Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the day “February 13, 2013”

Terminal 5. Border Agency Control. Can I ask you a simple question?


Arriving back at Terminal 5 Heathrow on a tuesday afternoon at around 4.30pm  it took around an hour to get through border control. There are many genuine reasons as to why that might be the case. A sudden flux of planes all arriving unexpectedly, complex cases to evaluate. I have some sympathy. But on this occasion I had none. The delay was caused by incompetence, stupidity and in all possibility deliberately wanting passengers to queue. 

The queue to go through the EU passport section was longer than the other sections and even the Iris recognition queue extended back to the back of the room. 

So having queued I arrived towards the front desks and what did I observe. Firstly, there were 3 desks, all manned for the purpose of dealing with those folks who get rejected by the Iris recognition scheme. This does happen. However I would estimate that the three border control officers saw maybe between them 10 passengers in this hour. They made no effort to call over the people waiting in the queue. 

At the front of the queue there were 2 border control officers dealing with the whole queue, together with a trainee just looking on……..There were at least 5 empty stations. So in total they could have had 10 officers dealing with the queue but decided to have 2. Why? Who plans these debacles? Why can they not change things when they see a huge queue? Simple question but can I have an answer please? Terminal 5 Border control is a poorly run organisation and on tuesday this week had zero regard for passengers and zero leadership amongst its staff to put things right.

Stockholm


SnowAlthough I have been to Stockholm a few times I have never truly appreciated what a pleasant city it is. This time snowbound, everything looked cute but everything worked. Trains and planes and cars were all on time, taxi drivers spoke eloquently and engaged passengers in meaningful conversation. The people all looked young. Maybe the old ones get locked away in some sinister plot. As one arrives at Arlanda Airport, they really do play ABBA music to welcome you and photos of famous people like ABBA and Roxette adorn the walls of the luggage reclaim area. T

There is a price to pay and that is literally true. This city is expensive and is best visited when someone is paying the bill. A Croque Monseiour would cost you over 12£. Coffee usually is around 4-5£. Hotels are pleasant places where receptionists are helpful and smile. They are also warm. One of main complaints this last winter has been arriving at Marriott hotels to find that the room heating has been switched off for seemingly the last millennium. On my arrival it happily gets turned on but then takes the length of my stay to warm the room up.

The characters in Stockholm also are straight from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I could have cast that film many times just by sitting in a cafe and looking around. Lastly the food. It is good. The restaurants have a kind of laid back attitude where service is good but not to the point of being obsequious. Tables have gingham cloth covers and serve you pretty much what you want. I had Meatballs. I could have had massive Steaks. This is a place to come back to, but please someone invite me and pay my bills while I am there. The street names are right out of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo like Sodermalm.

Dirty Pretty Wings


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London City Airport


The jury is out on this one. On the one hand it is easy to reach by train but on the other there are few lounges, highly expensive food and drink and not so many planes in the middle of the day. 

The cost of food is frankly startling here. For 16£ they were offering rich souls a take away pack in a hideous bag ( cooler bag I suspect) containing panini, water, popcorn and fruit ( 1 piece). Extraordinary. For almost 20£ one might have a real breakfast served in a restaurant that actually is a walkway, so an easy place to make and meet friends as they will practically be dropping in as you have your breakfast. 

Planes tend to be smaller, so space for luggage more limited. So, I really do not know if this a good or bad option.Not a cheap one though.What you see here is the free cabaret of watching the de-icing of planes. Quite like the look of that job!Imageo

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