Travels of 2014 – Trip 2

In the short period of time I have spent travelling abroad for work, I have learned a few things. Firstly that if you’re only going for a couple of days, there is no requirement for anything other than hand luggage. Secondly, for short flights, there is not need to get there any earlier than 90 minutes before your flight. In fact sometimes 60 is enough.
My trip to Sweden on Monday proved me wrong on both levels.
I arrived at Heathrow airport at 5.55am, 5 minutes earlier than planned, to be greeted by tailbacks onto the M25. Apparently, the world and his wife were attempting to park up and fly from Heathrow Terminal 5. 15 minutes later, I was stood waiting for the lift to take me up to departures so I could head for security. My colleague had arrived and gone through security so was waiting the other side.
Heading straight for security with my hand luggage and boarding pass in hand (how amazing is online check-in?!), a woman opened up one of the queues for me to go into, lulling me into a false sense of relief. With the delays of parking, I had a feeling that there would be more trouble to follow before I was sat in my seat on the plane.
I was right. Standing and waiting for my luggage to fly through the scanner, I watched as my bag was swiftly moved to one side in order to be searched. A good 5 minutes passed before anyone came to search said bag (due to a shift change) and I was left starting to wonder if my colleague and I would both make the flight. 6.30am and a lovely woman from security had removed everything from my bag and placed it into a container. Another 5 minutes and she was repacking my bag for me, happy that some antiseptic wipes must have been the item responsible for setting off the alarm that liquids were in my bag.
My colleague and I looked to see the gate we needed to be at only to find that we had to head for A10. We caught the lift and walked to our gate and I suggested we sit down as we had 20 minutes.
We hadn’t been sat for 10 seconds, before they announced boarding so that we could catch our bus to the aircraft.
As my boarding pass was scanned, the woman frowned and informed me that my seat had been changed as we were on a different aircraft. I had to laugh at this point. I had never had any of this happen before and it all managed to occur on the same flight!
Tired and frankly a little frustrated at my day so far, my mood was lifted as we emerged from the London cloud into a sky painted with orange streaks. The sunrise was beautiful and the rapid change from dawn to daylight was a sight to behold. Our flight was smooth over the sea and as we began our descent into Stockholm, the land was bathed in white.
As we emerged from the balmy air of Arlanda airport, we were hit by a bitter wind which struck like pins into our skin. A shock to the system it’s true, but the cold was completely different. Crisp, clean and cutting. Completely different to the thick, damp cold of England.
The rest of the day passed without issue and in the evening we took a walk around Stockholm, near Karla Plan. It was beautiful. A small amount of snow on the ground helped to light our way through the streets of this beautiful city. Lights were strewn across the streets in a dazzling display of cream and red. A true sight to behold.
My UK colleague and I enjoyed the trip immensely. Learning a lot about some of the software we needed, seeing our wonderful colleagues in Sweden and sampling the food on offer in the City.
To those who haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it. For just a 2 hour 30 minute flight from Heathrow, you can experience this wonderful and very friendly place. It has to be one of my favourites to visit. I can’t wait to go back.