My alarm clock went off at 0400 which is, in anyone’s book, too early.
But needs must. As I wrote here, I decided to drive to the airport instead of take the train, and found a great deal on parking with JustPark.
The drive to Gatwick took just over an hour and at that time of the morning there was very little traffic and it was very pleasant. I parked in the South Long stay car park as it was the cheapest option. Luckily I was able to find a space and jump on a bus to the terminal a minute or so later, so I didn’t have to hang around. A quick transit over to North Terminal and I made tracks to were the security lane was. Or at least, where I thought it was. It has been almost exactly three years since I have flown with BA from Gatwick, and in that time there have been improvements to the security process. Once I did find the right place, I was down and through the priority lane in less than 5 minutes. It was quick and well-managed, and what I liked most was the repacking areas provided to get your bits together. Perhaps this is there as Gatwick caters to a more leisure-orientated market with people needing more time to repack, but it was great. I then made my way to the lounge.
I knew that there was going to be alternative arrangements as the lounge is being moved, and was expecting a poor lounge experience. I was pleasantly surprised. Travelling on a Club Europe ticket, I was given a special pass and invited into the No1 Lounge. It was bright and airy, with plenty of space available.#
I chose to sit near the bar, as I didnt have long, and ordered some toast and coffee. There was a small selection of help-yourself items as well as a cook-to-order menu.
Another thing I really liked, and I saw this in the South terminal too, was that the toilets were laid out in a way I’d never seen before. Each urinal had its own area with a sink, dryer and mirror which was brilliant in helping to keep luggage together.
After 30 minutes in the lounge it was time to board from a 55 gate – a few minutes walk from the lounge. It was obviously a day of firsts, as it was the first time that I had boarded a flight without having to queue at all and it was the first time that I had been the only person in the cabin. Granted, there were only three rows of Club Europe, but I was the only person and had dedicated service from James, the Senior Cabin Crew Member.
I was in 1A, with a great view, enough leg room, and a tasty vegetarian breakfast which tasted better than it looks in the photo!
The flight was smooth and we were soon in Jersey. I popped into the lounge to get online and decide what I was going to do for the day. I had thought about stay there and doing work, but the lounge is tiny and it was busy, so I decided to go into St Helier. However, I had a little carry-on suitcase as well as my back-pack which I didn’t want to wheel round with me, so went to departures to put it into left luggage. Then I realised that I could just check it in and not have to pay for it to be looked after. I had plenty of time later on in Amsterdam to collect it.
I then took the 15 Bus into the capital. At £2 each way for a 30 minute bus ride, it is a good way to see the island, and takes you right into the centre. I had a wander round, bought some post cards, and a coffee and spoke to Alan from Curve, who had got in touch following my article earlier on the week (more on that to come!). I got back on the bus and headed back to the airport in time to spend an hour in the lounge working before the flight back.
I had spent some time thinking about my meal options for my day of flying. I knew that I wanted the afternoon tea scone, so couldn’t choose the vegetarian option, but for the rest I chose a special meal. Or thought I had. For some reason, the order hadn’t gone through properly. To that end, lunch was a chicken salad minus the chicken for me. The flight was quick, and the crew were great, and I was soon back at Gatwick.
You can read about the other parts of the trip here: