24.05.2009 - 24.05.2009 84 °F
Seat 10E, Denmark Strait, 36000ft, 5hrs 23mins to Chicago
Now, this is the way to travel. We are sitting in our own little cabin, almost, with all the legroom you could wish for and a flat bed available at the touch of the button marked _._ on the complicated control panel you need a course on before flying like this.
Heathrow was almost, but not quite, a nightmare with thousands of parents and their "little treasures" packing the place to its lofty roof tops. Check-in had been a doddle but the "fast" security line available to so-called elite´travellers' was so slow they were moving people to the other lines. In the confusion, John walked forward to make room for others and some bossy woman clutching a First Class boarding card told him "there' s queue here you know". "I am fully aware of that madam but I can't stand looking at your fat a**se any longer" John replied (not.... if only).
John was gleeful when she had to suffer the indignity of a body search after setting off the security beeper, given by a lady somewhat butcher than Nancy Spain (now who remembers Nancy Spain?).
John's glee was shortlived when he too set of the beeper and had to suffer the indignity of a full body search.... er, actually, it was a rather pleasurable, even sensual, body search by a cute young man from Wembley. He knew how to feel everywhere for explosives! So security lines do have their compensations after all.
The first BA Galleries Lounge (as they're called), the North one, looked packed with many kids jumping up and down on the furniture. The "lounge dragon" who was actually extremely pleasant, suggested we try the lounge at the South end of the terminal. We did and it was much better. Plenty of room, and the few kids there were pretty well behaved.
Never, ever travel on a Saturday at the start of half-term and a bank holiday weekend. What were we thinking?
The night before all this adventure, the meal at the Pheasant was very pleasant (there's a joke there somewhere), good value and it was difficult to believe we were only about 800 metres from a main runway at Heathrow. It's looks a country pub with new restaurant attached, bizarrely set in this rather rural 30s council estate. I expect there will be a new runway through it by the next time we get here.
Breakfast at the hotel, included in our room rate, was one of the best we've had recently. Excellent, friendly staff (this Marriott almost entirely staffed by Asians) and very good food.
Back here in Seat 10E, we are having a ball. Arthur has approved of the food even though it's a bit high falutin', Bob's kosher meal was the star and John will definitely order Kosher for the return journey. He had a fabulous smoked salmon starter, salad, a main course of roast, stuffed lamb, thickly sliced and served with roasted veggies and a pud consisting of a sort of chocolate and cream bomb, while John chose from the standard Club World menu, quote "Seared scallops with fennel and pesto" ("muck": Arthur), which were delicious, Arthur, then "Roast fillet of Salmon with dugléré sauce". Which was fine, then dessert of "Passion fruit and coconut soufflé tart". Must look up dugléré.
Great crew with an average age in the high 40s, we'd say. A nice couple of ladies and some trolley guys too old now to be called dollies! John's is from Aberdeen and Bob's from Bremen(?). Well, he sounds German.
I'm going to lower my bed, now and join Bob in the land of nod and snores.
A great, great flight. We did not want it to end. The only downside about those seats is there is no view and landing backwards without knowing how far above the ground we were (BANG, we must be down) was somewhat spooky.
Fast forward to Palmer House Hilton:-
PS Dinner tonight at the historic Berghoff Restaurant.