I was connecting on to my BA First Class flight to JFK from a Dublin flight which arrived a little early and I was able to nip through to the Concorde Room with about 90 minutes until flight time. The flight was leaving from a B gate so I had to grab the train to the mid-field terminal. You can catch the shuttle train or walk. The lifts are the key at T5 in my experience. The escalators down are long and whilst the lifts can be busy they are usually faster.
The shuttles run from two platforms – just check the signs to see the next one. Look out for BA staff who usually know the best place to board in order to get off closest to the lift to the gates.
Arriving at the B gate I walked down the gate, with some great views of the planes parked there.
On arriving at the gate, I could see that the flight attendants were still in the area behind the check-in desk. This is never a good sign – it means that boarding is likely to be delayed. Eventually it became clear that boarding time had come and gone and the crew, and all the passengers were not yet boarding. There were very announcements and whilst a member of staff did come and tell us what was happening, they were not talking to every passenger.
I decided to go to the B gates lounge – there is no separate area here for First Class and it was packed! More than I have ever seen it before. It was hard to find a seat although I did manage that eventually. There was a long line of passengers who would miss their JFK connections in the Customer Service line. I called the Gold Guest Line who confirmed that it was likely to be a two hour delay.
Indeed it did turn out to be that and as it was Thanksgiving, BA had cancelled a number of flights meaning that there was very little choice to switch. I had booked an overnight at JFK before my trip to Hawaii, and so this didn’t make much of a difference to me.
We boarded around 11.15 and I was quickly in my 2K seat. It’s my favourite seat on the plane. The aircraft was a Super High J meaning that it has two extra rows of Club World, over and above the high density Club version of the 747.
The crew came around with sleeper suits, amenity kits, water and champagne, orange juice or water. Newspapers were free to help yourself from a pile. The cabin was full, except for 1A/1J who were two passengers who had come from Dublin with me, but had clearly rebooked when the delay happened.
After take off the Customer Service Director came round and introduced herself, shook our hands and handed out menus. I was pretty quickly in to a movie as the plane had the new BA system installed.
My Champagne and nuts turned up pretty fast.
As it was Thanksgiving, BA had dropped the beef option from the menu and introduced a Turkey choice, which I picked as you will see later.
The menu options were:
I chose to have the Cheddar souffle:
Followed by the soup – which was superb. Probably the best course I have had on a plane in a number of years. Tasty, satisfying, not salty and full of flavour. Wonderful.
The main course was, by contrast a little disappointing. The gravy was great but the turkey was a little dry and the presentation uninspiring:
The warm dessert (almond and white chocolate souffle) was lovely and a great way to finish one of the better meals I’ve had.
I slept for a few hours before we started to land and the BA staff did a light afternoon tea service. I passed on the sandwiches but had the cakes:
We landed and had a long taxi to the Terminal. Getting off through door 2 meant a scrum with Club passengers trying to get to the terminal. We were behind a Ukranian plane, but my Global Entry access meant that I could by-pass the queue. An incredibly friendly immigration agent asked me whether I needed assistance with the machine which was nice. We chatted about having to work on Thanksgiving. The exit from Customs was much slower, with the agent checking my photo from the GE machine against me and my passport. Took 3-4 minutes which I find to be unusually slow.
I was out, across and on the AirTrain within a couple of minutes taking it to Federal Circle to pick up my hotel’s shuttle. Miraculously it was there waiting, as it was a slow day due to being Thanksgiving.
Although I seem to have too many delays on long haul BA services than I would like (my Miami flight caused a mis-connected on the way to Tampa earlier in November), once on board the service was pretty good and there was some decent food.