Havoc getting to Heathrow – Arts London News

Published on February 7, 2014 | by Lydia Batham


Havoc getting to Heathrow

CREDIT The Guardian

The Tube Strikes have caused chaos for commuters across London the last two days, but have the tourists been forgotten about?

New Zealand backpacker Simon Morrow had to fly from Heathrow to Auckand – and unfortuantely for him, it was on the day of the strike.  The flight left at 10pm, which meant arriving at the airport for 7pm. The normal journey time from Simon’s accomodation would be an hour, he left 2 hours before, just to be safe.

After a failed final museum visit, it took him an hour and a half on the bus to get from Waterloo to his accomodation, just 4 miles down the road. He quickly threw his backpack together, and this time hit the river. It cost Simon £3.80 to get across to Canary Wharf, but with the two nearest stations closed and the roads jammed, it seemed the best option.

At Canary Wharf, he joined orderly queues to get on the tube – out of the 4 stations he passed through, 3 were closed. At Waterloo, he recieved some helpful advise from a guard, but then had to battle against the wind and the crowds and get to Embankment – meaning a journey across the Hungerford Bridge. At Embankment he was greeted by a packed platform, and 2 trains that were impossible to get on – made only worse with a bag.

The third train to come provided enough room to get to Earl’s Court – by now we’re at a journey time of over and hour and  half, and it’s getting close to check in time. Simon’s feeling sweatty and miserable, and has said “‘it’s close to being my worst day travelling in 9 months.”

“it’s close to being my worst day travelling in 9 months”

Simon Morrow – New Zealand Backpacker

The next task was piling in to a train to Acton Town – where the Piccadilly Line was starting during the strikes. But this proved an impossibility. The trains were full and everyone bundled on, desperate to get home. With a large bag slowing Simon down, he just couldn’t compete with the crowds to get on the train and after 2 hours of attempting the tube,  at the same time he should have been checking in at the airport, he gave up and got a cab.

Knowing a black cab would cost more, he tried to find a private hire company, but the wait time was an hour minimum – so he bit the bullet and paid £50 to get to the terminal. Luckily traffic wasn’t too bad, and by 7.30pm he was leaving the cab and checking in.

He made it, but the only words he had on the experience were ‘awful’.


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