Before we proceed to the decidedly more fun aspect of planning out sightseeing activities, the practical elements (i.e. transportation and accommodation) must be considered. These two components will make up the bulk of the budget required by the trip, and thus, will be addressed before we send anyone off. Again, assumptions will have to be made: the numbers in this post are from December 10, 2013.
We will use Air Canada as our means of getting to Heathrow International Airport (LHR) from Toronto’s Lester B Pearson Airport (YYZ). The choice is relatively simple, primarily because this trip is starting in Canada and (for purposes of amusement) the fact that Air Canada is briefly shown in a scene in the movie. The flight to London will be AC868, which departs Toronto at 0915 EST on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 and will arrive in London at 2030 GMT. For the return trip, flight AC859 was selected, which departs London on Friday, March 29 at 1800 GMT and arrives in Toronto at 2210 EST. A trip in this configuration in the economy class, will cost 11787.72 CAD in total (2946.93 CAD per person) and include in-flight meals. The aircraft that will be used in this flight is a Boeing 767, a mid-size, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner for shorter intercontinental flights. The girls in the movie took a Boeing 777, the world’s largest twinjet and has a capacity of over 300 passengers, with a range of 9,695 to 17,370 km, depending on model.
- Heathrow is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world (as of 2012) in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe.
- The girls in the movie wield English in an amusing manner when the customs official asks what the purpose of thier visit is. For the record, it’s not ‘side business’, but ‘sightseeing’; the former sounds like some MI6 code and could raise a few eyebrows.
In keeping with the events of the movie, our travellers will be staying at the Hotel Ibis at Earl’s Court (its address is 47 Lillie Road London, Earls Court, around 22.53 kilometres from Heathrow Airport). While the Houkago Teatime Girls probably did not make their reservations 20 days prior to their trip, we will: using the Happy 20 rate, we will book two rooms, which will come to a total of 386.74 CAD per room, or 193.37 CAD per person, for the two nights. This set-up does not include breakfast, as we will allow the travellers to explore the local restaurants.
- In the movie, Mio seemingly misplaces her baggage, prompting Yui to say “Yes, she is no pantsu!” While realism would preclude the transport of instruments in non-rigid body containers, the movie is nonetheless fictional. Our travellers will eschew the guitars and travel light.
- On average, the flight to London England is around seven and a half hours from Toronto. iPods have enough battery life to make the entire journey, although it is important to leave them off when the aircraft is taking off and landing. Of course, the antics the girls pull off in the movie would probably be less amusing in real life, hence the need for a heck of a lot of music.
Getting from the airport to the hotel
Conventional transportation would be vastly more economic, costing around 4.00 GBP (6.34 CAD) to get from Heathrow to Earl’s Court via the London Underground on the Piccadilly line. An airport taxi would cost roughly 54.00 GBP (85.61 CAD; 21.41 CAD per person) from the Airport, while rates on the Black Cabs the girls took would require around 83.00 GBP (131.58 CAD, 32.90 CAD per person). If I were carrying this trip out myself, the airport taxi would probably be the most economic, although to replicate the same events as seen in the movie, we will need to shell out a little extra. For the purposes of discussion, although uneconomic, we will use the Black Cab service for both trips to and from the Heathrow Airport, which would require a total of 65.80 CAD per person for both journeys.
- KyoAni scores big points for accurately depicting the Hotel Ibis, Earl’s Court in nearly perfect detail. The rooms depicted in the movie are reasonably accurate.
- Earls Court is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It is an inner-London district centred on Earl’s Court Road and surrounding streets, located 3.1 miles (5 km) west south-west of Charing Cross. Located around five kilometres from Westminster, this is where the girls will see a number of sights.
Known formally as Hackney carriages, these taxicabs licensed by the Public Carriage Office in Greater London or by the local authority (non-metropolitan district councils or unitary authorities) in other parts of Great Britain, or by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland. The name is thought to have originated from the anglicised derivative of French haquenée—a horse of medium size recommended for lady riders; however, current opinion is that it is derived from the village name Hackney (now part of London)
The London Pass
Each of the four travellers will have purchased a London Pass, a sightseeing package that allows holders to make the most out of their trip, saving them both time and money. It confers free entry to your choice of over 60 popular attractions, tours, sights and museums, the ability to negate queues at various selected attractions to save time and unlimited use of the mass transit system. A three day pass costs 91.60 GBP (146.12 CAD), and remains active for three days after it is first used. The day is defined as a calendar day: for instance, using the pass for the first time at 1600 on Monday means Monday is counted as day one of your pass usage. To maximise usage, the pass should be activated as soon as possible.
- The London Underground (often shortened to the Underground) is a rapid transit system in the United Kingdom, serving a large part of Greater London and some parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. We’re going to go with the London Pass to save time, not necessarily money on transportation and viewing some of the attractions. A map of the system may be accessed here.
- The girls in K-On! use the London Underground to go from London City to Earl’s Court. In Skyfall, 007 pursues Silvia through the Tube before the latter detonates a bomb that collapses a section of the subway.
We have thus far considered all of the essentials with respect to transportation and accommodations. Assuming we follow the events done by the girls in the movie, minus errors that will accidentally lead to us getting dropped off at the Ibis London City and resulting in an increased charge, the total cost of essentials for each individual participating will be 3352.22 CAD. This is the bulk of where the expenses are headed, and with the practical aspects considered, it is time to turn our attention towards the sightseeing portion of the trip.