We left Ulverston on the 9:44am
NorthWest Trains service to Manchester Airport (change at Preston). The change of
train at Preston necessitated a change of platform (of course), and the change of platform
necessitated lugging a bike, 2 panniers and a bag containing 3kg's of PG Tips Tea up
around 40 steps, across the footbridge and down the other side. Still, we had plenty
of time to do it, our connecting train was almost an hour away (it was Sunday).
Having said that, the trains were on time and as we'd booked beforehand, we had no problem
with the bikes on the train. It was while we were travelling down that Konrad
informed me he hadn't booked the bikes on for the return journey. No problem, we
decided. We'd simply blame the ticket clerk (everyone else does). After all,
why wouldn't we have booked both ways? We were coming back. Anyway, that was 2 weeks
away. We'd worry about that then.
I must say that getting from the
station to Terminal 1 was a breeze. Simply up in the lift, and you're there. It would have
been even easier had I managed to get a trolley that wheeled in a straight line. We
went straight to the check-in desk which had just opened.
This year we were flying out with
European Air Charter, and returning with Monarch Airlines.
A couple of things different from
Firstly, when we got our tickets, we
were dismayed to see that the luggage allowance was only 15kg's. We'd not
intended taking as much with us this year, but doubted we could get under 15kg's each
(bearing in mind I was taking 3kg's of PG Tips Tea for Sergio - that knocked me down to
12!). Konrad rang the people he got the tickets off, and explained we were taking
bikes etc etc. Now as luck would have it, the lady who dealt with him cycled too,
and said there would be no problem putting it up to 20kg's. She would see that it
was done (and it was!).
Secondly, they weighed the token
pannier and that was it (both going out and back).
Having had such an easy time last
year, something had to go wrong - didn't it? But no, if anything it was easier this
year. Partly because we knew what was expected of us. For example, we didn't stand
in a queue at the special baggage handling window only to be told we needed to go
somewhere else. We just went to that 'somewhere else' straight away, where a very
helpful chap did the necessary, and that was that. Absolutely painless.
We boarded the plane on
time, which then sat on the tarmac for 40 minutes 'waiting for a slot'. We finally
took off at 16:20 (50 minutes late). The plane was only about a quarter full (we
estimated about 40 people). I've never been on a plane that empty. It looked
very strange. No wonder they weren't bothered about weight. Once again, great
views of the Alps on the way over.