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- Tried & Tested
Here are my tips, from experience of trying to make a longer word out of “Life jacket under your seat” than the last time, to lessen the chance of a home win in this common airborne premiership fixture.
The time from boarding to levelling out and the sign being switched off can be significant, so go easy on the liquids beforehand (easier said than done especially if delayed) and if the flight has allocated seating, board as late in the gate queue as possible. From Heathrow this is even longer in easterly operations where runway 09R is used, especially from T1 and T4 – it’s almost out to the M25 J14. Should be better from T5 at least, although it in turn will be further from the prevailing 27L and R runways in westerly operations. So be warned!
Another aspect of departure from London airports, especially Heathrow, is the number of turns / complex SIDs which mean a longer time to levelling out and that vital release switch being operated up front. I once had to attempt 50 minutes of mind over matter from pushback to levelling out on a T1 > 09R departure – and that was in perfect weather conditions.
International aviation law dictates that the mandatory one or more bouts of clear air turbulence per flight (no matter how short the cruise and calm the conditions) will occur just after the refill of coffee has reached that part of the urinary tract. Actually being in the standing queue for the toilet may just qualify you to use it, as opposed to still being in your seat thinking of joining the crowd. A bit like earning the advantage in rugby union because you were going forward at the time. If the queue is 10 deep then possibly not such a strong negotiating position.
Approach and landing
Same principles really. 10 minutes to landing usually means something around double that. Watch out for landing ahead of schedule – invariably means an occupied stand, no buses, no ground staff etc etc. Landing on Heathrow 27L to T1 can take a significant proportion of the flight time. And the toilets in the terminal are never in the same place they were the last time…