Because back when I used to wing it (har har), I’ve had way too many chaotic experiences:
CASE ONE: I almost missed a flight because I could not, for the life of me, find my passport which was tucked in my handbag all along.
LESSON LEARNED: Organisation is key, unless you’ve lost your keys.
CASE TWO: I almost missed a flight to Singapore when my carry-on was picked for further security checks with about 10 minutes to run to the gates before they closed. I was about to cry, “But I am not a dodgy drug trafficker!”
LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes, nice guys really do come last.
CASE THREE: I almost missed a flight to London when my flight was delayed and I ended up dilly-dallying in the airport.
LESSON LEARNED: Head in the clouds, feet on the ground, eyes on the clock.
CASE FOUR: I missed a flight to the Philippines because I spent so much time saying farewell and didn’t realise queues at security checks were bonkers. I had to call my friend to pick me up (who was already halfway home) and keep me for another day.
LESSON LEARNED: Goodbyes don’t hurt as much as losing time with people you were meant to say “Hello!” to.
Since missing the flight, I’ve made a conscious effort to be at the airport at least two to three hours before flight time. Nevermind waiting, planes don’t wait for you!
I think two hours is plenty of time (three if it’s peak hours) – to check in, spend time with people sending you off, get into security checks, look into Duty Free shopping (if you need anything), or have a quick bite or cuppa before flying out. I don’t know about you but I love airports and travelling really perks me up. My excitement bursts out and exploration starts the minute I step beyond passport control.
That said, having heaps of time to kill also means plenty of time to unwind and prepare for flights – especially long haul ones! And it’s definitely an advantage to have access to airport lounges where you can chill out in peace.
The Aspire Lounge and Spa has just opened in London Heathrow Terminal 5 last month and it’s quite ace.
Membership to the Executive Lounges (£260 a year) entitles you and a friend unlimited access to selected Servisair, Swissport and Aspire lounges (there’s a list here). But Aspire in T5 is a new pay-for lounge concept, allowing everyone to have a bit of pampering before travel irrespective of your flight class and airline.
Services and facilities in Aspire T5 include unlimited chow and pow from a quintessential British food menu complemented by an extensive drinks menu; bespoke resting pods (where you can recline and relax in private!); the all-important free WiFi; working desks with international charging points and ports (READ: GOODBYE ADAPTORS!); guest showers; and of course, the spa!
I hope they get to have gate announcements in the lounge, too though… because ironically, we were having so much fun sipping our bubbles that we forgot about time. #THEIRONY. We actually had to run to the gates and just about made it to the bus that took us to our plane. #OOPS.
The Aspire Lounge at T5 is really a nice place to chill before your flights. The staff are extremely helpful and service was top notch. You can book your stay online prior to your flights and soon, you can book your spa treatments, too. Whatever the reason for your flights, it’s definitely a cool spot to start your travels.