Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Yes, This Is Real Life Part 2: Brits in Beantown

 
Well done, BA, well done.
 

I did, very eventually, make it to Boston.  I hardly ever fly into Logan anymore, and so it was a sentimental experience to taxi into the B gates.  In many ways, I learned to mileage run because of the Boston airport.  Well, not the airport itself, but because for over two years Mrs. CruisingAltitude and I kept up a Los Angeles-Boston relationship.  Hauling back and forth to see her got me my first EXP status, and I've never wanted to give it up. 
 
Elevator up to the lounge level, follow the signs.
In the last few years, BOS has undergone some big renovations, and it was fun to see the new modern parts of the terminals as we walked from B to E.  The E gates serve international destinations, and I hadn't flown out of there before. We elected to walk through the parking structure, rather than taking the infra-terminal shuttle bus.  We got some steps in, which was good since we had a 12 hr flight ahead of us. 
 
The delay really limited the time I had to do the terminal change, check in with Qatar, re-security, and enjoy some pre-flight lounge time.  As we'd discovered just before this trip, British Airways has a beautiful new lounge at the E gates.  Since a major Oneworld benefit is access to partner airlines' lounges when traveling internationally, no matter the class of service, we headed over to check it out. 
 
Now, let me state again that I consider lounge access to be a major draw keeping me interested in staying loyal to Oneworld airlines.  With all the upheaval domestically with the merger and reduction in American benefits, you have to give Oneworld even more weight.  Where Delta might give better domestic service, and United is launching their "Polaris" class that looks pretty elegant, Oneworld is king when it comes to lounges worldwide. 

Airports like HKG, NRT, and SYD have lounge set ups for top tier flyers that are worth hours of layover time.  The free drinks and food, as well as comfort and services, are a bit part of the benefits of Oneworld status. So, it was annoying and short sighted when we were denied access at the door.  According to rules I'm pretty sure BA just made up, they deny access to Qatar customers, trying instead to send them to an inferior Air France lounge.  This is a clear violation of Oneworld rules, which state that OW Emerald has access to first class and business class lounges when traveling on ANY international itinerary, as long as the next onward flight is on a Oneworld marketed and operated flight.  There are a few very small carve outs to this, but the BA lounge in BOS sure isn't one of them. 

It says so RIGHT THERE, on their own sign!
 
They're right that they can make a non-Oneworld elite go to the Air France lounge since Qatar has contracted with that lounge to take their business class ticketed passengers.  However, we were at BA based on our Oneworld status, not the seat we were flying in that day.  The entrance to the lounge even has the Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire logo on it!  Things got a little heated, which is shameful on BA's part, because we were within the rules, and annoying loyal Oneworld elites shouldn't be a career goal for them.  They have plenty of transatlantic competition with newer planes, and lower taxes.
 
We did, however, prevail and were let in.  However, the entire thing was embarrassing, and the agents there need retraining on Oneworld rules if they really don't understand them.  This kind of issue was happening at the Qantas lounge at LAX when they first opened, and after a refresher, it hasn't been an issue since. 
 


Drama over with for the time being, we did get access to the lounge and had a look around.  The space is decently large for a BA outpost at a large enough, but not massive airport.  The décor is chic and modern, with some elegant touches.  It was, however, packed at this time of day.  This may have been part of the more vicious fight they put up over letting us in (or so I'd like to think).  It's to be expected though, as most transatlantic flights leave the US in the evening, causing mad rushes on the lounges around this time. 

A quick look around showed there was plenty of food, with both buffet and small made to order options.  The offering had a bit of a pan-Asian bent to it, which I enjoyed, though didn't entirely understand.  There were made to order lettuce wraps, and steamed buns, as well as a salad bar/hot bar, and plenty of sweets.

A small business center and showers were also available, and I had hoped to clean up before the long flight, but judging by the crowds and the delay that only left us with about an hour of lounge time, told me I'd just have to hold out until Doha.

We squeezed through the main part of the lounge, and found two seats at the bar.  The views of the sunset from here over the airport and the city were some of the most stunning of any airport lounge in the world. Paired with a glass of champagne, it was a perfect kick-off to the rest of the trip, and I'm still scheming on ways to get back there with the right ticketing for another visit.
  

Dear God, let me get back there again
 
All too soon, the sun disappeared over Boston, and it was time to head out to our plane.  However, this was definitely no great hardship, and the journey was just beginning!
 
~CruisingAltitude
 
Up Next: Part 3- Shades On, Wheels Up

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