Well, it was time once again to head down to the fantastic island of Barbados for the 4th time in 4 years. The last time I had travelled here had been for my honeymoon last September and as this holiday was going to be the last one for a while, we decided to stay at the same hotel as we had the September before.
The trip would start on 27th November with a short flight NCL
on BA1327. We had packed the evening before so we had allowed ourselves a little longer in bed this morning. Getting out of bed I headed downstairs and made a cup of coffee and finished packing my hand lugagge making sure that I had everything together.
Around 1045 my wifes niece turned up to take us to the airport which is around a 20 minute drive. NCL
was freezing this morning and I was looking forward to the sunnier climes of the Caribbean. We said our thank you's and good-byes to the niece and made our way inside to check-in. Normally there are huge queues at the check-in desk because people need to use the self-service machines but this morning there was nothing, not one person. I made the BA
(swissport) representative aware that I was on standby and walked through to the desk.
I handed both mine and my wifes work ID
's to the check in agent, put the bags on the baggage belt and the guy behind the desk handed me back the ID
's and one boarding card for myself. I thought nothing of it, thanked him and started to walk away until my wife then stated, Lee, he's only given us one boarding card and she was right, he had. I made my way back to the desk and made him aware of the situation. He looked at me as if Id asked him for the winning lottery numbers
Eventually he understood what had happened and we had our other boarding card issued. We made our way upstairs to security and were quite taken back at the queue. After about 25 minutes we got to the front of the queue and headed through to the departure lounge.
First stop, the bar. I thought this was going to be a cheap round as my wife is 5months pregnant and cant drink but oh no, a coffee was more expensive than a pint of beer. Not good. My wife found some seats looking over the tarmac and we settled down to watch the planes, well I did, she started to read the paper.
Time was getting on and boarding had already started by the time we got to gate 3. In fact we were one of the last people on the aircraft and what an aircraft.
Flight No.: BA1327 NCL
Welcomed onboard in the usual jolly fashion we were directed to our seats ( 12AB). I took our hand luggage and stowed it in the overhead locker. I climbed into my window seat with the wife sitting next to me and the aisle seat was free. The flight was delayed due to some ATC restriction in NCL
and we had to wait at the gate for another 10 minutes or so. Finally we pushed back, the engines started and then we heard the noise of the hydraulics being tested. I don%u2019t know why but the hydraulics on the A320-100 make a crazy noise and its sounds like a dog barking IMO.
The aircraft taxied along past the new tower at NCL
and towards the business end of runway 25.
We waited for an Easyjet 737 to land and then we entered the runway lining up in the centre. Power was applied and we started our take-off run. We were airborne in approximately 20 seconds and made a steep climb out headed on our way to LHR
It was a pretty smooth flight and we were served with the All-day Deli service that BA
offer. It consisted of a Tuna sandwich, a chicken tikka sandwich and a breakawy choclate biscuit. I opted for a gin and tonic to go with my lunch, why not, I am on holiday after all. There wasnt much to see out of the window as we were at 23,000 ft and werent that much higher than the clouds. We started our decent and were eventually put into the holding pattern. The FO came on the tannoy to advise that we were to go around the hold x2 and we should be on the ground in around 10 minutes time.
Eventually we headed towards LHR
and landed on 27R on a very dull rainy day. A short taxi later and we were at gate 78 where we would disembark.
It was just as I was getting out of my seat that I turned around to see who the person was that hadnt shut up for the whole flight. To my surprise it turned out to be Wayne Hemmingway the designer and founder of Red or Dead clothes.
We left the aircraft and I thanked the crew, as I always make a point of doing, for their service and we headed towards the baggage carousel. Once I had picked up our bags we went to the lifts to make our way to the Central Bus Station. From here we would purchase out tickets and catch the Speedlink coach to LGW
The bus driver here was very funny and made funny remarks about how miserable some of the other passengers were. Probably the happiest chap Ive seen driving the bus between the 2 airports
The journey took about 1 hour 15 minutes due to heavy traffic and the terrible weather. Once we reached the North Terminal we went to the hotel to check-in. We were staying at the Sofitel which is attached to the North terminal by a short covered walkway. We got a room that looked towards the terminal and they had been redesigned since the last time I had stayed here.
The room after we had made a mess of it
Car Park in front of North terminal
That evening we ate in the hotel and then went back to the room to get an early night as we were up early the next morning. Just as we got back to the room I realised that the Champions League ( soccer tournament) was on that night and so made some excuses to the wife and headed towards the bar.
The bar in the Sofitel is of a Japanese design and wasnt too expensive really at £3.00 a pint. Ive actually paid more than this in some of my local pubs.
