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Tag: Heathrow T5

Delayed (again)

I am becoming a zen master at spending many hours in airports. And I even have a cold!

My flight out of Edinburgh boarded on time but sat on the ground for 45 extra minutes because of the weather in London. Landing slots all pushed back because of high winds. It ended up squeezing my already short connection time to an impossible-in-a-massive-airport 30 minutes once I was off the plane. It wasn’t gonna happen. In fact they had already re-booked me onto a later flight before we even landed.

So, things I will not be doing today:

  • Getting my first ride on an A380, which, even as someone who dislikes flying, I was kind of excited about
  • Seeing my parents (and seeing how many of Islay’s 8 distillery names my Dad can properly pronounce, which was going to be an amusing game)
  • Eating dinner at this place, which I was sooooo looking forward to
  • Running through Heathrow T5. A plus! It was definitely nice to be notified of the futility of such an action before I attempted it.

However. This is all ok. I mean, it’s kind of annoying, but also, what am I gonna do about it?

Due to said cold (it’s kind of a bad one) I’m slightly more miserable about sitting around in public for 7 hours than I normally would be, but I’m doing pretty well considering the circumstances. I loaded up on cold meds and bought myself a smoothie full of ginger and stuff from Giraffe the minute I got through flight connections. No airport beers for me today.

There’s a giraffe in my smoothie.

Then I managed to find the Quiet Area of T5 A gates, which is tucked away behind the massive Duty Free shop between gates 12 and 13. There are lounge chairs here. And they aren’t luxury sofas or anything, but they’re… loungey.

It’s easy to forget how bloody crowded the place is sitting here because it IS actually pretty quiet, save for the announcements. Not too many people walking by. Charging sockets at every seat. A nice view of the planes (and the rubbish weather). I spent two hours stretched out lazily reading (Station Eleven, which I’m loving) and watching silly airport vehicles in the rain. It was nice! And hey, I’m not at work!


Then I went and used my £10 voucher from the delay on some head-clearing noodles at Wagamama. Any day on which I get to eat noodles can’t be all bad. Particularly when someone else is picking up the bill. There was a lot of chilli and ginger and lemongrass involved, so I feel like I’m working on healing myself. Although now I’m a little soup-bloated. But no matter! I’m back in the loungey chairs to write this while I wait my final hour or so.

I must apologise to whoever ends up next to me on this flight. I am the girl you do NOT want to be sitting near. I am the one who is doling out the post-flight colds. I have often been on the receiving end. I’m trying to keep it to myself as much as possible but I’m sure everyone pretty much hates me. WHO GETS A CHEST COLD TWO DAYS BEFORE A FLIGHT. Well done, body! Also it’s kind of weird reading a book about life after a flu that wipes out most of civilisation when you’re going around plaguing fellow air travelers. I’m sorry, world. I am. Truly. Hopefully I’m not patient zero of the apocalypse.

Anyway. I got my parents to re-book the restaurant for lunch the day I fly home, so I’ll still see them AND eat the food (and my Dad will have more time to practice his ‘Bruichladdich’s and ‘Caol Ila’s). And I’ll be on an A380 on the way home, so I’ll still deliver on my promises to coworkers – who were even more excited than me when I said ‘top deck!’ – of pictures of the experience.

I do wish this cold medicine was a bit stronger though. And I’m looking forward to a G&T, a film, and a snooze once I’m in the air.

My (love?)-hate relationship with flying

Plane window

I mean, with that kind of view I guess it’s not ALL bad.

I don’t like flying. Or rather, I don’t like the idea of being in a plane that is no longer flying in a controlled, expected sort of fashion. I don’t imagine anyone does but I’m historically bad at chilling the fuck out about being on a plane that is functioning perfectly fine.

I’m getting better at it though. And to my great surprise, in the past week or so, I’ve been looking forward to the flying bit of getting to the US a week from today. (By the way, I’m headed to the US for a visit, woop!) Not because of the plane itself, but because of the enforced sitting without internet connection for a few hours. For no other option but to watch a movie or read a book or have a gin and tonic and stare out the window at nothing. (Hopefully without turbulence, because that ruins the ideal vision.)

I’ve been so busy, and my brain has been such a ball of chaos in the past few weeks (and always) that the enforced shutdown, albeit stranded hurtling through the air, sounds pretty good if I forget about the lack of control I have over the situation.

Also, and this is kind of weird, but aside from the fact that they designed the place with far too few toilets, I LOVE Heathrow Terminal 5, which is where I often connect. It’s not the best airport terminal ever or anything, but there are tons of good, affordable places to eat, and that counts for a disproportionate amount in my world. I can get a sushi box! Or noodles! Or a smoothie with a plastic giraffe swizzle stick! And a bunch of other things that make me happy to sit in the airport. I even spent the night on the seats of the Costa Coffee in arrivals last year without it ruining the place for me. I don’t know what it is, I just have a bizarre affection for the place.

T5 by night

Heathrow T5 arrivals, sometime in the wee hours in December 2013. Quiet, freezing, and not the most comfortable. But still kind of great.

Anyway. I doubt I’ll ever full-on enjoy flying – even without the actual being in the air bit, there’s never enough legroom or comfort (I’m a tall, fidgety lady with not nearly enough money for an upgrade). But I’m a lot less tense these days on takeoff and landing. And flying pretty much always means I’m going a place I want to go, so it’s plenty reason to suck it up, but I also think that maybe it’s that now I’ve been through enough lack-of-control situations in my life that clearly haven’t killed me, I just handle the fear better. It’s fear I know so well that we just chill out together for a while as I pick the in-flight entertainment that will most adequately distract me from it.

But man, I will never crack the whole keeping my skin from freaking out. And always, ALWAYS catching a cold. And playing tetris with my dinner. I get they’re trying to pack as much food onto that tray as possible. I APPRECIATE it. But surely there’s a better design solution for how all that shit fits together. You want something that’s not going to be an inevitable mess in that situation. And there is just NOWHERE SAFE to put my red wine.


I’m already looking at my film choices though, so, bring on the holiday!

EDIT: And then there’s always this to aspire to: What it’s like to fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class. Absolutely fucking bonkers. All I ask for is one go at a business class flatbed seat in my life. I really don’t think I could handle a whole room.