My Trip To The UK: Part 5 – Heading Home

Today is a travel day for me. After having breakfast at the hotel and checking out (Which only took seconds by the way. Kudos to Premier Inn in Solihull Town Center. for having the fastest checkout from a hotel that I have ever seen. But please have better WiFi for your guests), I headed to  Birmingham International rail station to catch Virgin Rail back to Euston Rail Station. Now my first stop was the arrivals and departure boards to see what platform my train was arriving on:

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The departure board is the red board on the left. I looked there and saw what platform my train was arriving on. When I headed downstairs, I needed to know which way to go to get to the Standard Class coaches. Fortunately, they made it easy for you:

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Tip: Unless you’re taking a long rail journey, as in three hours or more, there’s no point paying for anything other than Standard Class. Plus, on Virgin Rail, you still get reserved seating if you pay enough. As for the train itself, here’s what Virgin Rail’s trains look like:

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They’re electric trains and are largely quiet. Almost nothing in terms of noise makes it way into the coaches. Just over an hour later, I had arrived at Euston Rail Station. An hour after that via the Underground and I had arrived at London Heathrow Airport. Now the Underground line that goes to Heathrow is the Piccadilly Line. You can get to any of Heathrow’s five terminals using this line. One tip I do have is to note which terminal you are going to. One branch of this line goes to terminal 4 only. Another branch goes to terminals 1,2,3 and 5, and a third branch doesn’t go to Heathrow at all. Thus you need to pay attention to which terminal your flight is leaving from. If you forgot to check, this line does run outside which enables you to get cell service. So you can go to Heathrow’s website via your smartphone and check the status of your flight assuming you have your flight number.

Once I arrived at Heathrow, I went to terminal 2 as that’s where my Air Canada flight is taking off from. I checked my bag and went though security. From previous experience, going through security at Heathrow is very civilized unlike most North American airports. I did have my laptop bag taking for secondary inspection, but I was in and out of security quickly and stress free. Since my flight had not been assigned a gate yet, I grabbed a coffee and opened up my MacBook Pro type up this article. I could not find any free WiFi access, or at least no free WiFi access that I could trust. These days, you can’t be too careful. Thus I then used the Instant Hotspot feature which is part of the larger Continuity feature set that is built into OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 to get online. I had all sorts of data left on my T-Mobile SIM from EE so that was a no brainer. One thing that I should note is that unless you are in a restaurant at Heathrow, there’s no tables where you can work with a laptop from. This is different than Person which has some places where you can comfortably set up shop while you wait for your flight.

So, by 5PM tonight hopefully, I should be home. If you want to have some fun, you can track the status of my flight here. After I get home, I’ll post the final part of this travelog which will tell you what I do on long flights and sum up my trip. Stay tuned!

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