This is a trip report from a work related LHR-PHL round trip that I completed literally this morning. My company has a BA Club World booking policy, so out with Star Alliance, I was booked both ways on British Airways in/out of LHR. Unfortunately, the day of my journey to Philadelphia was a very busy one and I wasn’t in the mood to document the trip. However, my flight back to London was on a Saturday night, I was feeling pretty relaxed and eager to do a trip report. Total picture volume is a little lower than I would like, mainly because the flight was pretty full and I felt a little conscious about taking too many snaps.
BA 066 (B777-200)
PHL – LHR
7:55 PM – November 6, 2010
I had been in Philly for about 3 days on this trip, the first two were dedicated to work, but on the Friday evening I managed to go out and have a little bit of fun. This is what Philly looked like on my first day there, though weather conditions improved a lot by the time the weekend arrived.
Here are a couple of shots of my dinner and desert at Mercato in Center City. I used to live in Philadelphia before I moved to London and I still miss the BYOB (bring your own bottle) culture and the small restaurants that don’t try and turn your table as fast as possible.
Raw cow’s milk cheese with clover honey and grapes
Hake fish filet on fingerling potatoes and grilled asparagus
The thing on the right would be called a ‘warm pud’ here in England
And this is coffee the next day at La Colombe Torrefaction in Center City
Rittenhouse Square with fall leaves
The first BA flight of the day to London from Philadelphia has a fairly late departure time of almost 8 PM. Main reason for this is that if we were to leave any earlier, we’d arrive in London before 6 AM, at which time landing restrictions are still in place. The flight was quite full, presumably with business travelers trying to get to London before the start of the work week. I arrived at the airport at around 4:30 PM, and was the only person in the Club World/First check-in queue. The process was fairly smooth and I was off to the TSA screening area in no time. I found it unusual that the TSA agent made some banter with me while checking my boarding pass and ID, if this is a part of their new screening policy then I welcome the change as there is a lot that can be gathered about a person’s intentions from their demeanor during conversation.
I made my way to the BA lounge which was pretty deserted at the beginning but filled up over time. I was handed a voucher which I could use to have my dinner on the ground. I chose not to take up this option as I really enjoy meal service on the plane, especially when I have time to kill. The lounge has two areas – First and Club World, and within the Club World lounge there’s a sofa area, a restaurant area for early-dining and some tables for doing work. There aren’t really any views out of the lounge but its got loads of glass windows and is very clean, modern and airy. There were lots of snacks available with the most substantial offerings being crudités and mini-sandwiches. I had a Bass Ale and a few Milano cookies and took advantage of the free WiFi to catch up on work.
Sunlight streaming into the lounge through BA’s signature floral pattern motif
View of the lounge
Overview of the refreshments
You’ll notice that most of my pictures are pretty dark – the reason is that on evening flights the BA Club World cabin lighting is dimmed at pushback so people can catch their sleep and the only illumination is the mini LED lamp over the seat’s shoulder.
BA’s menus are printed on nice heavy stock paper and I find the wine descriptions quite fun to read. Took these menu photos the next day, and not on the plane, in case the brick wall in the background wasn’t already a giveaway.
I had already had a glass of champagne during the welcome drinks so I opted for a Whiskey on the rocks for my aperitif. I was listening to Tinie Tempah's "Pass Out" and "Feelin Good" by Faithless around this time and feeling totally deck! Nothing like being utterly relaxed on a plane at 35,000 feet with a drink in hand - this is why we fly, no?
Glenfiddich on the rocks
Roasted, salted cashews and Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in this week’s The Economist
Then dinner was served – I opted for the seafood course: Arctic Char with Morels and Potatoes. I really enjoyed the texture of the morels. Also, the salad was amazing, the couscous was drizzled in a Spicy Lemon dressing which tasted great, I need to try and reverse engineer this dressing in my kitchen.
WIth libations, I opted for the Medoc (red) with my dinner, it was good but not great. I had been drinking the Pouilly-Fumee on the outbound flight and that wine was simply amazing.
Somewhere over northern Quebec
After dinner was cleared, I decided to lie down and try and catch about 3 hours of sleep. The Club World seat is simply amazing. The sliding tray table eliminates the awkwardness of having to wait for meals to be cleared in order to get up to use the lavatory. The footrest is the perfect ottoman in seat mode and the padding on the seat prevents any and all pressure points, which I invariably suffer from in other airlines’ business class seats.
Business Traveler Magazine – cover story on Tokyo’s highest hotel bars, must go again!
Finally, around 5:30 AM London time, the cabin lights came on and we were served breakfast. Below is the breakfast offering. They had warm bacon rolls and fruit trays which I opted against as I was still quite stuffed from the dinner. Instead I had the Energizer Drink (back left) which is delicious but tastes oddly like a smoothie my mom makes at home. The rest of the food is pretty standard, yogurt, cranberry muffin and coffee.
We landed about 25 minutes before schedule, mainly because of unusually strong tailwinds. However that time advantage was quickly squandered in the border control hall as I have to stand in the notoriously slow Non U.K./E.U. citizens line, which always takes a long time to clear.
My bag was already on the belt by the time I arrived in the baggage hall, I quickly grabbed it and made my way out to the main hall where a driver was waiting for me with a name card. It was cool to drive through the Chelsea and West Brompton areas in the early morning – Redcliffe Gardens and Edith Grove are such beautiful Edwardian roads, too bad there’s no tube stop nearby. Right by Westminster bridge we caught up with the London Brighton classic car race which had just kicked off with spectators aplenty lining the streets, I think we overtook something that looked like a predecessor to a Model-T, quite cool.
And that’s pretty much it folks.
Please read my other trip reports below:
Japan, Korea and Cambodia in ANA Business, United First and Asiana Y
Feedback and comments are welcome.