Ip dip sky blue where will the departures board take you?

As I write this article, a look at departures from Heathrow Terminal 5 has me in the next four flights mentally travelling to Paris, Shanghai, Edinburgh or San Francisco. The list seems endless as do the adventures and sights that those destinations suggest. The departure lounge, and plane beyond a portal to places encapsulated in references from song lyrics and films. Shanghai Express, Old Fashioned Departure BoardMidnight in Paris or Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay.

Picture of a Dart Herald

My first flight, a family summer holiday was from Bournemouth to Guernsey in a Dart Herald, less than an hour, but an hour that cemented a lifelong love for travel and flying. Ratting over the Australian outback the pilot come luggage loader come flight attendant pulling the curtain back from cabin to cockpit waving plastic bags by way of instruction to the toilet facilities. But don’t worry he says if you need a proper dunny there’s a porta-loo out back with the luggage, but rather you didn’t so I don’t have to empty it later. British Airways A380 Heathrow to San Francisco, relaxing in an armchair with a lovely glass of red in one hand whilst the arctic ice slips by at 600mph 40,000 feet below. All adventures and all fascinating.

Of course, air travel is not always relaxing. The necessity of process that allows you to travel safely from one place to another will cause you to spend time, to queue, and maybe even acquiesce to personal scrutiny. But then a process that must cope with tens of thousands of travellers, with their individual demands and with the wider demands of society can only ever work by being a rigid formula.

My Monday lunchtime journey into Heathrow Terminal 5 today took me no more than 15 minutes, from getting out of the taxi to sitting drink in hand waiting to board. I think that is astonishing, a fast food lunch takes longer and has far less security to worry about.

Romance isn’t dead and neither is the romance of flying. The world is there to be enjoyed, the people and cultures at the other end of the departure board destinations to be embraced and learnt from. Perhaps soon an airline will be offering to fly me to the moon, but in the meantime, I’m going to close my eyes point at the departure board and go there. I hope its sunny.

A departure sign at Heathrow Terminal 5








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