Space A to the UK

Our family successfully traveled Space A to and from the United Kingdom! It was a close call both ways but we got lucky. Listed below is the details of both flights to give others interested an idea of what traveling Space A can be like. As a retired family we are category VI.

Flight to Mildenhall, UK: June 25th 2016

Two flights scheduled (5:00, 5:15 roll call times) leaving McGuire.
5:25 AM First roll call started: 50 seats released (We got bumped)
6:00 AM Second roll call: 46 seats released (Our name was called 2nd)
6:30 AM Security check
7:15 AM Bus to plane
8:16 AM Plane took off
3:30 PM Landed in the UK (8:30 PM there)
3:45 PM Immigration (NOTE: They did not have immigration available there so they had to scan everyone’s passports and wait to hear back from immigration.)
5:00 PM Finally got our passports back and were approved for entry (10:00 PM there)
Total for flight= $16.25 (Price for 3 meals)

Flight Home:

Flight scheduled to McGuire for July 3rd (Be home for the 4th of July!)13600242_1010291035686470_8993597967272160534_n

Flight rescheduled for July 5th (Ok, never mind 4th of July in the UK)
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July 5th 6:30 AM roll call TBA seats
6:00 AM Passenger terminal doors open. Checked in for flight and they still had no idea on how many seats would be released. People started flooding into the terminal. We honestly thought we had no possible chance of getting seats.
6:50 AM Roll call 73 seats available. We were 2nd to last called, 59 seats ended up being used…so room to spare.
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7:50 AM Check baggage
9:00 AM Security check
9:15 AM Load bus to plane
9:30 AM Load plane
10:15 AM Plane takes off
6:25 PM Plane landed ( 1:25 PM Eastern standard time)
Total for flight= $16.25 (Price for 3 meals)

Our flight home was a lot of WAITING, but you can’t really complain when its a free flight for 4!

While staying in the UK we visited 7 major cities and stayed at 6 different hotels. Below is a recap of our trip.

Thetford

Where we stayed…

Bell Inn:

Bury St. Edmunds

What we saw…
Abbey Gardens
St. Edmunds Cathedral

London

What we saw…
Big Ben
St. Jame’s Park
Hyde Park
Westminster Abby
Eye of London
Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guards

Where we stayed…

St. Ermins Hotel Autograph Collection By Marriott:

Bristol

What we saw…
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Wills Memorial Building
Cabot Circus
Castle Park

Where we stayed…

Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre:

Bath

What we saw…
Roman Baths
Royal Victoria Park
Pulteney Bridge
Bath Street
Bath Abbey

Birmingham

What we saw…
Library of Birmingham
Gas Street Basin
Restaurants and Bars galore

Where we stayed…

Birmingham Marriott Hotel:

Cambridge

What we saw…
King’s College Chapel
University of Cambridge
The Backs
Great St. Mary’s Church
Queens College

Where we stayed on base…

Lakenheath Air Force Inn: $63 a night for a family room and a great park right outside for kids. Can’t beat that! There is also an Air Force Inn in Mildenhall but they were full every time we checked (FYI: it is in walking distance of the passenger terminal).

Tips for the UK:
1. Remember to drive on the left side! Also be ready for traffic circles.
2. Weather (the 2 weeks we were there) ranged between 60-65 degrees. I packed a few pairs of shorts and only one day we got away with wearing them.
3. Speaking of clothing, pack nice outfits. We usually do jeans/shorts and t-shirts when we travel to keep things simple but we were constantly feeling under dressed while in the UK. When we visit again we will definitely pack differently.
4. Plan extra time when driving in cities.
5. As a retiree you cannot use the Commissary or Exchange.
6. Getting a cab can be tough. We had several issues with the cab company recommended on base. Thank God my cousin Alex is stationed there or we would have missed roll call for our flight home!
7. Do yourself a favor and order a Rekorderlig cider. Although its from Sweden you can get it in the UK and it is so tasty! We are already looking into where we can order it in the states. Best premium cider by far, you can thank us later. Cheers!

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We hope this post is helpful to those planning to travel to the UK. Of course there are TONS of places we didn’t get to see and we are already looking forward to our next visit in the future. If you have been to the UK and have suggestions of what to see or do please comment below!

Cheerio mates,
The Tompkins