Phoenix Run Part 8, JFK to Heathrow

JFK Layover

Our tiny Embraer E-145 lands at JFK Terminal 8. By contrast the terminal is huge, bigger than most airports in its own right. It takes an age to walk from our gate to the exit, but as the main home for American Airlines at this hub, this probably shouldn’t be a surprise.

Our destination is Terminal 7, which British Airways has largely to itself, just one stop away on the AirTrain,

BA have spent a huge amount of money on revamping T7. There’s a new First Wing providing premium check-in facilities for First Class passengers and Gold Card Holders, and a complete refit of the First Lounge. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s been done to the lounge as construction work was underway last time I was here.

Club Dining, BA Lounge, JFK T7

The lounge turns out to be pleasant but disappointingly crowded. The Club Dining room is quieter though, and they’ve prepared a mean cottage pie.

The departure boards have been suggesting our flight BA116, tonight operated by a 747-400, is on time. FlightRadar24 and FlightAware on the other hand, have both been indicating a delay, and neither list the tail number of the operating aircraft. When boarding is called early, over an hour before departure time, I suspect there’s been an equipment change.

JFK to Heathrow (140 TP)

Upper deck 747 in Club World is one of the nicest flight experiences BA have to offer. There are only 20 seats in “the hump”, and with two dedicated cabin crew, good service is almost a given. Some people berate the Club World layout, face to face with your neighbour when the divider is down, and most window seats requiring you to step over them. But divider up and in a window seat with direct aisle access like 64K, it’s the perfect cocoon.

On a daytime flight, 64K is the perfect place to sit in solitude with a book, a movie, or just your thoughts and a glass of wine. On a red eye flight like this one, it becomes the perfect place to sleep. Pre take-off I’m already changed into joggers and t-shirt, and have ticked the box on the dining card asking for extended sleep and smoothie/coffee, but no wakeup for breakfast. Shortly after wheels-up and the seat-belt sign is off, I’ve made up my bed (BA recently introduced new White Stuff bedding) and sleep soundly until 50 minutes out. There’s a tiny hold, but we’re essentially straight into Heathrow, and park up at B gates 20 minutes ahead of schedule. The scheduled 1h 50m connection is now even more relaxed, so we decide to go landside to the Arrivals Lounge before heading back to Bucharest.

Heathrow T5 Arrivals Lounge

BA operate an Arrivals Lounge at T5 for Business Class passengers and Gold Card Holders, arriving on a long-haul flight. Here you can get breakfast and freshen up with a shower. There’s a separate Concorde Breakfast Room with waiter service for those arriving in First. The hot shower makes me grateful for the extra time granted by our early arrival, before we head back airside.

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