104F (40C) is much, much worse in the UK than the US.

I can say that with authority as I started yesterday in London and ended in Los Angeles, and both had heat that high.

Aside from it being a dry heat in LA, everything is air conditioned. We have this heat thing DOWN, windows open early, use the whole house fan to drain the attic of hot air then close it all back up. Ah, comfort, and the air isn’t even on yet, and it’s arrival is delayed a couple hours.

In London, I propped a fan up in the windows to try to capture cool morning air. Semi-successful, not great.

But the English houses are designed to TRAP heat, not release it. And I don’t know that I’ve ever MET anyone with a home air conditioner in England. I know a few folks in Arizona who have a backup system so if one goes down, they’re okay.

However, the Marks & Spencer Food Hall (snooty grocery) down the street from our flat is kept so cold, the staff wear matching puffer jackets. I talked to a clerk last weekend – I gather the store had an over abundance of employees volunteering to work this week, labor shortage be damned.

As our time ran out, we headed back to Heathrow. A few warnings if you’ll be there soon-ish:

We made it to Heathrow with exactly three hours to go. First we lined up for check in (a line, but not hideous as it was for Business/Premium Economy). Then we hiked to the other end of the terminal to join the line for security.

They wouldn’t let us use the lifts because we didn’t have a pram or wheelchair. Sadly, Granny (my mother) was opposed to the wheelchair idea and she wasn’t about to go through the fast track business class lane without us. She said I could ride and she’d carry my stuff if I wanted, but no way was she being wheeled.

However, given the wait for wheelchairs, I’m not convinced that would’ve been any faster.

The line through security was crazy long. It snakes through the terminal, downstairs and up, back and forth, back and forth. (Beloved’s comment: the distance we walked, we could’ve been halfway home by the time we got on the aircraft.).

The start of the line… looks mild to temper the shock of what lay beyond. Eight back and forths before you were permitted to ride the escalator… where the real lines began.

To try to look on the bright side, we were sweating so profusely we didn’t need the loo, but people were hopping out of line to buy drinks and food.

In early July LHR capped the daily travelers at 100,000 people and they’re all in this line, overwhelming the air conditioning, which has all the strength of a peeing grasshopper.

The masks weren’t helping with breathing in this humid heat, so less than 10%, as far as I can tell, were wearing them. Packed in together, sweaty as all get out, a rainbow of nationalities, it is a Petri dish of innumerable COVID strains.

What frustrated me most are the people who arrived later than the minimum three hours and were being pulled out of line to jump the queue so they can make their flight, making our wait that much longer.

We made it on the flight with 25 minutes to spare, 2.5 hours after we arrived.


Get there five hours ahead and bring snacks and drinks. You can dump the fluids just before you enter security, so DO NOT do as I did and tip your water bottle dry before entering the building.

When I switched my phone off of airplane mode in LA, I got a text message from the Utah Department of Health, which said I’d been exposed to COVID. What the hell??

Okay, I haven’t been to UT in at least three years – since before the pandemic. I can only see one of two explanations for this:

1. Utah is scanning the phones, even in airplane mode, of the airplanes flying over their airspace, then notifying the other passengers if someone has a positive test or

2. More likely (especially since Beloved didn’t get this Big Brother-style message):

I’m registered in LA County’s Department of Health notification system. If I come within six feet of someone on the same system who has COVID, an alert should come up.

I’m guessing there’s a reciprocal agreement between health departments so if someone is traveling but has tested positive back home, the local department will pick it up and notify their counterpart, who contacts the healthy registrant.

Yeah. I’m shocked I only got one such notice.

I’ve been testing daily while on vacation – too much fun stuff and people to see to risk spreading germs. Tested again this morning, still good. My cousin and I have been trading shots of COVID tests, like so many pregnancy test kits (“still negative, how about you?”)

A good vacation on the whole, but I’ll be glad when COVID dies down.

One thought on “104F (40C) is much, much worse in the UK than the US.

  1. I am of the firm opinion that getting to the airport later than the suggested minimum time before departure is not sufficient reason to allow someone to jump the queue. A night in the airport hoping to get on standby the next day should be a reminder to get there on time next time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s