London, England – November 15-24, 2009
Ahhhh… London. My most favourite city to visit in the entire world. This was my second solo visit to this incredible city, albeit a bit of a whirlwind (better too short than not at all I guess).
I was able to get a rock bottom-cheap return flight via an Air Transat charter. As I was later to find out, Air Transat shares some of their international flights with Thomas Cook Airlines; my flights in both directions were with Thomas Cook and both flights were utter nightmares. It’s a good thing my actual time in London was fantastic as it made up for the lousy flights.
As I also was to find out, smaller charter flights fly into Gatwick Airport, not Heathrow. Although not a huge deal, Gatwick’s location adds the extra complexity of getting into central London from way outside the city.
Anyway, let’s go…!
The Journey Begins
Toronto Airport Limo picked me up at home at about Noon. I have used this company many times and have always been extremely satisfied with their service. The driver got me to Pearson International at about 12:30 p.m.
I got checked in at the Thomas Cook counter at Terminal 3. There, I was informed that my flight was delayed from 4:15 p.m. to 6:10 p.m. due to maintenance issues with the plane at London Gatwick airport. It was a long wait at Pearson but I made the best of it by starting my latest read: Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter (highly recommended)!
We finally received the boarding call and started to load the plane;. I got an aisle seat near the front. The flight finally departed for London at 6:50 p.m.
The flight was a nightmare: so incredibly, unspeakably cramped, bumpy all the way to the U.K., hot and stuffy cabin, and so unbelievably noisy: babies screaming, people talking loudly, video games blasting, people and flight attendants constantly moving around – you get the idea. A case study in extreme discomfort if ever there was one. It was absolutely impossible to sleep on this flight but I was able to rest my eyes for a while.
And so on we fly, through the night, over the Atlantic ocean…