The Art of Travel Seduction ReadyClickAndGo

Sitting anxiously with a strong ‘winter’ coffee, checking emails earnestly looking for the confirmation of my flight with all the juicy extras of business class, like free Wi-Fi, business lounge, hot meal on-board, extra space, my fear of flying disappeared, like a medical condition wiped out by too much adrenaline. And alcohol.

It’s not just my hatred of flying that disorders my already exuberant personality, but the mere idea of dealing with masses of people squeezed into the restricted metal can cleverly named an aeroplane, makes me claustrophobic.  Being in the middle of the worldwide pandemic and in self-isolation for 12 weeks seems like a dream compared to a short-haul flight to another part of Europe.

The initial mistake, of booking the wrong direction, I put down to the combination of alcohol and excitement, was quickly rectified by getting in touch with the local office of the airline in question.

The holding time was the average UK holding time, 45 min, with a very monotonous tune programmed on a loop every three minutes, killing my already damaged hearing. Eventually, a delightful young voice apologised for the waiting time, blaming corona-virus, but stopped short of saying anything about the fairground choice of music, and quickly offered to help me change the route of my flight. At an additional cost, of course.

The new confirmation with the correct flight direction swiftly come into my inbox, together with an undesirable seat alteration to A1, the one with a hospital tray and a draught strong enough to give you pneumonia. My flight booking skills, carefully honed by years of traveling across the globe, had become a bit rusty during lock-down but they suddenly kicked in, and I spotted the mistake instantaneously.

Having booked the destination I wanted, with a flight in the right direction, and the desired seat, and still slightly intoxicated to be on the move again, I decided to check my buying opportunities at Terminal 4, the one I was supposed to take off from three days later, according to the airline. Having been in isolation for 12 weeks, the desire for some retail therapy was overwhelming, not because of the desperate need for a perfume or massive bottle of gin, but to feel “normal” again. Covid19 has had an unprecedented influence on everybody’s mind, challenging boundaries between normal, usual, abnormal.

Within a few clicks, it was clear the shops at Heathrow were closed, including the business lounge in which I was looking forward to having a nice lunch and a drink after all that shopping. The second bottle of wine bought just because of the cute flowery label, tasted even better, but any alcohol tastes better once you sink in it. Somewhere between glass numbers 2 and 3, the full reality of the Covid19 impact dawned on me – only Boots and WH Smiths were open. The choice between buying sun cream or a book had as much appeal as a broken tooth during 12 weeks of lock-down!

Slightly disappointed with the sorry states of the shops at Heathrow, I read about the European capital city I was going to fly to, and it seemed attractive enough. It mentioned a long, turbulent history, with adjectives which didn’t go over the top with enthusiasm. Still, after roaming the country so many times and that particular city on so many occasions, I decided to ignore the subtle put-down. This specific state of mind comes with age and alcohol.

The curious mind of a drunk would not give up, and the quest for happiness on the Heathrow website continued. Somewhere between all the scary info about the invisible Covid19 and the latest glorious architectural developments at the airport, my fat finger clicked on the departures page. The one where you type in the flight number and date, and then you get all the info about your flight. My happiness didn’t last long.

The highly anticipated flight supposed to take off from Terminal 2, not Terminal 4 as clearly stated in my confirmation email.

We live in the 24/7 information bubble, and we exploit it all the time. Well, I do. All my 23k followers on twitter know that. Without hesitation, the first 140 characters shot to the airline and another 140 to Heathrow. It was Saturday afternoon, an excellent time to kill a few hours before supper.

The first, professional and straight to the point reply come from Heathrow. Terminal 4 is closed, and you need to go Terminal 2 for the flight to your destination.

terminal 2 Heathrow Readyclickandgo travel

I took it with a pinch of salt, encouraging myself to wait for the airline’s answers as they must know from where they are supposed to take off. The following day, having not yet received confirmation from the airline and in the process of booking a cab, I decided to spend another 60 min on the monotonous loops of fairground music redialling the London office.  The same delightful voice, without any apologies this time for the long wait, confirmed the departure from Terminal 4. After raising concern about the different information confirmed by Heathrow, the delightful voice turned into an angry bird and repeated, almost shouted, Terminal 4, Terminal 4, Terminal 4.

Twelve hours later came a confusing message on Twitter from the airline, the one which supposed to know which Terminal they are using at the Heathrow, saying that my two heavy pieces of luggage, and my trendy but equally massive rucksack, should go to Terminal 4, not Terminal 2.

The distance between Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, according to Google Maps, is 21 min by train and 16 by car. Imagine carrying two pieces of luggage and a rucksack wearing a face mask, gloves and glasses? What is the point of booking business class when you cannot get to it without sweating? Actually, when you do not know where to go in order to get your business class seat?

The one thing I learned about Covid19 is that “small” people are heroes, the one you don’t get to see on the front pages or recognise while shopping at the supermarkets: nurses, cab drivers, rubbish collectors, endless and selfless volunteers.

My local hero, the cab driver, agreed to take me to Terminal 2, wait for me to check if we were at the right one, and if not, drive me to Terminal 4. With no extra cost.

To be continued…

OFF THE MARGIN: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein

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About the author: Tara

 

The travel professional with years of experience in the travel industry – in guiding, reservations, operations, contracting, customer service and product development – and have travelled extensively in Asia and Eastern Europe not just on holiday but also for work, inspecting hotels, visiting attractions and seeing exactly what each destination has to offer. The only way I could do this properly was with my own guide, car and driver and this inspired me to create my own range of customised private day tours for other people to be able to explore in-depth and learn to love their destination as much as I do.

Website: www.readyclickandgo.com