Intro to London 2016: To See a GOAT on Grass
American Airlines Business Class Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR)
Radisson Blu Edwardian Hampshire Leicester Square
The May Fair Hotel
Buckingham Palace and Changing of the Guard
St. Pauls Cathedral
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Dining in London
Brexit, London Street Scenes and Red bus tour
British Airways Business Class London (LHR) to Chicago (ORD)
American Airlines Business Class Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR) 777-300
My wife and I arrived at terminal 3 via Coach USA bus and went to checkin for our flight. There was only a short wait to checkin at the American Airlines Business Class counter. Once at the counter we were greeted kindly and after handing over our passports, we were issued our boarding passes. The checkin agent asked if we wanted seats next to each other instead of behind each other but I personally selected our seats to have window seats so I declined. She gave us detailed instructions on how to find the Admirals Club and we were on our way.
I was shocked when we walked over to the PreCheck security line and there was NO line. We walked straight up put our bags thru the belt and walked thru!! AMAZING! No line. It took about 1-2 minutes from start to end.
We were given two drink coupons for the lounge which oddly included bottle water. Why a bottle water is in the same category as wine and alcohol was puzzling to me. We grabbed a few drinks and snacks and had to kill about an hour in the lounge. I decided to leave the lounge with plenty of time to make it to the gate to board early. There were no announcements in the lounge although the lounge agent advised they would announce when our flight was boarding.
When we made it to our gate……boarding already commenced!! In fact business class was about done boarding and the economy folks were lined up and just about formed a fortress around the gate making it impossible for business class customers to even make it up to get our boarding passes scanned!
Eventually we snaked our way through the mess of people with our baby in tote. Just before we had our passes scanned our names were called by the counter person. We then were told to go over there where they had to do another passport check before we could board (which is annoying).
We boarded to a just about full business class but there was plenty of space in the overhead bins so no harm, no foul. We got settled into our seats and started to get baby settled to. We made sure his items were within reach in case he needed something. My wife was going to hold the baby on her lap for the 7+ hour flight to London.
I specifically picked a departing flight time that would be around the baby’s bed time in hopes he would get a good nights sleep and not need to be entertained too much and get too cranky. Well the plan worked pretty well as the baby did sleep quite a bit. The seats were a tad narrow but my wife was able to squeeze the baby next to her in the lie flat position for portions of the flight while they both rested.
On our seats were blankets and a pillow. Cole Haan amenity kits were also distributed. The amenity kit was nothing special and contained most of what you would expect it to. Pre departure beverages were offered however by the time they came to our row the champagne was gone! That’s pretty cheap if you ask me. My wife and I were left with water or orange juice options.
Once in the air warm nuts and hot hand towels were handed out along with menus. However they asked if people were traveling together and if they were to share the menus as they didnt have enough copies for everyone individually, another cheap move.
The takeoff and climb up was smooth and uneventful. The sky was beautiful on this evening. In looking over the menu I chose the roasted duck much to my wife’s chagrin. She warned me and she selected the pasta for her dinner. We eventually did get a glass of champagne once in the air.
The dinner service started with salad and artichoke heart. The artichoke heart was the best part of the entire meal service. Really flavorful and well plated.
The roasted duck tasted like rubber. My wife was correct again! She was indifferent about her meal for what its worth. We both had the raspberry tart for dessert and thought it was great.
I watched a few movies and I was happy to finally get to see Deadpool which was interesting. I didn’t sleep well. I maybe nodded off for an hour or so. The seat was comfortable and the pillow and blanket were fine but I just couldn’t relax enough to get a true sound sleep. The baby slept the best of all of us which was a plus for him!
Towards the end of the flight breakfast service was offered. I wasn’t very hungry but I figured a few bites of fruit would do me well so I had the fruit and granola with orange juice. My wife skipped breakfast as she was sleeping with baby.
We landed a tad early which was nice. Right before landing immigration fast track cards were handed out to the business class cabin. Let me just say what ever price they charged for this flight was worth it because of that fast track pass. I cannot emphasize enough because the immigration line was about 4 HOURS LONG!!! OMG THE LINE!! My wife and I were stunned!!!!! We followed the people in front of us who were also on our flight in business class and were escorted to the fast track immigration line with about 15 people in it and a 10 minute wait. HONESTLY THE IMMIGRATION LINE WAS ALMOST 4 HOURS LONG!!! Guys we had a driver waiting for us at 9:45am and if we had to wait in that line I am sure he would have left! The FAST TRACK PASS was the BEST part of the entire flight honestly and the flight was nice and comfortable. We were both super thankful for that pass. The couple in the fast track line behind us flew in on the Miami to London flight and they were too stunned by the line. The in flight service was really unmemorable for both of us. Pretty robotic flight attendants on this flight. Not bad nor good.
I initially wrote about the big 2015 business class sale here. This is the first flight that I have paid cash for since 2010. We decided to pay cash and use some of our British Airways points to greatly reduce the price.
We paid $850 per person for roundtrip business class tickets to London plus 30,000 British Airways Avios points!!!! That is a really solid deal. Not only that but American Airlines was running a promo on paid business class flights in which it was possible to earn 25,000 American miles per person, which is huge! We earned 34,800 total miles each due to this bonus promo and miles flown!! Almost 70,000 between us in redeemable miles.
The alternative would be to redeem miles to get to London. We could have redeemed 200,000 American Airlines miles for our flights. However we wouldn’t have the option to select the flight days and times that we wanted and 200,000 miles is a lot for 7-8 hour business class flights. I would prefer to use them for a longer first class flight instead.
As I mentioned in the intro of this trip report that we decided kind of last minute to bring our baby son with us. So we needed to buy a lap infant seat. We called British Airways and after about a 15-20 minute phone call and $739 later we had our son ticketed. Ouch! But in the end we were happy to have baby with us and created new memories with him on his first international trip!!!