Ooh, it's February. Time to get cracking on part 2 of my 12 part resolution.
Eagle-eyed and elephant-memoried readers may recall that I did a mental New York public transport holiday last September, the flights for which I purchased during a period where BA and its transatlantic partners went moderately crazy and sold business class return flights in the region of £250-400, from Norway to virtually anywhere in the 48 contiguous states. Well, the NYC return was not the only thing I bought in that madness, I also grabbed some flights to San Francisco because...
No, I don't seem to have an end to the previous sentence. I bought them just because. I mean, at the time I thought they wouldn't get honoured, but they are being, so fast forward 6 months and suddenly it's 5am on a Thursday morning and I'm being woken up by my watch vibrating, which is pretty impressive because I'm not actually wearing my watch and it's not resting on a hard surface. I shower and weigh myself and am a full kilo heavier than yesterday. Fucks sake.
It's dark and I have a cab booked for 6am. Bleurgh. I spent most of yesterday at work batting away looks and sounds spanning the spectrum of incredulity to ridicule as I repeatedly detailed the fact that I was going to San Francisco, even though I've only booked 3 days off work. Part of the problem was my inability to be dishonest. Someone would say "what? only for 4 days?" and I'd have to say, no, only for 2 days. Someone would say "what, isn't that like a 10 or 12 hour flight?" and I'd say, no, it probably should be, but not the way I do it, I'll be spending more time in the planes and airports than SF itself. And someone would say "why are you going?" and I'd say "I really like flying". And they'd scoff.
But you lot what read this thing, you understand me, right? So y'know what, fuck my colleagues (I love you guys really). On with the show.
The 6am cab turned up dead on 6am. It's a nicer car than usual and driven by a very dapper man. He is super-cautious getting a turn out of my cul-de-sac but on open roads thankfully drives at normal speed. It's dark the whole time and we chat a bit. He totally vindicates my continued loyalty to Mogul Cars of Surbiton, and tells me that they are a really good employer too. Damn I wish this paragraph was sneaky paid advertising, but it isn't. Mogul are great and I'm at Heathrow by 0635.
Inside the terminal I am unwittingly tailing someone loudly proclaiming "aha, the British Airways desks are straight ahead". Hint: there are no other airline desks at T5.
Security had no fast track but neither north or south were busy and by 0639 I am staring at my rucksack sitting in a tray on a stationary security belt. I'm not sure what the hold up is because after almost 5 minutes the belt moves again, and nothing seems to get sent for further inspection. By 0645 I'm in the lounge and by 0648 I have bacon. I know I detail this shit every time, but I really do think Heathrow t5 is a slick operation and the complaints when it's bad are valid, but need to be balanced with the fact that the vast majority of the time this place can process a shitload of people with minimal fuss very efficiently. At least in my experience.
The lounge isn't as busy as on the Geneva trip the other week. I thought early morning would be bad, but perhaps (comparatively) no-one likes to fly on a Thursday. I sit in what amounts to my usual place and the mini-baguettes are nice. I don't have any alcohol, nor fruit, but I do grab a danish. In general I'm thinking both of attempting to exercise a degree of moderation, plus pace myself. It's a long day, after all.
My seat is above gate A5 and I stare out at what I believe to be very hard, very sideways, but very fine rain. Once the sun comes up it seems that perhaps I'd just been staring at a sprinkler. I'm not sure. I ponder the fact that it's probably more than 15 hours until I next have the opportunity to go outdoors, and am startled by a man bursting out laughing upon reading something in the Financial Times.
First to check-in. Yes, I am keen.
Yesterday I got an alert telling me my transatlantic flight was delayed. Big scary red exclamation marks which only signified a half hour delay, I had complained to Chris, Mark and Helen that I actually wish there'd be some bigger delays sometime. And actually this morning I'd had alerts that multiple flights today were delayed, but none by more than half an hour. But in the lounge, every flight is being assigned a gate on the screens except mine. Time's a-ticking and given I'm not on the sauce yet I'm kinda bored and just killing time until I can go to the gate too early.
Just as I bitch about my lack of gate to Helen, I'm alerted via way too many apps that this morning I will be departing from gate A21. Good news, not the satellite! Bad news, the completely opposite end of the terminal. As I walk and go past the entrance to the south lounges, I wonder if today will be the day that which is south and which is north finally get etched into my mind.
Gate A21 is busy and everyone is old. There are no windows out of which to take boring shots of the same old BA planes as ever so I loiter and scribble, then suddenly boarding is announced. 6 of us use the fast track line, me being the last. There are only 4 people in business class, out of 12 seats and I end up having the whole of row 1 to myself. This is excellent.
The plane's livery looks odd and I can't make out what it is. Someone is directed to use the bins above seats 1A and 1C to store their bags, and he says "well can I just sit here?" to which the response is a curt, almost startled, "er, no! this is business class!" - not from me, but from the flight attendant. The captain comes over the tannoy and tells us this is going to be a lovely 1h50m flight to Bergen, sit back and enjoy the service.