London via Los Angeles

A story from 2017 that never found it’s way to the blog, until today!

So, I have arrived in one of my favourite cities of the world, the Queen’s capital…London!

I made the trip to the airport with my mum, we said our goodbyes and I went through the big doors into no mans land. I was able to get to my gate fairly quick this time as of the 1st of July 2017, travellers are no longer required to fill out green departure cards. I went through the e-gate and went straight on down to gate 20 where my plane was waiting for me.

Once on board and settled in, I was able to watch a few movies and enjoy some of the food on offer. The fare was marginally better than the food served in economy…I was flying Premium economy. Lucky me! We landed in Auckland, our first stop along this journey. We left the aircraft and I went into the transit lounge…only to have to wait two hours to find out which gate my next flight was leaving from.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

Eventually, after moving back and forwards between the shops and the lounge areas my gate was announced and we boarded. I was seated for the rest of this journey next to a nice lady from New Zealand. She had cool dreads and was up for a bit of a chat. This was ok, because she wasn’t a total weirdo! Eleven hours passed by and we finally landed in Los Angeles. This is where things got interesting. We needed to use a kiosk to process our passports, scan our fingerprints and have our photo taken.

The machine then spat out a receipt with all my information on it, complete with my photo of me looking like a total criminal! I then made my way to another counter where a customs officer joked with me about the pronunciation of my name, he took my fingerprints yet again…both hands this time and sent me on my way. Next it was up to me to navigate my way through a winding line of people to have my passport and boarding pass checked a further ten times before we got the airport security!

It is truly my belief that when people go through airport security they just loose all of their common sense and smarts! One lady, who was travelling with her teenage son, approached the counter where all the tubs for your belongings were situated…began to unimaginably slowly rummage through her oversized carry on case. I was starting to loose it quietly to myself because it was 4:00pm local time and I had to board my flight at 4:20pm! I noticed the gap in the line and initiated the ‘just push your way in’ sequence. The response from this lady was not at all pleasing, she began with “now hang on!” and then with “I was here first and now everyone is pushing in”. I said nothing…I placed my stuff where it needed to go and moved forward through the scanner machine.

She totally had a point, people followed me and pushed in front of her, but I feel its an unwritten law when passing through airports, that you have your shit ready to go or run the risk of being pushed aside!

Upon my exit of the scanner I could hear her still going on about how people had pushed in front…and then our saviour who I will name Brenda. A sassy African American customs officer, walked over to her and said “Honey, you are so slow, id be hustling my way past you as well!” I desperately wanted Brenda to finish off with a z snap and an eye roll…but no.

Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street – One of my favourite places to go in London!

Once my bag was through I was on my merry way to the gate where I boarded my flight and again was seated next to the same lady from the previous flight. Off we flew in our premium economy comfort, another serving of airplane food and two movies later we arrived in London. We made our descent into Heathrow and then to all of our joy, sat on the tarmac for at least twenty five minutes waiting for a gate to become available. At this point, on every long haul flight of my life, this is wear I want to erupt in a fit of rage and sledge hammer the doors open just to get out of the plane!

Finally we were able to get off and I made my way to the border control as fast as I could. In my previous experiences landing in London, this part of the trip can be the most frustrating! After arriving at the enormous line, I was disappointed to be standing in front of a young Australian couple who for the next hour and fifteen minutes complained about how long it was taking! Oh my god! Were these people sent just to push my buttons or am I easily pissed off when I’m tired?

All I wanted to do was shout at this guy “shut up dude! Your whinging isn’t gonna make the line move faster!” But I didn’t! Clearly I’m not as brave as Brenda back in Los Angeles! Eventually I made it through, found my transfer driver and he dropped me at my hotel in Soho swiftly and without too much fuss! Once I’d checked in, I dragged myself into the shower, got cleaned up and then made my way to meet with some friends to chill out in the park! Best end to a long haul journey ever!!

While they are all at work today, Im currently sitting in St James Park, writing this post listening to birds chirp and blah blah blah…all of that crap! It is nice though and I just saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace…yes, today I’m being a total tourist!

Now, Im off to wander back through into Trafalgar Square, probably get a beer somewhere and just relax until my friend Jo finishes work!

I totally can’t wait to repeat the same long haul journey back to Melbourne in eleven days time! (Cue eye roll!)

Catch you soon!

-W.