The main office is located in San Diego and they have a policy to invite us located worldwide as bonus trips to SD
. The lottery is on once a year or so. This trip was on for any of us working for the Nordic Europe Region and I was second in line to go. When number one has to stay home due to sick children I was waiting for the call form Doreen in down town San Diego. SAS ARN
is one option to hope for. The LH ARN
is also something to dream about. “Do you have any problem if the London office makes the booking as you officially work for within the Europe branch?” she said. “No” I replied and hoped for the best. A couple of hours later the booking came by email including hotel in San Diego for 5 nights. They put me on BA ARN
Club Europe/Club World and US Airways PHX
in First. I quickly picked the seats using booking ref and took the 64A as I was going over the Atlantic in a 747. My return was AA SAN
and BA LAX
. Here I also booked the 64A. To my surprise 64A was at the time the only left available seat to book?! What? All taken and not that seat that must be, well, one of, and in my mind, the best seat in the plane?
My departure was scheduled from ARN
and with 2 hours to the airport by train or bus I wanted a nice start of the trip so it had to be hotel. At ARN
there are two SAS Radisson available. One is located in the airport itself integrated between terminal 5 and 4 (Sky City). That is the newer one of the two and perhaps the choice of most. However the second located just a few minutes by hotel shuttle is the other SAS Radisson and is not that bad you see. The rooms are small and there is just that feeling of business that just suites and black leather shoes ever been in the rooms and just that something I like and what I think is perfect preparation for the trip to come in my case.
I slept well for some 7 hours and could "hug" in for a Scandinavian Breakfast at 0500 (they start service at 0430 as most airport hotel do, I guess).
The departure of BA
773 to LHR
was at Terminal 2 and that is a long way from terminal 5. So any taxis and/or shuttles coming from Stockholm first arrive at T5
and then T4
is one of the last obviously. Everything at T2
is small and nice. Check in was by the book. For me it was only to collect my boarding cards. There is a couple of check in kiosks as well. After security I headed for the second floor where the lounges are located. The one at T2
is really big and accepts all “one world”-lounge accessed members. Carlsberg and No name Merlot on tap. Boarding was announced quite fast and I went to gate.
Sat 4th April
100% in all classes.
Every seat taken! Must be Easter coming up.
Well, the FA
took my coat and asked at the same time, to my surprise, if I wanted tea or coffee to my breakfast later. I opt for coffee. Once airborne there was 90 s between belt-sign off and the breakfast served. I did not expect that speed. Anyway, I guess this is Standard English breakfast. Beans and fried potato. Coffee was tasty but did not prevent me to fall asleep and I woke up when landing at LHR
. Transit at LHR T5
is just to follow purple signs. Very efficient security.
So North or South Galleries? The former is closer so I opt for that. Quite occupied at this time approx 70-80% full. Apart for this, furniture nice, perhaps that why almost everyone was occupied
, the two glass of wine I had was very tasty. Well kept even at this load. Good work! The later is where the Concord room (for First Class passengers) and Spa is located. Two floors up there were even more space and even some privacy in the inner corners. And the size of this place is really impressive.
Boeing 747-400 52 Bus.
329 seats taken of 329 = 100% load in all classes!
Big mistake here now that I did not note what gate I departed from but there was a short train journey to where at least 3 BA
747 were parked, all painted with the one world logo.
SDT for BA
289 was 14:35 but today there were several disabled people and ADT
was 15:25. Once the disabled people were on board First and One World passengers were allowed on board. I was welcomed by a male FA
and showed upstairs once I had shown my boarding card. Two female FA
was greeting me upstairs. Coat was taken and I was seated. First thing I noticed was the very size and the great comfort of the seat. But also that the whole unit that the seat 64A was a part of was lose and felt kind a wobbly sideways, not such but noticeable. Drinks followed and I took a glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne. It was better than I expected and very tasty. Then I found my noise-canceling head-phones in one of the three storage compartments located between the seat and windows. Once on they work as promised and do reduce noise to a bearable level.
Take off was by the book and first thing after belt sign off was the delivery of the menu. Now I made some choices that I was soon to regret. I was looking for light healthy alternative and was pleased to find that in the menu. I opt for the “Well being in the air “alternatives; for Starters I opt for the Spinach and Feta Quiche with Balsamic glaze and for Main I opt for the Chilled main course salad of Salmon Ceviche, baby courgette, and new potatoes with lemon tarragon dressing. They were all cold and the salmon was rubbery and with little taste. I asked for Chardonnay and they had some although it was not listed in the wine menu with the fish. The wine was fine with surprisingly right temperature. However, it could not lift that fish dish. The cold Spinach and Feta quiche. I do not recommend it. The turn for the better came with the desert: here I took the cheese with the red port wine. And that was a combo I liked.
During diner two things from the AVOD entertained me. A Bond movie and the classic Jonny Cash Folsom Prison record from the essential selection.
(T) was clean and kept OK
during hole flight but the walls were painted white by hand(?!). Clearly visible paintbrush strokes all over. Why hand painted?
So now I was tired and pressed button for sleep mode. And this I like. I slept within 3 minutes and did so undisturbed for about 3-4 hours.
I woke up in a very dehydrated state and 4 glasses of water later I opened the shades almost as the same time the light came back on in the cabin. The captain went on the air announcing 5 min more before we were about to pass over Grand Canyon. Breakfast was coffee and a sandwich with cress and tuna with cucumber and red onion. A very fresh a tasty surprise.
Landing followed and there we were all 329 of us facing 4 officers at Immigration Control. And, man, did this take time. I was last out of the first and Club World passengers to be addressed to pass the red line and face the officer 51 min after arrival in that hall! What time it took to get us all through I do not know but be prepared to wait.
Now, looking at my watch, I had 33 min left until the US Airways flight 191 PHX
. I was checked in but missing a boarding card. I was running back and forth for a while until I got assistance and got the card. I was booked in First and there was a fast track through security. Now here something very strange happened. I put my laptop in one of those trays and then it was gone!? Everything but the laptop came out. I told the security people this and 4 people rushed to the sight and started a search. At the time a senior security officer entered and announced with a voice of a marine sergeant to stop this line and all operations halt and also that here everything was filmed with multiple cameras. 8-10 people were there and suddenly one guy said that he had a tray with a laptop in that was not his. I do not want to comment further on this. Anyway I just had to get my stuff that and run for gate 23 I think it was. I ran like an Olympic 800 m race and soaked in sweet I had the gate in sight I just roared Ahhh the gate officer had the finger in the Gate closed button when she heard my call. I was in row 1F. Not much to say only I was sweating a great deal here. Landing in SAN
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