London, part 2

A little over 2 weeks ago, I ventured across the pond to London on my own to take my citizenship test, towards gaining dual citizenship between the US/UK. (Side note, I failed by one question 💀 I needed 18/24 to pass, and only got 17/24 right.)

Instead of going nonstop from Charlotte, I decided I would cross Lufthansa off my list, and get to London with a brief connection in Munich.

The flight across to Munich was my first time on an A350, so naturally I had to geek out for a few minutes and visit the flight deck of my bird, D-AIXN.

It was a ridiculously low-visibility approach pretty much the whole way into Munich. I think we broke out of dense fog a few hundred feet above the runway, as far as tail-cam perspective goes.

I had to catch the people mover from the satellite terminal 2 to the main Terminal 2 at MUC, which thankfully I’d given myself plenty of time in connection (2hr 40min), so I was in no rush to make my connection. What I was, was hungry. Breakfast was severely lackluster, consisting of only a small blueberry muffin and an assorted fruit cup. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting a buffet of food, but something with a bit more protein would’ve been nice, even a reheated sausage biscuit would’ve gone further in sustenance. Dinner the night before was fantastic though, so food wasn’t a total wash.

I managed to sleep worse on this long-haul flight than on Delta almost two years prior, so I spent most of the short-haul flight asleep, waking up on approach into Heathrow. We landed on Runway 9L in quite sunny weather. After deplaning, I entered the immigration hall, which was a ghost town for 1:00pm in the afternoon, 8am Eastern time. I was through passport control in less than 5 minutes, if even half of that thanks to the E-gates, which a US passport allows one to use. Bags were out maybe 5 minutes after I’d cleared passport control, and I proceeded through the “nothing to declare” zone of UK Customs.

After a lengthy walk through the labyrinth of hallways that is Heathrow, I eventually made it to the Elizabeth line, which would take me to Terminal 4, where my hotel for the next 6 nights awaited me after a quick lift ride and a short walk through a tunnel connecting three hotels and Terminal 4.

I ended up getting a room on the 4th floor of the Holiday Inn Express Heathrow T4 (the same hotel I stayed in almost 2 years ago) which meant the airside portion of T4 was a major obstruction in my view of the ramp.

Thankfully, departures were flowing off of Runway 9R all but the last day I was there, so I was able to get a lot of spotting done in spite of the obstruction. Some of the better photos are below:

After 6 fun filled days in London (and the West Midlands, to see family for a short time), it was time to come back to the States for a short while, until next time. I was up at 0545am and checked out of my hotel by 0630am after a small hotel breakfast.

I eventually reached T2, dubbed “The Queen’s Terminal” after an equally long walk back as I had done coming in, got my bag checked in and tagged, and went through security, which was not horribly busy at all. Only had to remove my laptop from my bag.

I went and grabbed breakfast at a particular American-based coffee chain before heading over to my gate to catch my flight back to Munich. The flight was uneventful, save for it being an absolutely soaking morning in London.

I had about half the connection time in Munich coming back as I did going out, so I had to put a little more pep in my step to ensure I’d make the people mover back to the H gates, where my A350 back to Charlotte, which also happened to be the oldest in the fleet, was waiting for me. We actually used 2 H gates to board, and pushed back pretty much on time. The flight over was also uneventful, and we got in nearly a full hour early. Unfortunately, this meant we were put in the penalty box for a short time, as our gate, Gate D12, was occupied.

Out of curiosity, I started a stopwatch from the second I deplaned to the time I got in my ride home. It took nearly an hour to deplane, clear US immigration, get my bag, and get in my ride. Guess which one took the longest?

If you said clearing immigration, you were right. My best guess is that there were, including me, 150-200 people needing to clear immigration at the same time. The immigration agent handed me a white slip of paper that I had to turn into a pair of immigration agents waiting a bit further down the hall beyond baggage claim. After that, I was home free.

I’m tentatively planning on returning to take another stab at my citizenship test sometime in September of this year, after I earn a bit more money to afford the itinerary I want to take next time, which looks like this:

CLT-RDU-IAD-MUC-LHR-BHX-FRA-IAD-RDU-CLT, IAD-MUC on the A380 and FRA-IAD on the A340-600.

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Those are some really nice photos despite you failing your test. You’ll get the dual citizenship eventually I believe in you you’re practically there as it is.

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when I become of age, I plan to go to Germany or The Netherlands, whether I can get dual citizenship is one thing🤷

Nice shots! That A380 looks great.