After sinking five or six pints of Kirin (beautiful Japanese lager) I made my way back to the room and ready for a good night sleep.
The alarm went off at 0630 and I crawled into the shower, got ready, as did the wife and then it was time for breakfast. Breakfast was included in our stay and its always a great offering at the Sofitel. I had a full english breakfast plus croissants and coffee and juices and it wasnt long before I'd had my fill.
Our flight was at 1000 and even though we were on standby I wanted to get to the sby desk with some time to spare, so we headed back ot the room to pick up our cases and then proceeded to check-out.
The standby desk wasnt to busy and we were second in line to be sen to. The lady on the desk was so nice and explained that the flight was quite busy but they do get a lot of no-shows on this flight so we stood a good chance. I made her aware that my wife is also BA
staff and that she is 5 months pregnant and a comfy seat would be nice for her. She explained that she would do what she could and that she would try to look after my wife and we should some back to the desk at 0900 to see if we were on the flight.
I went outside for a smoke and then down to WH
Smiths to get some books for the flight and the rest of the trip.
At 0900 we went back to the desk and a male BA
staff member was looking after all of the standby passengers and aksing were they were travelling etc. He asked if we would like to stand in the standby area as we should be getting our boarding cards very shortly. Did this mean that we were on the flight? I had spoken to onme of my colleagues earlier who had checked the loads and it was oversold by about 15 people in Y and about 3 in W.
My thoughts were confirmed when the check-in lady gave us our boarding cards which also had fast-track security stickers on them....... good stuff
Flight No.: BA2153 LGW
We had been given seats 36D and F and the seat between us was free. I handed over our luggage to the check-in aganet and was told we would be departing from gate 60. The line for security was huge so I was glad we'd been given the fast-track passes. Security took us about 10 minutes to get through and eventually we were into the departure lounge. Time was getting on so we decided to go straight to the gate. I really enjoy LGW
's departure area because it never seems to be busy but this morning I didnt get the chance to have a sit down. Arriving at gate 60 there were people everywhere. The gate agent announced that they were having some trouble with one of the pre-boarding passengers and we wouldnt be able to start boarding until they had sorted out the issue.
Boarding eventually started at 0940 and we waited until most people were onboard before we headed towards the aircraft. This aircraft only has Club, WTP and World Traveller so the WT
cabin is quite large, starting at row 20 I believe. We wandered to the back of the aircraft and took our seats in row 36, which is only 3 rows from the back.
We hadnt been seated for long when the Captain announced that we would have a slight delay due to ofloading some bags of passengers that had not turned up at the gate. He advised that we should leave the stand in around 10 minutes and be on our way at 1020. The flying time today was 7 hours 45 minutes so we would still arrive on time in BGI
Looking around the cabin there seemed to be quite a few free seats but Club and WTP were completely full. There was a guy sitting in 36C who had already dosed off and had started to snore so loudly the guy in 36B actually put his headphones on. The Captain then came back to us and advised that due to some crates being loaded incorrectly we would have a further delay but promised that we would still be in BGI
Our new flying time
My Wife enjoying the delay
Still in LGW
Around 1020 we started our pushback and the safety demonstration started on the PTV
with the cabin crew pointing out the exits when prompted. It wasnt long before we at the runway and we queue jumped a few easyjet and charter aircraft. We entered the runway and the GE90's powered up with a tremendous whine. I love the sound of the GE90 on takeoff!!!
We rotated and I had my eyes glued to the moving map channel so that I could see our speed, direction and height. I had already looked at the Highlife magazine on my domestic flight and new what film I wanted to watch but I picked up the magazine anyway to recheck what channels everything was on.
Soon we were flying along the South Cost with Mr 36C still snoring like a walrus. There were already people in rows 30 and 31 looking back to see who the culprit was .......
The cabin crew started the drinks service and we given some sour cream and chive pretzels. I love these snacks and they are so moreish I asked for another packet to go with my Gin and Tonic refill.
Me the morning after the night before, I knew I should have had that early night
Hopefully this G T was going to help the tiredness and assist me with my sleep a little later in the flight.
I listened to the music channels for a little while until the films had started. I had chosen to watch Evan Almighty, a film that I had promised yself I would see at the cinema but never got round to it.
The meal service started not log after the films and there was a choice of,............yeah you guessed it, Chicken or Beef
I chose the Beef casserole which was delicious. So delicious that I forgot to take a photo until I had finished my main course. The red wine that I ordered complemented the food really well also. The only problem I have with travelling in WT
is that you still only get plastic glasses whereas in WTP you get a real glass. It makes a bit of difference in my eyes.
