Route: LHR - EWR
Airline: British Airways
Flight No: BA 0185
Photo © Kjc Photography
Photo © Red-Phoenix AirPics
Seat No: 11K
Date: 30th March 2005
Scheduled Departure Time: 08.55
Actual Departure Time: 09.30
Scheduled Arrival Time: 10.30
Actual Arrival Time: 10.40
We had waited for 6 months for our trip to New York, and it was FINALLY here. We left my house at 5am on the morning of the flight, and we drove around the extremely foggy M25, to get to LHR’s Terminal 4 at 5.45am. We went over to the First Class Check-In (was allowed to for reasons I won’t go into), and we were told that we had been pre-upgraded to Club World (there is a reason for this, but again, I won‘t go into it)!! This also meant that we could go through Fast Track Security and go into the Terraces Lounge. So after checking in there my friend and I went through Fast Track Security with two huge grins on our faces Here is a picture of my boarding pass:
It says here seat 11J but I swapped seats with my friend so I could be next to the window
Security was very quick (being fast track I guess this makes sense ). After security we went to Dixons Tax Free (I wanted to get something), but it was closed at the time, so we waited outside for a few minutes, did everything I needed to do there, and then we started to walk to the Terraces Lounge. Whilst we were walking there, we were talking about how much cash we had, and then I remembered that I was supposed to pick up some pre-ordered cash from the landside Travelex. I shouted out “OH BO***CKS!!”, as I didn’t think it would be possible to get the money, as we were now airside. I went to an information desk, told them I forgot to collect some money, and they said that I was not able to go back to the landside area. I went over to the airside Travelex, and luckily they said that they would bring it over for me! I was so relieved!
After all this was sorted out, we then went to the lounge. We showed the BA staff our boarding passes, and then we were allowed into the lounge. I did feel a bit out of place at first, as if I shouldn’t be there. But we went over and sat down by the window, taking a look around on the way. After sitting down and settling in, we were wondering whether or not the food and drink are the counters were for “free” (included into price) or not. After seeing people going up and helping themselves, we followed suit and went and grabbed a drink or 6. From the window we had a view of a BA Airbus 321, 747, and we saw a QF 747 come to a gate next to the window. Here is a picture from the lounge:
Here is a picture of the bar:
Here is picture of some of the lounge:
We spent about an hour or so in the lounge, during which we sat in some very comfortable chairs, watching people come and go, drinking free drinks, and watching the outside world getting lighter. There were several calls for boarding of flights, on of which were very memorable!… “Ladies and gentlemen, flight BA (xxx) to Paris will soon be ready for boarding at gate 3,497,465 (can‘t remember actual number). As the gate is almost as far as Paris, please make your way there now, so that the there are no delays to this flight. Thank You”. After this, we ourselves decided to make a move to gate 23, which is where our aircraft was located. On the way out, I checked with the customer service agent if we were getting Club on the way back, and unfortuantely we weren't...oh well I wasn't upset.............. The walk to the gate was quite long. It took us about 10-15 minutes to get to the gate. We got to the gate at about 7.45am, and there were already quite a few people there waiting to board. We waited around there for about 25 minutes or so, and gradually more people came, waiting to board. We started boarding at about 8.10am. We originally joined the queue for general boarding, but then we saw that there was a “Fast Track” queue for First, Club World, Gold, and Silver Executive Club members. We joined this queue, but it wasn’t that quick. I handed them my passport and boarding pass, and they spent ages looking at something, and for some reason they had to re-print my boarding pass. I didn’t bother asking why. After this we went down some stairs and had to get onto a bus, which would take us to our aircraft, G-VIIV, which was on a stand. The bus ride was about 2 minutes or so. After this, we went up the stairs and onto the aircraft, where there was the usual greeting by 2 cabin crew members at the door.
Our seats were close to the door, and so we didn’t need to walk down to the back of the aircraft. As soon as we sat down, we were offered champagne, or orange juice, or simply water. I opted for the champagne, which was nice After about 20 minutes or so, everybody was on board. The doors were shut at about 8.45am, and we pushed back at 8.50am. When we pushed back, I saw a KLM 767 which had just landed, waiting to carry on taxi-ing, but it couldn’t as we were in the way . For some reason we just stood there for about 15 minutes. After waiting there, we taxied to runway 9R, where we had to wait in a queue to take off. There were quite a few aircraft on both sides of the runway, waiting to take off. From what I can remember there was a BMI Fokker 100, 2 BA A319s, an EK A330, an LH A321 and a BA 767 . The weather was foggy and it was raining. It was so foggy that from my seat, you couldn’t see the end of the runway. We finally took off at 9.25am.
As I was in a backwards seat, I of course had a backwards take off……weird! Instead of being thrown back, I was thrown forward (like you would do on landing). The 777’s engines sounded kind of “electric” (sorry for the crap description). Full power was applied, and we powered down the runway and then into the low cloud (and into the rain) . We were in the cloud for about 3 to 4 minutes, after which we broke through to a clear blue sky. I love it when you come out of the clouds and you are zooming past them and ascending at the same time. I find it weird to think that something so big can move so quickly. About 10 minutes later or so, the menus (!!) were handed out for lunch. Here is a picture of the menu:
Sorry for the poor quality, but this was taken with my camcorder, not my normal camera.
