I found myself having to make a quick trip to England and purchased a ticket that would take me from Pristina, through Munich and ultimately London’s Heathrow airport. Pristina is a small airport but if you look you can see plans for a much larger modern facility coming soon. It’s easy to navigate through, customs isn’t a big deal and despite the language barrier finding my flight was simple. After you clear customs you find yourself in the typical waiting area with VAT free stores to purchase the normal alcohol, candy, jewelry and gifts the experienced traveler sees everywhere. At this airport a shuttle bus picks you up at the terminal and you’re dropped at your plane with whatever carry-on you may have. There aren’t a great deal of passengers so moving about is quite simple. I forgot to mention that parking is easy, inexpensive and quite close to the terminal so walking is a breeze. I went in to the terminal, purchased my ticket and walked to the luggage check-in area. The agent was friendly and I was lucky enough to have one that spoke English. The whole process was much simpler than what is encountered in the west and moving through check-in and customs is a breeze.
So, now I’m in my seat and the plane has taken off. It’s the normal process from this point, buckle up, stewardesses bring coffee and a light snack. Everything is cleaned up, I take a quick bathroom break and in less than two hours we’re landing.
Munich was the same process, we were picked up by a shuttle bus that dropped everyone at the terminal. When you enter there are signs in English with flight numbers and I quickly found my connection on the upper floor. So, I walked up the stairs, located the gate and once satisfied I was in the correct location went back to where I could grab a cup of coffee. Munich is a modern facility with everything you could possibly need while waiting for a flight. I was in the international area so clearing customs wasn’t required. Eventually I got on the plane, sat down and the whole flight process which I’m quite familiar began again. Seat belts, emergency procedures, take-off, light snack, bathroom break, landing and in around 2 hours or so I was at Heathrow.
London’s Heathrow is huge and enormously busy as you can appreciate if you’ve ever landed there. Despite this the Brits have it down to a science and the customs process is quite quick, even with a large number of people. You fill out a customs form on the plane and find the correct line in the customs area, one is for the Shengen zone and one for everyone else. The Brits are friendly and as long as you don’t look suspicious (not sure what that would be actually) you blow through customs and down to luggage claim. If you’ve read my pages on England you know I love the place and got along famously with the Brits as they are great people as a whole. I grabbed my luggage, hopped in a cab and made my way to where I had some business to attend to.
A few days later I returned to Heathrow and went through the same process as before but in reverse. If you’ve never flown you head to the ticket counter to deposit your luggage and are asked some standard questions regarding your luggage. They want to be reasonably sure you’ve been in control of you luggage and nothing dangerous is loaded in the bags. Next its off to customs again where you take your shoes off, unload your carry-on and computer bag into small plastic boxes for x-rays. You pass through some type of scanning machine, god knows what they actually see then they motion you through where you pick up your items, put your shoes back on and make your way to the gate.
Heathrow is huge and the moving sidewalks make moving through the terminals quite easy. I located my gate with little effort and boarded the plane. Same process as before and before you know it, we’re landing in Munich, Germany again. Shuttle bus to the terminal, up the stairs, locate the gate and eventually I get on the plane. The flight to Pristina is quite short and I’m back in Kosovo in no time.
As I mentioned, in Pristina you load on to a shuttle bus and are deposited at the terminal which is quite small. Customs is a breeze and as I found out if your American it’s miraculously simple which I absolutely love. There is only one luggage return so I grabbed my stuff and out the front of the building I went where a friend picked me up and I returned to Pristina, mission accomplished.
Here are a bunch of pictures I took during the trip. Have a look