Sunday, January 29, 2012

LHR to PHL - "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"

This place was huge.

My wife found a chair near the terminal entrance, on the right where the windows are in the photograph above.  My son and I made our way to check in, about 100-150 feet from my wife's location.  We checked in, obtained our boarding passes, checked our bags and returned to my wife.  We arrived at Heathrow four hours before our flight was scheduled to depart.  My wife requested I find a wheelchair.
She was sitting near the B section, as seen in the above photograph.  The wheel chairs were down in the G section.  A fair distance from where she sat.  I walked down to section G.  Once I figured out where the chairs were located and who was in charge of them, I was told I couldn't have one because I was too early.  The chairs were needed for flights departing soon.  I was to return in 30 minutes and try again.  I returned to my wife without any wheels.

My wife was uncomfortable, even with her leg up on our carry-on luggage loaded on the cart.  My son was off somewhere looking for chocolates to take home to a friend.  We sat and waited.

Twenty minutes later I made my way back to the wheelchair area.  This time, there were more wheelchairs in the corral.  I obtained a wheelchair and returned to help my wife into the chair and adjusted the foot rests.
We gathered all our belongings and made our way to security.  After security, which by the way was easy and unremarkable, we got on an elevator.  We went down one level.  
The gate level reminded me of a shopping mall.  Here is a list of the stores and diagram on the gate level.

Heathrow Terminal 5 - Gate Seating

 The above image looks like the spot we sat for an hour or so waiting for our gate to be announced.  My son was off again looking for gifts as my wife sat with her leg up on a table beside her wheelchair.  I purchased a few muffins, cookies, a sandwich and a few drinks from EAT. and some candy from WHSmith.  The food was eaten before the gate was announced.


As time crawled along, the announcement was made for the departing gate.  We traveled down on an elevator to a train platform.  The train took us to another building where sat at the gate.
                 Heathrow Terminal 5 - Gate seating
We sat and waited, again.  By the time the boarding announcement was made, we were ready.  Because of my wife's casted leg, we boarded right after the Executive Club members.

None of our assigned seats were beside each other.  I sat farthest back.  I helped my wife into her seat and stowed her carry-on overhead.  I made my way to my seat.  My son's assigned seat was near an exit door with plenty of room in front of him to extend the legs of his his 6'4" frame.

We had requested a better seat location for my wife and her casted leg.  We were told repeatedly from first we checked in, there were no bulkhead or exit seats available.  Once on the plane one of the flight attendants saw our situation and commandeered a center row of three seats for my wife and myself.  I was called up by the attendant and joined my wife.  Her right leg was injured so she occupied the center and extended her leg onto the right seat and I took the left.  My son kept his exit seat and we were on our way home.

Three movies later we were over New York state.  The video monitor on the back of the seat before me, was an animated simulation of the plane location over land.  I tried to relate the animation with the actual land lights below, but never got it right.  At least not until we were about 200 feet above the ground just west of Philadelphia International Airport.

Not much had changed since my departure, as far as I could tell.  I was thankful we didn't need to interact with a TSA agent.

After we collected our bags, I called the parking garage.  I was told the bus would soon be at the airport to collect us.  Less than five minutes later we were loaded into the bus with our bags.  The check out was smooth at the garage.  A washed car awaited us with the engine running and the heater blowing hot air.  Within thirty minutes we were home.  I had work in the morning.

"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

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