Tuesday, July 8, 2008

London Heathrow

I hate London's Heathrow airport. We had to stop there on our way home as there are no direct flights from Finland to Vancouver. Here's what happened:
Heathrow is a busy airport. So, we sit in the plane circling and circling and circling around the airport for at least 20 extra minutes before we are given permission to land. Since our plane was a little delayed in taking off from Finland, we are already running behind and an extra 20 minutes of waiting is not time that we have to spare. So, we embark off the plane straight onto the tarmac outside and onto a bus (I hate it when you have to do that). We sit on the bus for 10 minutes which takes us to one of the terminals. Not the terminal we need of course, so we have to get on another bus that takes us partway back in the direction from which we just came. Finally, we get to the right terminal. We go to the airline counter to try to change our seats, but get a useless guy who types into his computer for 1o minutes, but says he can do nothing. Thanks buddy. Then we line up to have our passports checked. The line snakes around three or four times. Great. We pass through and go to the security line. Its huge. We have 40 minutes until our plane takes off and about 50 people in front of us. They don't care or prioritize in any way between people with 2 hours until their flight leaves and people with 40 minutes (or 10 minutes for that matter). I should mention that they do make an exception for those flying in first class. How nice. Anyway, by this time I am really upset and sure that we won't make our flight. Some guy about 15 people in front of us actually leans over and says we can go ahead of him. I actually start crying I am so relieved. So, we wait a while longer and its our turn to remove all coats, shoes and baggage. Even my 3 year old has to remove his shoes and gets really upset because he doesn't want to, thinking he won't get them back. At this point I am ready to run through naked as long as it speeds things up. Well, we are (obviously) traveling with a baby. Problem. All the food, water and formula we have for him has to be tasted/tested in front of them. Excuse me, what?! We have about 5 glass jars of sealed baby food and I am supposed to open them all and taste them?? With no refrigeration, they will of course spoil within an hour and we have to fly for nine hours. I protest and explain what will happen. The girl goes to ask her superior. Meanwhile, the male security guy asks me to taste one of the (six) bottles of water. Ah, whatever he says. The girl comes back and says, fine, I only have to taste one jar as long as she can choose which one. Fine, (just hurry up!!). So, she chooses a jar of strawberry dessert. Thank goodness for small favours since I would have thrown up if I would have had to taste the squash turkey stuff. Anyway, finally, we are able to pass through. But, we still have to catch a train. We run to the train, get on and hope for the best. We run (along with a lot of other people) to the gate and make it with no time to spare. None. I guess the most important thing is that we made our flight but what a stupid airport. There are tens of escalators you have to ride up and down, buses, and trains to take from one terminal to another. And the business of testing the baby food? Come on. I had heard of this happening, but if its so important, then why is it so random? Some woman is suing an airport because they made her dump 1.5 litres of breastmilk that she had pumped. Do you know how many hours of pumping that is?? Why did I have to taste the water that I brought, but they didn't even look twice at the formula powder that I had brought along? Why did they insist that I had to taste everything and then agree to let me taste one jar and one bottle of water? I don't get it. If its up to me, I will never fly through London again.

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