So it begins. the start of my adventure. This trip is one of my Top Bucket list destinations and I cannot wait.
I thought I would share with you some of the incites from my journey. I was obviously travelling alone which I know some people find daunting but really it isn’t. I said goodbye to my lovely husband at Doncaster rail station and boarded the direct Trans Pennine express train to Manchester Airport. The train was on time and the journey uneventful. The seats were comfortable and the Coffee was warm and wet if not Starbucks Standard by far. I arrived just under 2 hours later into the Airport. As I was travelling from Terminal 3 it is a bit of a hike from the station taking about 15-20 minutes as the wait for lifts can be a little bit tedious with a suitcase. However, I arrived and proceeded to the baggage drop as I already had my boarding pass. Luggage dispensed with I headed for security which can be a bit of a pain but today the queues were small and I was done and dusted in 15 minutes.
I had upgraded my seats with my avios points to business class. Now don’t get excited as on domestic flights you don’t get posh seats but you do get a seat between passengers allowing you extra room to relax. The main reason for doing this was to get access to the BA lounge as I had about 3 hours to kill before my flight. So off I headed. The lounge was quiet as it was early afternoon so I got a drink and a snack and settled down in comfort to watch the planes landing and taking off. I would definitely recommend a lounge pass if you are flying as the experience is much more relaxing than the hustle and bustle of the main airport concourse.
Suitably refreshed I waited until my gate was announced and made my way down. Being Business class, I boarded the plane first and settled into my seat. I have to say as an ample lady I found the seats roomy and had no issues with the seat belt. In the business class section which is basically the first 6-8 rows of the aircraft they bring you a warm towel and then serve you with a drink before you choose from 2 snacks to pass the very short 40 minutes in the air.
I arrived in Terminal 5 in Heathrow and had booked the Renaissance Hotel at terminal 2 as this is the terminal I would be flying from the next day. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to hop in a Taxi but I wanted to know how the Hoppa service operated. I got my luggage and headed to the information desk. They told me which bus stand to head for and as I arrived a bus was already sat waiting. I got on the bus and got a return Ticket which I checked was fine to use to Terminal two the next day. At £4.50 per journey it was great value. I was one of the last drop offs so it took about 20 minutes stopping at various hotels on the way but it was not a hassle. I got off and headed to reception. The receptionist was very friendly and picked up on my Yorkshire accent straight away as he had been at university in Sheffield. He asked if I preferred a room with a bath or a shower cubicle and allocated a lovely room with a runway view. The room was large and spacious with a huge comfortable bed, a relaxing lounge chair with footstool, TV and Desk. Everything you could ask for and immaculately clean.
The following morning, I had a lovely breakfast with everything you could ask for on offer. The hotel had given me a Hoppa bus timetable so I knew what time the bus was leaving to the terminal and while I waited I had a Starbucks coffee from the on-site Starbucks café. I went outside when I was ready to leave and waited a few minutes before the bus arrived. They dropped me in front of the Terminal entrance and I went inside.
After meeting the other members of my group, we checked in for our Air Canada Flight to Vancouver. Under the watchful eye of Johannes from Air Canada who was travelling with us we Spent time in the airport before boarding our Air Canada Flight. This is the first time I have flown with them. The seats again were surprisingly roomy and seat belts comfortable. I am not going to go into every detail but suffice to say the on-board entertainment system had a good choice of movies and Tv programs. The music choices were to say the least a little limited but I just watched movies instead. The staff were very attentive and the food, well what can you say, airline food is never going to be anything to write home about but it was edible and filled a gap.
On arrival we collected our luggage safely and used the automated machines to process landing with our visas and low and behold mine did not work so I had to go to a desk, but we were done and dusted and out of the terminal in record time.
Vancouver here I come!
And so, the real Adventure begins….
Part Two Vancouver to Jasper on the Rocky Mountaineer coming soon!