Greetings from Seattle.
A few hardy souls may remember a post from long ago about the difficulty I usually have travelling through Heathrow due to the fact that my parents didn’t spend a lot of time coming up with an imaginative first name – and the fact that many others share that same name combination.
So it was with some trepidation I ventured through Heathrow on this trip earlier today.
My hope was that UK authorities were up-to-date on recent developments regarding members of the Murphy clan and I’m delighted to report that it appears they are.
For the first time in a long time I encountered no "personal" delays on this trip.
So that’s a good start to the week.
I’m in Seattle this week and now I’ve remembered why I’ve been avoiding using Heathrow as my US connection.
You see I’ve written before about the pitfalls of parents not spending a little more time choosing kids’ names.
One of my thousands of namesakes is, how do I put this nicely, not very popular with the UK government. As a result whenever I am booked on a US flight out of London there’s a red flag on my ticket. Normally this is dealt with at check-in, when it becomes apparent I am a different Tom Murphy to the one they don’t like. It takes about 15 minutes, a couple of phone calls and then I’m on my way.
I had forgotten this rigmarole this morning as I landed in Heathrow (after a delay), ran back through security – “sir you’ll have to put that plastic bag inside your briefcase you’re only allowed one bag through security” – huh? – ran to the connections desk, got a boarding pass, ran to the bus, on to Terminal 4, just in time for boarding and then as I hand my boarding card in I am asked to sit quietly to the side. After a couple of phone calls I get the all clear and they apologize and tell me that they have to check as there are multiples of the same name on the flight. Now I know this is hogwash, but that’s OK, no big deal.
Also I should point out that all the BA staff were incredibly pleasant. I just wish my parents had called my Ziggy.
There’s nothing like ten hours on a plane in the middle of the middle section. Mmmm cosy…
I’ve been in Copenhagen for the past few days and have finally managed to catch up on some of my RSS reading and podcast listening.
Here’s some stuff I found interesting…
I've arrived in Seattle this evening flying with SAS via Copenhagen. I had planned to post this from the plane with the Wireless broadband but unfortunately while I can confirm the Wi-Fi works the power in the seats beside me was broken so I lost my battery before I could get writing.
The wireless is a little spotty, it kicks in an out from time to time, but it's perfect for catching up on e-mail and some web browsing. The real problem is the access. I was travelling in Economy Plus and with my mini-mainframe Toshiba luggable it's fairly uncomfortable – I can only imagine that in steerage (where I'll be for the return) it's nigh impossible unless you have an Origami type device.
So the broadband works and if you're at the front of the bus then you could get some serious work done.
Very tired… it's very muggy here.
It all appeared to be going so well.Â The â€œDelivering the New PRâ€ conference was a success (based on the feedback from the attendees I talked to).Â
I took a cabÂ to Heathrow with Neville and ElizabethÂ in plenty of time for my flight. We dropped them off at Terminal 4, and as we were making our way to Terminal 1 a thunder storm hit the Heathrow area.Â I assumed this would delay flights in and out â€“ but I didnâ€™t realize by how much.Â
I was due to fly out on a BMI flight to Dublin at 19.10 however itÂ quickly became apparent that it was delayed.Â We were still sitting there at 22.30….Â
In that entire time there was only one BMI announcement and that was to inform us the flight had been delayed until 19.50.Â The rest of the delay updates only came when passengers actually walked up to the BMI desk at the gate and asked for the latest information -Â Â which BMI kindly shared – and luckily those passengers were kind enough to pass on the message.Â
At 22.30 they announced thatÂ our flight was cancelled due to â€œoperationalâ€ issues.Â Chaos ensued with passengers flooding the desk, we all had to register there and then, go back out to the departure atrium,Â queue at the BMIÂ ticket deskÂ for over an hour.Â There was then another half an hour waiting for a bus to take us to the hotel and then about three quarters of an hour checking into the hotel.Â I finally go to my bed at around 01.50.Â
AÂ long dayâ€¦.Â
PS: The BMI staff I dealt with were pleasant and efficient, however myÂ complaint centres on why there wasn’t clear and regular public communication regarding the status of the flight? In fairness to Aer Lingus â€“ who had similar delays â€“ they made a point of providing regular updates on the progress of all their delayed flights.Â Itâ€™s better to say too much than too little particularly when people are stuck in an area that resembles something like a blitz shelter.
London: I arrived into Heathrow this evening (BMI) for the third "Delivering the New PR" event. Of course we had the usual Heathrow delays and hassles, which combined with the heat and a driver who drove me around in circles made for a stressfull trip.
Of course it's been worth it to catch up with Chris, Elizabeth, Neville, Philip and Nicky. Unfortunately Stuart isn't arriving until the morning.
Earlier in the day I was at the first All-Ireland CSR conference. They got a great turn out and it was fantastic to catch up with a lot of people I hadn't seen in a while, but I think there could have been more content and sessions.