Monday, 6 June 2011


On each of our previous arrivals into Heathrow we have used Terminal 4.  This time we used the new Terminal 5.  I suspect this is exclusively used by British Airways.  Being in First Class means you get priority off the aircraft and you would think this would mean you were first to immigration and customs.  Unfortunately this doesn’t happen in Terminal 5.  It appears the Terminal actually consists of 3 sub-terminals.  Check-in, Departure; and and Arrivals.  They are all connected via an internal train.  So having been some of the first people to exit our aircraft we arrived at the train platform only to have to wait for the next train to the Arrivals Terminal.  Of course this meant that the middle-classes from Business and some of the peasants from Economy caught up with us! Smile  Still our luggage was almost on the carousel by the time we reached it.  The was no problem at Immigration and customs, although I was slightly concerned there might be an issue with my two year visa.  As it was, the immigration officer scarcely looked at Jan with her UK passport.  I was requested to place my right thumb on the fingerprint scanner to the side of the counter.  It only took a few seconds for the database to match my prints with those taken earlier at the British Consulate in Melbourne and I was cleared to enter.

We had been informed by the aircraft cabin crew that there was an arrivals lounge for First Class passengers which we could use.  As we had arrived at 5:00am and our hire car wasn’t booked until 7:00am we decided to use the arrival lounge.  It had just opened for the day and we were some of the first to arrive.  It has a large number of shower room which we took advantage of. The shower had two large roses and six jet nozzles; all adjustable.


(an amazing array of nozzles in the shower – I just had to take a photo)

We were still feeling hungry (must have been the jet-lag) so we had a second breakfast; this time it was cooked! 

arrival lounge

Part of the Heathrow Terminal 5 Arrival Lounge

At 7:00am I phoned Enterprise to confirm our arrival and request a pick-up.  We were directed to bus stop No 19 and the shuttle bus arrived about 15 minutes later.  The first thing we noticed when walking outside to the shuttle bus stop was how cold it was after Hong Kong.  We quickly delved into our baggage to find our polar fleece tops whilst the locals wandered around in their short sleeved shirts Smile.

Enterprise processed our car rental very quickly and also gave us an upgrade to a slightly larger car.  We were given a Hyundai I20.  It looks the same as the Hyundai I30 in Australia, however it has a 1200cc engine rather than a 1300.  It appears to be just the right size to get around the narrow English country lanes.  We had some difficulty squeezing all our bags into the car.  All I could think of was how much more of a squeeze it would have been if we hadn’t received the complimentary upgrade to the larger vehicle.  Then we launched ourselves onto the poor British motoring public.  The first thing I noticed was the indicator and wiper controls are on the opposite side.  Needless to say; we have a wonderfully clean windscreen and other drivers appear to be giving us plenty of room.  How considerate of them!  At our first break I change the gps voice from Australian Matilda to English Felicity.  Poor Aussie Matilda struggled to pronounce those interesting English place names making it rather difficult to navigate.


Northern Pride said...

Hi both
So pleased you've made it there and successfully entered UK on your 2 year visa, must catch up on email some time about how easy or challening the process was.
Driving in UK is a bit fraught at times, hope you get used to the different controls quickly, v amusing!
Looking forward to reading your blog aboard a narrowboat in the not too distant future ...
Sandra & Barry

Tom and Jan said...

Love to tell you about the challenge of obtaining the visa.

The drivers over here as so polite. They wouldn't last 5 minutes in Australia!