28 January 2006
BA 283 - 11:55am
LHR - LAX
I arrived in London around 8am from Dublin, and after collecting my luggage proceeded to check-in zone R. Had a friendly chat with the guy at the desk while I was checked in, being told that Club and Economy were both oversold, which is why he couldn't change my seat. I breezed through security and went to the Terraces Lounge.
As usual, I decided to start drinking, so it was a Gin & Tonic to start the day. I also used the Internet to catch up on things, and then remembered the Molton Brown Travel Spa. After a moment, I realised where it was and popped in to make a booking and scored 10am.
Another drink, some more Internet, and off I went for my massage. A cute little Asian lady took me to a treatment room, and I received a voucher for their New York store ($10). I whipped off my shirt, and then twenty minutes of back massage happened. It was lovely and I felt excellent when it was all done!
I treated myself to another drink, and soon it was time to board. I was in a backwards facing seat on the upper deck and was wondering how I would feel travelling backwards for the first time. The flight attendant took my coat, and I had a champagne. They also brought me water, which was good as I was well oiled by this stage.
Soon we were informed of a delay. A passenger back in cattle class had become sick, and that person and two others decided to get off. This meant we had to wait while the baggage was removed from the aircraft. We ended up departing about 45 minutes late, but were assured we'd make up some of this while in the air. During the delay I filled out my US landing cards.
We took off, and I enjoyed facing backwards. It wasn't at all strange! Once in the air, we were given our menus - and another drink! No-one was seated beside me, despite being told about the overbooking, so I had a visit from one of the pilots on a break at one point. I didn't attempt to speak to him as the privacy screen was up and staying there.
For lunch, I had the Ballottine of Salmon with Herb Creme Fraiche, followed by a main course of Pan-Seared Fillet of Beef with Cracked Black Pepper Sauce and Potatoes Dauphinoise. I will have to say right now that the beef dish was the single best airline meal I have had - ever. Absolutely delicious and perfect in every way! I asked the flight attendant what she was having for her crew meal and she didn't know, so I recommended the Club beef. It was that surprising! For dessert, I had a Mango and Passion Fruit Parfait. Nice.
IFE had been switched on, so I played some Tetris for a while, and then flicked through the television selection. As there is no AVOD, I'd already missed the beginning of most things, so I decided to settle down for a nap.
The bed is flat, and I have to say I'll take flat over angled any day. That said, it still wasn't all that comfortable and the rushing noise of the air over the plane kept me awake, so I only napped. The blankets were soft and the pillow was fine.
The seat is quite good actually! The foot rest is convenient - the only gripe I had was with the Belgian guy in front of me - he kept looking at me. I also didn't have a lot of room to step over him on my frequent visits to the bathroom (shouldn't have drank so much in the lounge!). Still, only a minor issue really. During my nap a flight attendant had left me a bottle of water on the little drinks tray!
Later in the flight, I decided to raid the larder, and scoffed down three half sandwiches. One was smoked salmon and soft cheese half bloomer, one was a turkey, dijonnaise and apricot half bap, and the last one was a chicken salad half bloomer.
I watched some of the movie Bullitt with Steve McQueen, and bits of other programs. Actually, I was quite bored. I spoke to a flight attendant for about 15 minutes, and eventually the time passed and everyone woke up - just in time for the next meal which were sandwiches. It was half kippered salmon with horseradish creme fraiche and free range mayonnaise with cress, and half grilled Mediterranean vegetables with cream cheese and gammon ham with tomato. For dessert, we had moist ginger cake.
By now I was bursting at the seams and we descended and landed. I wasn't aware that the engines had to be turned off on arrival in LAX, and a tow truck pulls you into the gate. That was unusual! Deplaned and headed off for immigration.
This was fairly quick - I was fingerprinted - left index, right index, and a photo was taken. I was asked where Sydney was in Australia - east or west coast, what I did for work in Ireland, why I was in America, and to show him my itinerary for the rest of my trip. It was all a bit hardcore! After that, he asked if I had eaten crumpets before, and I said yes and told him how. I think he'd been to Australia, who knows. A lot of questions, but I was allowed in. From there I found a phone, called my friend, was picked up and whisked to Long Beach to stay on the Queen Mary.
Overall, the BA Club World experience was excellent! The attention they show to you on the ground is second to none. I think other airlines could take a leaf out of their book in regards to the Molton Brown Travel Spa as it's an excellent thing to have. The lounge is amazing and has plenty of computers. In the air, I couldn't fault the airline either. The pilots kept us well informed, the flight attendants were attentive and nice (if a bit distant), and the food was scrumptious! Especially that beef!
Would I do it again? Absolutely!