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Doubles Vision - Ticket To Ride

Metz, France

Colin Fleming© ATPColin Fleming catches up on some sleep while travelling to a new tournament city.

British duo Colin Fleming and Ken Skupski reflect on the challenges of travelling in their Doubles Vision entry ahead of their successful title campaign at the Open De Moselle in Metz.

Travel days are not so bad if you have the luxury of first or business class. As an up and coming pair we still try to find the cheapest tickets in the cattle section. Flying with one of the major low cost airlines isn't great but getting from A-B is all that we care about, especially if its a short trip like ours this week from Liverpool to Paris and then onto Metz. Most low cost airlines have very early or extremely late departures. We decided this week to take an early flight and a 5am wake up call was not appreciated.

Arriving at the airport and saying our goodbyes is never easy but its a way of life for most tennis players. Going away for a few days isn't so bad this time. Checking in is always fun. Having to pack everything into one bag and be under 15-20kgs isn't as easy as it might sound. I think British Universities are now offering degrees to help people deal with this weekly issue! I have mastered this problem a long time ago but you still can never tell if the bag weighs less than required. I feel a sense of accomplishment when the scales show the bag is worthy of a tag. My mind does somersaults as the airline rep goes ahead and hands back my passport and a boarding card. Its never nice to wave goodbye to family or friends but it's the same feeling when you see your bag go down the belt and out of sight potentially for the last time.

Airport security is annoying but also very important. In the world we live in we have to respect the procedures they enforce at airports. The only problem is they have different rules not just in different airport but on a daily basis in the same airport. Why can you one week travel with racquets on a flight and the next they are forcing you to recheck your tennis bag. A little issue like this is just frustrating. You can or you cannot, make your mind up please!

As a frequent flyer like we all are it's important to try to sleep as much as possible on flights. Passing the time away is crucial. Reading, listening to music or watching DVD's are good but sleep cannot be beaten in my mind when travelling. Nothing beats a good aisle row with the chance to stretch out the luck leg. We certain don't know what it is like to turn left as we enter an aircraft. Most flights we travel on don't even have a left turn. You always try to charm the steward or stewardess for the chance to be moved closer to the front. This is especially more common on a long haul flight. This still hasn't worked for us so far, but we do not intend to stop trying.

Arriving to find your bags is a relief that is unrated until you lose all your belongings. I've never been unlucky enough to lose all mine but fingers crossed I make it back home this week with everything I own.

Travelling on the Paris Metro is a pain in the neck. I am not very good with languages and French is certainly one of my weaknesses. Colin and I run around like headless chicken for about 15 minutes trying to find the right connect which will end our misery on the underground system. The early morning travel without breakfast is starting to get to us both. Frustrated, hungry and tired we manage to find the train we are looking for. We already have our tickets for the last train so we decide its time to sit and relax to enjoy a late breakfast at one of the main stations in Paris before our onward train journey to Metz.

We board our final train at around 12.30pm and sit in what we would consider very comfortable seats. We sit back relax and enjoy the journey. I think we both manage to get some more sleep on route to Metz before being woken by the train manager. He asks for our tickets and we presented him our two one way economy class tickets to Metz central station. He wasn't too please to see us sitting in his luxury first class seats. He was not impressed and almost ordered us to pay double what we had just paid hours earlier. We looked at each other puzzled. We entered the train in coach 15 and decided to turn LEFT! Little did we know first class was still LEFT!!


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