August 21st, 2005

userinfo senji
2005/08/21 17:58:00 - Just a Stavangering around
So, midafternoon on Tuesday, I left work in a Taxi and for once in my life travel plans failed to be beset by disaster, as we got from StJIC to the station in under 15 minutes, enabling me to get the prior train to the one I intended which allowed me the luxury of a leisurely waft across the tube network (change at Oxford Circus, as the Bakerloo line is closest to the Heathrow Express platform) only to arrive at Paddington just as a HEX was arriving at the platform.

I've never been on the HEX before, so was glad of the notices on the platform suggesting that I wanted to board the train at the Heathrow end (which coincides with my default inclinations anyway), as the exits for Terminals 2 and 3 are at that end of the Heathrow Platform (as is T4 further down the line. T1 is at the Paddington end of the same station as T2&3).

HEX trains have TVs in them, however even sitting right next to one you can't hear the babble over the train noise. I relaxed with IRC and an eBook. Unlike most train services they have continuous mobile service through the tunnels at the Heathrow end, so I assume either the units have cells, or the tunnels are wired.

Arriving at Heathrow I discovered the hard way that it is in fact faster to take the lift than the escalators (although an enraged TubeChallenger (with a large wallet) could cut time off that by running up the escalators, which aren't busy at all).

Once I'd found the SAS area in the crowded mess of Departures check-in was a doddle, although they had no Exit-Rows left (they rarely do, you know), and I disappeared past security (where the beepy-machine didn't complain about me for the first time in years) and enjoyed a quiet dinner at Chez Gerard before boarding my plane. The photo above is of the (quite stylish) plastic cutlery which I was given. I hope they have something more effective for customers who order steak! I was left wondering what was to stop me from breaking the bottle of still water that I had and using the pointy-edges on that to threaten someone, though.

I still don't like flying. Something disengages when the wheels leave the ground and I feel slightly otherworldly until they set down again. In this case an hour and a half and a timezone later in the half reconstructed shell of Stavanger Airport (I assume that they're enlarging it). The airport has the interesting feature that International Arrivals have to pass through one of the International Departure lounges to get out, and get access to the Duty Free area in the process – more thoughts on this later.

In total I spent about an hour in Taxis during my time in Norway, which slightly overspent my cash Kroner budget. However, all Stavangerese taxis are fitted with credit-card machines (and print receipts), so this wasn't as much of a problem as I might have thought. They also have an ingenious system whereby places that order lots of taxis can have a thing installed such that they can press a button and order one, getting a numerical code to identify the request with the Taxi. I was impressed by that.

The hotel was hotellish. I had breakfast there as well as sleeping. I was caused to wonder if I could install an IP-over-DNS thingum on my Nokia 9500 though, as they had pay-per-use wireless that I didn't want to buy a whole hour of.

The office is in fact in Tananger, which is about 15 minutes away at about 90-120kph. The actual meetings were surprisingly useful, but left me going "my brain is full!" by about 15:00-localtime, fortunately we'd pretty much finished by then. Everyone was very friendly, but I was left with a sense of ineptitude; since all the Norwegians spoke fluent English, and I don't speak fluent Foreign in any guise….

Then back to Stavanger airport, purchasing of Duty-Free Aquavit, waiting for ages for my (delayed) flight and a return to Heathrow. Where I noticed that Heathrow T3 has the same bug I discovered in Stavanger, only 100-times the passenger volume (at least). I see an exploit, although I don't have a use for it, in that someone who has just Arrived can switch places with someone who is theoretically Departing and hence bypass Heathrow's security procedures (and security at places like Stavanger is much "weaker" than it is at Heathrow). If anyone can come up with a good use for this exploit, do tell me :-).
Current Mood: [mood icon] happy
Entry Tags: life, photos, security, stavanger, travel, work

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userinfo crazyscot
2005/08/21 17:56:53
The cutlery is metal in Club World on BA.

ID is checked at the departure gate on every flight I've been on recently - international and domestic - so your scenario would have to involve two namesakes, or possibly a through-checkin from Stavanger to Heathrow and thence beyond (noting that it is, I understand, possible to get between T1/2/3 and remain airside).

T1 domestic is the same as your experience, though when returning from the US I noticed that T4 does it "properly". Presumably you had to pass through passport control and customs on your way out of airside?
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userinfo pm215
2005/08/21 19:05:17
Pah, Lufthansa give even the poor wretches in cattle class metal cutlery :-)

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userinfo senji
2005/08/21 23:16:25
Arranging namesakes isn't hard (particularly if you're already called Singh, or you want to be John Smith...). They did note on the inbound flight that people who were getting connections had to pass through security again, even if they were flying out from T3, so they're obviously aware of the problem to an extent.
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userinfo naath
2005/08/22 14:42:52
My photo ID (passport) was checked at check-in, at security, and the gate and when I got on the plane. In theory I could have given all my ID to someone else but then they would have to look like me. Or I would have to find someone with my name, or the ability to get a passport in my name. I suppose that the easiest thing would be for me to get a second passport with someone else's photo, but maybe they check for this at the passport office (you are allowed two passports, they might have to have the same photo).
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userinfo senji
2005/08/22 14:44:26
The simplest thing to do is to change both your names to John Smith (or Claire Louise Smith in your case)...
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Just a Stavangering around - Squaring the circle...

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