Thursday, 26 May 2016

Britain's Busiest Airport: A Once in a Lifetime Experience.


Last week I was given the opportunity for a once in a lifetime experience; a behind the scenes tour of 'Britain's Busiest Airport', Heathrow (did you know that 70,000 people work there!?). As someone who travels very regularly, and someone who has grown up travelling regularly, this got me super excited! It's not very often I take a day off work for anything other than actual overseas travel (the last time I did this was back in September 2015 to visit Le Manoir), so it has to be something really special for me to do that.


As a kid I always loved the TV programmes about airlines and airports (anyone remember the EasyJet one?), and found it so fascinating. It made me want to work at an airport as a child (along with being a spy, a vet, and an actress - lolz), so my day at Heathrow behind the scenes was pretty much a dream come true.

Produced by production company RAW for ITV, the TV show about Heathrow - 'Britain's Busiest Airport' - is airing on Monday 30th May, 6th June, and 13th June, and goes behind the scenes covering a wide-array of topics including airside operations, security, new aircraft, the airlines, cycling paramedics, and of course the passengers! If you loved last years series, you'll probably love this one too ;)

I got to the airport bright and early at 9:30am sporting my double denim and nike's (they said to wear warm, comfy clothes...and who doesn't love a bit of double denim?), and was joined by the lovely Suze, Victoria, Ana, and Sarah-Jane and her father who used to be a fighter pilot! 

Is double denim actually allowed? Coz I kinda like it...

After collecting our airside passes, we made our way over to the animal centre, where we swapped our own shoes for some super attractive wellies and overcoats, and went to meet some of the dogs, cats, snapper turtles, snakes, toads, frogs, a crocodile, a comodo dragon, and the cutest bearded dragon called Hannah!



I was secretly hoping a monkey would be there, but alas, not our day.

After meeting the animals we changed back into our own shoes and were driven to the Windsor Suite, a dedicated VIP terminal reserved for royalty and HNWI. At £2700 for up to three people, the Windsor Suite aim to offer a service unlike any other airport lounge; discretion, privacy, and service. I might do a separate post on this soon because I have heaps to tell you about this! 



We had our own private suite, and were served some yummy canapes and a juice booster of avocado, lime juice, and pineapple juice, before being shown through to the special private security check and showing our passports so we were allowed airside.


We were getting a bit peckish at this point despite the canapes, so headed over to Terminal 2 to have lunch at The Gorgeous Kitchen, which has been voted the best airport restaurant in the world. Although the restaurant was gorgeous (geddit?) and the food was nice...it was just nice. My starter of Chicken Liver Parfait was very good and I really enjoyed it, but the Fillet of Plaice was very bland, lacked flavour, and was a little too cold. 


Now, next was my favourite part! We got to drive down the runway, and then stand at the very end of it and watch the planes take off. Sad eh? But it was SO exciting being so close to the planes and very, very windy. My blow-dried hair went a lil bit cray cray and I didn't have a hairbrush on me...so it stayed cray cray the rest of the day.




After learning more about the history of Heathrow airport and the planned runway expansion, we visited the control room and then the control tower. The view from the control tower was incredible, we could see over the whole airport and right over to Windsor on one side and London on the other.


Finally we were taken to see a British Airways Dreamliner. I haven't flown on BA for years, but their First Class looked a bit rubbish compared to the Gulf and Asian airlines First Class services. The BA First Class looked much like other airlines' Business Class offering. 


The best thing though was getting to see the cockpit and sit in the pilot's seat...complete with an actual real pilot hat!


The whole day was so much fun! A huge thank you to the team at Heathrow for inviting me along! Also, here's a bonus photo that just makes me laugh.


You can watch 'Britain's Busiest Airport' every Monday on ITV for three weeks starting on 30th May! It's also Heathrow's 70th Anniversary on 31st May, so they're going to be doing lots of awesome activities to celebrate. Keep an eye on social media and the Heathrow Airport microsite for more info on this!

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13 comments

  1. Taste of France27/05/2016, 09:30

    Interesting. Heathrow is not my favorite airport. I pay extra just to avoid going through it.

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  2. Ah I couldn't make it this cos I'm away obvs but I really would have enjoyed it! I love a visit to Heathrow and the behind the scenes look must have been awesome!

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  3. That looks like such a cool day! I'm particularly jealous of getting to sit in the cockpit, how cool! Do they really need all those buttons and screens?? Scary! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Food, Travel, Italy

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  4. I would love to go behind the scenes here - definitely jealous of you getting to go on the runway and up in the tower.

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  5. It was great to share this day with you, Catherine, and how cool was that bearded dragon?!

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  6. Sounds like a great behind-the-scenes experience! That bearded dragon looks so cute! Would love to do an airport tour like this - any airport! :)

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  7. It was so awesome! I had such a fun day! :)

    C x

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  8. PS: I would LOVE to do a behind the scenes tour of Changi airport, I think that'd be the most interesting!

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  9. So good to see you too, Suze! And I LOVED the bearded dragon!!

    C x

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  10. It was so cool! So much fun!

    C x

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  11. Yeh, I don't know how they do it haha!

    C x

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  12. Really? I love it! But usually I go through Gatwick as Heathrow is actually the most expensive airport in the country due to the majorly high taxes they have. Gatwick tends to be much cheaper :)

    C x

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  13. Taste of France14/06/2016, 14:32

    I fly out of France, usually to the U.S. I'd rather go via Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam, or even Lisbon. Sometimes we drive to Barcelona (we're in the south of France) to get a direct trans-Atlantic flight.

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