Welcome to Heathrow!

Airports aren’t generally the most beloved of places. For most air travellers, airports are hot, crowded hell-holes of inconvenience and monotony that are unfortunate necessities of modern-day travel. This often holds true for me, as well- because my dad works for an airline, I always travel stand-by and I am never guaranteed a seat on a given flight. This, in addition to the fact that I was terrified of going through security when I was little, means that airports have historically been a source of stress for me. Although I love flying, the stress of airports isn’t so much fun.

However, London Heathrow Airport is different. With the exception of the departures lounge, I love Heathrow; because it means that I’m back in England, and I can finally marvel at the scenery and aircraft instead of worrying about whether or not I’m going to make my flight! Although the overnight flight from Canada can be as uncomfortable and monotonous as waiting in an airport, I always begin to get excited in the last hour or so. The cabin lights are turned back on, everybody wakes up, and breakfast is served- which always seems to make me sick, but no matter; after all, I’m about to arrive in England!

LHR Stack

A stack of aircraft awaiting permission to land at Heathrow. With only two runways and a massive amount of traffic, there can be a bit of a queue for the airport!

It’s really amazing to see anything from the air- it’s a whole new perspective that one just can’t imagine from the ground. And seeing the pretty patchwork fields on approach to Heathrow is even more wonderful. My anticipation always grows when I see how much charm and variety are crammed into such a small place!

English Fields

Villages are nestled among the undulating fields

English River From Above

A snaking river shines in the morning sun

And then, before too long, the fields give way to the concrete and stone of London. But the view is still wonderful- once, a few years ago, I even got a view of Wembley Stadium while we were waiting to land!

London From Above

Tower blocks and green space in West London

Landing at Heathrow brings nothing less than elation to me. London is my favourite place in the world, and I have such a deep attachment to England. Once on the ground, I can’t wait to breeze through the UK customs queue and then step out into the beautiful, petrol-laced morning air of the city!

Heathrow in the Morning

Terminal buildings at Heathrow

Heathrow Tarmac

Taxiing on a lovely English morning

Although not customary for me and my family when in England, renting a car is always fun. Especially because the car lots border the runway area! On my most extensive trip to date (in May/June 2011), we rented a Volkswagen and I had a fantastic time watching aircraft going out while everyone else looked over the car! I guess aircraft-watching must count as a hobby, and it’s certainly among my favourite pastimes.

BA Fleet LHR

Nearly a dozen aircraft of British Airways’ fleet

BMI Take-off LHR

An Airbus A320 of the now-defunct British Midland International

BA Jumbo LHR

A magnificent British Airways jumbo jet

As you can see, this car lot was the perfect place to watch departing aircraft. It always strikes me as strange how commercial airliners aren’t usually thought of as being especially awe-inspiring or high-tech, particularly when compared to military aircraft. Airliners are just commonplace to most people. But once one is standing perhaps 200 yards from an airliner at takeoff power, one realizes how impressive and powerful they truly are!

Qatar A340 LHR

An A340, presumably off to Qatar

AA Gear Up LHR

A great view of the closing main gear doors of this American Airlines 777

BA 777 LHR

Another Boeing 777, this one operated by British Airways

Unlike other airports, Heathrow holds a great many positive memories for me. It was the first feature of England I ever saw, and it’s my own gateway to that wonderful country. Plus, it’s full of aircraft- combine airplanes with England, and things really can’t get much better in my mind!


2 thoughts on “Welcome to Heathrow!

  1. I returned to Heathrow from the states last Christmas. Arriving in the early hours, the lights of circling aircraft as they waited their turn, were fascinating. Like fairies dancing in the night sky. It’s an incredible sight to see people, traffic and well know places from a totally different perspective. The air offers a new insight into old views. love it.

    • That must have been an amazing sight! My first few trips to England began in the early-morning darkness, and I remember seeing streams of light on the motorways as everyone was off to work. It was so beautiful and unlike anything I’d ever seen. Thanks for the comment!

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