Arrival in Europe: London

Arrival in Europe: London

(Join Tales Told From The Road on a  month-long virtual European journey.)

Heathrow Plane Landing

Stop #1 on our jaunt across Europe is London.

But why London? Why not Oslo, Paris, or Berlin?

Here’s why.

On-Time Arrival

Odd are good that if you live near a major U.S. city you’ll be able to fly non-stop to London.

And I love non-stop flights, especially to Europe.

By flying non-stop you are giving an airline only one chance to lose your bags, or cancel or delay your flight. If you have to change planes either you or your luggage may miss your connecting flight which is not how you want to kick-off your vacation.

And non-stop flying time to London from U.S. airports is probably less than to any other European city. If, like me, you are flying from the West Coast, shaving even an hour off the time spent in that airborne tin tube is worth it.

Flying in Style

Want to fly in Business of First Class, but don’t have “The Readies” (as the British sometimes call money) to pay for a ticket in the classy classes?

The U.S. airport that you are flying out of could have more non-stop flights per day to London than to other European cities. More flights means more competition for those travelers able to pay big bucks to fly “up front,” giving you a better chance of cashing in your “Frequent Flier, Frequent Buyer” miles for that cushy lie-flat bed seat.

Jet Lag Be Gone, Serenity Hello!

Getting off a plane and chilling out for a couple of days on arrival and before putting the pedal to the metal and romping around Europe makes a lot of sense.

But why do so in London, one of the world’s most populated cities?

Simple.

Despite it’s size, I’ve found London to be a surprisingly serene city and a great place to spend two days to unwind and get over jet lag.

London Collage

Hang out in Hyde Park, tour Buckingham Palace if the Queen is in Scotland, see a museum or two, hoist one in a pub, and you’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to hit the tourist trail.

English Spoken Here!

While learning even a few phrases (Good day! Thank you! Were is the bathroom?) of a European language can help you when you are on the Continent, it will take a while for your brain to arrive in the same time zone as your body after flying LondonLookLeftWithScooter.jpgacross the Atlantic, let alone engage in speaking in foreign tongues.

But even though the English do speak our common language a bit strangely at times, you should have no trouble at all communicating with the “locals” in London.

And since they drive “on the wrong side of the street,” Londoners have kindly painted “Look Left” in English at street crossings so we Yanks will look for traffic coming from the opposite direction than in the U.S. and not get run over.

Back on Your Horse

London is one to two hours non-stop flying time to many European cities. So just hop in a cab, on a train, or hire a car and driver and head to one of the city’s airports to continue your cross-Europe journey.

Hate flying? Not a problem. Just board the Eurostar under-the-English-Channel train and sip champagne while on your way to Brussels or Paris.

Eurostar-2009-Ride.jpg

(Enjoy the weekend in London. On Monday we’ll leave it behind and head east.)

(Click here to read more stories about the month-long Tales Told From The Road virtual trip across Europe.)

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2 Replies to “Arrival in Europe: London”

  1. We like London but its taxes and fees (on its carrier BA) have all but removed it from our consideration. They are almost always much higher than Lufthansa, Air France, Delta, KLM so we now are hooked on non-stops to Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris from Seattle — we’ve opted for them over jolly ol’ England.

    1. Thanks for the tip on which airlines to fly on from the U.S. to Europe, Jackie.

      On my last two trips I’ve flown in (and back from) London on United since it had two of the four flights a day from San Francisco to London and I was able to cash in my “miles” to fly in Business or First Class.

      I just checked economy airfares from San Francisco to London in October on Kayak.com and found that seats on Virgin Atlantic/Delta, British Airways, United/Lufthansa were all within $3 of each other ($1,123-$1,126).

      For the same dates, San Francisco to Amsterdam on KLM was $1,303, nearly $200 higher.

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