Spending time in Heathrow

In London Heathrow at the bmi Airline lounge. Two things tell me right away I am no longer in the U.S. 

heathrowFirst, a magazine in the rack here in the lounge features the following headline: “Ashton’s Bum.”. In other words, there is a picture of Ashton Kutcher‘s bottom in there. I don’t open the magazine. Not something you’d see in such a place in the U.S. And, probably a good thing. 

The other sign that I am not in the U.S. is that the lounge has lots of food and drink, something you could make a breakfast out of (I got here at 6 am). It has comfortable seats and even some couches and pillows that you can draw a curtain around to sleep. Quite something. 

I used miles to upgrade to business class on the way over and sat in one of United’s new flat bed seats. It faced backward which was fun and I actually thought more relaxing. I’m a big guy and the seat had plenty of room, both as a seat and a bed. My only complaint is that there is no place to put a book, no seat pocket. I had a briefing notebook for my meeting, a couple of magazines (The Economist and Vanity Fair — had to read the article in there about Sarah Palin) and a book (Renegade, by Richard Wolffe). Had to balance it all. But overall a good product. 

I had hoped to see Heathrow Terminal 5 when I connected here, but my flights are both in Terminal 1 so that has to wait for another day. On to Brussels where I will meet with my ACI regional counterparts and also with my friend, Daniel Calleja, who runs the aviation portfolio for the European Union. Anyone who travels across the Atlantic owes Daniel and his U.S. counterpart John Byerly, a debt of gratitude for the work they have done opening the skies between the U.S. and Europe. An open skies deal between the EU and Canada promises similar benefits north of the border.

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One thought on “Spending time in Heathrow

  1. Greg-
    Good for you in being MAD!! I was on a flight from Frankfurt 2 years ago and the plane was diverted to MSP due to bad weather in Chicago – we sat and sat and sat -all the while waiting for clearance from FAA for the pilot to fly the final leg to Chicago once the weather cleared – People on the flight were very patient to a point but as afternoon wore in to late evening and no word or movement it became apparent that we were going no where – MSP parked us in the middle of no where and being an international flight could not make accommodation for pax to exit due to immigration problems.
    Blessedly we were given clearance arriving in Chicago 6 hrs later than scheduled and ORD had to call in Immigration officials to process a 747 load of pax on arrival. MSP and the carrier did NOTHING for us. It was just amazing – no fresh water, no food – nothing.
    The treatment of passengers has to change in these circumstances – I suggest that if they don’t there will be a bill passed that holds EVERYONE to account until EVERYONE takes responsibility for negligence and inaction.

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