time.  The flight out of Copenhagen was uneventful and I arrived in Birmingham at around 10am.

At that time I tried to check in for my afternoon flight.  I was told this wasn’t possible as my flight wasn’t departing until just after 3pm and they had nowhere to hold my luggage.  I was disappointed by this as I had paid for lounge access as I knew that I would be in the airport for hours.  As I couldn’t get to the lounge without checking in I went and found a seat and finished a book. (That description really doesn’t highlight how difficult it was to find a seat).

Just after 12 I went to check-in again.  As I was walking down to the check-in desk I realised that the airport was really full of people and that the queue for security stretched right back to the food court.  I hadn’t seen the airport that busy since the beginning of the “flying with explosive liquids” scare.  Things didn’t improve when I got downstairs.  It was really hard to even see the check-in desks with the number of people standing around the airport.  I finally managed to get across the terminal to the desks and joined a queue that was more than three times the length of the one I had queued in earlier.  It took more than 30 minutes for me to make it to the desk but thankfully this time I could check in.

I then had to go and queue to get my lounge access and priority track security pass stamped.  I have to admit that I am really pleased that I had the pass to get through security quickly.  I only had to wait about twenty minutes to clear security whilst I am sure that some people had to queue for around an hour and a half.  These additional services cost me 17.50 GBP and it may have been worth that for the priority security alone – which is just as well really as it really isn’t worth it for the lounge.

The lounge isn’t very big and isn’t very impressive.  It does have free drinks and maybe if I drank alcohol it would be better value for money.  There are cheese and onion crisps and biscuits to eat but these don’t appeal.  At the minute there is only me in the room but it’s not overly peaceful because the airport announcements can still be heard but at an annoying volume where you can hear them but not make out a lot of details.  There is a TV showing the Olympics and a phone on the desk of the receptionist that seems to ring every five minutes.  (I think the phone is annoying me partly because I’m tired and don’t cope well with background noise and also because the receptionist sounds like he is having a lot of fun chatting to his mates. Actually he is now sitting with a can of coke on a soft chair in front on the T.V. and is channel surfing…)

It has wifi as I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting to pay for this.  It costs 6 GBP per hour.  The other thing I wasn’t expecting was that I can only stay in the lounge for a maximum of two hours!  If my flight it delayed I will have to leave the lounge and go and wait in the main terminal.

None of the things that have gone wrong are that bad and my experience through the airport has certainly been better that the experience of the passengers waiting in the horribly long security queue.  But all the small things combined have made me feel irritable and grouchy.  Here’s hoping the flight isn’t delayed.