This trip report is badly overdue, so please accept my apologies. I decided to write it now because of two reasons. First, I wrote my DFW EZE DFW trip report yesterday, and while writing that, I learned that BA is bringing 747s back to DFW. So I need to get this done in celebration of DFW's new upgrade, which will result in 2 passenger 747s (KE and BA).
So, let's get started. First, the reason for this particular trip. The plan was to leave after work Friday, January 15th and return on the first ever BA 744 scheduled to DFW on Sunday, January 17th. That resulted in about 24 hours in London for the weekend. I invited a friend from IND to come with me, which complicated things. AA had a mechanical on a MD80 IND-DFW, which meant my friend couldn't get to DFW to meet me, so I ended up taking off work early to meet him in ORD.
I'll do an abbreviated report on the outbound trip, but I did get First on an AA 777 to London, so I can't abbreviate it too much!
Prior to the trip, I secured some good discount footwear at Nordstrom. I was going for an Austin Powers look. Yeah baby!
Here's my plane to ORD. I think I just barely got on because of some weather. It's not clear to me now, but the 777 at 1:00pm DFW-ORD had 100 empty seats several hours before departure, and was overbooked by 9am. I got seat 14A on DFW-ORD flight AA2348, which was N434AA. We departed from D23, which was unusual, as this gate is usually occupied by a 767 or 777. In fact, they had a big display up advertising the sale of Heathrow Express tickets from the gate agent, so I was getting in the mood for London!
After boarding and finding a place for my carryon, I took in the view of this Oneworld Paint Scheme. This was to be the flight to Frankfurt about 2 hours after this flight.
Here we are at cruise altitude over the clouds, heading for ORD.
Upon landing at ORD, as luck would have it, we taxied behind a BA 777 that had just arrived from LHR. I think it was G-VIIX.
After landing, I met up with my friend who arrived at the Eagle gates from IND, and we took the train into Chicago for dinner at Quartino's, which was a great Italian place. We both got to ORD around 3pm, and there was a 5:30pm to LHR, but it was full, and we are snobby, wanting assurance of First class, so we waited for the 9:55pm flight! I love Chicago anyway, so I'm always willing to spend as much time there as possible.
Here's our gate, which is the same gate where I boarded the same plane in the same month a year ago and sat on the same row of the same plane, but not the same seat. LOL sorry!
Seat 4D (friend in 4G)
N798AN or 7BG
Second time on this plane (first time was ORD-BRU also at gate K12, seat 4J)
High load factor
So they called us and doled out the boarding passes. First class to London. Can't beat that! Though we got middle seats. I'm a window guy, but AA's F cabin is 1 X 2 X 1 so it makes sense to put us in the middle together. I would ahve preferred a window obviously.
K12 gives a great view of the plane. Here it is up close.
Here I am. Maybe a little tired, but happy!
After takeoff, they tried their best to have a speedy service, as the ORD LHR is a pretty short flight, and it gets a late start, at 10pm. Here are the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
On the late night dinner service, you get a choice of soup or salad with the appetizer. And of course there's bread with olive oil, which is always yummy.
Look how nice this entree looks. I don't remember the details now, but look now nice it is! I love spinach!
Dessert of course. The Sundae with Bailey's.
So then I woke up and it was time for breakfast. Here's an omelet with some sausage.
Our flight was a southern route, and breakfast was served as we approached the coast of Ireland.
And here we begin the approach into London. Sorry for no outside pics, but I got a middle seat, and everyone in first class always seems to keep the windows shut from takeoff to landing for some reason.
You haven't flown to LHR unless you've had to hold for a while. Here we pass London to do some circles before landing.
So, we landed and parked at about 11:00am. I saw the QF and SQ A380s. Getting off the plane, I used the Iris scan, which got me through passport control very quickly, and customs wasn't too interested in me. When we got out, it was raining. A lovely wintry holiday of cold rain in London! So, we went to the Renaissance, where we were staying (I had reserved the Plane Spotter's package) and did some plane spotting for an hour or so from the room. Then the rain let up and we went out.
I needed to introduce my friend to some good local LHR culture, so we hit TGM, my favourite pub! We were a bit of a curiosity there, as nobody could understand why we would travel so far just to see planes in the weather they were having.
