COMMUTING FROM CHARENTE TO LONDON
“Living here in the Charente we have five airports to choose from: Limoges, La Rochelle, Poitiers, Bordeaux and if we are desperate Bergerac, though that is the hardest for us to get to, as there are no fast road connections. All five airports are about one and a half hours’ drive from home and are served by most of the major low-cost airlines.
My favourite airline and airport combination, purely due to the flight timings and year-round service, is to use British Airways from Bordeaux. This means on a Monday morning I will leave home at around 6am to drive to Bordeaux. The one downside to Bordeaux is that there is an equivalent of the M25, so I have to allow extra time for the Monday morning rush hour. I park my car in the long-stay car park for a week, which costs €36, and walk over to the airport. It’s nice to stretch your legs after the drive and it’s only 10 minutes. There is a shuttle bus too, if it’s raining.
Depending upon the time of year, my flight to London leaves Bordeaux between 10am and 11.30am, which puts me in London Gatwick airport between 11am and 12 noon local time. I am lucky because I start work most Mondays in Victoria, which just happens to be where the trains from Gatwick airport terminate. Then it’s a short walk for me to pick up my lunch and arrive at the office, for about six hours of work, before heading off to my lodgings.
The return journey on Friday usually means I can do five or six hours of work in the office before catching the train down to Gatwick to take the flight back to Bordeaux. Again, times vary depending upon the time of year, which can be anything between 3.30pm and 8pm. In the worst case scenario, I get home at midnight on a Friday night.
During the week, I have to travel around the UK quite a lot and so it is handy to be able to catch a flight either to or from the north of England, or the south-west back to one of the five airports around us. Bear in mind that some flights are seasonal. For two months of the year, I can fly with easyJet in and out of La Rochelle as their times suit me even better than British Airways and the drive is nicer too. With the advent of flexible working and even working from home, it means that, although I am in the UK most of the time, I can move my working week around flight times to maintain a pretty good work-life balance.”