About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Flying home with British Airways

At the end of my Contiki tour through England and Scotland I flew home from Edinburgh to New York via London Heathrow, sadly in Coach (I flew out in Business Class).

I had previously paid to choose my seat with British Airways for the international flight, I had chosen an aisle seat in the 3rd row. When I did my online check-in the day before my flights I noticed that the first row was available. I was confused as to why I wouldn't have chosen it initially, and then decided to move myself up. At that time I also picked an aisle seat for my flight from Edinburgh to London.

I had an early morning flight from Edinburgh to London and decided to take the 10-15 minute walk from my hotel to the Airlink shuttle at the train station instead of taking a taxi. While I don't regret this decision, the walk from the hotel to the shuttle was a bit of a pain so early in the morning with all my luggage. But once on the shuttle it was a pretty quick ride to the airport with only 2 or 3 stops along the way. It is a great way to get to the airport if you don't mind the walk to the shuttle, and it has free wifi.

I arrived at the airport just over 2 hours before my flight and could not print out my boarding pass. Because I had done my on-line check in at an internet cafe I did not print out my boarding pass, so I had to do this at the airport. First, the kiosk would not allow me into the system since my flight was so far away (a whole 2 hours), then when it finally did let me into the system it told me I already had a boarding pass. So I went online to check my suitcase and at the counter they were more then happy to print out my boarding pass. I was finally able to go through security and do a bit of shopping and have a little breakfast before my flight.

Flight number: BA1439 - EDI to LHR

This flight was just under an hour and a half from gate to gate so it didn't bother me that there wasn't any entertainment on board, or was there? They actually had a full breakfast service on this flight. It was just an average airline breakfast, if you're not from the US. They served a hot egg and bacon thing, my memory is a little fuzzy about what exactly was served, but I remeber it was just ok. But it was hot food, on a short flight, that was amazing in and of itself.

Other then the food the flight was uneventful, though the plane was comfortable and only offered coach service. Being a British airline, they also offered hot tea service.

After disembarking the plane I followed the signs to connect, which lead me to a checkpoint to enter the Terminal 5 area, at this point they scan tickets to ensure that people entering Terminal 5 are departing the airport on another flight. I would have about 3 hours here to explore before my flight home.

Terminal 5 at Heathrow has only been open a few years, it is quite modern and has A LOT of services. There is a wide offering of food and shops. I did my last minute shopping here, I got myself a London 2012 Olympic shirt. I spent some of the last of my pounds and exchanged the rest of it. I also stopped at the restaurant Giraffe and had an excellent smoothie. Let me just say that it's much more fun to wander around an airport when you don't have the maximum allowed carry-on baggage. It was finally time to board my flight home.

Flight number: BA0177 - LHR to JFK

Boarding was done via bus. So you had to take an escalator down to your gate, board a bus then transfer to the plane. This is a serious pain in the ass! No wonder it takes an hour to board the plane! But I was on the first or second bus so when I got on the plane it was empty, which made settling in much easier.

I found out why I originally had not booked the first row of coach for this flight, it's the bulk head seat. I am a short person so I don't need the room that a bulk head seat offers, and I like to have my stuff handy under the seat in front of me. I quickly had to figure out what I needed and wanted and where the heck I could put it. I ended up going back into my bags two or three times during the flight. BUT, because I was the first person in my row I was able to take up all the space in the overhead above my seat (it was a small compartment, I didn't have THAT much stuff).

I have to rant for a moment. While I was sitting in my seat reading the newspaper I noticed someone stop next to me and put his stuff in the overhead for the seat opposite me, I didn't think anything of it at first, until the people seated near me came and couldn't put their stuff in the compartment. So some ass sitting in the back of the plane came and filled the overhead compartment of the bulk head seats (the seats without under the seat space) and then went to his seat in the back of the plane. This was early in the boarding process and I can assure you the overhead at his seat was not full, he was just an ass hole. If you're the guy who did this, you are an ass hole and if I knew what you were doing at the time I would have called you out then and there!

Back to the flight...

As boarding progressed the middle row of seats were filled with 2 families with small children. One lap baby and one toddler. I almost cried when I saw them and take-off did not go well, I was afraid of how long this flight was going to feel. But after take-off both kids settled in they were fine, they were even kinda cute. After we were given the ok to "move about the cabin" the flight attendants set up basinet thingys for both kids, which struck me as a god send to parents with lap children. I also noticed that British Airways offered the parents special seat belts with a loop for their child. For those of you who are unaware you cannot put your lap child under your own seat belt on a plane. But some airlines have special seat belt loops where the child is strapped into your seat belt, but in a seperate loop to keep them safe. This keeps the child from becoming a projectile and from them getting crushed under your seat belt (if you were to try to put your child under your seat belt).

What did end up being annoying was the kid behind me, I would guess he was about 2 and while he didn't cry he was apparently quite attached to his mother and her legs, which happened to be behind me. That kid bumped my seat the whole flight, and drove me crazy. Thank god this was a day flight and I wasn't trying to sleep or god only knows what I would have done to this kid.

The movie selection was good, I got to watch 2 movies I had wanted to see - Sex and the City 2 and Valentines Day. They were playing some other movies I had wanted to see too, so I was very happy with the selection. The movies helped make the flight go by quickly!

Good and Bad of my bulk head seat:

*Getting bumped by every person boarding the plane, yet the flight attendant managed to never bump my seat
*Half way through the flight the bathroom started to smell
*Not having to wait in line for the bathroom, except when the movies ended and everyone was going before the next round of movies started
*Lots of leg room
*Lots of people stopping by to use the bathroom
*Getting your food and drinks first
*The TV was in the arm rest so it was a little easier to adjust
*The tray table was in the arm rest and was a pain to take out and put back away, but it did fold in half
*No place to put my stuff - no seatback compartment or under the seat storage area and I forgot a couple things in my bag.
*No one climbing over me to get out of their seat
*A misaligned window with a poor view

Overall the flight was good.  The flight attendants were very nice, the food was good (for airline food), the movie selection was good.  We landed on time in NY and I was quickly reunited with my family.