Between 2007 and 2011 I traveled to UK (for work) 5 times. I went through London Heathrow thrice and Manchester twice. From London I would then travel to Oxford. And from Manchester my destination has been Lancaster. I actually liked Oxford City a lot. I would spend sometime in London as well but I am not a big city person, I never have been. If I have to choose between Oxford and Lancaster Oxford is special for me.
All my flights to Manchester have been via Dubai with Emirates. There is no direct flight between Delhi and Manchester so we fly via Dubai. While this means I get a lot more time to watch back to back movies I do arrive very tired these days. When I said this to someone they told me that was because I was getting old. Well, they have a point!
On the other hand Delhi London flights were direct, gave me ample opportunity to watch movies and didn’t leave me that tired. I have been on British Airways, Virgin and Jet Airways and all were fine. I am actually a big fan of international flights as I can drink a glass of wine and watch movies. While watching movies I try not even to blink but sometimes the wine defeats me and I do doze off.
But when it comes to the immigration experience Manchester beats Heathrow any day. I understand that Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world and the volume that they handle is staggering. But even then, the queues are daunting and the behavior of the staff unpredictable. I remember one visit where the lady seemed to be miffed about something. It was not a pleasant experience. I did not say the customary thank you at the end of it. She found no reason to stop me in the end.
On the other hand Manchester is a breeze. The staff is courteous and they seem to be more willing to smile at least in the end.
So even though I miss Oxford but if I have a choice of landing between Manchester and London I would pick up Manchester for its immigration experience.