#921546 by hiljil
18 May 2016, 15:41
After a relaxing holiday ,with wonderful weather in Florida , it was time to take a deep breath ahead of the drive back to Miami Airport. One gets lulled into a false sense of tranquillity as one drives east for a couple of hours across Alligator Alley with just the occasional neighbouring car and very few trucks. Then suddenly on the horizon looms a nightmare version of Spaghetti Junction and all hell breaks loose. We actually managed to get lost about 4 miles out from MIA and had a worrying & nervous time before we managed to get back on track. What a relief it was ,& I was so happy , to see Miami Airport - and I never thought I would say that !

Dropping the car off proved to be easy then it was back on the train into the terminal. The check in was due to open at 2pm. We saw the desk with the sign saying "BA First " so at 2pm we strolled there & watched as various agents started checking in economy passengers. Finally at 2.10 a lady sauntered out to the desk alongside us. A couple sitting nearby got up & approached her . She started checking them in & I realised they were First Class. So I waited till she had finished with them & leant across before she could start the next couple in her queue . I politely enquired was I in the right queue for First Class, pointing at the sign above my head. " Oh no, we've stopped using that desk ! This is the queue here ," & she waved in front of her & started to see to the next people by her desk. With an indrawn breath we moved across to the next line. The people in front of us were then told that this was not Club World so they were despatched to the back of the next queue to their left. A bewildered World Traveller Plus man silently raised his hands in the air & left his queue to go to his left. It was a sort of stand up version of musical chairs. Welcome to MIA !

At the desk my companion bent down to get something out her bag just as I handed the e-ticket to the agent. "Where's the other person ?" she demanded. " It says two passengers here !" My friend stood up. " Oh ! " was the only apology we were given.

So, we were checked in, eventually, and moved along to security. It was like the Marie Celeste. I looked around convinced I couldn't be standing in the right place ( again ) as there was no queue. But I was waved forward, put my bag to be checked, and was out the other side in seconds. It felt weird !

I found the lounge used by BA to be a soulless , unwelcoming place albeit a haven from what is outside. I know V-Flyers complain about the VS lounge but quite honestly I actually prefer it - dare I admit ! The reek of fish and some soup permeated the atmosphere and the lounge soon busied up and was very noisy.

It was a very short stroll to Gate E8 and we were called to board at 4.55. And here the magic returned. Welcomed back at the door by name & escorted to my suite 2A , with champagne arriving before I hardly sat down. The ambience was as good as I remembered. I sat back and prepared to be spoilt once more. There was a slight blip in that there was a problem with the heating onboard which caused a departure delay of nearly one hour. The cabin became unpleasantly hot for a while but the Captain apologised and said it was actually 95 degrees on the Flight deck if that made us feel any better !

So it was sorted. Cool air washed over us. The cabin crew came round just before take off with smiles and " A Cold towel, madam ?" and an icy flannel refreshed me. On my flight out we had had an all female crew in First Class but on the way home it was all men. I must confess the aftershave could be rather overwhelming at times. The CSM came round to shake hands and have a short chat & left me enveloped in more after shave.

We hardly taxied before we were airborne and heading out over Miami Beach. I was ready to embrace the luxury of the cabin. Pre dinner drinks & those gorgeous warmed nuts were quickly served. I popped to the loo & found on my return my drink had been replenished . ( Gentlemen be warned. There is a window behind the toilet seat. Fine when airborne !) Menus, sleeping suits, slippers and amenity kits were handed out. I was asked if I was ready to dine and I sat back cocooned in my suite of happiness as my large table was set with a precision worthy of a banquet at Buckingham Palace.

I started with a large portion of smoked salmon and decided I would dare to try the breast of duck as my main course. I needn't have worried. It was so tasty and not dry or tough and I loved the dauphinoise potatoes with seasonal vegetables. It was all washed down with a delightful Viognier. I was too full for dessert or cheese but managed a coffee & some chocolates. My bed was quickly made up and I promptly fell asleep .

And woke up far too soon ! Why ? I was comfortable , a pleasant temperature and the worries of getting to Miami were behind me. But at least I lay awake feeling relaxed and pampered. I moved the bed to slightly sitting up and a waft of after shave quietly asked if I wanted something ? So , I sat sipping coffee and relishing the last hours of my Second First. ( Is that a university qualification ?!)

My breakfast was served at 5.45am. I got over my initial disappointment that no cereals were offered and asked for plain yogurt instead . Silly me. I was expecting a pot to be delivered. A bowl of refreshing plain yogurt was served, followed by pastries and coffee. I couldn't face a cooked meal.

