Last week I had the pleasure of doing a behind-the-scenes tour of the London City Airport, which prides itself on being the only airport actually located in London. (Fly into Heathrow and take the hour-long tube ride into the city and you understand that distinction.)
My tour of London City Airport started at 5:30 a.m. on a ride-along with the team that makes sure the 11,000+ runway lights are working and that there is no debris on the runway before declaring the airport open for the day’s traffic.
Other stops on the tour included a visit the air traffic control tower, where I was both reassured and a wee bit unnerved to learn that, if all electrical power goes out, the air traffic controllers would revert to using the old-style colored tiles – kept in a bin under the table – to manage traffic.
I had the opportunity to watch the airport fire department set – and then dowse – a fire, and then got my first ride in a fire truck.
But inside the terminal I found a few treasures.
The airport’s clientele is mostly business travelers, so the airport offers free Wi-Fi and complimentary shoeshines.
And in one of the restaurants, the decor included these adorable derby-shaped light fixtures.
(My day at the airport was hosted by the airport. They bought me breakfast and arranged for a night at the Aloft London Excel, which had a very lively lobby scene at 4:30 in the morning.)