6 weeks after I returned from my last trip to France, it was time to head off again. This time, I thought I would use some of my hard earned FF
points to try First Class with Qantas and BA
. With only 4 weeks until I was due to fly out, I worked out the dates and places I needed to be and called Qantas. After an hour on the phone, I managed to get all the flights I wanted, which was pretty surprising considering how close I was to the date of first flight, and the loads on these flights.
Wanting to take advantage of being in First Class, I went for the longest routing possible, which went like this; SYD
-[separate tickets BCN
About a week after I booked the flights, I watched the loadings and noticed that QF
8, the Thursday daytime flight from LAX
which I specifically wanted, was all zeroed out. I thought that was strange as that flight will never fully book, so I checked the 149 out of Sydney on the same day, and that also was zeroed out. That was very strange so I made a call to a friend who had a look at these [and the same for the weeks around] who noticed that these flights were closed for sale, and there was protected seats on the QF
12 and QF
107. It seems Qantas were going to cancel the only flight I really wanted. After 2 weeks with no more confirmation, I rang Qantas to find out what was happening, only to be told that the QF
8 was indeed “full sold”. Then 6 days before I was due to fly out, I noticed on my booking a request to call Qantas about the QF
8 flight. When I called them, I was told I was rebooked on the QF
12 on the same day. To say I was pissed off was an understatement, as if I had known this from the start I would have stayed in Europe a day longer and wouldn’t have made an uncancellable hotel booking in LA
for that night. It was made worse because I knew what was going to happen but couldn’t do much about it.
The upside of this, was that VH
-OEJ was due to operate QF
12 on this day, and I haven’t been on Wunula Dreaming yet, so I wasn’t too unhappy.
When I initially booked, I had been seated in 2K, which would be my preference from SYD
, but the A side is better LAX
, so I rang back and asked if I could have 2 seating requests, but that was too hard, so I was put in 1A which I accepted. The day before the flight Qantas called me to confirm tickets and seats, but couldn’t book me a spa treatment as it was all fully booked, maybe next time.
Unfortunately when I got up this morning I found I had a message on my phone from BA
saying that my flight from JFK
had been cancelled and to please call them. You would have thought that BA
USA would realise that ringing Australia at 2:30am wasn’t going to garner any results, but at least they left a message. Pity that I couldn’t get through to BA
USA and it was too early to call BA
Australia. I gave that one up and waited for my cab to arrive.
Checking in was quick and easy, with the pre checkin done over the phone the day before, however Qantas were not able to do anything about the BA
flight apart from check my bags through to BCN
After changing some money I made my way to the First Class lunge via the express customs and security line which took all of 5 minutes, I could easily get used to this part.
The lounge was, as usual, fairly busy at this time, but there were some dining tables free allowing me to enjoy the great breakfast that is available in this lounge.
-EBH heading off
When I finished breakfast I logged onto ba.com to check my booking and found I had been move to BA112, so I allocated myself 1K, and then tried to call BA
Australia. Two calls and 40 minutes later, someone actually answered the phone and eventually told me they had confirmed me on BA
112, with a hold on a seat on BA
116 in case my flight into JFK
was late, which mostly QF
Even though this had taken over an hour, and would have made me late for boarding, we had been advised that there was a delay in boarding as the plane had to make its way from the stand to the gate. The blame for this was the late arrival of the plane from SFO
, but reality was that there were no gates available.
-OEE being taken to the gate
The US bound flights usually leave from gates 8 and 9, but one gate was already taken, and the JNB
flight was running late and took the other one.
This meant that boarding started at 10:45, and with the load being 100% today making boarding a long slow process, we didn’t leave the blocks until 11:25.
-OEC which will be QF11 heading to LA
My plan for this leg was to try was to try getting a good sleep from 8 hours out, and to aide that, I stayed up most of the night, and watched the first live coverage of the Paris-Roubaix. This meant I was pretty tired to start with, so didn’t feel like eating much, but being in First I wanted to try as much as possible.
During the meal service I watched Juno, not a bad movie, but not as good as I expected, so afterwards I ended up reading.
The last time I flow on QF
107, we went directly over Fiji, which was the reason for trying for a K seat on this leg, but this time our routing was over 100 miles south, which meant there was absolutely nothing to see on this leg. As there was no need to wait the 4 hours as I had initially thought, I changed into my sleeper suit after 3 hours flying, and climbed into my made bed.
For some reason, sleep did not come easy and it seemed like I just dozed for the rest of the flight, although I must have slept a good portion. At one stage we went through about 15 minutes of moderate to severe turbulence, nice for me as I find it relaxing but I am sure there would have been some nervous people holding on for dear life.
Before I went to sleep I was asked what time I wanted to be woken up for the breakfast service, to which I responded about one and half hours to go please. I was surprised when I was told they prefer at least 2 hours so they can get through the service. When I flew BA
Club World last year, they didn’t seem to have a problem getting through a breakfast service with less than an hour to go, so I wondered why it was a problem for QF
In any case it didn’t matter as I was wide awake 3 hours out so I decided to get up and changed, and have breakfast then.
just before touchdown
We only made up 15 minutes over the flight which meant we landed at 07:30 but more importantly for a quick transit, ahead of QF
93. Previously I have found that customs can be quick, but the security into T4
can be slow, with many AA
flights leave early in the morning. Today was little different, maybe marginally quicker than previously but that maybe because this time we beat the other Australian arrivals. In all it was 45 minutes from arriving at the blocks until I arrived into the AA
lounge in T4
As the First Class lounge only has 3 showers, I went straight to the desk at the business class lounge and asked for a key for the showers in that lounge. When I was asked why I didn’t want to use the showers in the FC lounge I replied I wasn’t sure if there would be any free, so the woman rang through and sure enough found that all 3 showers were full, and promptly handed me a key for a shower in the J lounge and remarked to me that I had obviously been here before!
