Dublin to Heathrow (40 TP)
It’s 05:00 and time to get up for the BA831, Dublin to London Heathrow, which departs at 07:10. The Maldron Hotel is only a few minutes walk from the terminal, I’m travelling hand baggage only, and have fast track security, but I hate being on the last minute for flights.
There’s a lounge at Dublin for which you’re eligible if you’re flying business class, have OneWorld Sapphire status or above, or have a Priority Pass card. It’s straight after security and involves doing an immediate U-turn toward the stairs and elevator, so can be easy to miss. Food offerings are basic, but after a recent refit it’s comfortable, has a multitude of different seating options for solo and group or family travellers, and the staff are always friendly. It’s a perfect place for a double espresso to wake up and contemplate the three flights and 6000 miles of flying lying ahead.
Airbus A319 G-EUOG, which I arrived on the night before, overnights at Dublin and becomes the BA831 forming the first flight back the following day. This means three consecutive flights for me on this aircraft. The flight back to Heathrow is uneventful and on time, and with a 4 hour layover until the New York flight, everything is quite relaxed.
Connection Options and Upgrading with Avios
When booking this itinerary I’d mulled over some different connection options, with different layover times at Heathrow T5 and at New York JFK. Having a shorter layover in London and a longer one in New York would have made most sense, as my flight from JFK to Vegas was the last one of the day, and with only one day in Vegas, missing that would severely scupper the trip! However, the availability of a reward (air miles) seat in First Class on the BA115 departing 13:45 swung it. For 20,000 air miles I upgraded my Club World ticket to First Class. As well as a nicer seat and in-flight service, BA have a special lounge at Heathrow T5 for ticketed first class passengers…
The Concorde Room
Until today, I’ve only been in the Concorde Room a handful of times, and it makes for a very relaxed and civilised experience. The staff are invariably polite and helpful, pro-actively offering drink refills or other assistance. Some might find it a bit stuffy compared to more hip high end lounges such as the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow T3, but others will prefer its more stately nature. I’d originally planned to meet a friend here as he’d not experienced it before, but unfortunately his flight was cancelled, so it wasn’t to be.
One area the CCR definitely beats most other Heathrow lounges is in the quality of the wine and champagne offerings. After relaxing on the terrace with some Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle (pro-actively refilled!) and lamenting over WhatsApp my friend’s poor flight-cancellation fortune, it’s time to grab some lunch in the Concorde Dining area. Neither the wine or the food disappoint.
To Terminal 5B
Heathrow Terminal 5, for those who don’t know it, is made up of the main terminal building, 5A, and two satellite terminals, 5B and 5C. Terminal 5A houses all of the check-in, immigration and luggage facilities, and services the flights to most of BA’s short-haul destinations. Terminals 5B and 5C service most of BA’s long haul traffic out of Heathrow.
There’s a transit train which runs between the main terminal building and the satellites, but there’s also a little-used walkway at level -4, accessible by either lift or stairs, giving an opportunity to stretch your legs before flying. With 50 or so minutes before the scheduled departure time and the flight showing on-time, it’s time to say goodbye to the Concorde Room and take the walkway to Gate 34.
BA introduced boarding by group number (1-5) around a year ago, with boarding order determined by class of travel and/or Executive Club status. With a 2 hour 50 minute scheduled connection time at JFK, and the need to change terminals there, I’m glad when boarding commences promptly, and I’m onto the next leg of the journey.