Day 2 of our journey consisted of a nine-hour lay-over in Heathrow, followed by an equally long flight to Mumbai.The layover was – as with most layovers – uneventful. However, here are some observations from a first-time visitor to Heathrow:
- Sitting for nine hours in Terminal 4 gives a person the luxury to do silly things, like time the frequency of flights out of Heathrow. The runway we observed, west of Terminal 4, sees, on average, a flight depart every 55 seconds. While I found that rather amazing, I could almost picture how planes could be queued up to take off at that frequency. What I had trouble wrapping my head around was the obvious corollary: that meant there was, on one runway or another, a plane landing every 55 seconds. I decided that if I come back in another life, I don’t want to come back as an air traffic controller in Heathrow.
- No laptop battery is going to last through a nine-hour layover, so Steven and I were scrambling to locate power outlets in the terminal. As it turns out, these are about as easy to come by as petunias in a pig pen. The few that existed were most often gobbled up by other selfish, greedy travellers with laptops.
- If you’re the squeamish type, skip this observation. But it has to be noted, the urinals in Heathrow are like none that I’ve seen in North America. Picture half an avocado with the pit removed and then tilted slightly and you’ve got a pretty good picture. One minus: they don’t afford a lot of privacy. One big plus: no backsplash. After a couple hundred years of peeing into porcelain, some British engineer has finally mastered the hydraulic physics needed to avoid one of life’s little unpleasantries. Kudos to him/her. I’m not sure why, but somehow I think a woman solved this one. After all, men have been content enough to pee on themselves for centuries, so why would they stop now. If you read this, and you were disgusted by it, you have no one to blame but yourself; I forewarned you.
- For an airport that handles thousands and thousands of people a day, Heathrow is surprisingly uncrowded. Now, if they would just install a few more power outlets …
- When I go to pay for food here, I have that moment when I think to myself, hmmmnnn, that’s a little expensive. And then I remember to convert pounds to dollars. Ouch.
The flight to Mumbai is thankfully far more peaceful and uneventful than the flight to London, so we won’t dwell on it other than to say that the evening meal was probably one of the best I’ve ever had on an airplane. Catering to the clientèle on the flight, which was overwhelmingly Asian, it was a vegetarian curry meal. Kudos to British Air on that front.