I told you in my last post how flying and me are not best friends. Actually make that frenemies, flying gets me to amazing locations and fun adventures, but I just freak out at the actual being in the air bit. Now annoyingly not only am I a Kiwi living in London, but also a fledgeling travel blogger so flights are almost a guarantee in my future. My life mission therefore is to make flying as good an experience as possible.
One of the biggest impacts on my flying happy is getting on the plane stress free. Now given that travel is an activity that regularly causes tears, grumps and family arguments (along with the laughs, amazing sunsets and best times of your life) it is hard to make it onto the plane with a smile on your face. But I think I have finally cracked the secret to a stress free flight.
First is leave an hour earlier then you think you are going to need. This seems like a massive waste of time, but especially in London it always pays off. I have had everything from major delays on the Piccadilly line, trains cancelled out to Gatwick and on my most recent trip home all flights being grounded over southern England. Trust me on that extra hour. The worst that can happen is that you get through security early and have longer to pick out a magazine, the best that can happen is that it totally saves your bacon when faced with unexpected delays. Take the extra hour.
My second tip is just simply airport magic, and it was given to me by my frequent traveler friend Jane. That is the No 1 lounge. I have always looked rather enviously on my friends who have lounge access. On the couple of times I have blagged my way in to lounges they are not only serene, but also give you free drinks and food i.e. the best possible way to be at an airport. I always assumed that this luxury was out of my reach, until Jane looked at me like I was a simpleton and told me to use No 1.
Essentially it is a pay as you go lounge that anyone, even terrified kiwis, can use. The entry fee is £30 which at first glance is a little steep, but when I thought about how much I normally spent before a long haul flight (overpriced sugary coffee, water, snacks, dinner) it was pretty much the same, except with No 1 you get a calm environment, comfy seat and wifi glorious wifi.
I was comped this visit, but have paid two or three time before so I really believe what I write. As part of your visit you get one item off the menu (this time I went for the vegetable lasagne, at breakfast they do a bacon sandwich) unlimited drinks and a snack table with cheese, bread, salads and sweet treats. I wasn’t convinced with the vegetable lasagne, it was all a bit dry and tasteless; but to be fair so is all other airport food so meh.
I spent two hours (read earlier paragraph about arriving early) drinking fruit tea, snacking on cheese and writing up my trip to Paris. There was no stress, no madly trying to get a seat and plenty of calming cups of tea (one with a shot of gin, just to make sure I was calm). I stepped onto that plane chilled like a chill thing and ready to fly home.
I know No 1 isn’t for every trip (not at £30 a pop), but for the super early morning flight, or prepping for long haul it is an absolute godsend.
Oh and sorry for the official photos in this post…I really didn’t want to be a creeper taking photos in an airport lounge!