Thursday, August 8, 2013

Heathrow Layover

We enjoyed an excellent flight on Air Canada with a friendly crew. We both got several hours of sleep on our flat-bed seats. We noticed again what might seem like a small point. Air Canada (along with other non-US carriers) tends to turn the seat-belt signs off much sooner and to leave them on longer. This morning, for example, the crew didn't turn the sign on until about 10 minutes before we landed. This certainly lessens that panicky feeling of trying to find a vacant lav in the few minutes between the end of breakfast and the "return-to-your-seats" announcement common on, for example, United.

Once landed and "de-planed" (what a word!), we walked and walked before boarding a bus for a 5-10 minute ride from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1. We then had to walk some more before arriving at security (one isn't required to go through any passport control if transferring).

There was quite a long lineup with lots of beeping. Brian's running shoes apparently set off the metal detector so he had to remove them and send them through the X-Ray, while he himself had to assume the position in the millimeter-wave scanner. At least it's not an X-Ray scanner.

Kathy sailed through with shoes on but our carry-on didn't. A screener thought she'd seen a bottle in there and politely but thoroughly checked through it while chatting cheerfully about travel with us. It was a false alarm and Kathy took her time repacking, hoping to minimize wrinkles. Total time at the checkpoint: easily a half hour but we're in no hurry.

We're now sitting in the Star Alliance Lounge and will take showers and generally freshen up. It's just before 2:00 p.m. here as we write this (6:00 a.m. at home) and our boarding time for the SA flight to JNB is 6:00 p.m., with the flight scheduled to depart at 7:00 p.m.

So far so good...

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