EI162, Class Y
Dublin - London
17 October 2005
Living in Dublin, I need to connect with Aer Lingus to get to Heathrow. Our flight boarded on time, and as usual I had an Irish Breakfast for 7 Euro. The flight was very full, and we arrived in London on time.
BA872, Class D
London - Moscow (Domododevo)
18 October 2005
I caught the first train out of Piccadilly Circus tube station at 5:45am, meaning I was at the airport by 6:30am. Found zone R in Terminal 1 for the higher classes check-in, and did so. There was a five minute wait at the desk however, as a security person has to check the Passports of people going to Russia, and he wasn't around. Eventually, the check-in agent went and got him, which was good of her.
From there, I went to the Terraces Lounge. There was a big queue waiting to get in, however this only lasted a couple of minutes. What can I say about this lounge? It had me absolutely amazed! The blue neon light behind the drinks, the curved bar, the funky colourful furniture... I decided to start drinking and availed myself of a couple of gin & tonics. I also had some food, but the selection wasn't that exciting to me. I'm not a big eater at 6:30am anyway.
I noticed that they had a smoking room. Through the glass I could see - could it be true? - vintage travel posters! I decided that I desperately needed a cigarette and visited the room. The temperature was about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the lounge, but it was worth it for a smoke, and also to see the old BOAC and Imperial Airways travel posters that adorn the walls. A really good space!
Used the Internet, took a photo of the lounge, and then proceeded to board. Club Europe was quite full on this flight, and I took my seat in the lovely British Airways faux leather / vinyl seats. The 767 has very little overhead space, and my bag almost didn't fit. I had to visit the toilet twice before take-off as the lounge alcohol was making its presence felt.
Flight attendants scurried around, and soon we were ready for take-off. The safety demonstration complete, we were in the air after only 15 minutes on the ground at Heathrow.
In-flight service started quite quickly. A Flight Attendant called Kess laid out the tablecloth on my tray, and soon after the first part of the meal was served. It was a fruit plate, with kiwi fruit and what have you, along with a yoghurt with nuts which was for dessert. At the time, I thought, "If this is all we get, it's a pretty poor effort!", but later on we received some kind of flan as the hot addition to our meal.
I was already into the champagne and had finished my first piccolo by the end of the service. Kess asked if I wanted more when collecting the trays, but he forgot until later when he looked at me and went, "Oh!" Happily, he returned with two piccolos, which I proceeded to work my way through.
Tipsily, I made my way to the galley and chatted to a flight attendant who works part time, which means 75% of normal hours. They fill in for other people. She was very nice, and was in the galley as they have to have a crew member in them at all times. After that, I chatted to an Australian expat (like me!) crew member in the galley about several things, including how the crew weren't allowed to layover in Russia due to Visa restrictions, so none of them had seen the country. In the meantime, other crew came through and were asking me if I was crew with an airline as I was so friendly!
Anyway, I sat back down eventually as we were nearing Moscow. A flight attendant came by and said, "Sir, here's the duty free you ordered!" - and of course I didn't order any, but spotted booze in the bag!
Several announcements had taken place saying that they had no English language landing cards, but BA
organised with the airport to have representatives at the jetway when we landed which was pretty good.
We landed on time, and before deplaning I thanked the guy who delivered my "duty free" and proceeded through Passport control and customs with no hassles at all. I checked when I got to the hotel, and my duty free was -
* 1 x White Wine
* 1 x Champagne
* 3 x Mini Gordon's Gin
* 3 x Mini Vodka
* 1 x Mini Tonic Water
* 1 x Mini Soda Water
How happy was I!!! Excellent flight, with an amazing crew. I can't say I've enjoyed myself more on a flight at any other time.
BA879, Class D
St. Petersburg (Pulovko) - London
23 October 2005
I arrived at the airport at midday for my 5:20pm flight. You can't actually go through to check-in until 2 hours before your flight, so I had three hours to kill. I went to the restaurant and had some food, then snoozed for a bit, before being allowed to check-in.