We had a couple rounds and ate some proper pub food for dinner, and then took the tube into London. Here are a bunch of pictures I took, playing with the light and the architecture.
So finally it was morning and time to go to LHR. We got there by 5:30am or 6:00am. I had another friend who happened to be connecting through LHR and we met up for breakfast!
Here's how it all worked out. The three of us all went separate ways home. The friend from IND decided he didn't care about flying on BA's 747 to DFW, but instead wanted a first class seat home, so he took AA to ORD. My other friend who met us for breakfast wanted business class, so he took AA to DFW (a fellow airline employee). I took BA's first ever 747 to DFW of course (though I almost switched to AA many times, wanting to get J or F, rather than BA Y).
So, I checked in at BA's beautiful Terminal 5, and it immediately allocated me a seat, which is good news. The bad news was the seat that it allocated me. A middle seat! Seat 49F. I was unable to get this seat improved as it seems the flight went full to DFW.
Here are some pictures from the terminal before the flight.
This was my first visit to the satellite T5B. It's a LONG escalator.
BA being witty!
The train out to T5B.
Such an elegant plane. The BA 747 is classic, and I hope they don't mess it up with a new paint!
Once I got through to the gate area, I ran into the extra security they had imposed to all North American flights, following the underwear bomber. It took about 30 minutes to get through, which was just a painful waste of time as people rummaged through everyone's bags.
G-CIVV (first time on this aircraft, and my second BA 747)
Load Factor... FULL!
When I got to my gate they were already beginning to board, without regard to where people were sitting nor what status they were, so I was one of the very first to get on (after asking one more time for any non-middle seat).
Here's the view from my seat!
So then the plane filled up. A nice lady sat in the middle to my left and an Indian businessman sat to my right. He wasn't talkative, but the lady next to me was friendly and we talked on and off during the flight.
We left a little bit late but finally got going something like 30minutes after the schedule, due to the horrible extra security at the gate.
I always love flying BA. We had the great cartoon safety video. The crew were very friendly, and verified my boarding pass as I was boarding. They stood at attention during the safety video, which I really appreciate. It's so much better than the US standard of flight attendants complaining about whatever they can thinking of and running around the cabin securing their bobs and bits, distracting everyone while the safety video is running.
The takeoff was powerful, but not as powerful as you might expect. It felt like any other plane, but there is some dramatic shaking and movement on the wings. The flaps and ailerons on the wings are absolutely huge to look at.
Another thing I appreciate from both BA and AC so far is that they shut off the seat belt sign at 10,000 unless there's a reason not to.
After departure they did a quick beverage service.
A northern route! I love those.
Here's the lunch. Lots of good food.
Here's a blurry picture of the contrail. I also got a pretty good video of it. Let me explain so you get your bearings. It's from the window in the rear exit door on the right, which I took when I went to the lavatory. So it's the very back of the 747.
Click here to see both contrails from the right side!
Here's a view from the rear. It was nice to get up, but I wasn't really uncomfortable during the flight. I mean, first class is always better!
We clipped Greenland! But I didn't see it.
Second lunch! With the witty description on the etymology of the "sandwich."
Eventually we approach DFW, and I start thinking of how awesome the BA 747 must look to all the huge crowds of aviation spotters gathered to watch the 747 land. (Not sure if anyone did, but I get a bigger ego thinking of how important my flight must have been).
We park at D14 and I snap this while walking through Club World.
I really love the customs walkway at DFW. Here's a view of the European lineup.
Wasn't my plane gorgeous?
Here's the inside of the terminal. You can't quite see him (due to my poor photography skillz), but there was a fellow a.netter who spotted me from the walkway. Thanks for welcoming me home!
Anyway, first I'll say, sorry for this trip report not having the depth that mine usually do, but hopefully it's enough to get a passing grade. Second, I'll say that the crews on both flights were efficient and good, but nothing exceptionally memorable. Third, I'll say, that I'm excited about this gorgeous 747 service coming back to DFW in December!
Thanks for your attention and I hope you were entertained by my trip report.
Comments are always welcome