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Published: April 19th 2022
Our private little train from the airport carpark to the terminal.
I'm not entirely sure that the day is worth a blog entry as most of it was a normal day (I was working as normal until mid-afternoon, albeit from home) and then the rest of the day was nothing more than travelling as we were on a very late flight . It did mean that we could allow ourselves loads of time, given that there had been a lot on the news about all the chaos and queues at Heathrow, and there was also the potential of the environmental protesters who hate airports and have been blocking the access roads.
We had booked the "Pod Parking", which was a new experience as it meant taking a small train called, obviously, a pod. They were queued-up waiting so we just needed to press a button and get in for our own, private journey to the terminal.
The queues that we had been expecting were non-existent and both bag-drop and security were no worse than they would normally be. We were not sure whether we should be pleased or annoyed.
There was an array of posh shops, all of which were empty. We decided to find something to eat. Our
The substitute plane was parked well away from the terminal.
first attempt involved a queue and then finding that most of their menu was off - which they could have told everyone in the queue before we wasted all the time queuing. The next one would involve a 30 minute wait and we now didn't have enough time despite having got there so early. The last attempt, out of desperation, was the Weatherspoons, which is completely out of place and a complete contrast to everything else in Heathrow Terminal Five.
It was heaving - there were no empty tables (you just had to walk around and wait for someone to leave) and there was a massive queue to order food as, apparently, their app was not working, which is how you should normally order. We were not that desperate for something to eat, so we resigned ourselves that we would have to wait for the airline food on the plane.
Point to note for Heathrow Terminal Five when trying to understand their customer base - the Gucci, Prada and Rolex shops are all empty and Weatherspoons is rammed. That said, there were quite a few people drinking and eating at the Fortnum and Mason champaign bar.
The view towards Times Square from the bar at the top of the hotel.
found some seats to sit and wait for our flight, but the departure board just said "please wait" and stayed that way until well after we should have been leaving. Rather annoyingly, we would have had the 30 minutes to wait after all. Apparently, there was a technical problem with the plane so we needed to wait for a different one to be made ready. We were an hour late leaving.
It was a very strange time to be flying. The temptation was to sleep, but we would be arriving late in the evening and going to bed then anyway. US regulations still require that masks be worn for the duration of all flights, except when eating and drinking. An excuse for some drawn-out beers I think.
Despite leaving late, we still arrived on time.
US immigration was not too bad - we've had quicker, but we've also had a lot, lot slower (see The Immigration Controller From Hell, But Please Don’t Tell Her That
). My wife, my son and I had all been finger printed before, so we didn't need to do that again, but my daughter had now hit the age where she was required to provide her fingerprints. Their fingerprint reader really didn’t like her fingers for some reason. We hoped she would keep a lid on her frustrations - it was touch and go.
I've got free data on my mobile phone. A bonus that I was not expecting.
We got a taxi to the hotel ($65 fixed cost plus tip). Our rooms were on the 26th floor with a view over Times Square, but only if you put your face against the window and look between two buildings on the right. The same applied to the Chrysler Building on the left. We thought we would quickly pop-up to the bar on the 54th floor of the hotel, but for the views rather than a drink as we were way too tied to do anything except go to bed.
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