sdate747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 272 posts, RR: 0 Posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16586 times:
This is a trip report from a work related LHR-PHL round trip that I completed literally this morning. My company has a BA Club World booking policy, so out with Star Alliance, I was booked both ways on British Airways in/out of LHR. Unfortunately, the day of my journey to Philadelphia was a very busy one and I wasn’t in the mood to document the trip. However, my flight back to London was on a Saturday night, I was feeling pretty relaxed and eager to do a trip report. Total picture volume is a little lower than I would like, mainly because the flight was pretty full and I felt a little conscious about taking too many snaps.
BA 066 (B777-200) PHL – LHR Seat 14D 7:55 PM – November 6, 2010
I had been in Philly for about 3 days on this trip, the first two were dedicated to work, but on the Friday evening I managed to go out and have a little bit of fun. This is what Philly looked like on my first day there, though weather conditions improved a lot by the time the weekend arrived.
Here are a couple of shots of my dinner and desert at Mercato in Center City. I used to live in Philadelphia before I moved to London and I still miss the BYOB (bring your own bottle) culture and the small restaurants that don’t try and turn your table as fast as possible.
Raw cow’s milk cheese with clover honey and grapes
Hake fish filet on fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus
The thing on the right would be called a ‘warm pud’ here in England
And this is coffee the next day at La Colombe Torrefaction in Center City
Rittenhouse Square with fall leaves
The first BA flight of the day to London from Philadelphia has a fairly late departure time of almost 8 PM. Main reason for this is that if we were to leave any earlier, we’d arrive in London before 6 AM, at which time landing restrictions are still in place. The flight was quite full, presumably with business travelers trying to get to London before the start of the work week. I arrived at the airport at around 4:30 PM, and was the only person in the Club World/First check-in queue. The process was fairly smooth and I was off to the TSA screening area in no time. I found it unusual that the TSA agent made some banter with me while checking my boarding pass and ID, if this is a part of their new screening policy then I welcome the change as there is a lot that can be gathered about a person’s intentions from their demeanor during conversation.
I made my way to the BA lounge which was pretty deserted at the beginning but filled up over time. I was handed a voucher which I could use to have my dinner on the ground. I chose not to take up this option as I really enjoy meal service on the plane, especially when I have time to kill. The lounge has two areas – First and Club World, and within the Club World lounge there’s a sofa area, a restaurant area for early-dining and some tables for doing work. There aren’t really any views out of the lounge but its got loads of glass windows and is very clean, modern and airy. There were lots of snacks available with the most substantial offerings being crudités and mini-sandwiches. I had a Bass Ale and a few Milano cookies and took advantage of the free WiFi to catch up on work.
Sunlight streaming into the lounge through BA’s signature floral pattern motif
View of the lounge
Overview of the refreshments
You’ll notice that most of my pictures are pretty dark – the reason is that on evening flights the BA Club World cabin lighting is dimmed at pushback so people can catch their sleep and the only illumination is the mini LED lamp over the seat’s shoulder.
BA’s menus are printed on nice heavy stock paper and I find the wine descriptions quite fun to read. Took these menu photos the next day, and not on the plane, in case the brick wall in the background wasn’t already a giveaway.
I had already had a glass of champagne during the welcome drinks so I opted for a Whiskey on the rocks for my aperitif. I was listening to Tinie Tempah's "Pass Out" and "Feelin Good" by Faithless around this time and feeling totally deck! Nothing like being utterly relaxed on a plane at 35,000 feet with a drink in hand - this is why we fly, no?
Glenfiddich on the rocks
Roasted, salted cashews and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in this week’s The Economist
Then dinner was served – I opted for the seafood course: Arctic Char with Morels and Potatoes. I really enjoyed the texture of the morels. Also, the salad was amazing, the couscous was drizzled in a Spicy Lemon dressing which tasted great, I need to try and reverse engineer this dressing in my kitchen.
WIth libations, I opted for the Medoc (red) with my dinner, it was good but not great. I had been drinking the Pouilly-Fumee on the outbound flight and that wine was simply amazing.
Somewhere over northern Quebec
After dinner was cleared, I decided to lie down and try and catch about 3 hours of sleep. The Club World seat is simply amazing. The sliding tray table eliminates the awkwardness of having to wait for meals to be cleared in order to get up to use the lavatory. The footrest is the perfect ottoman in seat mode and the padding on the seat prevents any and all pressure points, which I invariably suffer from in other airlines’ business class seats.
Business Traveler Magazine – cover story on Tokyo’s highest hotel bars, must go again!
Finally, around 5:30 AM London time, the cabin lights came on and we were served breakfast. Below is the breakfast offering. They had warm bacon rolls and fruit trays which I opted against as I was still quite stuffed from the dinner. Instead I had the Energizer Drink (back left) which is delicious but tastes oddly like a smoothie my mom makes at home. The rest of the food is pretty standard, yogurt, cranberry muffin and coffee.
