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Published: July 27th 2022
Club Lounge Bar
Anything we like!
This blog entry is going to be completely indulgent, so please don't hold it against me as it was all a complete novelty for us! Anyway, we did the online check-in, as required, 24 hours before our flight and we discovered that we had been upgraded to Business Class, or "Club Class" as they call it on British Airways. Yippee - time to start gloating to our poor offspring, who are not coming with us on this holiday.
We had tried to go for the Pod-Parking again (another novelty that we quite enjoyed - see Failing to Find Something Between Fortnum & Mason and Weatherspoons
), but to park there for two weeks was way more expensive than just getting a taxi, so we went for that option instead. The flight was at 2.15pm, so that meant that we were able to leave home at a very sociable 10.00am. The roads were clear so we had loads of time when we got to the airport. The advantages of being upgraded started at the airport - first there was the faster bag drop. Then there was the express security - although that was chaos and slower than the normal security, which I ended up going through when my pass wouldn't scan
Race to The Runway
Even in an airport there's someone who thinks they can skip the queue.
(we think it was because we'd checked both our bags in under my wife's name - we get two bags each in Club Class the way).
Given our (almost) VIP status, we headed straight to the Club Lounge for some sophisticated time relaxing with some champagne (in my case, champagne that tastes like lager).
Then it was on to our flight - how exciting. We were in the first group to board and then we could settle down, enjoy a welcoming glass of champagne (in my case, champagne that tasted like orange juice as the wife was worried about my alcohol intake) and then smugly watch everyone going past on their way to our usual destination at the back of the plane. We're such imposters.
Before we took off, the cabin crew came round to take our orders. Choice of cocktail once in the air (a cocktail that actually tasted like a cocktail in my case), still or sparkling water, choice of meal, choice of wine with the meal (should I keep up the pretence - no to wine, I'll have a lager please).
The cocktail arrived in a glass that was made out of glass,
Going down very nicely thank you.
not plastic! Then our bespoke trays arrived, which had cutlery made out of metal, not plastic! After that, we could put out feet up on a foot-rest and recline our seats without any worries about the people behind us. And if my wife and I had been in a bad mood with each other, we could put the screen up and not have to look at each other. Our screen stayed down. It was weird being in a seat that faced backwards though.
Sorry about all that. At least I can indulge myself this way rather than being overly obvious on the flight - my wife said that at under no circumstances was I to say the word "upgrade". Did I mention that we got upgraded to Club Class?
The queues for immigration were tiny compared to what we are used to, but it did take a while to snake round all the barriers, giving the impression that they do sometimes have long queues. Of course, being near the front of the plane meant that we were off ahead of most of the other people on our flight at least. The queue we were in was quite slow
A bit different to what we are used to!
moving though as we had the most chatty US immigration official we have come across. Once he had asked all the usual questions about our professions and reasons for travel, he was telling us about all the best places to go to and eat in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. That was great, but we could see the rest of the queue getting agitated (and cutting him off would (a) be unfriendly and (b) not help our case for entry into the country).
He let us in.
We had to wait ages for our baggage to turn up and the signs didn't list our flight, so when it did turn-up we weren't completely sure where.
The signs for the bus to the car rental were not helpful, but we found it after a long walk. Picking up the car involved another helpful chat about where to go in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, and then we were off onto the very wide and very intimidating roads. There are a lot of very big pickup trucks that drive very close and very fast - and no one (them particularly) get the hint when you signal to try to
11 hours to enjoy the view.
change lane, much like LA (see Sadly No Broomsticks For The Journey Back
). Even just staying on the freeway is actually really complicated as the lanes keep changing destination and the signs are not positioned very well above the lanes. At least we had paid for an all-inclusive toll pass, so that was one less thing to worry about.
We were staying at a hotel near the Space Center, which is a lot further way than we thought - it was about a 45 mile drive from the airport. At least the roads were moving quickly - 45 miles across LA would have taken all night.
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