Unlike all my previous flights I was not aware of other people having breakfast nor were my nostrils assailed by various cooked smells. I didn't hear the rattle of cups & saucers being made ready nor any other noises of preparation from the galley. First class had 12 passengers.

We were warned we would arrive in heavy rain and goodness I didn't realise how loud rain could hammer down on the lower deck of a 747. We landed without stacking & just before 7.15 deplaned from the door behind First . The walk wasn't too bad to immigration and although it looked very full, with the e gates still not operating ,we moved along at a good pace, our cases were already on the carousel , and we exited to our awaiting friend by 7.35 !!

So. My return flight didn't disappoint . I had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the experience of being nurtured in First Class. I have finally ticked the box of my dream and don't feel in any way let down. In fact I still feel exhilarated by it all.

Thank you for reading. I'm off to check my bank balance ..... ;-)
#921549 by jfenney
18 May 2016, 16:10
Thanks for a great insight on how the other half live so to speak. Shame about the CH at the start and the ground staff but at least you were not slumming it.

With regards to your bank balance mine took. Turn for the worse this weekend and we added another 5 nights to. A holidays as well as 2 gs became available lol :D
#921550 by catsilversword
18 May 2016, 16:13
jfenney wrote:Thanks for a great insight on how the other half live so to speak. Shame about the CH at the start and the ground staff but at least you were not slumming it.

With regards to your bank balance mine took. Turn for the worse this weekend and we added another 5 nights to. A holidays as well as 2 gs became available lol :D



Sometimes, you just have no choice :)
#921554 by marshy11
18 May 2016, 17:26
Ah Hiljil, I have waited for this TR, checking every day to make sure I hadn't missed it.

You truly have a way with the keyboard as I was there in that experience with you! Such a shame it started out so badly. Staff landside aside (and the on board perfumery) it sounds like you've certainly had an amazing time.

Let's hope these Firsts are firsts of many. I'm hoping to join the club early next year, my 2-4-1 is burning a hole that the Avios have just about filled.
#921573 by hazban
18 May 2016, 23:11
So many happy memories, and so pleased that the trip lived up to your expectations.
Never mind checking your bank statement get looking at the BA website! There have been some cracking deals in first from regional airports, much better than from my "adopted" ;-) city of Amsterdam!
Off to Vancouver in August for my fifth first, looking forward to it with the same enthusiasm as you and I confirm that the excitement and anticipation doesn't wain!
Shame about your treatment at MIA check in, I'll bet Joan Collins never has a problem, obviously they were not aware that you enjoy celebrity status on v-flyer! :cool:
#921579 by Maximus
19 May 2016, 06:03
Wonderful to read another TR from you.

I empathise with the dreaded drive to MIA. We did not get lost but the traffic was so slow on the freeway it took an eternity to get there and I have never been so desperate for the "restroom" in my life! :blush:

Sounds like the cabin crew had been helping themselves to the duty free colognes :) Next time recommend they try Penhaligans Blenheim Bouquet for a more subtle scent ;-)

Not too long for you to wait until September's flights though! We are in Club for our next Florida trip as we are flying in to Tampa but hoping to get First seats for Japan in May...241 voucher and Avios at the ready!
#921586 by pjh
19 May 2016, 09:37
Another great TR. MrsPJH thinks we are getting above ourselves flying J, so not sure I'd be able to sell the idea of F.
#921617 by gfonk
19 May 2016, 23:08
catsilversword wrote:
jfenney wrote:Thanks for a great insight on how the other half live so to speak. Shame about the CH at the start and the ground staff but at least you were not slumming it.

With regards to your bank balance mine took. Turn for the worse this weekend and we added another 5 nights to. A holidays as well as 2 gs became available lol :D



Sometimes, you just have no choice :)


lol that is a good one.
maybe I should try that if I accidently buy a new watch hehe.

Anyway, awesome TR Hiljil. Really cant wait to try BA F oneday, unless VS start flying to HND then I will be back in the fold in UC yay
#921646 by buns
20 May 2016, 21:54
HJ

Thanks for a splendid TR.

The "lost in Miami" portion I can relate to as it seems I get lost every time I take a hire car back and so know that sense of panic! The less said about MIA the better - it is an old airport that seems stuck in its original clothes, which are way out of date.

Your BA First experience is very tempting, but I think my bank balance will give me a slap for even considering it :-D

Thanks once again

buns
#921666 by horburyflyer
21 May 2016, 14:12
Pure delight reading this. Thank you for sharing your wonderful First experience.

Like Buns, the least we say about MIA the better. It really is depressing. Thankfully once on board the First experience well and truly kicked in and it sounds like you were well looked after by a lovely engaging crew on both sectors.

Tempting I must say.

Jon
Virgin Atlantic

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