Off to Heathrow in the dead of the night
Taking the Longer Way Home
In this trip
- So. Keeping it original for autumn, aren’t we?
- Off to Heathrow in the Dead of the Night
- Terminal 3 Lounges… And more delays
- American Airlines AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare (Main Cabin)
- In the USA, Candlewood Suites O’Hare
- TRAVEL PLUS: Fooding around Chicago
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra – from the 10th Floor of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- TRAVEL PLUS: The Art Institute, Chicago
- Back to O’Hare, Air France/KLM Lounge
- Finnair AY010 Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki Vantaa
- A Helsinki Layover
- Finnair AY1335 Helsinki Vantaa to London Heathrow
- Coaching Homewards
- Sometimes, it’s more the journey
Off to Heathrow in the dead of the night
Or “Take the National Express, when you’re life is a mess, it will make you smile”…
I’ll be honest – real life in the office has ground me down heavily over the past few months – and there’s been more than my fair share of wanting to tear my hair out over little things. As such, sleep has been… a challenge and me being more
But, self-care is also such an important thing too. Getting away from the office for a week or so can recharge the batteries – even if I planned to be rather busy.
With the office work cleared down for a few days, I completed my packing – this time with some new luggage (as one of the bags was being held together by tape, and the handle on the other suitcase deemed existing was no longer an option )
With 1:50 in the morning creeping up faster than I could believe, I had everything packed and ready to roll.
First stop at this time of night is of course – an Uber for the short hop between the flat and Digbeth Coach Station.
I’m asked why I don’t do the whole hog and take an Uber between home and Heathrow. Sadly, at £144 upwards, that’s a no-go.
Thankfully, a driver was found quickly enough and I was on my way through the Birmingham night, and into the bright lights of Digbeth coach station.
With plenty of time to spare I breezed through the quiet coach terminal and towards the waiting coach.
A blip of my ticket and I was cleared to board
National Express 212
Birmingham Digbeth to Heathrow Central
Boarding the coach, I found none of the seats had been reserved. With that, I grabbed a pair of seats and settled in for the two-hour and thirty-minute ride to London.
The coach would be taking me via Birmingham Airport, Coventry, Banbury and Heathrow Central – where it would go onto Heathrow Terminal 4 and 5.
Ah. The late night. I love travelling at this time of day. Well, that’s a lie – and we all know it. But as I outlined in a post – I have reasons why I’m on the 2:20 in the morning.
For me, I tried to get settled down on the coach, and on local roads – it’s hard to do. It wasn’t until the coach hit the M40 heading towards London that I managed to get some shut-eye.
And I got a little. Thankfully the seats on the coach recline (if you like it or not), so getting a comfortable sleeping position wasn’t too much of a challenge.
Eventually, the bright lights of the Heathrow Approach came into view.
I gathered my items and ensured I had the bare basics I needed (as well as the not so basic items), and waited for the coach to pull into a bay at the central bus station.
With my items gathered and my luggage retrieved, it was time to go the great push from the Central Bus Station to Terminal 3.
With this trip, I would also be ending my trip at Terminal 3 – a rare occurrence to depart and return to the same terminal at Heathrow.
Popping out at Terminal 3 – winter was well on the way. It was dark, cold and floodlight in pink.
With the main check-in zone now set at Zone E, I found an appropriate door to go through.
… and wound up the joy of queuing. It seems the American Airlines ground staff were still in the point of setting up for the day, rather than ready to accept passengers. In the past, this has been as late at 5:45 in the morning. Thankfully, Priority check-in was opened at 05:25 – a welcome to sight to see.
What was not too welcome that only two members of staff had been assigned to fill a deepening priority queue. As such it took a good 15 minutes to clear to the head of the queue.
As usual, there were some screening questions. With my bags accepted for flight – a boarding pass was generated. With that, I was free to go.
I headed upstairs and straight the fast-track security lane.
At Terminal 3, it’s a real time-saver. Why? Apart from the smaller queues (which is a good benefit of any fast-track lane), it also pops out past the duty-free maze.
Now that’s a benefit I think a lot of us would appreciate.
I did an idle bit of duty-free hunting (with nothing “tech” appealing to me at all. With that done, it was time for breakfast.
And we all know what that means at Heathrow Terminal 3. It’s time to head to the Cathay Pacific lounge.
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