Early Adventures to London Heathrow and Terminal 3
Indirect fun – To Chicago with America Airlines and Finnair
- How much is it this time???
- Early Morning National Express and Heathrow Terminal 3
- Elegantly Lounging around Terminal 3
- AA99 London Heathrow to Chicago (Main Cabin Extra)
- Into the USA, Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra: From the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Chicago Classics: Mannys Deli and Cafeteria
- Bench Test and First Impressions: Canon EOS R50
- Back to Central Camera Chicago
- Back to O’Hare, Swissport Lounge Chicago T5
- Finnair AY10 Chicago O’Hare to Helsinki Vantaa
- A quick ground-side visit, and an even quicker stop at the Finnair Lounge
- Finnair AY1337 to Heskink Vantaa to London Heathrow
- An unexpected coach home
- Expect the Unexpected
The days running up to this trip, my world has been… yeah. It hasn’t been great, to the point that my sleep patterns are back to their usual disturbed state. That played well into my hands this time, as I collapsed when I got home from work, had a doze and the next thing I knew, it was midnight.
From there, I spent the remaining time packing my baggage. Unfortunately, the lust to pack had vanished in the days before this trip – so it was more last-minute packing than I would liked.
After a mad two hours of packing and playing luggage Tetris, I made it out of my front door and into the side of an Uber.
Which is great in theory – sadly, this Uber driver was more interested in going around the houses rather than taking the direct route. Admittedly, it doesn’t help that Birmingham City Council is setting up cameras in odd places these days and that it’s desperate for every single penny at the moment.
Arriving at the side of Digbeth Coach station, I gathered my crap and pushed myself into the coach station. At least the side door was open, which meant I didn’t need to wheel my bags halfway around the block.
Checking the departure boards, my coach was in the final few minutes of boarding. I heard the waiting coach with it heading to the Heathrow complex.
My bags were checked (and the extra paid bag was noted). With that, I was allowed aboard the coach.
National Express Coach 210
Birmingham Digbeth to Heathrow Central Bus Station
Ah. the 2:45 from Birmingham to Heathrow. It doesn’t change a lot. On this route, National Express operate the larger Cirvaros for 49 seats of fun and games.
A few seats were reserved for paying passengers – I had not, so I just jumped the first pair of seats. Given this coach came from Wolverhampton, it was pretty quiet.
Also considering its stopping pattern, we would be getting to Heathrow at a reasonable time – as it would stop at Birmingham Airport only (skipping Oxford).
That was fine in theory. In practice, it would take a little longer as the coach would have to go around Coventry first due to Motorway closures.
That was not ideal, but it would only add 15 minutes to the journey. I settled in and listened to bad music for the journey.
Sadly, whilst local roads and such, nodding off was a challenge – but I think I got a little sleep. Thankfully, the seats are reasonably pitched on a National Express Coach, so there’s no great discomfort. Even the leather seats weren’t too sticky after sitting on them for some time.
Eventually, the coach made its way down the M40, M25 and M4, pealing off for the Heathrow Approach road and finally, the tunnel under the North Runway.
With trolleys free of charge to use, I grabbed one and headed to pick up my bags for the hike to Terminal 3 – because I was not in the mood to tote this by hand (and also, the handle was more than a little stiff – to put it bluntly).
Exiting into the morning dusk of Terminal 3, it was lit up in pink as usual.
I required a minute or two of where to head (as T3 is horrible for changing which check-in zone to use). With Zone D handling premium passengers, I started to make my way in that direction – only to peel off for a minute when I entered the terminal.
Yes. I wanted to fish my passport out before I continued any further.
Thankfully, there are repacking points, as well as a set of scales. That’s a nice feature to see. It’s even nicer that it’s free to use.
With the passport in hand, I cleared the line guardians and was directed to a check-in counter.
With my baggage confirmed (and the second bag confirmed under the Oneworld sapphire privileges, my bags were checked in, with one directed to a waiting area to be manually handled, and the other going into the depths of the Heathrow system.
Both had Apple AirTags on them – so I wasn’t worried… too much.
With the bags all done, I headed upstairs to security. And there was a mess of tensabarriers there, to put it mildly. I was directed to FastTrack security – and thankfully that day (and at 5:40 in the morning), it was fast, taking a total of 5 minutes to do.
When Heathrow Airport works well, it works. Other times… your mileage may vary.
I popped out into the departures lounge and shopping arcade. Although popping out of the Fastrack lane, you’re presented with a guide on where each lounge is and who accepts what.
There were a few things I was mildly interested in however it would not be the end of the world if I didn’t find them.
Hint: I did not.
One thing I did note was a lot of new screens at restaurants – indicating how long food will take to arrive. This is good for the time-pressured traveller.
With my desire to purchase things extinguished, it was time to find a lounge or two to fill the time before the flight.
Next: We all know where I’m going, don’t we?
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