Creating a Photo: Back to New York with British Airways – PART 1 – To LONDON
Featuring the British Airways Airbus A318E.
Or – “World. Enough now. Stop it. Please. Pretty Please…”
- The Introduction
- To London (this section)
- BA 1 – London City Airport – Shannon – New York JFK
- OTE: Apple Store, Grand Central Terminal
- Holiday Inn Long Island City Manhattan View
- Mystery Chapter to come!
- Mystery Chapter to come!
- BA4 – New York JFK – London City Airport
- Homeward bound
- The wrap up
Well lets get this trip on the road. And every journey has a first step… or in my case, at least one major stumble…
I suppose I’d better put my usual warning about my writing style and the grammar in this report – which can be found at http://economyclassandbeyond.boardingarea.com/2012/03/18/blog-admin-a-message-to-the-grammar-checkers-out-there/. On the other hand, I’ve gone back to editing my reports in a proper word processor as opposed to Google Docs – so hopefully, things will improve on this front… or not….
Part 1 – Getting to London
A few weeks before to the day before…
Food poisoning is not pleasant. It’s doubly unpleasant when you have two lots of it in a row – it was almost to a point that I was close to cancelling the trip (on reflection – cancelling the trip would had saved a lot of heartache along the line). Thankfully, my body recovered slowly – with the amount of Lucozade Sport Lite and boring food allowing my system to mostly recover.
Trust me, on Tuesday morning, it was still a bit touch and go with the stomach, but I made sure I loaded up some extra Gavison Extra “just in case” (thankfully looking back, it’s the one thing that DIDN’T go wrong!).
Waiting for 13:00 on the day before was an impatient time at the office. Apart from getting bits of the network to go into automatic maintenance whilst I was away (such as sorting out backup schedules, organising the stuff I can’t do whilst I was gone, it was also an impatient time waiting for On-Line Check In to open.
At 13:00 BA Time (my server clock is a little bit off), OLCI opened, and I checked in successfully with SEQ01 on the boarding pass. As usual, I had managed to secure what I thought was an OK seat, with the plane looking ½ empty at that point.
With that thought complete, I closed down OLCI to worry about one my managers suggesting something that would be infinitely stupid as well as a risk to the network.
Managers. Gotta love them. Especially the ones who “think” they know about Information Technology infrastructures when all they do is make my life harder…
7am on a Birmingham morning
Unlike my usual trips to the USA where I have to be up at the crack of dawn – today I have a comparatively lazy start to the day with the coach departing at 08:00 and the plane leaving London City at 13:00, I needed to be at Birmingham Digbeth Coach Station 07:45.
So at 7:15 I called my local cab company whereupon the driver got lost getting to the flat. When the driver found the right road, he passed where I was standing and drove to the end of the road, whilst ignoring me waving at him and only and only acknowledging me I opened the door of the cab with a feeble excuse.
It reminded me of a certain co-worker of mine who thinks he is always right in life, right down to the mannerisms. Part of me knew this was a bad omen for the trip.
Thankfully the taxi driver wasn’t gentle on the accelerator, and got me to the coach station in time for the coach. My ticket was taken, and I was directed to one of two coaches that were forming NX410 to London.
National Express NX410
Birmingham Coach Station – Victoria Coach Station
The coach itself was pretty packed with people heading to Olympic Park as well as a few people going to London for a few days.
Thankfully, the coach pulled out on schedule, and I fired up the iPhone with today’s starter for 10 – well it can only be one song – National Express by The Divine Comedy
All together now with The Divine Comedy… – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHbdhkrhBKw
The coach made its way out of Birmingham and headed for the Aston Expressway, then the M6/M1 route straight to London via Finchley Central. Amazingly, the motorway route was pretty clear – which is a miracle in itself, with only a bit of traffic near Luton Airport.
That miracle changed when the coach entered Finchley, and traffic was at a standstill due to a Police incident near the Underground station. Eventually, the coach made it through the traffic, and even the Olympic Traffic wasn’t causing too many issues going down Baker Street, over to Hyde Park. No, the major wait was at Victoria Coach Station Arrivals where coaches were taking their own sweet time unloading.
Looking at the clock, there was 1 hour 40 till the flight was going to go. Therefore I put my skates on and ran with the pulley bag to Victoria Train station, and dived into the Underground station.
And as I made my way into the station, I ran into a moving wall of people – a real sign of Olympic traffic. Thankfully, LUL staff were filtering people through with cases (and those with no cases). Pre-armed with a loaded Oyster Card, I beeped into the Tube network to navigate it during this madness.
It was then a case of two hops west to Westminster Underground, a traipse around the south of on the Jubilee line and finally to Canning Town for a DLR hop to London City Airport. Whilst the Tube was busier than normal, people were in good spirits and happier than normal. Meanwhile the DLR was quiet – a bit quieter than I’ve seen it in the past.
The DLR made it to London City Airport in a reasonable time, and I had an hour to departure time. For a big airport like Heathrow, I would had been breaking into a run – for London City (and on this service) the check in deadlines are 15 minutes with hand luggage, 20 minutes with luggage.
After beeping my Oyster Card out, I went to the check in Counter at the front of City Airport (think kerbside check-in with a hotel style service), where there was someone waiting to take my bag and complete the check in for the flight (I just love the old style card boarding passes still).
I was also asked if this was the first time I was taking this service, and was given an explanation that we would be stopping in Shannon for immigration and to head to Gate 24 lounge where there were would be papers, drinks and snacks would be waiting
With that my boarding pass in hand and my rollaboard bag taken from me, it was time to head off to LCY security, which at midday was… quiet to say the least. Or to put it bluntly, through in 2 minutes.
Another reason to like London City Airport.
Onece through security, you’re in the public area, and this being a small airport, they packed a lot of things in a small space – which suits me as I’m getting tired of the usual hike across Heathrow Terminal 1. It was then a matter of following signs to Gate 24 – the BA Club World London City Gate.
This gate is pretty much used only for BA1 or BA2, and it set up for 32 passengers.
I was welcomed to the lounge and given the lovely blue US Customs form to fill out. I plonked myself down and well – there was a bottle of Taittinger. It would been rude not to have a glass. Or two.
With about 20 minutes to go, the call for boarding was given, with a load of 31 out of 32 seats. It was at this time I noticed younger children on the plane… and parents looking at magazine supplements.
Hmm. That smell is familiar – oncoming trouble.
At this point I made my way out onto the tarmac and onto BA1…
Coming up – BA1. – Parents, Control Your Children… and Dear Apple… I don’t need this stress…