My return journey was a bit more eventful. I checked in on the phone, and the TAP guys were happy to move me forward a bit and into seat 9F so I could get a view of central london on the approach to heathrow. Checkin was a doddle, and they let me carry on my two bags, despite probably being a little over the weight limit. TAP has a desk at Lisbon dedicated to giving it's passenger free newspapers, so I grabbed the Times.
Heading through to the waiting lounge I was frisked by security, they had a good root through my luggage - not sure what they saw on the screen. The guy behind me got similar treatment too so they were probably worried about something?
Was surprised to see the BA
flight I had hope to catch still at the gate.
Across the way, there was an AF
flight back to Paris on the other gate:
We soon started to board the bus out to the aircraft. However, we waited on the bus for quite some time, some of the older passenger were getting a little agitated. Eventually a tanned couple arrived, and it transpired that the lady had a lifejacket in her hold luggage that had showed up on the x-ray. Interestingly this same lifejacket had flown across to the States from the UK, and then down to the Carribean, sailed across to the Azores, and flown on the same day to LIS
onboard another TAP flight. Seems the security in LIS
is pretty tight!! Around this time I saw the BA
flight depart, around 1h30 late.
The bus finally took us out to the A319, and I boarded on the front stairs, about the time we were due to depart (1915).
The other passenger boarded a bit slowly for my liking!
Once everyone had finally settled into their seats the captain announced we wouldn't be going until 2210, aparently the weather in LHR
was horrendous. I was a bit concerned as I needed to catch the night sleeper to Plymouth from Paddington, leaving at 2350. Anyway I think I misheard him as at about 2015 we started rolling to the runway. We passed a transavia jet which seemed to be having some problems, with a lot of activity under its port wing, with the airport fire crew in attendance!
We approached the runway, and I had a good view along the strip:
Had a pretty good view of the 17km bridge on takeoff:
The flight settled down and the meal service begun. A really tasty chicken sandwich, and I also had a well earned can of beer after a hard week at work.
The screens came down and showed some portuguese stuff, but more bizarrely there was no way to listen in! Anyway the flight info came on between programmes:
There were a few bumpy bits, and the seatbelt sign came on for a bit. We pretty much went straight in to LHR
, and I got a great view of Canary Wharf and the West End. We arrived at 2230, only 40 mins behind schedule, so we managed to catch up some time on route.
I have to say I was impressed with TAP, and wouldn't have any worries about flying with them in future!
As I said, I had train to catch, so pegged it through Terminal 2. Was slightly concerned by a long customs queue, but it cleared pretty fast. In the end I made it from the Gate to the Heathrow express in under 15 minutes, thanks to having carry-on!