You know those dreams / nightmares where you are walking into an exam having known about it for years but have done no preparation or walking through Covent Garden in just your underwear? Usually you wake up from these with a profound sense of relief. Being stuck on the M25 in near stationary traffic and watching your Clubhouse time evaporate is one of mine. Unfortunately this vision wasn’t one from which I could awaken, with the matrix signs firmly set at “40” and warning of “Queue After Next Junction” at every gantry from Junction 21 through to Junction 14.
This is a Trip Report from the Upper Class cabin
Food & Drink
I’d allowed for a 2 hour drive, expected it to be 1.5 hours and it ballooned into 3 hours. It was such sweet relief to roll up to the DTCI barrier…only to find it wasn’t working . “You can wait for the BAA mechanic” as proposed didn’t strike us as an offer we wanted to take up and so we swung around to the normal check in. We then had to politely rebuff attempts to get us to join the queue there, pointing out that our boarding passes and luggage tags would be printed out upstairs awaiting our arrival, and were then escorted to the lift and formalities swiftly completed upstairs.
Even with the combination of our being straight through security and a knighthoodworthy dash across the terminal floor we were left with only an hour in the Clubhouse before our scheduled boarding. Though at the spa I could be found a 10 minute spot for a head polish, the kibosh was put on MrsPJH’s eagerly anticipated French polish, so she opted instead to head off to the Zara sale whilst I got the Lanson and Redheads in. Our initial contact with service was excellent, with a personable young fellow me lad being proactive and friendly. He then vanished presumably off shift and from then on service was pretty good as long as you worked out the route of the waiting staff and timed the “catching of the eye” appropriately. The Clubhouse was busy – decanting out as flights were called – and the loft and library areas sealed off, though no work was going on to cause any disturbance.
By the time I’d had the polish and MrsPJH returned from Zara time was pressing so the idea of ordering food from the menu was jettisoned in favour of a raid on the deli counter (no hardship as I love their sourdough loaf) and further draughts of Lanson.
Our shortest ever time in the CH was brought to its conclusion by the as scheduled boarding call, and with some reluctance that we set off to Gate 22. Once past the initial crush at the door we made the flawed decision to stick with the priority queue, which was way moving much more slowly than the Economy queue due to the presence of several families. Not that it particularly mattered, but it does irk a little when you make a poor judgement call like that.
I don’t recall being greeted by name, but the tone of cheery and friendly and for me a good enough “hello and welcome”. It still feels slightly odd turning left and being able to say “no thanks, I am familiar with how the seat works” before idly scanning the surroundings to see if there are any red “pen” marks (there weren’t) and receiving a glass of Gardet (which my degraded tastebuds don’t find too bad)[ I have to say that after the tension on the M25 I then began to relax.
A gin and tonic was taken before dinner, and several glasses of Gentleman Jack afterwards from the fully functioning bar.
Dinner itself was taken with myself wedged into the ottoman. The menu has been reported in several other TRs. I was asked to change my starter from the halloumi salad as that had been fully booked by other passengers, one of which was MrsPJH and so at least I got a taste. I mentioned being relaxed earlier, and perhaps that explains why I chose the beef…which was ok.
In terms of IFE as the programming was broadly the same as on the BA flight I’d taken earlier in the month, I’d seen all I wanted to. I had anticipated this though and loaded the iPad with various favourites to pass the time.
From then on the flight was very enjoyable, but for the fan of the amusing mishap or outrage at the behavior of the crew or fellow passengers, to quote ‘The Lion And Albert’, “nothing to laugh at all”. This state of affairs continued even through immigration which was quick and easy, and only broke when the Dial7 operative asked me what colour pants I was wearing. I thought this slightly forward until it clicked she meant “trousers”.
I’d picked Dial7 to get us into Manhattan this time around after seeing a slew of poor reviews for Carmel, and was pretty impressed by the service. Not only were we at our hotel in about 45 minutes after a toll free trip over the Williamsburg Bridge, but the invoice appeared in my inbox by the time I’d logged onto the hotel wifi.
So a poor start to a good middle and end....
We can get better, because we're not dead yet