Destination: Heathrow – Terminal 5
Date: October 2018
Hotel: Premier travel inn – Heathrow terminal 5
2 Continents, 1 month
Well, as Nanna would say… What a way dis marning did start!
When your kid brother loads you step dad’s car and he’s just about to drive off, mum asks if you have her travel money, you boldly answer ‘NO!’ and for the next 1hr the whole family is woken up to search the house for the missing £400 worth of foreign currency. With fear on his face, my step dad comes back and says 😪 If he tries to head to Heathrow now he’ll be late for work!!
He gives you a pep talk “look…you have time…search the house… find that money”
Whilst mum and Nanna continue to search every nook and cranny of the house, my kid brother drives me back to search my one bed apartment for the money I already know is not there!
On the journey back to mums zero foreign currency in tow, a peace came over me and I began to smile…God was in control.
Back at the house, the suitcases have been off loaded and the search continues. We are now at the 100th minute and I’m determined to search the suitcases. Mum is adamant “I ain’t searching no suitcase” but that’s okay coz I’ll search for the both of us… I muttered under my breath *insert irritated comment here* and throw my case on the floor to begin the search. Within 10 seconds I’ve found the money :S oops, but thank God our journey can now begin.
An Uber journey later, and the repeated reports of no trains to Heathrow and motorway traffic jams, we realised that all things happen for a reason; step dad wasn’t supposed to drive us today.
The receptionist at the hotel must have seen the stress on our faces, as she allowed us to check into our room at 7:30am complementary. The room was huge, a perfect size for two large and two cabin cases, which could all be opened at the same time. Word of advice, work out the heating system early you will either roast or freeze if you don’t get it right.
Just to let you know, McDonalds is just next door; but full of uber drivers
Thyme restaurant – we were offered a meal deal of a two-course dinner and breakfast for £26.98 per person, however, adding an extra £2 per person made it a three-course meal. We took full advantage of this as dinner alone cost £28 each. From fish cakes to BBQ wings, teriyaki salmon and stick toffee pudding; what more can you want? Therefore, our £10.50 breakfast (usual value) was free. Thank you, Nathan, for being an amazing host, sorry about you colleague Justyna who was openly rude to you.
There’s a free shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport, Number 7, be aware however the drivers are crazy and will drive pass you even if you’re dancing in front of it… Give your self-enough time.
I’ve been to Heathrow before, but it was a whole new experience for mum. If you know Terminal 5, you know that it’s less man power and all about the machines. Talk about saving money on staff, but it’s something they’ve mastered and so seamlessly.
It makes great business sense, making money from a consumer who does all the work for themselves… GENIUS. Mum was so nervous, wanting to ask for help, but I already knew how to get it done.
Well, until the machine immediately asked for us to ask for assistance 🙄. It was quickly resolved with the bag drop assistant explaining she just needed to check we had our visas. Well we didn’t, but that was because we were completing a through transit visit to Beijing in under 144hrs and had evidence of our onward travel to Manila. We would therefore have to apply for our visa on arrival to the country. All sorted, and we were ready for security.
The queues weren’t too bad compared to Gatwick. They have 2 areas, North and South, so it seemed to manage the flow of travellers very well. The downstairs we waited to find out what zone we’d be getting the plane from. We had snacks from the hotel breakfast, but this airport does not fail to provide you with every shop you can imagine you want or need.
As we’ll be on/off flights for the next 30days we’ve become particularly meticulous with remaining hydrated. We had already drank tea, several glasses of orange juice and a 75cl bottle of water this morning (yes, we probably urinated every 20mins for most of the morning!); but had our empty bottles and made sure we used the water fountain to refill them. A handy tip for all you future travellers – never drink ‘drinking water’ from holes in the walls in planes, they are often filled with bacteria as the filter systems are not cleaned regularly and the small cups of water they give you, does nothing. Be prepared, so your pocket doesn’t take a hit.
Our plane would be departing from Zone C, now explaining to mum that we would have to get on a train shuttle to the next zone was funny.. several, ‘what do you mean?’ questions later and following with doubt in her eyes, she finally understood just how big Terminal 5 is. She is a new convert to Heathrow and would now happily go there again.
Boarding was simple and we were at the back of the plane, just behind a group of Grammar school children. Bless them, but I’ve never seen so many people vomit on a flight in my life, I think they must have all been triggering each other off. One child was taking anti-sickness, had the wrist bands and was still vomiting – flying may just not be for him 👀.
The vegetarian first meal was very tasty, a rice with green peas, daal and a paneer tomato gravy/curry. Could have eaten that all day. There were other bits on the tray, cashews and raisins, milk chocolate ganache, bread, cheese, butter, table water crackers etc. I can never eat it all, so most of it went into my bag.
The second meal was strange, it was breakfast time being a night flight and we were given a curry.. actually 3 different types of curry! Curry with pancakes, curry with dumplings… CURRY. A shock to the system, but it went down all the same.
See you in Beijing ✈