First some basic details:
Departure Date: 17th MAY 2004
Aircraft: 747-41R G-VAST.
Checked in about 15:45 to give plenty of time for the security queues (I was not to be dissapointed !). Allocated a seat on the side near the bar (pretty good so far!). Went across to the food court to get a snack and then to go through security. Lines at concourse E huge. We were then ordered by a TSA individual to go to concourse D where the lines were shorter( big lie!) as the line we were in would take 1 1/2 hours to get through (big lie#2!).
All checks completed we went straight to the gate as time was getting on. A quick look out the window by our gate (E8) produced nothing of any particular interest except for AA's b737 "retrojet" taxying past.
Decided to board and quickly got settled into my suite. First impressions were extremely positive. This seat is far more comfortable than the old J2000 seats with far more personal space. The seat is quite complex but I quickly had myself in a nice reclined position, something you are now able to do for takeoff and landing. There are also a number of lights, cubby-holes, and storage areas which combine to make IMHO probably the best seat in the sky in terms of passenger comfort and ergonomic appeal (please feel free to shoot me down in flames for that one if you feel the need ).
Doors closed and pushback completed on time, we lumbered along for a fairly quick taxy to what was 09L (maybe someone can advise me if this designation has changed in anticipation of the new runway, which I thought I saw a B727 land on but could be wrong?). No line for takeoff so we commenced a rolling takeoff straight from the holding point. We were airborn as swiftly as can be expected from a fully laden, 360 tonne B747 and proceeded out on an easterly course over downtown Miami and south beach before easing back to climb power and making a gentle turn towards the northeast. Our route today takes us out to sea and then following a line parallel with the eastern seaboard, before commencing our oceanic crossing south of st.Johns, making land over cornwall and following the south coast of England up to London.
I won't bore you with the meal service, suffice to say it was excellent. After the food I settled in for a nights rest (hopefully!). This is where the new bed comes into it's own. At the touch of a button the suite flips over to convert into a fully flat bed. The crew then fit a mattress cover, duvet and pillow and even a hot water bottle!.
I finished watching my movie (monster - very good) and basically fell straight to sleep for four hours. The design of the seat means that you get an incredible amount of room for your upper body - far more that the width of the seat. This makes it far more easy to get into a comfortable position and thus I slept very soundly, instead of the more fitfull dose I normally encounter when flying.
By the time I woke we were near southampton. After a short hold south of LHR we turned north towards central london. We lined up with 27R over the london eye and made a graceful approach into LHR. With superb visibility and no wind we made a "greaser" of a landing and swiftly taxied to stand 340 where I was almost sorry to leave the comfort of my seat. I am due to fly to LAX next week, hopefully in the new suite, so we shall soon be re-united!!
Hope you liked my first trip report.