Arriving In London With Nowhere To Go
We got our flight from Capetown back to London. We had left the heat for freezing cold. It was very strange to be sweating one moment and then get off a plane to see your breath the next.
We had a long eleven hour flight. It went well though. We saw some really neat views of the Sahara desert below. The sand has all kinds of interesting patterns. We also saw the Niger river meandering along for miles into the distance.
Our flight was delayed and we got into Heathrow a bit later than expected at 8pm. We had not pre booked a hotel to stay at. We wanted to try to get a flight out that night to some other destination. There were only a few selections of airlines at the terminal we landed in. Most of the flights had finished for the evening. We could have gone to terminal 3, but it was quite a distance and would require getting the shuttle and taking all our luggage with us. We were not sure we would be able to get a flight from there either.
We decided to use a hotel reservation desk in the airport to get a room for the night. This city is so darn expensive, you forget how bad it is until you’re here again. The only thing we could manage to get without traveling hours away from the airport was a guest house. It was about a 15 minute drive away. It was 60 pounds which is very reasonable for here. That still works out to about $132 Canadian. Then our choice was to go through the hassle of finding out which tube to catch to the hotel and lug the bags with us for about a cost of 6 pounds each, or use the guest house pick up for 18 pounds. Ugggh, another $39 Canadian. We just paid it and got it over with. We didn’t plan very well and were only in t-shirts. We had to give the guy picking us up a description so he could recognize us outside of the terminal entrance. He laughed as I said we would be the only idiots out there in t-shirts. Our coats were buried in the midst of our backpacks.
Travel Agents In England Can’t Print Airline Tickets????
We got some sleep and then asked the guest house to keep our bags in the office so we could go check out some travel agencies. Luckily there were a bunch of them just up the road. We ran into some problems. The travel agencies do not work the same as North America. They can not print out airline tickets. They can only sell them to you for flights about 3 days ahead. Then the tickets get sent to them. They are not trained or authorized to print out tickets. Seems weird that they couldn’t just sell them and have us pick them up at the airport. They did say we could go to one of the discount flight only places, they apparently could print out tickets right there. The travel agents here are not trained or authorized to do a lot of things. They can sell you a ticket, but can not look up or offer any advice on whether you need a visa or passport for a particular country. Very strange, I’m not actually sure what their job entails.
The Trick To Buying One Way Tickets
We shopped around a bit, but ended up phoning a few airlines directly to get some quotes. We got Qatar airlines to hold tickets for a flight leaving that evening to Bangkok. We only wanted to buy a one way ticket. We didn’t know how long we would want to spend in Thailand or where we want to go next. It is a big hassle to buy one way tickets.
We got our luggage and took the tube back to Heathrow. When we got to the Qatar ticket counter they refused to sell us the one way ticket. They said we had to buy an ongoing ticket out of Bangkok prior to purchasing the tickets to Bangkok, then they could sell us the one way flight.
We went to the next counter over which was Singapore airlines. The lady there was nice enough to understand what we were doing. The airlines obviously go through this all the time. She sold us a one way ticket from Bangkok to Singapore. It is fully refundable. It is basically just a formality to show the customs in Thailand when we enter the country. What a crazy system. The stupid thing is that when we went through customs they didn’t even ask to see the ongoing ticket or comment about the one way ticket at all. Maybe they know about it somehow through our passport, we don’t know.