In the interest of keeping things relevant, I'll note that this run is likely to be available this year again for somewhere around the 5cpm range. Recently, it was available on BA metal out of LAX, and I'd expect the AA metal version to come up in the fall. Also interesting, for those willing to go a few more CPM in the name of comfort, is a WT+ fare in the low $2000 all in on BA planes that is upgradable on Avios to Club World. I've seen these fares for scattered dates throughout the fall and winter. This trip in their lie-flat a380 cabin would be a wonderfully comfortable 22k mileage run!
|10 Across in 'Sardine Class'|
Speaking of dinner, mine was a standard chicken-something meal. Not terrible, but not memorable either. A note on MCE service- they do serve you first in that cabin (in my case, just in time to get knocked around by some decent chop while trying to not spill my airplane wine), but there was no printed menu or upgraded choices like is offered in BA WT+ or QF premium economy. You’re just basically getting a bigger seat, closer to the pointy end of the plane.
Now, let me back up for a moment here and give a nod to the amazing group I ended up traveling with for this weekend. Since this trip was such a monster deal, and simply netted so friggin' many miles, quite a few mileage runners signed up, so we decided to meet up along the way. We started all over the US- 4 of us from LAX, and others from JFK, DFW, IAH, etc. Due to the number of AA and BA flights that run on this routing, we weren’t all on the same exact flights, but kept meeting up with more and more of us at various points until we were all in one place finally in JNB. It made the trip even better to be traveling with this group. I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet such a diverse, interesting and capable group of people on such a unique basis. If you get the chance, don’t pass it up.
The flight passed as well as any 12 hour flight does, no big complaints. We taxiied to Heathrow’s Terminal 3, where American’s gates are located. It then takes a hike, a bus, a train, and another hike to make the transfer and get to the (much anticipated) T5 Galleries First lounge. It might have been the low travel season, a well-timed bus arrival, and definitely having access to the fast track lanes for customs/security as a OW Emerald, but it actually only took about 30 minutes point to point.
The lounge itself is well worth planning a layover for. There are actually 3 premium lounges in T5- Business class “Terraces” (Paid J cabin ticket holders, OW Sapphire), First Class “Galleries” (F cabin tickets, OW Emerald) and the Concorde Room (First class international...various high rollers…the Queen, probably...). All have access to shower facilities, food, and drink.
|My new friend. I will call him AArnold.|
Yes, you heard me- just scones.
As if that wasn’t enough, a walk through, on your way to, say, check out the open-air terrace that overlooks a row of a380s, you’ll also find a couple gold-rimmed champagne bars full of Taittinger on ice.
Make that 2 sizes of clothes-shrinkage.
Okay, okay, clothes shrinkage, and if you’re doing really well, inspiration to take a selfie with one of those lampshade horses on the way out.
|Self-Serve Bar(s) Note- The ginger ale is addictive.|
All too soon though, we were showered, (well) fed, (over) indulged, and ready to board the next 11 hour flight from LHR-JNB. At this point, I have a vague (there was also 18yr scotch at the bar) memory of the group of us realizing we missed the start of pre-boarding (the horror), somewhat inelegantly charging through a duty-free shop as a shortcut to the gate, and plunging through the several hundred passengers waiting, to reach the priority lane and ensure our all-important overhead space rights. Maybe not my smoothest airport moment, but I’ve done worse. A lot worse. But, that’s a story for another post…
Up next: The trials of a second redeye 11 hour flight in economy, navigating Jo’burg, and lions...lots and lots of lions.
|No, I will not make a 'long face' joke...I won't....|