Here is what we had a choice of:
Chilled orange juice
An energising fruit smoothie of mango and passion fruit
Fresh fruit appetiser
Ballottine of salmon with herb crème fraîche
A selection of warm breads and breakfast pastries
Grilled fillet of beef, scrambled eggs, rösti potatoes, tomato and mushrooms
Poached haddock with chive butter sauce and baby vegetables
Three cheese tortellini with wild creamy pesto sauce
Marinated corn-fed chicken and Mediterranean vegetable salad with lemon tarragon dressing
Warm fruit scone with clotted cream and strawberry preserve
Moist ginger cake
It makes me laugh at how posh it was explained, it wasn't just orange juice, it was chilled orange juice!
I think we were given around 30 minutes or so to decided what we wanted. During this time, the in-flight entertainment was switched on, and the Well Being video was shown. For those who don't know what this is, this is a video on how to feel healthy during flight and after you land. I have never really taken any of the advice given, mainly because I can never be ar*ed.
When the crew came round and took orders, I requested the "Marinated corn-fed chicken and Mediterranean vegetable salad with lemon tarragon dressing". After this I started to watch a film, Toy Story 2 . I am a fan of the classic kid's films, I guess I grew up with them. It was about 25 minutes until the food order was taken, that the starter was served up, which was the "Ballottine of salmon with herb crème fraîche". Here is a picture of it:
Hmmmm....now what have we here, china plates, real napkins, food which is actually laid out...wow . Now normally I HATE fish ! But this was actually very nice! The food was chilled, and so this helped with the flavour, I guess. It took me about 20 minutes or so to eat it, as I wanted to seat it slowly, so I could appreciate it whilst I had it
After I had this, I started to watch the film Speed. It was amazing how modified the film was, taking out all swear words and good parts of the film (I can of course understand why they took out the explosion of the bus and the aircraft at the end). Phrases like "you f*ck!" were replaced with a badly said "you fool!", and "sh*t" was "shoot!". My friend and I just laughed the whole way through that film, because some of the adapated voices were done so badly! By the way, here is a view of the wing:
And the HUGE engine:
Here is a picture of the cabin:
Whilst watching the film, the crew came around and collected all the plates, and whilst this was being done, the seat belt sign was switched on. We hit tubulence quite a few times over the Atlantic, especially when coming up to the Eastern coast of Canada, and over Newfoundland. Recentely on most flights, the seat belts signs have been switched on quite regularly. Maybe a pilot or meteorologist can answer this...is the air in our atmosphere getting 'rougher' (as it were)?
Not much happened after the film. I started playing games with the remote in the arm rest:
Here are two pictures of the seat:
It felt quite strange being on an aircraft, laying down, playing games! I have only ever dreamt of being able to do this, and my 'dream' had come true.
The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. As we flew over Canada, I could just see mountanous ground and some snow. Here is a picture of the map and flight details:
Towards the end, the crew offered us the scones, as mentioned on the menu. If I am honest, I didn't really like these, they tasted kinda too rich. By this time we were about 30 minutes from landing, and the crew started to prepare the cabin for landing. As we approached the New York area, I could just see the pollution...like any big city I guess. New York City was on the starboard (right) side of the aircraft, and so were we, and so therefore we had an excellent view of the city whilst on approach. You could see all the landmarks... the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building etc. Whilst on very short finals, I could also see an Ikea, and I was immediately reminded of a trip report written by A340600, where he also mentioned he saw an Ikea on approach.
Landing was smooth, and the reverse thrusters were used until we exited the runway. The reverse thrust wasn't as loud as I thought it may be. After coming off the runway, I could see a lot of building work going on. We taxi-ied for about 3-4 minutes, and we approached the gate very slowly. Being at the front of the cabin, we didn't have to wait very long at all to get off of the aircraft. I grabbed my stuff, and got off after about a minute or so. Once we exited the aircraft, we made our way to immigration.
For anyone who has read my previous trip report, where the destination has been the US, you may remember that I don't have a very high opinion of the US immigration officers. Immigration this time round was just the same, without the weird questions (last time I was asked if my parents knew I was in the US). There were only 2 immigration officers for the whole of the Non-US citizen queue. The queue became very long, but there were still only 2 officers. We were very lucky that we were able to get off of the aircraft quickly, as we only had to wait around 15 minutes. If we were at the back of the queue, I think it would have taken about an hour or so to be seen to. A photograph of myself and my fingerprints were taken, I was asked my occupation, what I was doing in the US, how long I was gonna be there for, and then I was let go.
We then walked to the baggage hall, and luckily my suitcase was already there, but my friend's wasn't. We had to wait around 5 minutes for his suitcase to come out. I then went for a pee, made our way through customs, out the exit, and then on to the train station to get the train to New York Penn station.
Well that's it. I hope you enjoyed my report. I know it is a little mixed up and random at times, and I do apologise about that, but nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed it. My opinion on BA Club....very good If only I had the money to fly Club, or even First, every time I go somewhere
I will post a seperate trip report for the return leg of this trip, from JFK-LHR in World Traveller. Keep your eyes open for it!
On another note, I'd just like to thank WindowSeat for a great day out on the Saturday (2nd April)!! Thanks Vik, was a great laugh!!
On another side note, I didn't know that there was a Concorde in New York, it was quite a surprise when I saw it!!
(Picture taken from a helicopter, not during the approach to EWR)
[Edited 2005-04-15 23:21:17]