Free shoeshines at dapper London City Airport

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.)

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