By the time I had finished in the shower, there was only 10 minutes before we were due to board again, so I quickly used the free TMobile connection that is provided in the lounge to download e-mails to work on during the next leg. I also checked my voice messages to find Qantas had called to let me know BA
had rebooked me on BA
Boarding started pretty much on time, and was totally full in F and J, but economy only at about 50%. I knew that this flight, service wise, was going to be average when after I asked for an orange juice, was given a G&T.
We pushed back about 20 minutes late and had a long taxi to 24L meant we didn’t get airborne until 09:50. Even at this stage I was still hoping to make the BA
112 as we were scheduled to arrive at JFK
at 17:30, enough time I thought to make the connection considering both flights arrived and departed at T7
. The reason for wanting this flight was to make my connection at LHR
to my BCN
flight, longer to avoid any problems.
The first parked planes for the morning VH
-OEH having arrived from MEL
, and VH
-OJF having arrived from BNE
With no signs of a meal service starting, I started to work on my computer, answering mails, and other work I had going. After 2 hours we were asked what we wanted for lunch. Being very tired, I didn’t feel like eating, but wanted to try the “famous steak sandwich” so I asked only for this.
Half an hour later, I was given the soup to start with. Having expressly asked for nothing else I was annoyed, but too tired to complain I ate it. Half way through the FA
came up to me and noted that I didn’t want soup and she needed another one. I didn’t say anything, but was annoyed about the whole thing. Don’t really expect that with QF
First. At least the steak sandwich turned up. Must admit though, I was disappointed. I am not a food connoisseur at the best of times, but I thought the steak tough and bread ordinary, maybe it was because I was so tired.
The steak sandwich
After this, I figured a sleep was in order, and so managed an hours sleep before we started our descent into New York. By this time, it was becoming clear that I would not make BA
112, much to my disappointment, although I still held some hope right until the end when I saw the plane being pushed back as we taxied into the stand.
A rather large cemetery just before arrival into JFK
As soon as I disembarked I headed over to the desk where BA
174 was boarding and asked if I could get on that flight. Unfortunately I was told that the flight was full, probably with other people from the cancelled 176, and to head over to the Concorde lounge and get my boarding pass. Although it sounds rude the way I have noted, the staff were actually very pleasant and helpful, and at the lounge I was given my boarding pass for this flight and the one to BCN
. I was happy that although I hadn’t gotten the 1K I had previously, I still had a window seat (4A).
Being very tired still, I didn’t make use of the dining in the Concorde lounge, instead making use of the free wifi to check e-mails.
It wasn’t long before boarding was scheduled to start so I made my way to the gate, where we waited and waited and waited. No announcements or anything. 5 minutes after scheduled departure time we started to board. By this time I was getting nervous as the schedule only gave me one hour 15 to transfer from T4
to T1 at LHR
, and all these delays ate into this time.
My first BA
At 8:30pm we started to push back, obviously the ground staff did a good job of getting the SLF on board quickly. During the taxi, the captain announced that, although we left late, we should still land at LHR
on time, which made me a lot more relaxed.
Immediately on board I started noticing the differences between BA
. I did like the fact that F passengers are greeted and taken to their seat by the FAs on BA
, on QF
you are only told which direction to head. Although I like the privacy afforded by the BA
setup, I don’t like being so far away from the window, and the seats are looking really old.
As soon as the seatbelt sign went off I got up and put on my sleeper suit and returned to my bed already made. The next thing I remember is waking up 4 and half hours later feeling quite refreshed, and looking at an early arrival into LHR
, breakfast was served just over an hour to go, and it was a good hot breakfast as well. After a short tour of London, we landed and arrived at T4
20 minutes early, so it was a good quick flight, and allowed me a relaxed trip to T1.
My luck seemed to be following me, as when I arrived at T1 security, there was no one there and I got through in less than a minute. I managed to get to the BA
lounge with 40 minutes before my next flight was scheduled to depart and as per usual did some more e-mails.
Plane: B 757-236
I was just about to get up and have a coffee when the flight was called, so I figured I would get one on the flight instead. It seemed this flight was the only one not delayed this morning, so it looked good for an ontime departure, something I hadn’t seen for a while.
Boarding started at 9am, and by 9:20 everyone was aboard and the door closed. Seven minutes later we pushed back, almost on time!
No guesses as to what this is
Breakfast was served pretty quickly after the seatbelt sign was extinguished, and even though I had had a breakfast a few hours earlier, I do like these breakfasts, so I had another one.
Great view south
The nice thing about being OW
Emerald is being able to choose seats on ba.com, and being the careful person I am went for 2F because 1) I can’ put my camera under the seat in front and be very close to the front of the plane, and 2) it’s the side away from the sun on this leg. It turned out to be a very good choice, as I have never seen skies over the UK so clear. Shame the cloud arrived over France, but then cleared away over Spain. Again I seemed to be very lucky, over Spain, my side was completely clear, however when I looked over to the A side, I could see lots of cloud.
The port of Le Havre
Arrival into BCN
was 25 minutes early but as this was the end of the trip for me, it didn’t really matter too much, just showed that I was having a good day. This was proven again, as I realised when I was walking up the ramp, that I had left my passport on the plane so I hurriedly turned around back to the plane where one of the FAs found it and gave it back to me.
The best part of the day was seeing not only my bags actually arrive, but 3rd bag off. After all the flights, and one change, I never expected my bags to arrive, maybe I am too cynical nowdays.