My first trip to Europe has sadly ended and now it is time for the onslaught of blog posts and Tripadvisor reviews. As I'm writing this, I'm still in the throes of jet lag and my entire system is completely confused by the time change. We were home and in bed before eleven, but I woke up at three in the morning, thinking that it was the afternoon and that I should be having tea or visiting a castle. I'm going to try my best to make it through today without a nap and hopefully be back to normal by tomorrow.
England was a good mix of everything that I imagined and stuff that never occurred to me. More on that in future posts, now let's start at the beginning and talk about the journey on British Airways.
I'm not just saying this because Dan's dad is a retired BA employee, but British Airways was far nicer than any other airlines that I have flown on, this includes many different US carriers and Air Canada.
We flew economy, so you know that it's going to be cramped and kind of miserable, but I felt like British Airways did everything possible to make the journey more bearable.
When we boarded the plane, each seat had a pillow, a blanket and a little bag with headphones and a mini tooth brush/tooth paste kit. Having the means to brush your teeth after a long flight is a big mood booster. I have grown accustomed to airlines only providing pillows and blankets upon request and them never having enough on board for all the passengers. It was nice to have the extras and not have to fight for them.
Note, although it's nice that they give you headphones, my own Iphone headphones were so superior in sound quality that I would recommend to make sure to bring your own.
We made the mistake of not double checking if our flight was delayed prior to leaving the house. It was delayed for two hours. Normally, this wouldn't be a huge deal, but the international terminal at LAX is a wasteland. I didn't appreciate how bad LAX is, until I walked through Heathrow. Heathrow is like a mega mall and LAX is like the DMV. It's bad.
Even with the wait, it was impossible for my excitement to wane. It only took thirty-five years, but I was heading to EUROPE!!!
If you have to fly economy, picking the best seats is essential. Dan knows the ropes. The plane has three rows of two seaters on either side in the very back of economy. However, only the first set of two seaters on either side has extra space by the window. It's not a lot, but every inch counts. I was thankful to be seated with Dan and not squeezed in with other passengers. My only negative about BA, is the leg room seems more cramped than economy planes that I have flown on with other carriers.
The inflight entertainment was plentiful, with a good range of movies and music. They even had a spoken word series of short stories and podcasts, including my favorite podcast, This American Life. I was very excited to watch movies and read books on the flights, but misjudged how sleepy I would be. On the flight over, I only watched, Lawless. On the way home, I fit in two movies, On the Road and Seven Psychopaths. The movies were okay, but I most enjoyed the documentaries offerings, including a travel program on Brazil. Next vacation destination perhaps?
I've not seen meals on an airlines since the mid-ninties. I know that airline food gets a bad rap, but really, I'll eat just about anything and the food that BA served was pretty darn good. We had a full dinner and a light meal each way. They also served free alcohol on board. Did you hear me, FREE ALCOHOL! I think that the only reason this is so exciting is for the novelty. I've never seen free booze in economy. It's not such a great idea to drink while flying and you'll feel crappy for it later. I had a mini bottle of wine (two going) with my dinner. It's the little things that count.
When not watching movies, it's hard not to stare at the moving map screen. I love and hate this feature. It's fine if you can refrain from checking it every five minutes. A watched plane doesn't fly faster!
I was seated across the aisle from the most unaware man that ever existed. An hour into the flight, he knocked my water over and it spilled on my lap and IPad. The Ipad was safe, but soaked jeans make economy travel even more uncomfortable. During dinner he flung food from his plate on to mine. It kept things interesting.
The trip back to Los Angeles was even smoother. The plane was delayed nearly an hour, but they managed to make up the time in the air and we landed only fifteen minutes late. It's easy to kill time in the Heathrow airport, because there is just so much to see. We spent most of the time having coffee in a quiet lounge, where Dan even ran into a former co-worker.
We left on a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon. It even snowed earlier in the day. Here are all of the BA planes in the cold.
Even though the flight going home was an hour longer, it was an easier flight due to the time of day. It ran into the late evening, but wasn't overnight, so I wasn't completely exhausted. It's much nicer when you can stay up and take advantage of the entertainment, rather than attempt to sleep in a cramped chair.
The food on the way home was good too.
I didn't see London from the air coming or going. It was too cloudy. I like to think that London was just saving itself for my next trip, when I will hopefully get to visit the city.
Both trips with British Airways were as nice as they could be for an economy flight. The staff was friendly, professional and very attentive. I look forward to flying on BA on future vacations!
Stay tuned for my England trip reports!