Highlights: Surviving 48 hours on the road, QANTAS business pyjamas
A very long 2 days with 4 flights, 4 airlines, 5 countries and over 8,800 miles to get to Reykjavik, Iceland from Bangkok going via Singapore, Frankfurt and finally London. I managed to survive the trip relatively okay, helped by 3 of the flights being in business class and having access to 3 airline lounges during this ‘challenge’. Most importantly my bag made it as well 🙂
1. Bangkok, Thailand
The transfer company hadn’t confirm my pick up time so I got up early and called then the second there office opened at 6.00 am. Pick up turned out to be 7.20 am giving me time to enjoy buffet breakfast. Transfer went fine and I was at the airport about 3.5 hours before Cathay Pacific flight.
Their lounge was fine but a little basic. I choose a window seat for this flight since it was only 2 and a bit hours long. Cathay staff were amazing once service began. Drinks and lots of food, they never stopped coming in the business class section.
Back where it all began 2.5 weeks ago. My bag had been checked through to Frankfurt so I stayed airside. I tried out three lounges here, Skyview (Cathay’s shared lounge with other airlines), QANTAS / British Airways First Lounge, and then their Business Lounge. Skyview was the best one and I even scored a power converter that plugs into UK power sockets someone had left behind. I managed to shower during my 8 hour transit as well.
The QANTAS overnight 12.5 hour flight was fine enough. They handed out business class pyjamas which I happily changed into and are now part of my travelling kit :). Dinner was served about 1 hour into the flight around 12.30 am local time. I didn’t go for any alcohol given the time of the flight. I ordered breakfast before going to sleep and it was good waking up to what i wanted. The seat converts into a nearly flat bed which allowed me close to 5 hours on and off sleep over the next 8 hours. I had an exit wing seat so I could get up easily without waking my neighbour.
3. Frankfurt, Germany
We landed on time around 6 am local time. I had to enter the EU here since my bag had to be collected and rechecked to London. I officially entered the EU around 6.35 am and officially left around 7.15 am, I have passport stamps to prove this short stay.
British Airways let me check in at 7 am for my 2.40 pm flight, after move some clothes betwen my bag and carryon. Border Control were surprised I was at the airport so early especially since very few other people were at that time in the morning at Terminal 2. I spent most of my time in the Japan Airlines lounge. I was their only customer for quiet a while. A very welcome shower and change of clothes during this time. Hard to believe that in 1999 I did overnight bus rides in USA and now I struggle with business class flights which are must easier.
Despite being there so early I nearly missed my plane. They doing the security screens just before the gate. I arrived on time but they did the checks in a very inefficient way, one person at a time to put bag on scanner, than to walk though and than to maybe get extra checks before next person could start. The 12 people in fronton my took over 35 minutes. After getting through I had just started running when I saw a young mother with 2 children aged under 4 crying before she didn’t think she would make it. No one was helping especially not the airport staff who caused this chaos so I went back and helped her by carrying her bags so she could look after children and talking to her (she was English). I was the last one on the plane has a result but I blame the airport staff. I will be back here again twice in the next 2 weeks, hopefully with better experiences.
4. London, England
Again I had to go landslide, i.e.center the country to collect my bag and then recheck into my flight. I put on my UK entry I’d be here for 6 hours with no address. Border control wanted to know what I could possibly see in Iceland – Northern lights hopefully. I change terminals from 5 to 1 and had to wait over and hour for Icelandair check in to open. Sitting on the cold hard floor.
I had no privileges with this airline and no lounge access so I killed the few hours before the flight walking around and watching TV shows on the iPad. Flight board at 9.10 pm local time. Flight was 3 hours but I had my eyes closed for almost all of it.
5. Reykjavik, Iceland
We landed 3 hours later at 23.10 local time. Airport was very empty on arrival. Got some local money out, 20,000 Kronur about $160 Australian dollars. No idea if it will be enough. Found the transfer bus company and went outside to a think minus temperature. In Bangkok it was hard not to sweat, that won’t be a problem here. The bus had wifi so checked some emails. No problems checking in at hotel and close to 48 hours after checking out of last hotel I hit my bed for some much needed sleep.
In summary my passport got 6 stamps during this weird travelling period, an experience in itself.