Well first of all this is my first trip report, so I hope its all ok. I went to SFO last August but I didn’t join airliners.net until after that, so I didn’t have all the pictures and info that I really wanted. Now that I have, I’m going to have a stab at my first one. (By the way, I’m going back to SFO in March where I will be doing a PROPER trip report!) This was to be a Club World return flight redeemed by BA air miles.
So it all started off by spending a night in the famous Heathrow Renaissance. Getting two rooms for £99 wasn’t bad, especially airfield facing so this would be a night I wouldn’t forget! (or would sleep much!)
I arrived at about 2pm with my parents and we were off to a great start. We couldn’t check in to the hotel because apparently all of Heathrow had lost electricity!! All computers were down….great. So after an hour of sitting there doing nothing, someone had an amazing idea to check people in with paper and not computers! Wow, someone needed that brainy thought about an hour ago! So we ‘checked in’ and then had to go to concierge to get them to open the room. We couldn’t have the ‘credit card’ keys, the machines that do them need power. So the first room we went to was a non-smoking room, which someone had smoked in and the cleaners had not cleaned AT ALL! All the bed covers were everywhere, and the view of the runway wasn’t the best!!!! So we changed rooms after going back down to the reception to solve something. This room was amazing! Great views of Runway 27R and the sun started to shine!
View from the room
A selection of planes taken from the room landing 27R
A nice surprise, Virgin Nigeria A340
I had a bit of dinner that night..well I didn’t want to leave the room so I got my parents to bring me up a McDonalds!!
So I hardly slept that night. The last flight left at about 23:30 and I got up at about 5:30 so I didn’t get much sleep!
So I got up the next morning, did my last minute packing and went to T1. Since I was flying Club World I managed to check in at Zone R. The previous day I had checked in online, which I believed was amazing; really efficient! So I got to Zone R and went straight to the Fast Bag drop. I had chosen 62K the day before, as I knew this was a great seat! I got my 62K and then £30 of food vouchers. Yep..this was the time when Gate Gourmet were striking and we got hardly any food…more to come.
I checked in and went through the special Premium traveller’s security and passport control. This was painless…the only bad bit of it was that it led into the back of the duty free shop! I went to the Terraces Lounge and had a bit of breakfast. Luckily they had some Cornflakes and milk! Nothing else!!! I spent about an hour in there, it surprised me how small I thought it was. It was soooo crowded in there, I could hardly move around. So I then went to the gate, which I knew would be at the Europier, gates 50-56 about. There were about 4 B747’s there. One going to LAX (BA279, the one Wrighbrothers went on!!) one going to SFO (BA285) another going to LAX (BA283) and one that arrived from JNB late.
I got bored, so I decided to take a pic of my boarding card!
Anyone got any idea of what the V/C written on my boarding card meant??!?
Friday 19th August 2005
London Heathrow LHR - San Francisco International SFO
ETD : 10:50 ETA : 13:35
Actual Departure: 11:17 Actual Arrival : 13:22
Aircraft Type: Boeing 747-400
Registration: - G-CIVD
Distance: - 5369 miles
FIRST CLASS Seat: - 3K read on!!
Photo © Manas Barooah
Photo © Steve Dreier
So boarding eventually started and I got to the Fast Track boarding isle. I was about the second person to be served there. I gave my boarding card to the agent and she put it in the machine. *Beep beep beep* oh great…all I need. So she took it out and typed a load on the computer, and about a minute later she scrubbed out ‘62K’ and wrote something else. Disappointed that I didn’t have 62K anymore, I asked “So has my seat changed then??!?” The agent handed back my boarding card and went “Yep..first class upgrade”. My jaw nearly fell to the ground. Looking at my boarding card, I had seat 3K. I couldn’t believe it!??! :D:D
So I got to my seat on G-CIVD and took a few snaps. Sorry for the quality!! I was virtually shaking!
A bit of leg room and the blanket and quilt.
Just after sitting down, the purser literally pounced on me!! “Good morning sir, would you care for a drink” Then she went on to explain that she only had coca-cola, tea, coffee or water. I chose a tea, and it turned up in a paper cup. Glamorous eh!!? When she came back, I asked her whether I could quickly telephone my dad to tell him the news about the upgrade. (he was at the visitors centre and was going to take a pic of my plane departing). I asked whether I could use my mobile and the purser said “Oh of course sir, please do. Only refrain from using it when the engines are started”. Why she couldn’t just say ‘Yes’ is something else!!! So I phoned up my dad and told him the news and was gob smacked!! He’d travelled on a full fare Club ticket before in a suit and never had been upgraded. This time his son on a redeemed ticket in trainers got there no problem!!!
The engines soon started and we were off!
I got a few shots from the window of my taxi to 27R.
Late aircraft from JNB
G-CIVY plane with all the signatures
So this is the visitors centre at LHR. In the middle slightly to the right you can see an umbrella! Yes..they’re my parents!! I managed to fit them between the trees, it was hard all moving about!!
So this is my dad’s attempt! It was a lot easier, as it appear to him that I was going at a decent speed past him.
Yes that’s right…he took it with the trees in the way of the First cabin!!!!
