Thursday, March 19, 2020

July 1, 2019 – London Heathrow Airport – Partly Cloudy – 70s

The hotel had a lot of guests but in Room 1264 (that’s on the first floor) everything was quiet.  When I went down to breakfast around 6:00 AM, I could hear neighbors down the hall screaming at each other but I did not hear them in our room.  Some of the walls are soundproof.  

I had an interesting breakfast – first of all, the restaurant at the 6;00 AM open was already full of foreign air travelers, with little knowledge about buffet etiquette.  I had some oatmeal, a fried egg, a roll, and some automated made to order pancakes (the best of the meal).  The coffee came from one of those latte machines and was good and hot.  Breakfast was really good.

We caught the 8:29 AM H1 Hoppa to LHR and found seats and room for our bags.  The bus had a problem and an alarm wouldn’t let the bus start.  It took another driver and a call to HQ to solve the problem.  Once started, three girls walked on the bus and got into a discussion with the driver – this riled passengers who needed to get to their terminals for their flights.  People settled down and we were on our way – one more hotel stop jammed people into the bus and traffic was an issue but, eventually, we were dropped off right in front of Terminal 3. 

We had checked in on line but got our bag tags and paper boarding passes at the kiosks (with some assistance – not really needed – from an AA agent).  Our bags were processed automatically at the bag drop – a first for us – which was only for TSA Pre Check passengers.  That saved some time.

We went upstairs through security which does not have a TSA Pre Check option – hats and jackets off, laptops out,  I still set off the metal detector (zippers on my cargo pants) and had a pat down, explosives check, and full body scan.  Passed all three.

We are now sitting in a waiting area until we are notified of our gate number (local time is 10:42 AM).  We should know soon. (NOTE - because of the flight change, I do not have the Flight Number).

We got our gate assignment, which fortunately, was not too far and did not require any busses or terminal changes.

We boarded our 787-900 on time (our first time on this type of aircraft) and settled into our Cabin Extra Seats.  I think we were in a two seat configuration but I didn't log the seat numbers.  No matter, the best seats in the plane.

The plane has super large windows that darken using electric current.  The plane is also pressurized at lower apparent altitude reducing the blahs and ear issues with other planes.

We took off on time - 

We didn't have our Kosher Meals (due to the late change) but we found some nice options on the regular menu, which, along with the wine, made for a nice meal.

This picture was taken while we were over Halifax, Nova Scotia, while the windows were darkened.

The flight was smooth and the plane was terrific - new, great windows, comfy seats, and large bathrooms.  I'll look for 787s in the future.  Some 10 or so hours later, we were on final approach to ORD. We got our bags and called our cab and 20 minutes later we were back home.  

It was crazy at the end but the cruise itself - despite the back issues and sinus infection - was a very nice voyage.

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