a group of people on a blue carpet
LONDON, UK: Her Majesty The Queen meets British Airways colleagues at Waterside on 23 May 2019 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

It’s been weird being “God Save The Points” this week.

I never thought I’d ever need to reflect on the name, because her majesty seemed like someone who would just carry on forever. In many ways, she will.

My little tongue and cheek play on words has a different feeling now. And it was all the more meaningful to me yesterday, flying through London Heathrow during the state funeral.

I was able to observe Heathrow as I’d never seen it before, and in a way which I’ve only seen it during a once in a lifetime (we hope) global health crisis. Here’s what stood out to me the most.

a man in white and a woman in white and a hat walking down a plane

Just About Everything Was Closed

No retail, that’s for sure. The Gucci, Paul Smith, YSL and every other major brand in the airport was closed for the day in honor of her Majesty. The only things that remained open were what one could call “essentials”, for the most part, like food and pharmacy units.

The only other time I’d ever experienced Heathrow in such a way, was in May of 2020, when I flew through T2. At the time, it was totally unfathomable, and to see it that way again, albeit with quite a few more people, was remarkably unique.

Two Minutes Of Silence

Can an airport fall silent? You’re damn right it can, almost! Multiple announcements were made prior to the circa 12PM two minutes of silence and I was frankly shocked at how well it went.

The moment was announced and everything stopped. Yes, the big mega terminals with busses and catering trucks and many thousands of people fell silent. Almost.

There’s always one, but everyone around suddenly went into a pin drop silence. No one moving at all, except one lone American guy who carried on making himself a G&T with tongs and a very loud ice caddy and glass. He eventually looked up and noticed what was going on.

I couldn’t notably see any movement on the ground and I just found it absolutely wild to be in such a formidable, huge and booming loud place where not a sound was being made. It’s a moment I’ll remember forever.

I also was moved by just how many people had gathered around the televisions in the airport to watch along. People were gathering in ways that only a crisis, or profound moment allows.

a group of people on a blue carpet
LONDON, UK: Her Majesty The Queen meets British Airways colleagues at Waterside on 23 May 2019 (Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

Even Catering Wasn’t Working

The flight crew on my United Airlines flight to Newark informed the cabin that they’d “round trip” catered, due to all the closures and issues at Heathrow.

Yep, our meals had been “cooked” some significant amount of time before our flight, and flown over from the US the night before. They enjoyed a nice long rest in an airline trolley overnight. Yum? Anyway. It just shows what this meant to many in the UK.

A Moment In Time

How another monarch could ever leave such a legacy is a question beyond me. I’m not particularly royal obsessed, or even deeply interested in any way, but the respect and admiration for her Majesty, The Queen was remarkable.

I didn’t expect to feel anything as I passed through Heathrow Airport, but I certainly did. God Save The King.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. what a clown show. sorry she seemed like a nice lady but the spotlight and adoration is over now. the uk is rich and powerful off of the slaves of their past colonies why celebrate the crown like the nazis or imperial japan

  2. Show some respect. Horrible comment and totally unrecognising of her late majesty’s contributions across the world.

    Glad it was one of the biggest global TV audiences of all time estimated at 4 billion. That is not far off half the planet.

    God save the King.

  3. @AyL … your comment is derogatory and not needed. The Queen was admired and cherished by countless millions around the world. She was an honest, caring, and hard working woman who did wonders for the UK and numerous nations across the globe. She has been my Queen all my life (i am 52) and this is a tragic loss to the people of Britain. Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth.. you will be sorely missed. 😢

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