Famille Du Pentium

Another Day, Another Llama Video

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trip Report: LHR

Let’s talk about London.  One day after I booked my trip to London, Zurich, and Hyderabad, British authorities announced that they had foiled a plot to blow up airplanes bound for the U.S. from Britain.  Strict security measures were put into place after these announcements, some of which have since been repealled.   But not all.

Undeterred, I went boldly into the United Kingdom with my 12 hour layover in London fully planned to the minute.  Things went smoothly inbound; and my plans to try the Heathrow Express were only marginally upset by some track construction that delayed my train’s arrival at Paddington.  

Upon my return to Heathrow that evening, however, I learned about how good the British are at queuing.  I arrived at Terminal 4 (BA) on HE, came upstairs, and things looked pretty normal.  On my way to the check-in counter, something a bit odd happened; police blocked off the corridor across the terminal to allow what seemed like hundreds of passengers across the corridor to the security checkpoint line.  I didn’t think about it much yet.

I checked in at the Business Class desk, and was given a priority ticket to allow me to use the "invitation only" line.  I walked over to the priority line, and began to follow the line back some 100 yards to the end of the line.  This is crazy!  So I went back to the front of the line, where the "non-priority" queue was also located, and it actually seemed shorter.  I asked a BA security person if I should forgo the priority queue and just get in that line.  Her response: That’s not the non-priority line.  That’s just the group that they are allowing to wait inside.  The non-priority queue starts outside.  Around back.  Take a lunch with you.

As it turned out, I needed all of the two hours I allotted myself to get through security (Priority queue) and get to my gate.  In the end, I didn’t have really much trouble getting through (I had already planned way ahead and checked everything that could be remotely suspicious) but security was definately being much more careful, checking more bags and wand-scanning more people.  

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 5:29 pm  

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