On Friday we returned from our Paris by way of London trip. It is an interesting experience to have breakfast in London and dinner in Lindsborg.
For those interested in details of international travel in these days of ongoing terror “scares”, here’s a brief update of our experiences in traveling from London’s Heathrow Airport to the Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas.
We’ve used the Heathrow Express direct train service from Paddington Station to Heathrow in the past, but given Sheryl’s inability to walk long distances, we opted for a cab this trip. We got a fixed rate (40 GBP, not much more than using the Heathrow Express) from the hotel, which eliminated any concerns about the cost going way up due to traffic, etc.
We got to the airport about 2.5 hours before our flight, which left us plenty of time to get checked in.
Check-in on United was interesting as curbside check-in remains a victim of the times. Instead they have a self-serve check-in arrangement that works pretty well. Identity is confirmed by scanning one’s passport, and after the boarding passes are printed it’s a short wait till a United staff person actually takes posession of your baggage. Total time was less than 15 minutes.
About ninety minutes before our flight Sheryl’s wheelchair showed up. Let’s just say that Heathrow is a very, very large airport; even I was getting tired before we arrived at our gate.
Security is still a minor hassle when leaving the United Kingdom. Only one smaller than usual carry-on item is allowed, and removing one’s shoes is now standard procedure. Overall, however, it really wasn’t a big deal. It is rather less stressful to fly on a plane with restricted carry-ons; there’s plenty of space in the overhead bins!
Landing in Chicago was interesting. Again, an extremely large airport. Due to staffing issues, I was the driver for Sheryl’s wheelchair as we made our way from the gate to the US Immigration area. After that a United employee took over and while we had to wait a bit for their processing, the time was made up as wheelchairs have special entries for both immigration and customs.
The lack of personal drinking water is complete BS. No further proof is necessary other than the signs at the airports that indicate that liquids are only restricted on flights to the US. BS unless you believe the other countries don’t take safety seriously. Yes, you read that right. You can take liquids on any flight to any country except to the US. But the subject of how Europeans now look at our country (hint: it’s not as favorably as in the past) is the subject of another post.
And so, we arrived back home in Lindsborg around 9pm last night, exhausted, but very happy to be home.