With the meal finished and the trays collected I settled into the film and found it very funny although when there was a silence in the film I could hear Mr 36C grunting away.........
The film finished and I decided to have a wander and take some cabin shots.
Over the Atlantic
The crew hard at work
The rear WT
After my wander I decided it was time for some nice chilled out dance music and a read of one of my newly pruchased books. oh, and another glass of wine!
Id been reading my book for about an hour when I noticed a queue forming at the toilets between the 2 WT
sections on the starboard side. One of the guys who I had noticed standing waiting to use the toilet a while earlier was still there and the purser ahd made her way to the toilet in question and proceeded to open the door after getting no response from the passenger inside. Once the door opened the situation was a little bit different. My first medical emergency on a flight. The cabin crew were impeccable with their care for the woman who was unconcious in the bathroom. They found out who she was travelling with and if she had any medical conditions they should know about.
The crew were running backwards and forwards with first aid boxes and cans of coke. Im also sure that at one point they used the defibrilator but I couldnt be certain. When I saw the cans of coke I thought that maybe this woman was a diabetic and needed some sugar. Eventually they brought the woman around and decided that she needed oxygen.
One of the cabin crew members went to a lady sitting in 37A and asked if it would be possible for her to change seats due to the situation as 37A is where the oxygen points for the unwell woman.
The cabin crew member got a stern answer from this lady.............. No, I want my window seat!!!
Around 5 mins later the purser turned up at 37A ad explained the situation to the lady and that she would be more than happy to try and find her a another seat but unfortunately it would be an aisle seat. This lady had a full blown argument with the purser and I dont thikn she could understand the seriousness of the situation.
Eventually this woman moved to the aisle seat in the row behind but wasnt very happy about it and it showed.
The crew helped the woman from the bathroom into her new seat and helped her fit her oxygen mask whilst a cabin crew member sat beside her for the next hour keeping an eye on her to see if she slipped into unconciousness again.
The cabin started to get back to normal so i went back to my book and my wine. My wife who had slept through the whole situation eventually lifted her head from my leg looked around then went back to sleep. I wish it was that easy for me to sleep on planes.
Bored with reading my book I started to point the camera at things from my seated position and snapped a few photo's
seen from 36F
The wife alseep on me
I decided it was time I tried to put my head down and get some shuteye. I awoke about two and half hours later, brilliant!!!
We were an hour and a half away from BGI
and the second meal service was being served. I decided to get some more cabin shots before they reached me. My wife had disappeared somewhere or other so I decided to stretch out in my 3 seats
Can you believe that is the crew rest area
As you can tell, I like a drink
Some moving map shots
The second meal service was an afternoon snack that consisted of a sandwich, cake, water and a raisin sultana mix.
I took a coffee with this sevice and was watching the moving map get us ever closer to BGI
The Captain announced that we would be starting our descent in around 10 minutes time and we would be on the ground in around 45mins. The crew came around the cabin and cleared up any litter and leftover plastic glasses and we started our descent. The descent was smooth and we came in over the West coast of the island getting a great view of some of the hotels and beaches. We turned left and lined up with the runway at Grantley Adams International and made our final approach. A good touchdown was followed by some light braking action before we turned off the runway and made our way to the terminal.
With us being at the back of the aircraft we were one of the last people who were leaving in BGI
. This flight goes onto POS
, Trinidad so there were a lot of people who werent disembarking here. Leaving via door 2L the heat was over powering and I tried to get a pic of the big GE90 but got stopped by one of the groundcrew. Spoilsports!!!
Overall the flight was good and bravo to the actions of the crew with the woman who was unwell. The only downside of this flight, especially on the day we arrived, is that it gets into BGI
at the same time as the VS
747 from LGW
and also some flights from North America. This means that the queues at immigration can be huge.
Whilst in the immigration queue a woman from the desk got up and started to walk around the queue asking if everyone had filled in the forms correctly and if they needed any assistance. I answered her advising that the forms were filled in correctly and that the only assistance we needed was to jump the queue so my wife could have a seat. The woman started to laugh and carried on walking through the queue. She must have spotted my wifes bump because she came back to us and said " Lets see if we cant you through this queue a little quicker" and with that took us through the Barbados nationals immmigration queue. She was such a lovely woman and highlights just how friendly the people of BGI
Just a few pics of our arrival
There is a gift on the bed becuase we are repeat guests, staying here on honeymoon last year
I love the Caribbean
Hope you enjoyed this report and Im open to feedback so please dont hold back
The return journey will follow in the next week or so so keep an eye out.