Sydney to London

The flight(s) were fine(ish) … except that both of them seemed to have the internal cabin temperature too high … not only didn’t I need any of their bedding, but it was sweaty.

The departure experience from Sydney has improved markedly since my last trip in 2014 … the new screening procedures don’t require you to take off your shoes any more, for example.

Singapore, however, was another matter entirely … even though everyone was, of course, screened before we left Sydney and, presumably, passengers in the secured Departure area of Changi had had to have been screened before they were allowed to enter there, for some reason we had to be screened again before boarding our onward flight. And, no, it was far more painful and backwards than screening in Sydney. Not quite over the top paranoid, but certainly aiming for that ballpark.

Shoes off, not trusting the full body X-Ray scanner and then physically patting you down (not randomly, either – unless ‘random’ in Singaporean practise means ‘pat down 3 out of 4 passengers’).

Arrival in London was far better than reported in many travel publications – or maybe it was just the very early arrival (which, even at 50 minutes late, was still at 6:45ish). Perhaps the fact that Aussies (and some others) could now use the ePassport Gates rather than queue with the ‘Non UK/Non EU’ bunch made a difference, as it seemed to spit people through in about 2-3 minutes per person. Baggage claim was slow(ish) … but I was through and out within 40-50 minutes rather than the delays of 2-2 1/2 hours claimed by many travel journos in recent months.

Once on British soil I headed for the British Airways Arrival Lounge (for Business Class and First Class passengers) where I was able to have a shower (close to 100 cubicles!) and get completely changed out of my by now sweaty and smelly clothes (never needed to do that on any previous flight to North America, but I already mentioned that the cabin temperature seemed too high). Then I rested for several hours and booked a Minicab to take me direct to my Hotel rather than brave the Heathrow Express or the Underground with my luggage.

A series of minor but time consuming mishaps meant that, by the time I was ready to venture forth, it was past 4 pm and the IWM closes at 6, so I just headed out for a late lunch (or perhaps an early dinner) and retired to my room for some R&R, planning to head to the IWM tomorrow.

Phil

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