I travel quite a bit. With family, fiancé and friends in the US and much of my work in Egypt, I have found myself becoming quite familiar with several international airports. Yet, airports (as a whole) remain one of my least favorite places to be. Unless you happen to be in Arrivals and watching heartwarming reunions (especially when there are soldiers coming home – sob), the rest of these monolithic travel factories tend to bring out the worst in everyone.
Until recently, I had avoided making connections through London’s Heathrow airport (LHR) for just this reason. From multiple reliable sources, I had been told frustrating tales of hour(s)-long terminal transfers leading to missed connections, followed by utterly unhelpful and rude customer ‘service’. Taking my chances or increasing my travel anxiety dealing with this type of situation just did not seem worth it.
Enter a great British Airways fare sale, which resulted in my self-imposed boycott getting put aside in favor of saving a considerable chunk of cash. I figured that I have become a pretty savvy traveler, I could handle anything LHR threw at me. Turns out, I had no worry. Not that all my sources were plain wrong, but they did not have the pleasure (that’s right, I said it) of traveling through and entirely within Terminal 5.
Completed recently, Terminal 5 is a feast for the senses, and I mean that in a good way (at least post-security). The centerpiece is a enormous pillar of flat-screen television modules that were playing movie previews (and ads, of course) that dazzled with light and sound. Quality food options were plentiful, including offerings by Gordon Ramsay and, my personal favorite, Wagamama.
Duty-free shopping, expanded from the typical liquor and perfume, covered everything from a complete vacation outfit (clothes, shoes and sunglasses) to high-end audio equipment. Before I could even get to any of that, I got lured in by the fancy car display. I did have the good sense to not buy a ticket for the free car giveaway, but I still got to take these photos and dream a little bit.
Lest you have started to worry that at some point I also got brainwashed by the LHR public relations team into advertising them on my blog, the airport has no idea who I am. Or even more likely, as I was snapping photos right and left, I am actually not their favorite person. It was just such a pleasant surprise to have an airport be fun again that I had to share it with all of you. Plus, there is a warning in all this – watch your time carefully – I got so distracted that I almost missed my flight and, this time, I would only have had myself to blame.