Bit later on Runway 27R
So here are a few pictures of the flight mainly the seat and shots taken from the window.
First seat fully flat..Sorry about the darkness
My new boarding card!!!!!
First class headphones…very nice. They cut out a lot of the sound of the cabin. Really good.
A view somewhere
Hmmmm an airfield in the US. Any offers anyone??!!
Another Window view
Another USA view
So just after going across Ireland, I’d normally expect to start to smell the food, and maybe have menus.
There wasn’t one…..
End of menu!
So this was the First Class meal that I got. This was the ONLY food I got on this flight. I had bought some croissants and drinks in the terminal and had those after I attempted to eat this: -
Double Cheese and Red Onion Roll
Really horrible dried fruit, which was like gravel
So after my scrumptious meal I decided to watch some films. Luckily ‘Hitch’ was showing so that kept me entertained for a couple of hours. I then went to sleep for a bit to test my ‘bed’. This was more comfortable than I expected, and the actual pillow was also really good. After a few hours sleep we began our decent into SFO.
As we established for 28L, there was an American West A320 on 28R as well.
American West A320
After that, the San Mateo Bridge was visible from a few miles out.
We landed 28L at 13:22 and taxied round to the International Terminal on the ‘A’ side, instead of the ‘G’ side. We arrived at stand A4, just as I thought we would and after about a 30 seconds of arriving at the stand, the Club/First air bridge was already attached and the door starting to open. I disembarked pretty quickly and it was only a short walk to the customs and passport control etc. That was a breeze and about 10 minutes later my bags arrived. I was in SFO airport for about 20 minutes from stepping off the plane to leaving the terminal!!
So on my trip home I was hoping I could finally go business class upstairs, something I’ve always wanted to do! I checked in online the day before and made sure I got a decent seat upstairs. 62A wasn’t available, but 64A was. This was another great seat, as it meant that I didn’t have to climb over anyone to get out to the aisle.
Monday 29th August 2005
San Francisco International SFO - London Heathrow LHR
ETD : 16:45 ETA : 11:00
Actual Departure: 17:13 Actual Arrival : 10:29
Aircraft Type: Boeing 747-400
Registration: - G-CIVT
Distance: - 5369 miles
Club World Seat: - 64A
Photo © Jason Whitebird
Photo © Ian Haskell
I checked in at the Fast Bag drop at SFO where I got given a 10$ voucher for food since BA were only offering “a small premium meal”. After I went through security, I found a pizza restaurant at the end of the terminal where I had a decent meal. It was better than the thing I had on the way out!!
As I was sitting at the end of to terminal, I saw the inbound BA285 landing 28L and taxing around to A4.
So after I finished up the pizza, I did a bit of shopping and headed off to the BA Terrace Lounge at SFO. This was between gates A4 and A6, where the two BA flights go from. I took a few pics of the lounge and the view out of the window.
Bar area later covered with finger sandwiches!!
Korean Air B777 at gate A6
View of G-CIVT before I got on.
So we started to board about 16:25 thought the main entrance of the Lounge. I took the air bridge for Club World and First which was totally empty, the WT and WTP one was totally blocked!! After boarding the aircraft I got to my seat upstairs.
View from my seat
We taxied out for about 15 minutes and then arrived at the threshold of 28L. This would be the moment where I would experience a backwards take off! This was actually pretty good; I made sure my belt was tight! After about an hour of being in the air, we didn’t get any menus, but we had the choice of Beef, Chicken or Pasta. I went with the beef and then about 10 mins later I got the main tray of my meal.
This consisted of a Salmon Mousse thing, Bread Roll, Water, Small Salad, Cheese and Biscuits, Chocolates and a plum pie thing. This was really nice, very tasty. I then got the main meal of the dinner. This was pretty awful.
Beef ‘steak’, Asparagus and Carrots
The meal was terrible, it would have been better if the Asparagus and carrots were cooked! They were rock hard that I believed they weren't. After dinner ended, there was nothing on TV, so I decided to try to sleep a bit. Just before I moved my seat the vertical position, I took a few pics: -
I went to sleep and then woke up just before Ireland. This was about 6 hours and it was the longest I had ever slept on a plane!! The flat seat did help and I was hardly disturbed at all.
As soon as I woke up, a cabin crewmember pounced on me and offered me Breakfast. This was alright, not the best but it was adequate. (ish…)
Croissant which might as well had been used as a door stop,
Bagel with a salmon slice
Strawberry Banana Yogurt
I took one last photo after I had my breakfast and then refreshed myself before landing LHR.
I had to take a photo of this as I thought this was great. Look where Stansted is! Just for the people who don’t know, it’s about 100 miles too far south and should be above London!
We didn’t have any holding time in Bovingdon which I was kinda disappointed!! I live directly under that hold so I wanted time to see if I could see my house! I saw my town but didn’t have enough time to see all the roads! We descended again and finally established 09L. We landed at 10:29 and taxied to stand 134, terminal 1.
Well that’s it. I really hope you liked it and I’m sorry about the images and the quality. I didn’t expect to do a trip report on this, so I didn’t take any specific photos. I’m going back to SFO in March where I will do a proper trip report. This was just tester report!!!
Keep all the great reports coming everyone,