A Week at the Airport – A Heathrow Diary

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

In between philosophising about everything from work, religion, sex and art to philosophy Alain de Botton also hung out at British Airway’s Terminal 5 for a week to watch what goes on. He was accompanied by photographer Richard Baker. It’s subtitled A Heathrow Diary.

A Week at the AirportIt’s a slim volume, I’m a bit of a technical geek so there are lots of airport questions I’d have been asking if I had a week to kill and access to everywhere. Do they time how long it takes bags to get from hold to carousel and worry if it’s too slow? Do the First Class bags always come quicker than the Economy ones? How much longer does a non-European Union citizen have to stand in line at immigration compared to an EU one? What happens when an aircraft arrives at its gate and finds another aircraft still there? How much of the airport economy is down to Duty Free shopping? What happens if an aircraft does turn up over Heathrow after the night time curfew? Do far more aircraft come in over London (disturbing everybody) than over Windsor (disturbing the Queen if she happened to be in residence)?


Trivia alert – Alain and I have the same birthday. So does America’s Cup winner John Bertrand who took the cup away from the USA after 132 years with Alan Bond’s yacht Australia II. Bertrand and I have the same birth year as well, de Botton is 23 years younger.