Hello there, it’s certainly been a while since I last posted here, for a variety of reasons including but not limited to saving for adult things and a partial loss of interest if I’m honest I’ve only actually flown four flights since my last post here from Berlin, those being a Club Europe return to Stockholm, a report which I decided against at the time due to feeling unwell at the time of travel, but never the less I’m here now, writing to you from the Premier Inn at LHR T5, as I’ve just completed my first leg on what has been a bit of a rocky start to the journey before I even set foot in an airport.
You may be aware that earlier this year British Airways announced it would be sending a Boeing 777 to Madrid on certain flights, well the thought of trying out BAs club world seat for European business fares was too good for me to pass up, so everntually after much looking around I found a “reasonable” price for a Newcastle-Madrid return via Heathrow and booked it, I’d first have to fly to LHR and stay the night as the 777 flight leaves too early to make a connection, and that’s what this report will cover. However two days before departure I had an email from BA saying my flight had been cancelled, presumably due to the mixed fleet crew strikes, panic ensued as I had a sepreate connection on LATAM to Frankfurt the same day and I had to be in MAD that morning to make that flight, well after a call to the BA exec club I was confirmed on the earlier BA456 to Madrid, operated by a 767, good, but still not the 777 I based the trip around, but that’s next, on with today…
Another little panic started the day, as I found I was unable to get a taxi to the airport on the day of my departure, thankfully my dad would come to the rescue and dropped me outside the sole Newcastle Terminal ready to catch my flight down to London, I had no bags to check as always to headed straight for security, I’ve always been unsure as to if BA status/business passengers are entitled to fast track security at NCL, but with the main que packed full on a busy summer afternoon I chanced the fast track and it paid off, I would be clear and in the lounge within five minutes. Once in the lounge I settled down to a G&T and some nibbles before boarding was called twenty or so minutes later, where I was amougstbthe first to board settling down for what would be my first expirience of Club Europe on a domestic flight since BA recently introduce it earlier this year, something which they really had to do after the introduction of Buy on Board some months before, the thought of charging a passenger with a first ticket to Sydney worth thousands of pounds having to pay £10 for his coffee and a lunch is ridiculous, rant aside this was the usual BA intra Europe club offering with four rows of seats blocked by a curtain and the centre seat converted into a table.
Pushback was more or less on time and we taxied off I the direction of runway 25 at NCL, the safety brief completed on the way, however I heard no announcements about M&S food, presumably they’ve stopped as everyone down the back now knows the need to cash up if they want refreshments these days, also of note no hot towels would be distributed before take off, or indeed at all. But for a short flight it’s understandable.
A powerful take off would put our pretty full A320 skywards out of Newcastle before turning south towards London, following the usual routing out toward Manchester before turning towards London and at the usual cruise level of 27000 Feet.
Soon after take off the crew began their service, an impressive feet no doubt to serve all four rows of a full club Europe with each passenger being individually served by both the purser and the other forward crew member, I received my meal as we approached Manchester, the choices being afternoon tea or a ploughman salad, usually I’d have taken the afternoon tea, but when BA changed the Club catering a couple of months back the delicious scones went with the old catering, so this afternoon I went with the salad option, perfectly sized for a flight of today’s 50 minutes, the salad accompanied my a cream cake and piece of rye bread tasted fine, as was washed down with some champagne which I finished just as the seat belt signs went on.
I was happy to find out our approach into to Heathrow would be towards the west, meaning an aerial tour of the capital, and it did not dissapoint on this clear summers afternoon as we banked over the Thames some of Londons famous sights came into view before we commenced our final approach to LHRs 27L.
After a straight forward approach a bump signalled our arrival back onto earth, and after the usual heavy braking to vacate for the next arrival that one expects at Heathrow we made a short taxi towards stand 508 at Terminal 5, where the jetty was swiftly attached and I left the aircraft for a new expirience, arriving at Heathrow with no immediate connection!
After navigating my way through T5 domestic arrivals I emerged on the arrivals level, and popped into M&S to grab some snacks for the hotel, which this evening would be the Premier Inn Terminal 5, reached by a short bus journey on the 423 bus, which is free unlike the hoppa busses to stops on the LHR perimeter, I checked in and my request for a runway view was also granted. The rooms are the usual premier in standard of which I have no problem with at all, clean, well equipped (now with fridge, they must have listened to my feedback) and in this case with a good view of T5 and the runways. Perfect for a quick night,stop over before my earlier departure to Madrid the next morning.