Springing to Chicago – Off to Heathrow Airport with National Express
- Here we go… again (in more ways than one)
- Off to Heathrow
- Terminal 3 Oneworld Lounges (Cathay Pacific and American Airlines)
- AA87 London Heathrow T3 to Chicago O’Hare International
- The joy of US immigration
- Intercontinental Chicago – Magnificent Mile
- Travel Tech: Life with a Canon 50mm f1.2 (yes, it’s another walk around Chicago)
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Travel Tech: SkullCandy Ink’d Wireless Headphones
- Airplane Art Special: From the Balcony of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare ** BONUS **
- Back to O’Hare, The British Airways Business Class lounge
- BA296 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow
- Delayed Arrivals and Homeward
- Short and Sweet
With a mass rush of work needing to be done before I finished for this short break, to say things were hectic in the office was an understatement.
But I successfully wrote enough handover paperwork to sink a small battleship, and disposed of enough issues to make my life bearable until I got back. With that, I got home, slept, and continued to pack my stuff. Amazingly, I managed to hit all the buttons and pretty much pack everything.
Except a spare camera. Whilst not the end of the world – that would come to bite me later on in a way I wouldn’t be expecting.
With everything in hand, I hailed a Uber, and by the time I had got out of the flat, it was waiting for me. Which is a bit of a bonus.
With my luggage all loaded up, it was a quick ride over to Digbeth Coach station – where I found the queue from hell.
Unsurprisingly – it was for my coach.
National Express Coach 210 Birmingham Digbeth to London Heathrow Central Bus station
I headed aboard the waiting coach, with my luggage safely stowed in the hold.
With the coach pretty busy for 2:15 in the morning, there would be no chance of two seats to myself. So therefore I took an aisle seat. Not ideal, but I had a seat – and that was the main thing
With the coach booked for pretty standard run to Heathrow via Birmingham Airport, Coventry, Banbury and Heathrow Central Bus Station, I popped in a pair of headphones and tried to doze off.
And it was pretty unsuccessful until the coach had left Banbury, giving around an hour’s doze. Better than nothing, but unwelcome nonetheless.
The only slight worry was a truck that tried to move into our lane… with the coach right next to it. A toot of the horn made the truck hold back, and I could hear a lot of seatbelts being clicked in (a little “besides the point thing – if you’re on a coach in the UK, you must have a seatbelt on by law).
Eventually, the coach made it to Heathrow Central – and it was time to get off and begin this adventure properly.
With my body off the coach (along with my luggage) it was time for the great push into Heathrow T3.
It’s been a year since I did this, but it’s nice to be back in the Central Heathrow area for a change – as opposed to back-end of Terminal 5.
Don’t get me wrong – I like T5 as terminal, but the lounge choices are pretty shocking after a while.
And there are only so many BA Bacon Rolls I can consume before wishing for something different.
With me coming out at T3, at 5:10 – early for check-in – I thought I’d check in asap, get into a lounge, get comfy and sort out the final bits of work. I headed for Zone E (the old premium zone) – to find that the premium area had moved to Zone B.
Another push later, and I was at Zone B… which was surprisingly empty for 5:15 in the morning.
I spent the time doing what anyone does in these circumstances – making grunting sounds on Twitter.
Eventually, at 5:30, the first class staff came along to check first class passengers in (and ignoring Business and Elite Frequent fliers), with Business Class check-in finally opening at 5:50.
I was one of the first in the queue, so I went to check-in. My baggage was accepted, and a new problem occurred. The luggage tag printers weren’t working.
Another 10 minutes later, everything was all set – whilst people behind me were fuming that they were still waiting to check in. It seems AA’s check-in wasn’t on-point that morning…
I headed up the escalator and skipped pasted the normal security area and towards the Fast Track – which is near… you’ve guessed it. Zone E.
Security was handled quickly and efficiently, and I was clear of security within 5 minutes.
With the formalities completed, and by virtue of using FastTrack – I had skipped the main duty-free maze, and was in the terminal.
However – there were things to get before I headed to the lounge. Namely – a new set of headphones, and some extra chocolate for my US friends.
Thankfully, Terminal 3 is optimised for shopping, and after a trip to Dixons Travel, and Heathrow Duty Free (I find the mini-branches work a lot better than the ultra big branch after security if you’re after one or two things), the items I needed were in my hands.
With all the pre-requisites done – it was time for breakfast… but where? Would I visit HorseLamp in T3 (the BA lounge), go for Noodles (the Cathay Lounge), see what Skippy has (the Qantas lounge) or go the American way (The American Airlines Lounge)?
Next: Where to lounge…
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