The line for Club Europe was pretty long and a guy came through and told the World Traveller (Economy) passengers to get into the other line. Of course, the people in front of me decided to brave it and I had to wait in line for ten minutes in the end. I was going to complain to the Finnair staff on duty, but thought it was best not to.
After Passport control, I found the Pulovko business lounge. No Internet access, just seats, a smoking area, copious amounts of booze and nibbles. I sat with Ruth and Sebastian, who were hotel executives on their way to Heathrow and we proceeded to chat until...
An announcement, the flight is delayed 45 minutes. We refilled our glasses and continued on. An announcement, we're delayed until 7:30pm. No problems, more booze. An announcement, we're delayed until 9:00pm.
I went to the gate at this point, because I would be missing my connecting Aer Lingus flight back to Dublin, and was advised BA
would make arrangements for me in Heathrow. The plane was on the ground in St. Petersburg, but there was a technical problem. I gave the Finnair rep a hug as she was doing a really good job handling the passengers, who weren't that annoyed really.
By now I was three sheets to the wind after about eight wines, and the Captain and Purser came to the lounge to explain the problems with us. They were having a hydraulic pump replaced and it was taking longer than expected. They were apologetic that no-one had come to the lounge, and they were rewarded with a hug each from me. The Captain was quite surprised!
By 9pm we boarded the aircraft, to be told it would be another 45 to 50 minutes on the plane checking the replacement part before we could leave. I asked if Heathrow would be closed as we'd be arriving after 11pm, but apparently they still accept flights. The Purser came on the PA holding a coat saying someone had left it in the lounge - that had been me. He was quite pleased to find the person so quickly!
From there, I went to the forward galley and chatted to the Purser. The crew had been on duty for twelve hours by this stage, and had been extended at Captain's discretion in order to get the flight home. This was also longer than union rules etc, and the Flight Attendants had all agreed to do this in order for them and us to get home that night. It was all quite informative!
We were in the air sometime after 10pm, and the dinner service was quite nice. I had vegetarian pasta because it looked nicer than the other option, along with champagne. There was bread and a dessert which was some kind of cake thing. It was delicious! I told the Flight Attendant that if he had any left over dinners at the end, I could go another one, and he came back after service with a second helping!
Around this point, I slept some. I was sozzled. Arrived in Heathrow around 11:30pm and went to the transfer desk. I wasn't on the list as I had a separate booking, but was assured I would be rebooked and was given a hotel voucher, breakfast voucher for the next morning, and a return bus ticket.
About twenty of us who had missed connecting flights boarded the bus. A guy came around and realised I didn't have a confirmed flight for the next day, so he took my details and promised I'd be called at the hotel with my onward flight details.
We were bussed to the Premier Travel Inn, checked in, and I went to sleep. I woke 20 minutes later with BA
telling me that I'd been changed from the EI
183 on Sunday 23 October which I had missed, to the EI
155 departing at 9:50am.
Slept for five hours, had breakfast and got the Hotel Hoppa bus to Heathrow.
EI155, Class Y
London - Dublin
24 October 2005
At check-in, the woman tried to direct me to the Aer Lingus Fast Pass as I didn't have anything but carry on luggage and I explained impatiently that I would have used it except I'd been rebooked by BA
since I'd missed my flight the night before.
She grumbled about how BA
never do anything right, checked my booking, said yes, they've stuffed it up, and proceeded to fix it up and get me onto the flight.
Aer Lingus boards from Gate 82-90, which is so far from anywhere in Heathrow. Walked up, and boarded on time, around 9:30am. The flight was full, as had been the previous London to Dublin flight. They actually made an announcement for people to check large hand baggage at the gate as the flight was full! Not so for mine.
Boarded, took off, had another Irish Breakfast (a bit dry) and landed at Dublin about 13 hours after I originally would have arrived. Missed work that day as well.
However, that said, British Airways were really very accommodating, and that was probably because all the passengers took it in their stride that we had a major delay. No-one was angry or shouting and everyone was pretty happy. I think everyone was just happy to get to London, as you generally can't stay in Russia and that would have been a major headache for the airline and the passengers both.
All up, great experiences on the BA
flights, and the usual Aer Lingus experience communting between Dublin and London.
Hope you enjoyed the report!