jamie goode's wine blog: Travel woes

Monday, July 09, 2007

Travel woes

As someone who gets to see his fair share of airport terminals, Gatwick South has to be one of the worst Iíve experienced in recent years. Even at 6.30 am itís crowded and noisy. The queues for departure are long. The departures lounge is hideously low budget with the usual range of rip-off shops (thatís to be expected, itís an airport) and complete lack of anywhere decent to eat (again, itís an airport). But the most annoying thing this morning has been the vastly restricted options for coffee. Thereís not even a Starbucks. The best option is the lousy Uppercrust, and to add insult to injury, there was a 15 minute queue to be overcharged for bad coffee. This is motorway service station bad. What is this place like at peak time in the Summer Holidays? Youíd need a holiday to recover from the appalling travel experience.

Getting to Gatwick was relatively painless though. 0506 train from Feltham Ė Clapham Junction where I waited five minutes for the 0539 to Gatwick, which cost £4.80 (from the boundary of Zone 6, where my season ticket ends). Nice quiet train gave me a chance to work on the laptop. Depending on what time I return tonight, getting home should be fun...

[posted later]
I'm now in Toulouse airport, and it's 10.25 pm, waiting for my 9.50 pm flight home. No sign of any orange-liveried plane. At this rate I'll be arriving at Gatwick well after any sensible travel options home have stopped running. Looks like a night bus to Heathrow beckons, followed by the 285 bus home.

Toulouse airport is at least quiet. There are just two shops here: one a rather basic 'duty free', and the other a refreshment stand offering a similarly basic (and airport-expensive) fare. There is wireless internet though.

Fortunately, my day here was very productive. It makes the travel woes bearable, sort of.


At 8:14 AM, Blogger bsmith said...

Jamie, I completely agree re Gatwick South. Last time I was there (alone) I felt like running, screaming, from the assembled morass of human life and lack of decent coffee facilities. The time before I was with my young family (3 hour delay), so at least we were adding to the screaming, running, shouting and general mayhem, and not just being subjected to it.


At 10:03 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

Got back home eventually at 03:35, via Heathrow. Feeling a bit sluggish today.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger keith said...

I do not think Gatwick North is much better.Had the misfortune to be stuck there when flight to Bermuda was delayed.Absolute chaos----------thousands of passengers,mainly it seemed on chartered"soccer special" flights,with just about every English soccer team shirts on display on the bodies of rather fat middle aged Brits.!!!
God awful airport,especially in holiday season.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If hiring or buying your own jet is out of the question then its worth at least considering a 'Priority Pass' which lets you use lounges in many airports for a flat fee each year (I think). It's ideal for those occasions when the airport bedlam get to you...Sadly does cost a bit...

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

My initial response was, if I ever get a private jet, then please shoot me! But after yesterday's experience, the idea quite appeals.

There's the small issue of finance, though. As someone who will be going fully freelance early next year, my first goal is to be able to meet the mortgage payments...

If I achieve this, then I'll start dreaming those dreams.


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