Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

Flight Log : February 2008 : BA2193

BA2193 London Gatwick (LGW) - Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)

It was a gloomy, foggy morning at Gatwick and I wondered if the conditions would have much of an effect on my flight. Not according to the monitors, which indicated that the only deviation from routine was to be a gate switch from 111 to 45. Both numbers rang a bell inside my head. I've left from 111 on a number of occasions, including the previous time - a year and a handful of days before - that I'd taken this very flight. And 45 - wasn't that one of those horrid bus gates? Right on both counts ... grrrr! Loading up the buses didn't start until 0940, so there was absolutely no chance of leaving on time. We took what appeared to be a full tour of the airfield - routing restrictions for ground vehicles were in place because of the fog - and eventually arrived at the steps of our GE90-powered Boeing 777.

I soon settled into my selected seat (13K), accepted the offer of a pre-departure glass of Champagne and noted that the flight wasn't very busy at all. In fact, boarding was complete by 1010. The Captain also sounded optimistic, commenting that the foggy conditions were nevertheless well within the operating capabilities of the aircraft and adding that our expected flight time was 9hrs 25mins, taking a northerly track via Iceland and Greenland. When Cabin Manager Colin came round to introduce himself to the Club World passengers, I realised that I recognised him, having been the sole Club Europe passenger on his first flight to Dresden, in May 2007. He'd said to me at the time that if I ever saw him on the shuttle, to remind him of the fact. Well, it wasn't the shuttle, but I did - and he remembered me too!

As we were chatting, the Captain came on the PA system again and said that he'd spoken too soon; there was a significant ATC backlog to be cleared and we now had a 40-minute delay. Menu cards and the new-style (for me!) washbags were handed out. I also noted that every seat had a quilt, even for this day flight. Realising that I'd never seen these before brought home to me that it had been quite some time - about a year and a half - since my previous Club World flight. Tea and coffee were served during the delay and I noticed with a smile that the curtains were closed while this took place! After the 40 minutes was up, the Captain announced a further 20-minute delay. I decided to visit the washroom, perhaps not the best move as the Captain then announced our imminent departure. I hurried back to my seat. We pushed back at 1058, but it took a further 25 minutes before we were finally airborne and Texas-bound. A quick calculation confirmed that I should have no difficulty in making my connection to Austin at DFW.   

Shortly after take-off, I noticed that the privacy divider fan between me and 13J had become loose and it just wobbled about. I mentioned it to a cabin crew member when she was handing out the hot towels. A couple of crew members had a quick look and advised me to move, as it would likely become a nuisance. I decided that they were probably right and besides, it seemed a shame not to make best use of the available space. Rather than go for another window seat and thereby disappoint another passenger who'd got used to the idea of having an empty seat beside them, I instead opted to have an entire bank of four middle seats to myself!

I was soon sipping Champagne and ice water, and snacking on the Club World 'Out of Africa' mixed nuts. After multiple top-ups, the meal service got underway. I had the smoked salmon starter, the beef main course and the cheese & biscuits. I continued to drink the Champagne with my starter, but switched to the Californian Merlot for my main course and cheese. Even after all that, I couldn't resist plucking a juicy-looking apricot from the fresh fruit basket when it was offered. The whole thing was rounded off nicely by a cup of coffee and two rather naughty Lily O'Brien choccies.



Starters   Champagne Cocktails
Loch Fyne smoked salmon tartare with mustard dressing   Kir Royale
or   Buck's Fizz
Marinated Greek Feta cheese, roast peppers and cucumber salad with Cabernet dressing   Champagne
    Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve
Fresh seasonal salad served with vinaigrette   White Wines
    St Supéry Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Main   Rully Clos des Mollepierre 2005, Rou Père et Fils
Shaun Hill's fillet steak with morel mushrooms and mustard sauce   or
Roast corn-fed chicken with jus, buttered savoy cabbage and pumpkin   Chablis 1er Cru Vau de Vey 2006
Spinach and Ricotta cheese cannelloni pasta with asparagus and cherry tomato sauce   Red Wines
Tandoori prawns and mango with raita dressing   Pietra Santa Merlot 2001, Cienega Valley
    Berberana Carta de Oro Gran Reserva Rioja 2000
English custard tart with fresh strawberries    
Shropshire Blue and Butler's Secret cheese with biscuits and grapes    
A selection of fruit    

We cruised initially at 36,000ft, rising to 40,000ft and just shy of 600mph, and in the event we passed south of Iceland. The cabin crew did a good job of offering water and juice on a regular basis, even though they had already handed out the usual bottles of Highland Spring. I made a short visit to the Club Kitchen at one point, more out of curiosity than a sudden need to nibble. As we had the restricted 9-channel IFE system with the very small screens, I alternated between reading and listening to the BA Classical World channel, very knowledgeably hosted by former Classic FM presenter Petroc Trelawny. Soon enough, it was time for yet more food in the form of Afternoon Tea. I chose the sandwiches option, had a couple of nibbles at the cake, and enjoyed two rather large fruit scones with the customary toppings. I drank decidedly non-traditional blackcurrant herbal tea.



Sandwiches of prawn with dill mayonnaise and Wensleydale cheese    
Roast Mediterranean vegetable salad with Buffalo Mozzarella cheese    
Fruit scones served warm with clotted cream and strawberry preserve    
Coffee and walnut cake    

Soon after tea had been cleared away, we entered an area of turbulence and the seat belt signs came on with just one hour to go. (Luckily for many, I suspect, they went off again prior to the final descent!) CM Colin asked me to complete a survey, which I was happy to do. We made a fairly solid touchdown at 1448 but, being at the wrong side of this huge airport for Terminal D, we didn't reach our stand until 1458. (Come to think of it, that's actually quite impressive by Heathrow standards, but that's another story!)

Overall, despite the weather delay and the minor seat defect, I thought this was an excellent performance from BA

Date : Tue 19 Feb 2008
Aircraft : B777-200
Scheduled dep : 1005
Actual departure : 1058
Scheduled arrival : 1420
Actual arrival : 1458
Cabin : Club World (Business Class)

Seat : 13K/G

Flight History 2008