Mmmmm! BAcon! – Off to Denver and Beyond with Aer Lingus and British Airways
The Omnishambles of a Heathrow Transfer….
- A Conference… why not?
- Early morning New New Street, Aer Lingus EI263 London to Dublin
- A Dublin transit, DAA Lounge
- BA827 Dublin to London Heathrow
- The Hell of A Heathrow Transit, BA F Lounge – THIS SECTION
- BA219 – London Heathrow to Denver
- Staybridge Suites, Denver Tech Center and a road trip
- The Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs
- A road trip back to Denver, Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver
- Photographic Interlude: Downtown Denver
- Denver Airport, American Airlines AAdmirals Club
- BA218 Denver to Heathrow
- Heading Homeward
- Interesting times
Omnishambles at Heathrow
40 minutes down already, I was all ready to get on the bus from the plane and straight to T5 to clear. Alas, no bus showed up, and I was informed to make my way though to the Flight Connections Centre.
The term “Oh ****” comes to mind (swear word deleted for our younger readers).
Firstly I had to clear the Green Mile (the name given to the Irish gates), and then Baggage pickup, finally dumping me in T1 Departures, and then try to get to T5.
There were two options, and I was too focused on transfer when there was another option looking me in the face – landside train to T5, then clear security there. No, I didn’t think of that at the time.
However, now I was ground side after clearing the Green Mile, so I had to re-clear security at T1, and find my way to the flight conniptions centre. Thankfully, security was quick (even if I set the alarm off – how I don’t know).
Once through – I was in my next private little hell – Heathrow T1 Depatures. Considering I was trying to get to T5 this isn’t the right place at all. And quell surprise – all the signs for the Flight Connection Centre had dried up.
The words that were coming out of my mouth were not kind at that moment.
I struck out in the direction of the Connection desks in the vain hope I could connect through T5. The ground staff gestured in a way to the FCC (which for those who don’t know, is located at Zone R security behind the Star Alliance Lounge, past WHSmith – where I encountered a slightly uppity security person asking where I was going. After trying to get through to him a few times I needed to get through to T5, I was finally allowed through to Flight Connections.
Well – that’s an ominshambles.
Thankfully, there was a short wait for a shuttle bus to 5 which took the best part of 10 minutes to cross the Heathrow complex, dumping me at the Flight Connection Centre at T5.
The usual rule applies for T5 – if in doubt – head to the lifts, as they’re quicker than the escalators.
Upon my exit, I headed to the transfer area to be met with this personal hell:
Now, I’ve been through the T5 Flight Connections Centre bright and early or in the evening – and they’ve been quiet. This is the first time I’ve been through the middle of the day – seeing the it this bad, and with the queues this long.
I waited for a minute then spotted people heading towards fast track – which was so poorly signposted it was a joke. I followed them and was granted access to the fast track lanes.
My boarding pass was rescanned and I was allowed through – however the agent mumbled a set of letters and numbers my brain didn’t get at the time.
We’ll get onto that final part of the omnishambles in a bit.
Security was a ten-minute wait to be seen, but thankfully the team was working at some sort of speed, screening my stuff in a few minutes.
Now, if I was doing this sans status – I don’t honestly think I would have made the connection (or have made it with minutes to spare).
Shambles. Absolute Shambles.
With all that out of the way – it was off to the F Lounge for a tiny bit for a bit of sanity before the Denver flight – noting that the gate was opening shortly.
At the entrance to the lounge, my pass was scanned and I was informed what gate it was. Gate A10.
Those of you who have not been through Heathrow T5 will probably not know of Gate A10 – or as it should be called – The Bussing Gates. I’d deal with that hell in a bit. I wanted to clam down after that horrific transit experience.
After finding my usual spot near the metal BA signs, I sorted myself two important things to my sanity
Well, this is the BA F Lounge 😉
After grabbing some beef bourguignon and a glass of the Pink Bubbly stuff (Yes, I have soft spot for Bollinger Rose).
Here’s some pictures of the food and section. Normally I’d order something – but with the time limits in place as the connection and delay had eaten into the time I want to spend lounging.
Whilst the food selection was Ok, I didn’t think it was as good as before – maybe the choices were different or I didn’t have time to enjoy it like I normally do. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Oh well. As much as I want to avoid the upcoming hell, it was time to head to A10.
To get to A10, one has to grab an elevator, where there are 6 bussing gates. A10b had the Gothenburg flight queuing, whilst A10a had the Denver flight queuing. Nothing like spacing departures from different bussing gates is there?
As I made it to the gate, Families and those requiring assistance were boarding the first bus. Then the flood of Club World and Gold/Silver’s were board – filling the bus to crush capacity.
Well this is Heathrow, and if I was not expecting a full crush on the bus, I’d be lying. Badly.
Eventually the bus was allowed to go off, head back under the road connections past T5B, T5C, before finally exiting near the hard stands (or the T5D pads). The bus finally parked up near a Boeing 777 waiting to take us on our journey.
Finally the front doors opened, and I headed up the stairs to the waiting 777.
Next: BA219 – London Heathrow to Denver International Airport