Chicago XV – Tiers and Dreams
Coaches, The morning joy of Heathrow and the American Airlines FlAAgship Lounge
- Tiers? And Dreams? Huh?
- Off to Heathrow, American Airlines FlAAgship Lounge – THIS SECTION
- American Airlines AA99 London – Chicago
- Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Back to O’Hare, AA AAdmrials Club
- American Airlines AA1380 Chicago to St Louis, St Louis AAdmirals Club, AA1685 St Louis to Dallas Fort Worth
- DFW and AAn CEO encounter…
- American Airlines AA1180 – Dallas Fort Worth to San Juan
- The Intercontinental San Juan and #Rucksackgate
- San Juan International Airport
- American Airlines AA1591 San Juan to Dallas Forth Worth
- More messing around DFW
- American Airlines AA1618 Dallas Fort Worth to St Louis International, A quick STL Stop, American Airlines AA1186 St Louis to Chicago
- The Hyatt Regency O’Hare with a Rucksack gate update
- One Time Exception: A Chicago Photographic Interlude
- O’Hare Take 3, AA AAdmirals Club
- AA3360 Chicago O’Hare to Toronto Pearson
- Toronto Airport Omnishambles – The Long Wait, BA Toronto Lounge
- BA96 Toronto to London Heathrow featuring the British Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner
- Homeward bound
- The long and winding road
8pm. The night before.
After unsuccessfully trying to check in on-line, I decided to try to rest for a bit before the madness begun.
Then the flat went dark. Completely.
Joy. A power outage had hit the block of flats I live in. I rested it out until about 10pm (because even with a mobile phone light or candles – there’s not a lot you can do), when power was thankfully restored, allowing me to complete my packing, ensure my passport and money is in the right places, and that I was mostly happy before heading off.
With 2:00am passing, it was time to head out of the front door and call a taxi
Regulars will notice the red and black long ski-bag has been dumped at long last for something a bit smaller. Bottom line… have you tried carrying 1 and ½ meters around for any length of time? It’s a pain… 1 meter is a lot more manageable. Also – keep an eye on the big rucksack on the right… it becomes important later…
My local taxi firm as usual did me proud, taking me around the houses and finally to the National Express coach station.
£7 lighter, I was at Digbeth Coach station, and the coach was ready to load. It was then off into the coach for the trip to Heathrow Airport.
Waiting for boarding…
My e-ticket was inspected (you’ve got to love apps that store tickets on your phones), and I was allowed to board
National Express Coach 210
Birmingham Coach Station to Heathrow Central Bus Station
Return Cost: £28
Boarding took a while, with a fair few seats filled for this early morning departure.
However a couple of minutes late, the coach reversed and headed out of the station.
Heading out… when the gates are opened.
The coach took a different route than usual to Heathrow today, first going local to Birmingham Airport, before heading to Coventry, then Banbury and finally Heathrow.
Coventry? That concrete place that is trying to change… but it’s still concrete all over? The very same.
A diversion to Coventry added an extra 20 minutes to the journey – it seemed that National Express was packing them in on the coach today, with lots of seats filled with pairs – including mine.
Still – I grabbed what sleep I could get, with me rousing at Banbury and finally as the coach got off the M4 and onto the Northern Approach to Heathrow. The seats as usual were bearable, with enough legroom so not to feel like you’re boxed in.
Under the runway.
Finally the coach pulled into the Central Bus Station, where I got off, as well as my luggage.
Now, whilst the 1 meter bag is a LOT easier to carry that the olde 1.50meter Salomon bag, however a trolley is a good thing… and so I grabbed one to begin the great push to Terminal 3.
Arriving at T3, it was still cold, and the pink lights were still… pink.
Still, there was the task of checking in – which needed to be done. I was cleared by ICTS, and headed to check in, where the agent did her best to get me a better seat – to the point where I was moved up to row 21J from 25J. I was told the seat next to be should be blocked and that the cabin was rather quiet today.
Oh well, I’d settle for a quiet flight and a spare seat any day of the week.
My bags were tagged and my boarding pass issued, and I was allowed to head upstairs.
Fast Track whilst quick, it seemed that the staff like me fell out of the wrong side of the bed, with the staff in a bit of a mood. Oh well. The formalities were done quickly, and I was off again.
As I had failed to find any power adapters at home, I headed to Dixons Travel to get ripped off for some – as well as some headphones (lets hope I don’t forget them before I head to gate this time).
A quiet T3
With time at a premium, I decided to skip heading to the BA First Lounge, and go straight the to FlAAgship Lounge.
Except when I got there, there was an issue – it wasn’t open yet. This did not bode well.
Umm. Open please?
Thankfully, after a short wait, the doors opened, and I was invited in. My boarding pass was examined, and I was invited into the FlAAgship Lounge
The Flagship lounge – as it had just opened – was quiet. I settled down on the sofas and started re-charging the phone, whilst I watched people filter in.
My plane at the gate.
I also noticed a distinct lack of menus and such around. Whilst drinks and such were available, there were only cold fruits and yogurts out, with no hot items.
Yoghurts and Fruits
Nothing hot here…
Something sugary I suspect…
Individual staff said there would be hot food around 6:30am – which if I honest, is a bit late if your flight is boarding at 7am. Still the selection was its usual good self.
I of course didn’t change what I had – Eggs Benedict… or rather Egg Benedict as there was no option for one or two eggs… just one today… with no fruit.
Lonely of AA FlAAgship Lounge.
And some mini sausage rolls. Yes. They’re sausage. Took some dubious looking to find out what they were…
Hmm. A bit of cost cutting going on methinks.
Still, the clocks were counting down, and at 7am, I exited from the lounge, and headed to the plane, which was at Gate 23 next door to the lounge – rather useful really).
Oh yes. Whilst I was heading to the gate there was this automatic piano playing lovely music. A nice touch Heathrow Airport.
Entry to the Gate Pen
My boarding pass was checked, and swiped, and I was allowed through.
After a short wait, boarding was called by class, and then by status. At it was time to leave Britannia’s fair shores behind, and board the metal tube for a flight across the pond…
Next: AA99 – London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare