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Flying Helmut

'Origins' Through the Helmut-Cam: Flying Helmut’s ‘Origins’ Odyssey - June 2023

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Part II – Tuesday June 20th


I pretty-well leapt out of bed @ 05:00! – I was determined to be ready for the taxi @ 06:15.

When I had travelled to Prague back in April, my taxi had arrived over half an hour too early, and I had still been in the shower! Back then, I had rushed my exit from my house, trying not to keep the driver waiting, and had felt very dishevelled and disorganised – this time around, I wanted everything to be more controlled and relaxed.

Ready by 05:45, I sat back and went over everything in my mind one more time – I had to have forgotten something!

I peered through the kitchen window and spied an unfamiliar car parked at the kerb outside my next-door-neighbour’s house. Through the pouring rain I could just about make out the driver, sitting motionless in the car. Was this my Uber, here too early? No one had made any attempt to knock on my door…

I waited until 06:10, then went out and tapped on the driver’s window – was he my Uber? In a most disinterested fashion, he said he was – so I returned to the house, ferried my bags to the car and locked up. Finally, he exited the car and loaded my bags – I was off!

The car journey was uneventful, and, owing to the early schedule, we made very good time, preceding the morning West London rush-hour.
By the time he dropped me off @ Heathrow Terminal 3, the persistent rain had developed into a full-blown thunder storm! Was this an omen? I sincerely hoped not.

Safe and mostly dry now inside the Terminal building, I sought out the Baggage Check Desk.
I had “Checked In” on-line the day before, and had been pleased to see that I had been allocated an ideal seat; one I would have chosen if I had been required to book one; an aisle seat, in the central triple-seat-block, five rows back from the side exit doors.

I had noted that ‘American Airlines’ recommended that I turn up three-hours pre-departure for an International flight, rather than the usual two-hour early arrival of other airlines (this was to ensure plenty of time to get through Security checks), so I had loads of time.

At the Baggage Check Desk, I heaved my suitcase onto the conveyor – it weighed in at only 16kg! Only a little over two thirds of my 23kg allowance!
Watching it roll away into the loading area, I ruefully checked off mentally all of the other items/clothes I could have packed, had I known the magnitude of this shortfall!

Entering the Security area, I found that myself and my fellow passengers were outnumbered by the six Security personnel! I was ready for them – I was wearing my easy-slip-on-and-off laceless shoes (no more fumbling with heavily-laced hiking boots like on my Prague trip!).
Of course, they didn’t ask me to remove my shoes!
I was through Security in around five minutes or so.

Now in the Departure Hall, I had two hours and fifty minutes to kill before my Flight left for Philadelphia.

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Tags: Origins