hell at heathrow's doors
Huddled under cover a young woman approached me: "Didn't you see the news this morning? They were planning to bomb 10 airplanes. They've caught most of the suspects but they're still looking for a few."
I buttoned my jacket tighter, and watched as security ran around frantically, trying to organize flights and the people outside.
It has been said to be the most ambitious terror plot since September 11th, and there I was, gripping my suitcase, watching the effect of it.
While most European flights were cancelled, our British Airways flight to Vancouver was eventually called and we were let in the airport.
Inside I began to get shivers up and down my spine. These lasted for the three hours we were there. Men stood around with guns as we were told we could bring nothing but our passports and wallets on board.
We shoved our laptops into our suitcases and prayed they would make it, and were handed small clear plastic bags for our belongings.
No liquids were allowed, no lip gloss, no gum, none of the ammenities I usually bring aboard. In this kind of circumstance, we understood the cutbacks and obliged without complaint.
"This was intended to be mass murder on an unimaginable scale," said Paul Stephenson, Scotland Yard's deputy commissioner.
Images of Heathrow airport flashed across TV screens. Suddenly the terrorist attacks and wars I've distanced myself from for so long felt very real. It was probably the reality check I needed.
I worried about my friend flying to Amsterdam that day from Heathrow, as his flight would be cancelled, and he was to fly to India out of Amsterdam in a couple of days.
We walked around Duty Free with blank expressions. No one would be buying booze, or any other liquid, to take home with them today. Passengers huddled around TV screens and watched the news: reality TV at its best.
Outside on the runway there was little movement. No inbound flights were allowed to come into Heathrow, and dark clouds formed over the airplanes, the stillness somehow unsettling.
After a delay of around two hours we finally boarded our flight. Comforted by the knowledge that we were flying to Canada, one of the safer destination points, my shivers eventually died off.
We arrived in Vancouver, and after some extra security measures were finally released, finally home, and thank god, safe as well.