Heathrow Airport – it’s all gin and Instagram

Somehow, I’ve got myself subscribed to Heathrow Airport’s email newsletter. Goodness knows how that happened – at a guess, it’s probably the price I’ve inadvertently paid for accessing their Wi-Fi while waiting in the shopping mall departure lounge at Terminal 5.

The newsletter (you can see it for yourself here) paints a somewhat peculiar picture of some of the things Heathrow Airport’s marketing “guys” think I might get up to at the airport this month.

Here are some of them:

  • mix my own Marguerite Cocktail (maybe they know what a nervous flyer I am and they think it would be best if I boarded my flight absolutely plastered)
  • win one of ten Plymouth Gin Commissioning Kits (perhaps they think it would be best if I went through my whole life absolutely plastered)
  • share a photo of my airport food on Instagram, for a chance to win a prize (the prize isn’t specified in the newsletter – I’m guessing it’s a course of colonic irrigation to wash out all the toxins from the airport food)
  • join Heathrow Rewards (whatever that is)
  • pre-order airport food and drink using the Heathrow App (do they do a sausage bap and a mug of Bovril?)

Goodness, it all sounds such jolly fun.

Now, I’ll never get a job in an airport marketing department (or any other kind of marketing department come to think of it) because, if I had written this newsletter, I would have written about the kinds of experiences visitors to Heathrow Airport really have.

Like these:

  • get lost driving around Heathrow’s ridiculously complicated and poorly signed road system
  • wait ages for a lift to arrivals/departures (delete as required)
  • get approached by a first-time flyer asking for help (because there are no signs or information boards letting them know the basics of what to do) and offer them well-meaning, but incorrect, advice that almost certainly results in them being arrested for suspected terrorism offences
  • queue for ages for a £3.50 cup of brown battery acid coffee and £2.50 for a cardboard triangle croissant (jam extra)
  • spend 15 minutes trying to find the toilets (the coffee is taking effect)
  • hold your breath while trying to find an unsoiled cubicle
  • ponder where you will put your bag and coat in the one clean cubicle you find, but which doesn’t have a hook, then realise you can use the pile to keep the door shut – because it also has no lock
  • queue for ages for a second £3.50 cup of coffee – you are collecting guests, not flying, and so you don’t want to end-up reeking of gin
  • see that your guests’ flight is delayed by an hour
  • sign-up to use the airport’s Wi-Fi and in so doing inadvertently get duped into willingly volunteer to be sent the Heathrow email newsletter
  • start to feel guilty about that well-meaning but possibly incorrect advice you gave that new flyer
  • meet your guests, who are in a very bad mood because they spent an hour flying in a circle over London and one of their suitcases has gone missing
  • go to the toilet again (you never know, you might get stuck on the M25 on the way home)
  • wait for ages for a lift to the car park
  • pay £18 for a three-hour stay in short-stay parking
  • take 15 minutes to find your car
  • get lost again driving around Heathrow’s ridiculously complicated and poorly signed road system.

Okay, so it’s not as exciting as reading about gin and Instagram, but at least it’s real life. I wonder why “the guys” at Heathrow’s marketing department didn’t write about that?

Now, where’s that unsubscribe link?

John is the founder of Userfication.

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