I’m writing this at a few thousand feet on route to St Petersburg! It’s been a bit of a long morning but I’ll start with last night. We arrived fresh off the coach at Heathrow, Terminal 5, me with a runny nose (I swear I have the flu, I’m entering week three of being poorly. Always a great way to start the trip of a lifetime), Tom with creaky knees after being cramped on a coach for the best part of three hours. We step off the coach, load up our backpacks and head off to find the curious ‘pod’ transit system we’ve seen tootling along a little track on the way in. It goes directly to our hotel doors – brilliant! Just what we wanted, to get settled into our room and have a relaxing evening before an early start.
These ‘pods’ are so cool. They look like some kind of fairground ride; dinky little egg-shaped things with sliding electric doors that run along a little track up high above the road and traffic. What fun we had in the pod! Just the two of us LOLing away at how quirky it is, how futuristic, exclaiming “we should have these in Birmingham!”, then we reach the hotel. We reach the big electric gate into the hotel with a sign stating ‘The charge for using the pod transport system is £5 per person, per trip’ – wtf?! Five quid to get in a little pod to and from the airport! This instantly deflated my enthusiasm for the space age pod. Give me a taxi or my own two feet any day of the week. We still paid it though, of course we did. Paid for the morning too.
After a delicious dinner in the hotel restaurant we chilled in the room and watched Planet Earth II, good old David lulling us off to sleep as I sat sipping a Baileys. This is the life. All snuggled and sleepy, I set the alarm for 5.30am and off I went to the land of nod. Well, almost. My brain went round and round, frantically worrying that we were going to miss the alarm and therefore, the flight. That my phone was miraculously going to cancel the alarm of its own accord and our holiday would be ruined! So I didn’t really sleep well. Anyway, onwards and upwards! We were ready and leaving the hotel just after 6.30am, getting the quirky little pod straight to terminal five – the pod is totally worth the £5, there were big queues of cars going into Heathrow and we just sailed straight over them all.
Happy and all excited, we walked into the terminal to be greeted with huge queues of people. British Airways computers were down. Of course they were. Brilliant. Desperately clinging onto my optimism of us embarking on the trip of a life time, we join the queue. This was the point where Tom decides to tell me he doesn’t have his boarding pass.
“So, Meg, I downloaded the BA app last night but didn’t do anything with it”
“What do you mean you didn’t do anything with it?”
“You didn’t tell me to do anything with it”
“Erm. Yes I did. You needed to download your boarding pass Tom, remember, that thing you need after you’ve checked in to be able to board your flight?”
“Ye I didn’t download it. Now it won’t work on the app”
Of course it won’t. Brilliant. Tom has no boarding pass. We’re in a huge queue. Our flight is in less than two hours. BRILLIANT
After joining another queue, then rejoining our original queue, we got the check in desk to drop our bags off. Everything’s fine. Bags dropped. Boarding passes printed (thank god). Visas checked. Off we go to security. But oh no, what’s this? Our boarding passes won’t scan! F*CKING BRILLIANT. By this point I am literally about to explode. To cry, to snot everywhere (because of my cold) and throw an absolute tantrum at how ridiculously difficult this check in process is. Two sets of boarding cards and numerous radio calls through to security later, we’re finally throug security and sat sipping a prosecco and sloe gin cocktail in weatherspoons (after our first holiday drink being a beechams sachet in the hotel room). Aaaaaand relax. We can finally start to enjoy our holiday, waiting for our gate to be called.
Then we got delayed by half an hour. By this point we’d had breakfast, coffe, juice and prosecco alongside a selection of cold and flu drugs so I was past the point of caring. The main thing is, we’re now on the plane. On route to St Petersburg. I can’t wait to see the snow!