In the 80s and 90s I flew into London several times a year. I usually had a hotel booked in Kensington or even Croydon, so it was taxi time. There were, however, those occasional times where I needed to stay at an airport hotel and it was fairly easy to step outside the terminal and wait for the Hilton bus or the Radisson bus or whatever. They ran quite frequently.

Then in the late 90s after a pause in travel, here I am again in London booked into an airport hotel. And there I stood outside the terminal waiting for the Holiday Inn bus but it never comes. I keep seeing all these drab buses picking up people for the “Hoppa Hotel,” an interestingly-named hotel that I’d never heard of. After about 20 minutes waiting in the morning cold and seeing no buses for any hotel exept the Hoppa, I flag down a taxi.

During the hotel check-in process I mention my long wait at the airport and ask how often their bus make its circuit. After a smothered chuckle, the clerk politely informed me that the BAA (British Airports Authority) had shut down licensing for hotel buses and now required everyone to ride their own buses, called Hotel Hoppa buses, because they “hop” from one hotel to the next.  Weird. Another guest was checking in next to me and offered that those BAA buses were unreliable and each one served a dozen hotels, so you never knew when you’d arrive at the airport. I heard similar (and less favorable) stories from breakfast diners the next morning.

And so the English language continues its free-fall into the sewers.  Hoppa indeed.