TRIP REPORT: Feeling Finnair – 3am. Digbeth Coach Station. We know the drill by now…

3 am. Digbeth Coach Station. We know the drill by now
Feeling Finnair

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  • Exploring bits Helsinki
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  • What a Heathrow Omnishambles
  • Round 2: Incoming

A night of flitful sleep is never a good thing – maybe the excitement of travel has not grown old on me.

But by 2:30 I was out the front door again, waiting for an Uber to take me from the flat to take me to Digbeth Coach Station.

The Uber made good time (which is always appreciated), dropping me at one of the entrances to the coach station, which was closed unsurprisingly.

It seems that the anti-social behavior lot has been invading the station again – a shame. I found a working entrance and was queried about my intent and the coach I was taking. With that satisfaction, I was let into the station.

Because Digbeth High Street is always a highlight at 2:30 in the morning.

Going into the station, there was a hive of activity. There’s something about the Heathrow and early morning coaches that drag out the crazy types (you author is on that list it seems).

Wrapped bags

I settled in, with my comparatively minimal luggage as I am traveling light for once. Go on, laugh in the back that I’m down to using the smaller bags for a trip like this.

Eventually, boarding was called for the coach. It was time to get underway.

National Express Coach 423 Birmingham to Heathrow Airport

With a family sowing the seeds of confusion, it was a wonderful way to start the journey. With a blip of my barcode, I was let aboard with all my items – it would be a little time saver.

Boarding was on time, with the coach filling up for the run to Heathrow – with about two empty seats for the journey.

It seems that National Express’s yield management is doing pretty well in the travel uptick – least of all it is one of the few options at stupid o’clock in the morning.

As always, there was a bit of noise (from the family mainly), but once the coach got underway, it quieted down substantially.

As usual, the coach would be making a run to Birmingham airport, then Oxford and finally Heathrow – I prefer the route if I am honest, rather than going over to Coventry, down to Warwick Parkway and then to Heathrow if we are lucky,

Coach 423 took the local route to Birmingham Airport (which is a good timesaver in itself at this time of night). From there, it proceeded down the correct exit down the M42 and onto the M40.

With one seat left on the coach and no further passengers to pick up at Oxford, the driver radioed in for permission to skip Oxford. This request was granted – giving us a 15-minute time advantage (compared to going into Oxford).

That clearance allowed me to try and snooze on the coach – even though it was pretty impossible as a certain idiot left his earbuds in the bathroom before he left.

Some things never change.

Down the M4 spur to Heathrow Central

Nonetheless, we were early to Heathrow – which is never a bad thing.

Heathrow in the early morning

After getting off the coach it was time to battle with the first walk of the morning over to Terminal 3. Being lightly loaded, I skipped the lifts and headed to the Underground entrance.

After arriving at Terminal 3 and playing tour guide for a few people, I headed over to Terminal 3.

Terminal 3 is a sight that does not change much for me – take away the pink LED lights and it is the classic Oceanic Terminal we all know and love.

I checked which zone I needed to head to – which for Finnair is Zone B.

After negotiating the KLM/Air France queues, I found my way to the Finnair queues. There was a big group checking in, along with other passengers. Then there was a priority queue which had one person in it.

Well, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth like that. I was seen quickly enough, with my baggage confirmed as hand luggage only.

With that, a boarding pass was issued and handed over for the trip to Helsinki.

Now onto the fun part – security. I arrived a little bit before 5:30, so the Fast Track lanes were closed.

I, therefore, had to use the normal security channels. At this time of morning – it wasn’t an issue as there were minimal queues. It would just mean I would have to play a game of “run the risk” at Heathrow Duty-Free.

Security was a simple of matter finding which would be the best lane to use to clear in the quickest possible time. In total, it took me around 10 minutes to clear security, repack and send myself on my way.

And play a game all know as “Run the Risk”.

Oh, joy. Duty-Free.

With me clear from, the joy of Heathrow Duty-Free, I decided that earphones were still a thing I needed to keep semi-sane this trip. I, therefore, decided to visit the replacement to Dixons – Inmotion (or WHSmith’s entertainment brand).

The choice of earbuds was wide and mostly crap at the lower end. In the end, I went for a pair of Skullcandy earbuds. The review of those is coming soon enough.

With earbuds in hand, it was time to head to the lounge. We all know what lounge I am heading to.

Don’t we?

Next: Cathay Pacific Lounge.

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