New York & New England Trip 2005                 Main

Sun 5th June - Night Before The Flight, Heathrow

At long last, the holiday was here! We packed up the car, checked for the hundredth time that we had all the tickets and documentation, and set out down the A12 towards London in late afternoon. We stopped off for tea at the Little Chef at Copdock, since we knew it well. While waiting for dinner, Niamh got her head jammed between the ornamental posts that separate our table from the one next to us. And we mean jammed, her big head was stuck fast! The older couple sitting on the next table were trying not to laugh in between giving us helpful hints on which direction to push her big noggin to get her out. At last she popped out. For a minute we thought the start of the holiday was going to be marked by a visit from the Fire Brigade.

The rest of the journey was uneventful, and since I'd printed out the directions to the hotel, we found it relatively easily. Obviously, Karen drove past it the first time, but there were places to turn and come back. The hotel was the Premier Travel Inn Heathrow, in Hounslow, which is right next to Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport. I'd booked it on recommendation of the guy on the BA webpage - they offered a night's stay and up to 14 days airport parking for a very reasonable rate. The hotel was like no British hotel I've ever stayed in - the massive aircraft hangar of a foyer was incredibly impressive, and the room was brilliant. We came down later and asked about the parking and had our room key swiped so we could take the car out of their car park again and get back in through their high security gate. We drove the short distance to Terminal 3 and parked the car in the short term parking. We came out and had a look around for the American Airlines check-in, which we found easily.

Back at the hotel, we stopped off in the foyer and bought a couple of drinks at the bar, while the kids made a nuisance of themselves playing on the seats. We enquired about the airport parking, how it worked, and it turned out that, contrary to what we'd been told on the phone, we were to leave our car there at the hotel, and they would come and transport it to Purple Parking, where we'd pick it up when we returned. This meant that we could have to catch the free shuttle bus to the airport, which left from the back of the hotel every 15 minutes. So we fetched the cases out of the car, since we wouldn't be in it again, and came up and retired to bed, in that not-quite-comfortable way you do when it's the night before a big flight.