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London November 2021

Good morning from the Land of la.

7:30am and I’ve been up since 5:17am. Seems the body clock is already on PST.

Here’s the recap of my departure from Heathrow to LAX.

Took an Addison Lee cab from my friends home in Richmond to Terminal 3 at LHR. Wish I could tell you the fare but my friend arranged and paid for the transit. I do know I tipped the gentleman 5£. I’d say the ride took 25 minutes.

Had all my health documentation in my neck wallet and on my iphone. There was an employee at a small wheeled lectern who was checking your vaccine and test result documentation. Not a cursory glance either. She also checked off something on her clipboard which allowed me to head towards a check in counter window. There were 5 people ( a family ) in front of me.

The Virgin Airline check in counter was well staffed. For VA flights, there are separate windows dedicated to your choice of airfare: Upper, Premium Economy and Economy. I’d flown Premium Economy. There were 3 people ahead of me in the line I choose. Pleasant exchange with counter employee
and then took the nearby elevator up a floor. Exited, turned left directly into the massive shopping/waiting area. Checked the digital display to see which departure gate my fight would arrive at. I was too early, gate had yet to be assigned. Took a seat so I could see the board, removed my crossword booklet from my backpack. 40 minutes later the gate was posted and I began the long walk to it. Arrived and sat down.

Boarding for the 2pm departure began around 1pm. Why I appreciate Virgin Airlines is they know you don't like waiting so they immediately assure your comfort while you wait for take off. They offer juice or water. I had an orange juice.

For the first time VA had changed my seat assignment. Noticed the night before and by researching on line made certain I was on an aisle seat. I was 2 rows ahead of my preferred seat.
In my “ normal “ seat there’s only one seat adjacent on my right side. In the reassignment I’d been moved to the center of the plane with 2 seats adjacent. I’m left handed. Always want that side
not jammed against a plane wall or another human.
To my happiness the seat reassignment was fine. What was even better is that the middle seat was unoccupied. Other than a toddler who cried out off and on throughout the 11 hour flight the ride home was uneventful. Watched 2 films and 1 documentary. Enjoyed the food that was served. Dozed off once. Thankfully no drooling was involved.

Landed a few minutes early at LAX. Alas the plane hadn’t yet been assigned an arrival gate. So we waited 15 minutes before a gate was assigned. Then another 10 minutes waiting for cabin doors to be opened so we could deplane. Followed signage to immigration. US CITIZENS line. At least 300 passengers in the immigration area of The Thomas Bradley terminal.

Did not see any Global Entry signage. Line was moving quickly and as I was texting “ Landed, “ to friends I saw a free standing sign say “ Global Entry appointments” with an arrow. I also saw an employee a few feet away directing passengers to another area than where I was standing. Got her attention and asked “where are the Global Entry machines?” She unhooked the theatre rope and directed me to those machines. Removed my glasses, had my picture taken, got a green “ go “ result and headed out. A uniformed man had an iPad and as I walked by said, “ Welcome back Claudia” Orwell’s Big Brother exists. Used the hidden-away less-occupied-restroom and then exited the terminal.

Nearly 2 years ago airport management made the decision to set up Uber, Lyft and Taxi stations away from the terminals. Thus you need to board an shuttle to get to it.

Going to continue this missive in another post. Have a phone call…

Posted by
14288 posts

How were the lines thru security and exit passport control (although the last time it seemed like I didn't go thru an exit passport gate at Heathrow)?

Glad you are home!

Posted by
14288 posts

Oh, I thought you meant the woman at the wheeled lectern was at the check-in for Virgin Atlantic? I was wondering about the situation at airport security but maybe that was where you said only a few people ahead of you.

Anyway, glad you are home!

Posted by
8883 posts

Thanks Pam.

The woman at the lectern was at Heathrow’s Terminal 3. That was security. Had to go there first, then to the check in counter. I believe LHR’s Terminal
3 is solely dedicated to Virgin and Delta airlines.

Today was about unpacking. Pleased I’d done laundry at my friends. Been resting to combat jet lag. Brain still a bit muddled.

54 degrees outside. Chilly for LA.