I had assumed that I had left it too late to book a bargain break to Copenhagen, to join my friends who were already booked.
Not entirely – Skyscanner found a £160 rtn flight – out with easyJet from Stansted and back with oooh! Scandinavian to Heathrow – an airline I have not had the pleasure of flying with.
It turned out that the easyJet fare was £120! This was one of their “Flexi” fares, a fare category that seems to be, well super.
As well as free changes, one checked in case and seat selection, it also includes fast track security and speedy boarding. And for £120 that seems like a good deal. I didn’t realize how much I would need the fast track security as it happens…
The flight was at 7am from Stansted, an airport I have not used since 2012.
I cannot bear the Stansted “Express” – it has always been filthy, isn’t an express, and is criminally expensive. They have new trains now but are charging £25 for a one way ticket – which is more expensive that both Gatwick and Heathrow Expresses. This is a wheeze dreamt up by Abellio, who merged the “Super Off Peak Single” and “Peak Single” into one Peak fare. There’s a way round it but it does mean sacrificing some flexibility – buy a ticket from Liverpool Street to Hertford or Bishops Stortford, then Hertford or Bishops Stortford to Stansted. You’ll save around a fiver. But your train must stop at the intermediate station for the wheeze to work.
Working where I do, I am well aware of the concept of “willingness to pay” – and I am entirely unwilling to pay for the Stansted Express.
I discovered a new non-stop service operated by easyBus from Baker Street to the airport. I probably won’t be using that again.
I left work and waited for the bus to Baker Street on a very sunny evening. I can’t do 4am starts to get to Stansted these days so booked an overnight hotel at the airport.
There’s a pub right next to it, however I resisted temptation.
The minibus was very tiny with stained seats.
I actually tweeted at the time complaining about companies that offer cheap services but then make you feel cheap for using them. Ryanair are learning, quickly, that this approach has a shelf life!
It also felt very cramped. What do you think?
Before you feel too sympathetic to my predicament, remember that I paid the princely sum of £3.49 for the ticket.
There was a lovely feeling of leaving London behind and I always enjoy heading north on the A1 – through Marylebone, St. John’s Wood… Swiss Cottage… and so on.
It was a lovely evening when we arrived at Stansted.
I popped along to the station to take a look. As you do. (As I do.)
I then wandered around the airport, like I didn’t have a care in the world. I really should have been sleeping.
Note the one check-in desk for the twice daily Loganair/FlyBe service to Dundee!
I also noted that the easyJet area had a much nicer feel than Ryanair. Ryanair's was functional and impersonal.
easyJet's orange colour scheme is garish, but look at the text… just a little touch of humanity.
Tired of early starts from London I also decided to book an overnight at the Radisson Blu, Stansted. I found a bargain rate (!) with a company called Amoma Hotels (no, me either) via Trivago, which was about £30 cheaper than anyone else. My hotel voucher was issued by Miki Travel, a large wholesale tour operator. So Trivago get a cut, Amoma get a cut and Miki Travel get a cut. You kind of wonder how all these middlemen will last. But I digress.
I very much enjoyed staying at this hotel.
Check in was swift (I arrived about 30 seconds before a large group so was seen quickly) and friendly. I declined a wake up call – I had my phone for that. The lobby area was impressive, with an massive wine tower manned by an acrobat!
After all this excitement came the dullest corridor I have ever seen, and I've stayed in a Travelodge!
The room was really lovely, actually. But what a strange place for a plug socket.
I had requested a room overlooking the runway, and they did their best!
I had set my alarm for 5am, to get to the airport for 6am. That would give me time to get up and ready.
I hadn’t set my alarm at all. And I stirred awake, aware that the alarm hadn’t gone off, but with the feeling that I had woken before it.
To my horror – it was 5.45am! My flight was leaving in 75 minutes – along with a swathe of Ryanair departures which would clog up security!
It was also a horrendous day. Only a aviation fan would love a view like this.
At Stansted, the entrance to airport security is at the opposite end of the building to the hotel.
I walked as quickly as I could to security. The queue was massive.
And then I spied the “Fastrack” security lane and thanked my lucky stars that I was on a FLEXI fare!
TICK… TOCK…. TICK….TOCK….
06.10hrs Security was sloooow. Every person in front of me needed ‘seen to’.
06:20hrs My carry on bag was examined in detail as I hadn’t put my toothpaste in a clear plastic bag. Gah!
06:30hrs Notice flight departs from that stupid pier where you need to get that stupid train. And that the gate closes at stupid 06:30hrs! No time for the lounge!
06:35hrs Everything works – no wait for the train, and when I get to the gate they are just boarding the Speedy Boarding folks.
The flight is fully booked, but as one of the first passengers on my luggage is safely stowed away.
Legroom is fine.
Soon we are soaring above the dull grey skies of Stansted.
Service is friendly and relaxed, and I decide against a bottle of champagne. What is wrong with me?
Arrival is on time, in a part of Copenhagen Airport that is quite some distance from anywhere!
There's a few easyJet planes about.
There are some efforts to make the low-cost part of the airport 'nicer'.
A few minutes later and I am on the shuttle bus to the Bella Sky Cromwell Hotel, a short metro ride to the city centre.
And a room with a view…
The weather in Copenhagen is amazing…
London - STN
Copenhagen - CPH
A last minute weekend break to Copenhagen. How I booked it and where I stayed. More about the hotels than the flight, which was happily, uneventful. Apart from me almost missing it!
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