We had left for the airport in plenty of time - what with my nerves at flying - and decided the quickest route was to take the Heathrow Express direct from Paddington to Heathrow. Big mistake.
And it's not like we hadn't been stung by that particular poor excuse for a 'service' before. Last year we'd been caught out by their crappy time-keeping and almost missed our plane.
It's not just the lateness of the Heathrow Express trains I object to ('15 minute journey time'? - really?) it's also the fact that you've been fleeced (59 quid steerage return for us both - ouch!) and the lack of meaningful announcements ("we'll be moving soon, folks" - why not tell us how to get to the ruddy airport quicker? Grrrrr.)
So here we were again - sitting at Paddington Station on an 'express' that was going no where. Just stopped like a chip waiting for vinegar.
And when we did start moving it was slower than walking pace. We may have already checked-in online for our flight but what good was that when we were on a train that crawled a few feet, stopped and crawled some more? A train we couldn't get off I might add.
We got more and more angry as a journey
that should have been taken us a mere quarter of an hour stretched ahead of us like a chasm.
We cursed Heathrow Express as we looked out of the train window realising we had missed the deadline for the last bag-drop for our luggage. So we would have no clothes in New York. Great. But wait, could we stuff what clothes we could into our ruck sacks and throw the rest and our suitcases away? Maybe. Our minds were racing. What could be afford to jettison? That's if we made the flight at all.
This was a nightmare. Not the way we had planned to start our holiday together.
Eventually we arrived. The quarter of an hour journey had turned into an hour and twenty minutes.
We ran from the train to the airport entrance.
Have you ever tried running through an airport? I'd not recommend it. They are big places. And suitcases are heavy things to lug. And when you're in a bnd rush you narrowly miss every lift as the doors close in front of you. And the escalators are all packed. And dazed and confused passengers are trying to find their check-in desks - blocking you at every turn. And security guards hands instinctively reach down to check their guns as they catch you out of the corner of their beady eyes running. No, I'd really not recommend it.
So did we make our flight?
Yes, we did. Thank God for British Airways. "Don't worry, sir, we'll get you on your flight. We'll take your bags to the plane by hand. And here's a Fast Track sticker. Just walk to the front of every queue." So we did. We ran actually. Straight through security. Straight to our gate. And straight onto our plane. Phew!
We were on our way. No thanks to bloody Heathrow Express.