The joy of Terminal 5 Arrivals and Homeward bound
Back to Innovation, Back to Hamburg
Ah. Welcome back to Heathrow Terminal 5. A known quantity… sadly, it seems.
In this trip report:
Arriving at Terminal 5 C, we were parked in the back end of nowhere. Nothing ever changes.
At least it’s not a bus transfer to the terminal, where the passengers are playing sardines for the fun transfer between the aircraft and the terminal.
Time to hike.
I followed the signs for the escalators down to the transit level. I could have walked over to Terminal 5A – but honestly, I was done with this walking malarky after a busy few days.
Everything is a journey.
Thanks, Tim. It’s nice to be home.
At this time of evening, only one of the transit lines was being used – meaning the transit system was packed by the time everyone got on board, with it only getting fuller when we stopped at T5B to pick up more people.
Eventually, we arrived at Terminal 5A. From here it was the well-rehearsed procedure of taking the lift upstairs, then through UK Immigration.
Time to do the paperwork to re-enter Britiania.
I chose to get mine manually inspected – it was easier to do that than queue for the eGates and then have to have it manually checked.
With the border agent happy (well, as much as they ever are), I headed downstairs to the luggage claim to pick up my bag.
I also idly pondered changing I was planning to catch for an earlier one – but there was no earlier coach. In some ways, this was a very good thing – it took British Airways the best part of an hour to deliver a bag from a European flight.
Sigh. The joy of luggage delivery at Heathrow.
That’s worse than when I came back from Chicago earlier this year. Thinking about my baggage experiences at Terminal 5 – it’s constantly 40 minutes to an hour for a bag to arrive – even if there’s a notification from the app your bag has shown up on the belt.
it means that people were spending far too much time hanging around the belt, waiting in vain for their luggage.
With everything gathered together, it was well past 10 pm, and heading towards 11 pm.
To Quote James Tiberius Kirk “Let’s get the hell out of here“.
Exiting the secured area, I pondered what to do before I headed home.
Signs it is late at Heathrow: Even the Duty-Free shops are closed.
I was pondering Cafe Nero – but that had shut.
Meanwhile, Costa Coffee had a bunch of people who had misconnected utilising their food and beverage vouchers, with the queue stretching into the terminal.
Given the need for liquid, I decided to hit M&S for a bottle of water – not the caffeine I wanted, but at this moment, I would take the cold liquid to keep me going towards home.
And your general reminder – don’t withdraw cash at Heathrow, unless you enjoy paying fees.
With that done, it was getting close to 11 pm. I decided to head outside to get some fresh air and wait for the coach. It also helps when trying to cool down.
Fresh and Heathrow aren’t two things that go together – but work with me, as they say.
National Express Coach 210 pulled in early, coming from Gatwick Airport. I rolled my bags to the coach and was welcomed. With my ticket accepted, I boarded the coach.
This would be a quick journey, with it only calling at Heathrow Central and Birmingham Airport en route to Birmingham Digbeth- which suited me. I could have waited an extra hour for a Flixbus from Heathrow Central – but honestly, for the extra convenience cost (all of £2), I was prepared to suck it up.
There was a semi-lost passenger who was trying to get to a hotel, so I tried to work out with her how to get there (including how to pay, which bus to get and so on).
After all, I might be evil, but I do care that people can make it to where they need to.
With the coach leaving Heathrow Central (and light loaded too), I settled in for the 2-hour and 40-minute run.
There’s certainly a little more room compared to the Flixbus, but leather seats are… let’s say, I prefer seats that don’t squeak when I move.
I dozed on and off as the coach headed up the M25 and M40, earbuds mostly in and bad music playing.
How bad? Here’s a snapshot of the random Shazams I listen to:
The coach made good time to Birmingham Airport. Once it discharged its passenger, there was a short delay to complete a driver swap.
It was then back on the M40 and M6 to central Birmingham (although, this time of day, travelling down the Coventry Road is quicker… but I don’t think that was on the driver’s agenda).
Soon enough, the coach pulled into Digbeth Coach Station, where my usual coach to Heathrow was waiting to depart.
Mirrors, Signs and Portents.
I exited the coach station and made my way around the station to the usual pickup points, and ordered an Uber for the ride home.
Dealing with Thursday night revellers and walking home was not high on my agenda.
Thankfully, an Uber turned up quickly, and I was soon dropped off at my flat – ending this busy trip to Germany… and time for my feet and legs to recover.
Finally: Innovation Continues
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