Saturday, February 02, 2013

Travelogue: London - Waiting

For such a lovely airport they really do not have their act on the ball! I had to go through three lines to check in for my flight and then another two to clear security. Granted, the first three were not, strictly speaking, the fault of the airport – no that was due to two officious tossers who work for British Airways! As I have time to kill before my flight, I might as well tell you all about it…

Admittedly we arrived a few minutes before the technically allowable time to check baggage at th airport, but no outrageously so. The sign said that check-in for our flight started at 11:00 and we arrived just after half-ten. My thinking was that it wouldn't be TOO horrible to get in line and take my chances. After all, by the time we got to the front it was only fifteen minutes before the posted opening time. So imagine my chagrin when the gentleman checking me in refused to take my bags at ten 'til!

"You're early, mate. Next!" He said as he handed back my passport and boarding pass.

"Your colleague has just checked-in my traveling companion." I said, indicating my colleague whose luggage was disappearing down the conveyer at the next station.

"Next." Was all that the agent said in response.

So I went and stood in line at the queue that my colleague had just stood through and when I was next in line, the "Special Services" desk attendant called me over. I looked at the clock on my phone and moved over. He looked at my passport, boarding pass and then his watch.

So it was back to the cooperative agent. By the time I got to the front of his line I was still technically early; the lines were thin, but still! So, when I got to the security gate, I stood through the line only to have it shut. I was shunted over to another line and surrendered my bags, shoes, and outer layers; everything sorted into separate trays. For reasons the never explained, they then shunted my carry-ons over to a separate conveyer and, after a wait of about fifteen minutes, pawed through the entire contents without comment.

Well, that's not exactly true! The gentleman mumbled something unintelligible in a variant of English that was previously unknown to me. He might have said "May I inspect the contents of your bag?" Or he may have said something rude about my mother for all I could comprehend it through his accent.

That being said, the airport itself is not a bad one. In layout it is a bit like the Denver airport. It is divided into three parallel concourses that are connected by an underground tram system.

Now that I am through the security screening, I have the choice of all the shopping I can stomach. There are also nondescript restaurants and shops. And of course, there is a great number of bars.

I made a beeline (or should I say "beer-line?") to one of them, ordered a beer (or two) to help me pass the time until my flight.

Wherever you are this morning, I hope that you find a pleasant way to pass whatever wait you have ahead of you!

Don Bergquist - 02 February 2013 - In A Pub At London's Heathrow Airport

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