Making Brussels Interesting – with TravelMagic and Brussels Airlines
To Birmingham Airport
- Travel? TravelMagic!
- Saturday Morning fun and games (THIS SECTION)
- SN2050 Birmingham Airport to Brussels National Airport
- TravelMagic overview
- The Pantone Hotel
- A Day in Brussels
- Back to Brussels Airport
- SN2047 Brussels National Airport to Birmingham Airport
Saturday morning fun and games…
I made the effort a few nights before to actually check if there was a train at this time of morning to get from central Birmingham to Birmingham Airport. Considering this would be one of the first flights out of Birmingham, there is a very simple answer to this… no.
It was time to fall back to the local taxi company and see if they wanted some trade for once… and amazingly, they did.
The trash for the weekend…
At 4:45 in the morning, the cab arrived to take me to Birmingham Airport, which was a drive through the dead centre of Birmingham, and onto the A45 heading straight out to the airport.
Birmingham Airport is currently undergoing some major works as they try and increase the length of the single runway there to allow longer haul airlines to land and takeoff there. As such, the place on the perimeter of the south-eastern end of the runway is a mess. Thankfully at 4:45 in the morning, no one is going to notice that – as traffic was very light.
The taxi dropped me off at the terminal, and I was £20 lighter for the privilege.
Entrance to the main terminal
I got a hint of how busy Birmingham Airport was when I was outside… and when I went in… I was right. The Monarch Airlines desks were rammed solid, causing some congestion.
I headed over the “Other airlines” part of the airport, and found the Brussels Airlines desks, and tried to print my boarding pass… and failed.
Thankfully, the check-in desk worked its magic, and spat out a boarding pass…and more importantly, a fast-lane sticker.
With no luggage to check in, I was sent on my way, and headed upstairs to the departures level. Again – it was busy as heck as it seemed that Monarch and Thomson were sending out lots of people on holiday (with the airport doing a healthy trade in fast-lane tickets).
And a helpful guide to the Nude-o-Scope if you’re unlucking to run into one (I didn’t).
Thankfully, the fastlane wasn’t too clogged, and I was through without any incident quickly. From there, it was time to run the gauntlet of duty free.
Although I did spot this going through duty free…
How many of these airlines serve BHX… the answer is of course… none of them!
As I was still early to the airport (a good 40 minutes before the gate opened), I headed to the Aspire Lounge.
Lounge Stop – Aspire Lounge (ServisAir Lounge)
Access Card: Turkish Airlines Gold
I’ve done this lounge to death over time, and I’m still going to cover it – mainly because how it has improved over time.
Yes, I said improved, not got worse. Stranger things have happened.
Not much of a view…
Over the visits I’ve been through here, I’ve noticed this lounge improve, from what could be described as a “United Red Carpet Club on a bad day” to actually something rather reasonable. Yes, there is still free-pour alcohol here (but as I’m actually semi-working after the flight, it’s best not to), but there was also a HOT option of food.
Coffee Machine and drinks
Yes, you heard me right – a hot option of food. Wonders will never cease. And there were mini bacon rolls by the plenty here.
The lounge itself has settled down, and is a much better environment that it was before, with lots of space. It seemed that Servisair was making a good few pennies out of this as there was a reasonably steady flow of passengers coming in and either paying for the lounge or using pre-paid vouchers to gain entry.
Still – it was quiet and relaxing. I used the time to start testing the new battery I installed on my MacBook Pro (trust me, it’s the 2nd easiest job I’ve had to do on that thing – the easiest was installing memory, the semi-hardest was fitting the 1TB drive in it), with the battery performing well during the day.
Time meandered on, and soon, a gate had been declared – which would take me to Brussels. I packed my trash up, and thanked the lounge staff.
Going back into the terminal, it’s easy to appreciate the quiet of the lounge compared to the noise of the terminal. Today’s departure would require me heading to the bussing gates – which considering Birmingham airport is relatively compact, weren’t difficult to find.
The chaos of the terminal…
As I proceeded downstairs, I realised I forgot to authorise the credit company to let me use my card whilst aboard.
Oops. A quick txt to the company, and boarding was announced via the bussing gate. My boarding pass and passport were examined, and the ground staff loaded up a full dash8-q400′s worth of passengers on one bus for the 500-meter drive to the plane.
Loading in progress
Our little Dash8-Q400 waiting for us…
Next: SN2050 Birmingham Airport to Brussels National Airport