London, United Kingdom
51° 30' N 0° 7' W
Nov 13, 2009 10:00
Distance 9290km

Text written in: English

Blog 45 Heathrow

It soon became apparent that our flight was acting as the return leg for a Saga holiday. Still, apart from the endless queues outside the toilet and the constant snoring, it was a quieter flight than many we had experienced.

Compared to the wonderful in flight entertainment system that LAN had in their new Airbus fleet, BA and their older Boeing disappointed by playing only three films at the same time followed by several hours of nothing.  Despite my many attempts around the world I have still not been able to sleep on a plane so it became a very long flight. I was also slightly disappointed that I still had never managed to experience a Boeing 747.

Having managed to book our luggage straight through to Glasgow, we landed at Heathrow and headed straight through to departures. Landing back in the UK, especially after a ten hour flight, was a great relief yet it was the end of the journey. Leaving the plane I was suddenly conscious of the fact that we were just two more British people in a British airport.

I almost felt a need to shout out that we weren’t just the same as everybody else, we weren’t just returning from a weekend in France or a business meeting in London. I had just spent the last six months circumnavigating the entire world and had seen and experienced things I had never expected to see.

Passing through the security procedures for the last time (actually the first time I had been asked to remove my ‘liquids and gels’ from my hand luggage before passing it through the x-ray machine) I suddenly realised that we were entering the same departure lounge we had left six months before for India.

Being back in the UK, I took advantage of a free mobile phone call and checked that somebody was coming to pick me up at Glasgow, then headed straight to the nearest ATM to see how much money I had left in my bank account. Despite being the world’s busiest airport, I did however discover that the exchange bureau does not accept Argentinean Pesos so was left with about £40 worth of now useless notes.

After what seemed like an eternity (actually about two hours) we were eventually called to board the Glasgow shuttle. On board we sat looking out the window at the rain while the ground staff slowly re-fuelled and re-watered the plane. By the time they had finally completed their tasks, we had missed the scheduled departure time so sat and waited for another twenty minutes or so before finally pushing back.

Joining a queue of around a dozen aircraft waiting to take off we eventually accelerated down the runway before taking to the sky for the last time. During what now felt like an extremely short flight I reflected on the fact that six months ago, the journey to London had been the longest flight I had been on for the previous ten years.