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12:13pm on Sunday, 11th September, 2011:

To Heathrow


My flight to Sweden is from Heathrow, so I decided to travel there by bus on the grounds that if you take a train in Britain on a Sunday half the journey is by bus anyway.

The trip from Colchester to Victoria Coach Station was non-eventful, at least for me as I was asleep for most of it. Apart from having to leave the main road to drop off passengers at Romford and Stratford (of whom there were none) and the fact my seatbelt was badly twisted, it was fine. I arrived 10 minutes early.

I chanced my luck by trying to get on a Heathrow bus half an hour before the one I'd booked. The driver let me do so, which was good because then I'd have longer at Heathrow to check in. The bus actually had two drivers, as its ultimate destination was Totnes where the first driver lived and was ending his shift.

The two drivers bantered the whole 50 minutes it took to get to Heathrow. They criticised cars, drivers, cyclists, pub names and the law on how many hours you're allowed to drive a week. They also drew a large H on my suitcase so they knew to get it off at Heathrow. When we arrived, they parked the bus across two bays so it would be easier for them to get out (its not being a factor that there were other drivers who may well have wanted one of those bays, even though there was only one spare bay left after they'd done their maneuvre).

At Heathrow, the coach station is quite a walk from terminal 3. It doesn't have many signs telling you which way to go, either. Still, I was there half an hour earlier than I was expecting so it wasn't too bad.

However, upon arrival in the terminal building I found my flight had been cancelled due to staff shortages and, after a 10-minute wait at the SAS customer services desk, learned that I had been switched to a British Airways flight at Terminal 5. I had to walk all the way back and wait 13-minutes for the transfer train.

I wonder if I'll have time to get through passport control, walk the length of Stockholm airport, and check in for my Visby flight in time as I only have a BA boarding card?

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).