Waiting for take off


As usual, we took off late from Heathrow. That seems to happen every single time I fly with BA to Singapore, except for when my family accompanies me. I suppose it’s better than it being the other way around. I’ve recently gone up a tier in frequent flyer membership (I’m now “Ruby” with OneWorld, which is basically one level better than nothing, which I think was a consequence of flying to London and back in March and then the flight from Singapore two weeks ago.) I didn’t notice that had been printed on my ticket until I’d joined the queue at the gate, and by then i was scared to leave the queue in case the customer service agent told me I’d overestimated my importance and sent me to the back of the line.
 
Still, I got to my seat in time to fit my bag in the overhead locker. That’s important because I’m in an exit row seat (which on reflection I only got to book before everyone else because I had my elevated status) and I have a bag that fits exactly in an overhead locker on an A380. Yeah, I’m now that guy with the enormous bag. Others opened the locker in vain to find my behemoth taking up all available space.

Then again, perhaps they weren’t as prepared as me and didn’t deserve space. There were a couple of families with members distributed around the plane, which suggests they didn’t check in before they got to the airport. I, desirous of a seat with extra leg room, and heedful of BA’s baleful warnings to check in because of the massive queues at the airport, had reaped my luggage-shaped rewards.
 
Mind you, I’m sat in front of a small Dutch girl who won’t shut up about Frozen and my noise-cancelling headphones are up above my head right now, so I don’t get everything my way.
 
The warned-of chaos failed to materialise. Ok, TFL had omitted to tell me I couldn’t get the Tube to Paddington to catch the Heathrow Express today, but I needed the exercise to yomp from Edgware Road. At Heathrow, there weren’t huge crowds of people at check-in, and even the security line was civilised.
 
Although maybe th person who checked me in had been drafted in to help (they’re rolling out a new check-in system, perhaps unwisely when it’s the summer peak travel period) because she didn’t seem so familiar with the system, and when she got to the question about whether I was able-bodied enough to sit in an exit row, she inadvertently picked “No”instead of “Yes” which seemed to automatically trigger a request for a wheelchair, and which took twenty minutes, four people and one phone call to reverse. Couldn’t they just have turned it all off and then on again?
 
Still, something needs upgrading on the check-in system. When I printed my boarding pass, the screen on the machine warned me to “proceed to undefined no later than 45 minutes before departure”. Computers are only as helpful as the people who program them…


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