Carcassone to Edinburgh
This should have been a straightforward journey, 10.55 flight from Carcassonne, time for lunch then the 15.45 flight to Edinburgh.
I caught the train from Limoux to Carcassonne (1e) and the shuttle bus from the station (Navette 6e) to the airport. It was quite dark but hadn’t started raining so nothing to suggest there would be any delay. The plane was coming down from Stansted on time (following on Flight radar 24) but the weather was closing in and the rain started.
The weather became worse and the cloud level dropped dramatically. There were a lot of Irish rugby supporters going on the flight. Munster had played Castres the day before and they were going home via Stansted to Dublin. The bar was busy.
Carcassonne airport has no ILS so landing is by sight only, we could hear the plane as it attempted to land twice but the cloud cover was too low. Inevitably the flight was diverted to Toulouse Blagnac.
Useful links from the trip:
Ryanair flight delay compensation (no win - no fee service)
The busses eventually arrived and there was still a very slim chance of arriving in Stansted for the connection. The rugby supporters who had travelled down from Toulouse were now heading back and the four guys who slept in and took a taxi to Carcassonne were remarkably calm, but their hangovers were starting to kick in.
The bus set off up the A61 through the pouring rain. It was rapidly approaching decision time. It was very little chance I would make the connection, so what was the alternatives. I wanted to be back in Glasgow as soon as possible. The flights the next day to Edinburgh were sold out except the last flight after 9pm. The hotels were busy and expensive even I wanted to stay the night. Checking the trains from Kings Cross and Euston, I could make the later trains, but the ticket price reflected the late booking.
Arriving at Toulouse we all went back through Border control and security and waited at the gate for the bus to take us to the plane which was somewhere in the middle distance.
While waiting for the bus, I decided to go for a train and hotel combined. The Caledonian Sleeper out of Euston. At £160 it was expensive (last minute booking), but it should arrive in Glasgow Central at 7.00 the next morning with the bonus of giving me plenty of time to make the train as this flight would be definitely taking off from Toulouse.
We eventually took off for an uneventful flight to Stansted and arrived just after 5pm. The Edinburgh connection had long gone so it was down to the station for the next Stansted Express to Liverpool Street.
At Liverpool Street station, it was a five-stop journey to Euston Square and a short walk to the station. There was a 3 hour wait before boarding the train, so I went for something to eat at the Signal Box bar in the station, then outside to the Doric Arch, both Fullers pubs.
Eventually 10pm arrived and I got access to the train and my cabin. I have to say it was very clean, though dated. The carriages were about 40 years old and showing signs of wear. The sleeper service has now new carriages with en suite facilities although there have been a few teething troubles since their introduction.
There was no food or drink available and only coffee for breakfast. However, there is a small amenity kit (including earplugs and eye mask). The journey was not great, lots of track noise which even the earplugs could not block out. The train stops at Watford, Carlisle, Carstairs and Motherwell before arriving in Glasgow.
At 7.00am coffee was served at Motherwell and the train arrived on time at 7.22am into Glasgow Central. After that a 5 min walk to Queen Street and another 20min train to the final destination.
Looking back, I will probably fly direct from Toulouse to Edinburgh during the winter, it is only 2 trains from my local station and then a tram to the airport. Unless I take a stopover at Stansted.
It was an adventure that I am not that keen on repeating.
About Carcassonne airport
Carcassonne airport has one runway, 6730 ft, no taxiways, no tugs. The planes land turn around at the end of the runway, taxi back up and park facing the entrance to the runway. With such a short runway, it is almost definitely going to be a hard landing! It is exclusively a Ryanair destination. Direct flights to Scotland (Edinburgh) are only scheduled for the summer – April to October. Should you need some food or drink, always buy in the snack bar before security. In the holding area, there are only vending machines.