We landed about 25 minutes before schedule, mainly because of unusually strong tailwinds. However that time advantage was quickly squandered in the border control hall as I have to stand in the notoriously slow Non U.K./E.U. citizens line, which always takes a long time to clear.
My bag was already on the belt by the time I arrived in the baggage hall, I quickly grabbed it and made my way out to the main hall where a driver was waiting for me with a name card. It was cool to drive through the Chelsea and West Brompton areas in the early morning – Redcliffe Gardens and Edith Grove are such beautiful Edwardian roads, too bad there’s no tube stop nearby. Right by Westminster bridge we caught up with the London Brighton classic car race which had just kicked off with spectators aplenty lining the streets, I think we overtook something that looked like a predecessor to a Model-T, quite cool.
IrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1731 posts, RR: 5 Reply 1, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 16043 times:
Quoting sdate747 (Thread starter): Here are a couple of shots of my dinner and desert at Mercato in Center City.
RIGHT ON THE MONEY! The cheese platter at Mercato is the way to go. I also have fully taken advantage of the BYOs in Philly. I was actually born there, although mostly grew up in Texas, but our family still has strong ties to the city. My younger brother is a freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania (sister also attended there) so Mercato is one of our favorite joints. The restaurant scene is quite good in the City Centre area for sure. I'm planning on making a hop over there sometime soon because I haven't been in over 3 years...
I also love the pictures you took of the city...I definitely have fond memories of Rittenhouse square and some of the hidden charms within the city. I live in Chicago now and there are definitely a lot of similarities...although Philly is smaller (and has a little more East Coast flavor) which I kind of like. Fall in the north is incredible.
TR was great, too - thanks for the post. And yeah, non EU/UK immigration lines do suck.
OP3000 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1678 posts, RR: 2 Reply 2, posted (2 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 15944 times:
Nice trip report.
I live in Philly (in Rittenhouse Sq.precisely), and ironically have not made it out to hang out with the fall foliage yet. The pics do it justice. This was quite an interesting week in terms of the changing weather patterns.
And I have been wanting to go to Mercato for the longest time - those meal shots bring it back to the top of my to-try list.
Quoting sdate747 (Thread starter): The first BA flight of the day to London from Philadelphia has a fairly late departure time of almost 8 PM.
I have done BA's PHL route three or four times, but never on the second flight which typically is a 763.
Any thoughts about the service in Club World? I have generally have had better experiences on this route than other BA long-hauls.
Quoting sdate747 (Thread starter): There aren’t really any views out of the lounge but its got loads of glass windows and is very clean, modern and airy. There were lots of snacks available with the most substantial offerings being crudités and mini-sandwiches.
Although small the designers did a good job of creating space and separation using the glass walls. And comparatively speaking its a huge upgrade over the landside AA Admiral's Club at PHL. Unfortunately for me the BA lounge is open for 3 hours out of the day, so rarely do I get to use it when flying AA.
Quoting sdate747 (Thread starter): I had a Bass Ale and a few Milano cookies and took advantage of the free WiFi to catch up on work.
Did the wifi work at decent speeds? I have never gotten it to be faster than dial-up, even when using their PCs at the lounge.
Next time you are in philly feel free to drop me a line and we can grab a drink.
sdate747 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 272 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (2 years 6 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 12396 times:
Thanks for the comments IrishAyes and OP3000. I'm a UPenn alum myself and have lots of good memories from my time in Philadelphia
Quoting OP3000 (Reply 2): Any thoughts about the service in Club World? I have generally have had better experiences on this route than other BA long-hauls.
I took the 763 on the way out (BA069). The earlier flight is just too early in the day, so this one makes more sense as it is a 5 PM departure. I'll say this.. the cabin is run down as you would imagine (the 1st gen Club World was rolled out around the year 2000). However, the cabin was only partially full, the service was excellent and the entertainment is AVOD, so can't really complain. I found a Hebrew menu in my seat pocket suggesting that the same plane is used on LHR-TLV, which is a shorter run and more fitting of a 1st gen CW cabin.
Quoting OP3000 (Reply 2): Did the wifi work at decent speeds? I have never gotten it to be faster than dial-up, even when using their PCs at the lounge.
The internet was fast indeed.. I was able to log in to my remote desktop so it had to be fast enough
Quoting OP3000 (Reply 2): Next time you are in philly feel free to drop me a line and we can grab a drink.
readytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 2596 posts, RR: 3 Reply 4, posted (2 years 6 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 11311 times:
Really liked that report, good photos and the food looked great. Agree with you about the wine,"I had been drinking the Pouilly-Fumee on the outbound flight and that wine was simply amazing." had some LHR -EWR was wonderful.
"The footrest is the perfect ottoman in seat mode and the padding on the seat prevents any and all pressure points, which I invariably suffer from in other airlines’ business class seats".
Really agree,think the Club World seat is VERY good.
"as I have to stand in the notoriously slow Non U.K./E.U. citizens line, which always takes a long time to clear. "
100% agree, not enough people manning that station in the morning, does not give the best impression of out country apon arrival.
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!