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02 April 2009

London Stansted and the Lake District

By Philip

I flew Air Asia X to London Stansted on the 19 March 2009 and the plane landed almost exactly on time. Congratulations.

However, clearing Immigration was a real hassle and I intend to complain to the UK Border Security (Immigration Dept). There was a very long line of people from our AirAsia X flight waiting to be cleared. There were many officers, as many as 12, clearing EU citizens from other flights and only 2 officers initially, increasing to 6 officers, working to clear AirAsia X customers. For me, it took one hour and 15 mins of waiting from the point of joining the line to being served. AirAsia X should also complain if UK officials habitually mishandle AirAsia X customers.

Apart from the unwarranted delay caused by ill informed UK public servants (one of whom said they did not expect to see so many people) the choice of Stansted may be a good one. AirAsia X’s Airbus 340 was the largest aircraft in an airport dominated by little 737s and AB320s.

I used to suffer a lot of delays, circling over London waiting for a time slot to land at Heathrow or even Gatwick. At Stansted it was almost straight in and land. The bus service from Stansted to Central London was smooth. There are three bus companies competing for your business so it is good service and smiles all round. Trains and taxis are other options.

Any way I headed to Cumbria and went for walks in the Lake District. The weather was unusually pleasant for this time of the year and I enjoyed 12 sunny days out of 14. It rained in the afternoon on only two days.

I managed to walk the Cumbria Way from Ulverston to Coniston and onwards to Elterwater the next day. I slept in Elterwater before climbing over the mountain Pass to Borrowdale. After a good night rest I made my way to Keswick. The YHA at Keswick is by the river. From Keswick onwards to Caldbeck and finally into Carlisle. Walking the Cumbria Way took me 6 days rather than the recommended 5 days.

I made Keswick the base for the next three days climbing hills with names like Catbells and Skiddaw.

The English YHA offers good clean accommodation at an affordable price. You get to meet locals who are rather friendly and helpful at YHAs. You don’t have to be young to stay at the YHA.

Hey. the boys and girls (cabin crew) on my AirAsia X flight were a great lot of people on my way over here. I hope to meet up with more happy and helpful staff on my way back to Perth.

Overall I enjoyed my walks in the Lakes and will do it again with AirAsia X.

  • Philip

    Ops, I flew Air Asia X into London Stansted on the 17 March 2009 and not the 19th as posted earlier.

  • Philip

    If you wish to complain about the treatment you have received at any of the United Kingdom’s sea, air or rail ports, or about immigration controls at a United Kingdom port, you should contact the Border Control Customer Service Unit.

    Email: complaints.immig@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

    Address: Border Control CSU, Building 25, Priory Court, St Johns Road, Dover CT17 9SH

    One thing about the British, they always act on feedback and improve the way they deliver services.