After a day of climbing some Edinburgh hills, my group and Alistair graciously saw me off at the bus station in Edinburgh.
From there I took an overnight 8:30pm National Express Bus #954 from Edinburgh to London, with the bus taking a half an hour rest stop at 1:45am in the morning.
As nicely run as National Express buses are, I remained stuck sitting 90º upright even with the chair “fully reclined.” Nevertheless, it came with enough power plugs that work pretty well, a functioning big clock in the front, and superfluous seat belts. There’s no wifi on the bus, but when does that ever work?
I arrived at London Heathrow at 6:15am. No transfers needed!
From there I took the tram to Terminal 5.
Last year I acquired 100,000 British Avios miles by spending $20k on its eponymous credit card on anything I could (gift cards to myself, taxes, group dinners, flights for other trips) and with those miles, I was able to get a first class seat on this trip back to NYC.
And with that first class status on my ticket, I breezed through Fast Track to security.
After security, I checked into the exclusive Concord Room, which is open only to First Class flyers. The big difference is that there’s no self-service; you have dedicated butlers and service staff with all the food and drink being complimentary and delivered to wherever you sit.
You can also get a free 15 minute service at the adjacent Elemur Day Spa whether it’s a massage, shave, or facial.
After an hour here, I headed towards the gate and into the plane towards the first class section.
I chose my seat to be at the very front of the plane: 1A.
There I settled in with a glass of orange juice and bubbly.
The best part is having your seat fully recline to a 180º flat bed, along with an adjustable footrest at 2 different heights.
The best part of first class on British Airways is that their service is impeccable, with them delivering in choreographed succession: welcome drinks, a newspaper of your choice, US customs forms, a leather washbag…
…containing a plethora of high class vanity and sleep products…
…as well as a pajama set…
…then a menu…
…followed by a peach and raspberry smoothie…
…a really well done tea set…
…appetizers and bread basket…
…and then the main course.
After the meal if you start to develop food coma and start to look a little drowsy, you can put away your clothes in your personal closet (on the right) as they carry over for you a pair of slippers and a duvet.
Then after a 2 hour nap, I woke up to afternoon high tea…
…accompanied by a bottle of water and pastries…
…and fresh warm scones.
After feeling satisfyingly full, rested, and 3 movies in, it was time to land after 6 quick hours in the air.
Thanks for the experience BA!
Although the hard product of BA’s first class is very similar to that of business class of other airlines, it’s the more focused and fine-tuned orchestrated service and feeling of privacy that transitions it from business to first. And I guess their champagne is higher quality? Either way, if you have the chance, it’s worth a one-time experience.
After landing I was treated to a remarkable Monsoon Diaries reunion 2 hours later in the east village, where I was able to meet up with Sidian (who showed me around his native Athens 2 years ago), Dmitry (whom we got to know when we ran into each other in Romania 5 months ago), Nisa (whom went on my Southeast Asia tour led by Dave 2 years ago), William (whom went on 3 trips with me), and my unnamed partner-in-crime (whom was in Romania with me when we met Dmitry, and Greece when we met with Sidian, amongst many others).
– At time of posting in London, it was 44.6 °F – Humidity: 82% | Wind Speed: 8km/hr | Cloud Cover: mostly cloudy