Monday, October 06, 2008

Rotterdam, Netherlands Oct. 2008: Arriving in Houston Intercontinental from London-Heathrow

06OCT08 Houston Intercontinental. Houston TX (IAH)

We touched down quietly and smoothly at 12:45a. I looked across at the Terminal D gates and there was only an AeroMexico Boeing 737-700 with winglets at the gate. Neither the Asia nor the European heavies have arrived as yet. We had a quick taxi into the gate arriving at 12:50p.
It took a few minutes to deplane, then I headed for the Immigration area, following the lines for “Global Entry.” As we were the first European international flight in and we had a light load the normal Immigration lines were almost non-existent.

There were two customers ahead of me, but by the time I made it to the kiosk, one of them was free. I placed my passport under the reader as instructed; it read it, then I placed my right index finger on the reader and nothing. I pressed a little harder and still nothing. Eventually the machine reset itself to the main screen. Well, so much for a pleasant first experience.

I moved to the next machine advising the Officer who was thereof my experience on the other kiosk. He called another Office to take a look. My second attempt worked as it should and I received my Customs form and exited.

Downstairs, I just showed it to the Office there and of course there was no line again, so I did not feel like I gained anything. I know this won’t last forever though…

I headed to the 102 bus stop in Terminal C via the underground train. I was just in time for the arrival of the bus from downtown, so the wait was only about 10 minutes in all. I did notice two passengers who had arrived on that Aeromexico flight from Mexico City at the bus stop. When they boarded, they had no change, but luckily a passenger did so they were fine. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Metro does not have a way for customers to get a Que card or at least change at the airport…

Rotterdam, Netherlands Oct. 2008: BA's downed Boeing 777-200 at Heathrow

As we taxied out to the runway I could see the Boeing 777 that crashed at Heathrow a few months ago. It is now devoid of the airline's markings.

Rotterdam, Netherlands Oct. 2008: Departing Heathrow for Houston Intercontinental, Houston TX (IAH)

06OCT08 Heathrow International, London England (LHR) Terminal 4

It was exactly 7:01a as my friend set me down at Terminal 4.
They are doing a lot of construction so you cannot drive up to the front of the terminal anymore. So, I bade him goodbye and made my way towards the elevators. It was taking forever, so I took the stairs along with another lady.

In the terminal, I was able to check-in rather quickly, well, did the security checks as I'd already checked in. I had not seen that few people in Terminal 4 in a long while and it was a Monday morning.

I got through security with ease and then made it to the Holideck Lounge. I had one purpose, check out the BBC's site for new shows. I did that, got some snacks and then headed out for the gate at about 7:45a.

I needed to check with IRIS so the next time I come back I would have no issues, but I have to wait for a few more weeks to get it all taken care of.

At the gate (1c), I got a window seat, got security checked and then showed my boarding pass and started the long walk down the winding jetway. As the flight was empty, I got the seat next to me vacant.

Rotterdam, Netherlands Oct. 2008: Leaving Central London for Heathrow

06OCT08 Central London, England

It was really early when the alarm clock rang; it was 5:15a :-(. We got up got ready and we were on our way by 5:55a. My friend programmed Heathrow into his GPS and after it found a signal, it told us where to go. The signs in the parking lot were pretty funny as we departed.

It was funny though as every now and then it told us to turn on a street that we could not see. Unfortunately, London is not a grid system, so it is a little difficult to navigate. Like all big cities, it has traffic issues. Luckily there was not to much of that this morning.

Eventually, we got out of the city and made our way to the A4 and found a sign that said "Heathrow."

As we approached the airport, we were in luck! An Airbus A340 in Star Alliance colors bore down upon us as we passed the end of the active runway. The timing could not have been more perfect. My adrenalin was racing as I kept my index finger on the shutter. Below is what it looked like.

As I approached the terminal, I saw my plane at the gate.