Pleasure and Business – Off to Heathrow, Check-in and Heathrow being Heathrow.
In this adventure…
- Pleasure and Business Mixing things together (again)
- Off to Heathrow
- Cathay Pacific Lounge and the American Airlines Lounge
- AA47 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare, Main Cabin Extra aboard a 787
- US Immigration Adventures
- Intercontinental Chicago North Michigan Avenue
- Deep Dish Pizza fun
- Travel Technology: Canon 40mm F2.8 STM with a Canon 100D
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Back to O’Hare, British Airways Terraces Club Lounge
- BA294 Chicago to Heathrow Airport in World Traveller Plus
- From pleasure to business, BA Galleries South
- BA962 London Heathrow to Hamburg in Club Europe
- IBIS Budget Hamburg
- AIX2017 – What you missed
- Back to Hamburg Airport, Hamburg Airport Lounge
- BA967 Hamburg to London Heathrow in Club Europe
- Pulling it home
- My calf muscles hurt…
The night before departure
Work is as work does. And instead of packing my trash like I normally do a few hours before heading off, I was instead completing my mandatory training.
Because I have no life… or I was keeping people off my back. There’s very little difference these days when it comes to getting mandatory training done.
With the paperwork done for another year, I finished up the packing I needed to carry out, and by the time 2:30 came along – I was almost ready.
Eventually 2:30am came along, and it was time to shake a leg and head on out. There’s one advantage to departing from Heathrow T3 as opposed to T5 – you can afford to leave later in the morning.
So, say hello to the new spinner bag (in purple). Meanwhile, the Lufthansa bag is still getting a pounding and the little rucksack… it’s seen better days. As for the stand bag, yes, there’s a lot of duct tape on it already…
With the clock nearer 2:40 than 2:30, an Uber rolled out to the front door to take me the distance to Digbeth Coach Station. Of course, by the time I got to the coach station, it was running 15 minutes late.
I’m glad I build recovery time in my trips.
Digbeth Coach Station
Digbeth Coach station was as busy as it normally is at 2:50 in the morning. In other words, it was quiet, with only a smattering of people who were waiting for early morning coaches.
Eventually Coach 421 from Blackpoll to London arrived – with the drivers taking a break before the coach continued to the London area.
Boarding commenced, with everyone lining up for the journey out of Birmingham, to destinations south.
National Express 421 Birmingham Coach Station to Heathrow
My ticket was confirmed, and luggage stowed underneath. With that out of my hands, I headed aboard the bus, bathed in blue LEDs
All aboard the party bus!
With this being a late night National Express service, this coach would be making the trip to Heathrow via Birmingham Airport, Oxford and Heathrow – a quick run where I could try to get some sleep – and I mostly succeeded on the Motorway… and failing miserably on local roads.
The coach was pretty busy for a late night run – with minimal free seats aboard the coach. There was space for me to be relaxed – never a bad thing.
At 5:40 in the morning, the coach pulled into the far end of Heathrow Bus station.
Party over! Lights up as we approach Heathrow.
There was a short delay as the coach emptied out and waiting to get the baggage
With me out of coach, and my stuff gathered together, I began first great push of the journey towards Terminal 3.
All Terminals… this way then…
Lets navigate this hot mess.
As I said – Hot mess.
Heathrow Terminal 3
Terminal 3 – Is it pink or is it purple? Honestly, I’m not sure these days.
Arriving at Terminal 3, I headed to Zone E to check in. With minimal fuss, I was redirected to the Premium Check area where the first of many deep discussions on this trip.
Priority – the exclusive club called everyone.
It seems that there was a lot of passenger pre-profiling going on, with the questions designed to trip you up if you weren’t paying attention.
I navigated through the interview process, and finally my luggage was accepted for travel. Even though I hold BA Silver (Oneworld Sapphire), the check-in system was wanting me to pay for a second bag. This was over-ridden, and both bags went into the belt, for them to be seen next in Chicago.
You’re travelling free bag number 2. Get on the belt and get in the system.
A boarding pass was issued, and I was on my way up to departures.
As I still hold status, I could take Fast Track (as opposed to using normal security). There’s one big advantage to Heathrow T3 Fast Track – you skip the duty-free maze.
That’s a big benefit in my book.
Being processed through Fast Track was quick. And when I say quick – I cleared fast track in under a couple of minutes.
It’s amazing when FastTrack actually does what it says, rather than queuing in a for tens of minutes to get through… like at Terminal 5.
I spent a few minutes checking if there was anything interesting to get at Dixons Travel (there wasn’t) and some overpriced chocolate in Duty Free (Meh. A lack of planning strikes again…)
With that, there were lounges to explore – but which to choose? As a Oneworld Sapphire, I have three choices in Terminal 3
- The Cathay Pacific Lounge
- The British Airways Galleries
- The American Airlines Admirals Club
What to choose… what to choose. Well, let’s make this easier, and skip the BA Lounge. I’m going to have plenty time of that mid-route in Chicago and at T5 Galleries later…. so, let’s go to the other suspects.
To the lounges
Next: Which lounges did I visit?
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