Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

March 2005 : Flight Log : BA269

London Heathrow (LHR) - Los Angeles (LAX)

I was one of the first into First, if you see what I mean, and quickly settled into my favourite seat, 2A. How very nice it was, after a gap of nearly a year, to reacquaint myself with the pointy end of a BA 747. I took a few photos and accepted the offer of a glass of champagne - later to be generously topped up - and a plate of nuts to snack on. I couldn't help reflecting on what a stressful journey it had been up to this point, between the chaos caused by roadworks on the M9 and later the cancellation of BA1443 due to a damaged tyre. The one bright spot had been that, being re-booked on BA1447, I was able to enjoy the company of fellow FTer GregM on the way down to London. Anyway, I was now installed in 2A and everything was going to be absolutely fine. I had made up my mind about this.

The boarding process seemed to be over very quickly and we pushed back from Terminal 1 at 1515, a mere 5 minutes down on schedule, but with a very short taxi to the north-side runway. We made our take-off run towards the west and lifted into the bright, but wintry sky at 1535. The female captain (I am old enough to find that worth mentioning!) told us that we would be taking an unusually southerly route, heading out over the Irish Republic and later just clipping the tip of Greenland. 

I placed my order for lunch from the menu that had been distributed on the ground :-



Starters   Champagne
Ballotine of salmon with herb crème fraiche   Alfred Gratien Cuvée Paradis
Glazed pecorino cheese and potato tart with parsley and truffle oil dressing    
Spicy pumpkin soup with harissa crème fraiche   White Wines
Fresh salad leaves with your choice of Pommery mustard dressing or lemon and herb dressing   Pouligny-Montrachet 2001, Joseph Drouhin
    Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2004, Constantia
Main   or
Roast best end of lamb with haricot bean casserole and vegetable jus   Sancerre La Chapelle 2003, Domaine Henri Bourgeois
Halibut with red pepper and citrus coulis   Calera Central Coast Chardonnay 2000
Chicken tikka masala   or
Duck confit salad with foie gras, fresh beans and bitter orange dressing   Saintsbury Carneros Chardonnay 2003
Snacks   Red Wines
Bacon roll served with tomato ketchup   Domaine de Chevalier 1995, Grand Cru Classé, Graves
Spicy pumpkin soup with harissa crème fraiche, served with a side salad   Chivite Coleccion 125 Reserva 1997, Navarra
Fresh pasta with your choice of creamy rocket, basil and pesto sauce, or arrabbiata sauce   Baileyana Pinot Noir 2001, Edna Valley
Duchy of Cornwall biscuits    
A selection of cheese and fruit   Dessert Wines
    Opitz Goldackerl Trockenbeerenauslese 2002, Austria
Dessert and Cheese   Warre's 1988 Colheita Port
Warm apple and blackberry pie with vanilla ice cream    
Lemon tart with a quenelle of clotted cream and Mascarpone    
Cheese plate featuring English Stilton, Fountains Gold and Brie    
A basket of fresh fruit    
Espresso, cappuccino, coffee, decaffeinated coffee, tea or herbal tea    

I began with a glass of the Montrachet to accompany some canapés, then I had the salmon starter, followed by the pumpkin soup. The soup deserves special mention for being absolutely delicious and the warm bread rolls were also much to my liking. Interestingly, I was given a metal spoon for the soup, but the knives and forks remained in plastic, albeit now a slightly less downmarket grey colour! I had the lamb main course and, having stuck with the excellent Montrachet up to this point, made the switch to a surprisingly light and refreshing Pinot Noir. I rounded things off with some cheese and a cappuccino.

Having listened to Berlioz (Symphonie Fantastique) and Beethoven (Piano Concertos 3 and 4) during the meal using the IFE system, I decided to break out my laptop and asked a member of the cabin crew if I could borrow one of the in-flight power supply units. It worked perfectly first time. I watched The Bourne Identity on DVD and then managed to write a good chunk of this diary entry. By this stage, everyone else seemed to be asleep. Indeed, I had noted that two of the eleven passengers had changed into sleeper suits as soon as they were able to leave their seats. This seemed odd to me on a daytime flight, but then you never know what other people's travel arrangements are.

I had a very light snooze myself once I had finished with the laptop, but was soon awake again and keeping myself amused by having a look at the games section of the IFE system. We seemed to be making remarkably good progress - or is it just that time passes more quickly in First? - and in no time at all the cabin crew were coming round to find out what I wanted for afternoon tea. I wasn't very hungry after my huge lunch, but did have a few small sandwiches and a delicious warm scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream, washed down by a cup of blackcurrant tea.

After that, there was just time to tidy up and fill out the Customs and Immigration forms, before we were making our approach into a very grey and misty-looking LAX. We touched down at 1724, taxied close to our stand and then went through the familiar - but still weird! - LAX routine of shutting down the engines to be towed the final few yards by a tug. It was less of a time-waster than it sounds : we shut down the engines at 1738 and were on-stand at 1741, way ahead of schedule.

Date: Thu 10 Mar 2005
Aircraft : B747-400
Scheduled dep : 1510
Actual departure : 1515
Scheduled arrival : 1815
Actual arrival : 1741
Cabin : First
Seat : 2A

Flight History 2005