Hello! This is Michelle, daughter #3. Dad invited me to guest blog about our trip to London.
We chose London for a few reasons. I work for a subsidiary of American Airlines. American has a robust route network at London Heathrow airport, flying directly to quite a few U.S. cities. As employees, we travel standby on a space available basis. Lots of flights means many chances to find an empty seat. Another reason we chose London is because I’ve been there before. It was about 15 years ago, but at least I had a head start on my bearings. (top pic. is St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England – pic. from Bill Steffen).

Bill at the Kent Co. Airport – Early Monday AM Oct. 24, 2022

Dad likes to take the first flight of the day to maximize his time at the destination. I tell him that’s okay if he promises to hurry home from work and sleep the night before. When I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to drive to the airport, Mom spilled the beans that he hadn’t gone to bed all night. He said something about staying late to track storm at work. Okay, he can sleep on the plane.

Our first flight takes us in the opposite direction – from Grand Rapids to Chicago. With the time change, it’s a 5-minute flight!

Dad loves having a window seat on an airplane. Each boarding pass I hand him, the first question is, “15F/9C/24E…is that a window?” It depends on the type of plane, so it isn’t always obvious. We shuffled our seats around so that he could have the window on both flights.

We’re a few hours into our flight to London, and they’ve already done the meal service. Is Dad getting any shuteye? No. He’s staring out the window. ” I see Montreal”, he says. My fault for facilitating the whole window seat thing. He looked out the window and watched the flight map the entire 8-hour flight. By the time we arrived in London at 10:45 p.m., he had been up for about 28 hours.

Convenience is the top factor in our trip planning. So, we chose the Holiday Inn Express at London Heathrow airport. That meant we didn’t have to get across town at a late hour when we arrived, and we didn’t have to get across town at an early hour when we departed. Instead, we had a long commute on the subway – known as “the tube” in London – each day that we went sightseeing. The first night, we made our way to the hotel via a free train transfer and a 10-minute walk. The room was quiet and comfortable. For the first time in a day and a half, Dad went to bed. We agreed to get a late start with a 10 a.m. breakfast the next day.

To be continued….