The magic beep: Being upgraded at the airport

Another holiday, another flight. February half term seems to be a favourite for teachers to go away; a number of colleagues went straight from our Valentine’s Disco to the airport (The sensible ones went 3 miles to fly with BA from Heathrow; I wasn’t envious of the ones travelling to Stansted to fly with Ryanair!).

Nice is a regular destination for us, but this is the first time that skiing has been on the agenda. Normally we book the flights and car hire together as it usually ends up cheaper than buying the flights in their own.

This time, I went a little off piste and split the booking; my wife and I on one ticket in EuroTraveller with the car hire and my brothers-in-law on another in Club Europe. I used some Avios to cut the cost of their ticket by £100, making it in line with the economy price. The upside meant that we would all be able to get into the lounge at LHR T5 for breakfast beforehand, as the early start meant we wouldn’t want to do so before we left home.

3 of us met at Paddington for the Heathrow Express to the airport.

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Regular readers will know that I am a big fan, and recent price cuts with the advance purchase fares meant that it cost £12.10 each. It could have been as low as £5.50 if I had booked 90 days in advance.

Collecting the 4th member of the group at check-in, we made our way swiftly through security. I missed the North fast track entrance, as I normally favour the South, but it was pretty quick so didn’t matter.

The Galleries Club South lounge was not too busy and we easily found space at a table for breakfast. The coffee in the lounge is really great and just what I needed! I also tried the omelette roll and the porridge; I didn’t have high expectations for them but really enjoyed both.

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I was somewhat dismayed to see that our flight was departing from A10 – a bus gate at Heathrow, so we made sure that we left plenty of time to get there. They boys went ahead to take advantage of the fast track, whereas I stayed back in the general queue with my wife. 

The gate agent took her boarding pass to scan, it beeped and then he said “You won’t be needing that, let me get you another one.”

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We had both been upgraded to row 1, across the aisle from our brothers. I really like row 1 as it has enough room for me.

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This was a fantastic result, and our first operational upgrade (OpUp) at the gate.

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The Club Europe cabin was only 3 rows with the full complement of 12 passengers. We were exceptionally well looked after by Phil, the Pursar who offered us drinks on the ground during our short delay. He served without the trolley, addressed me by name and made sure that one of the brothers had the vegetarian meal listed on his BAEC profile.

The meal was cold meat and cheese, with some fruit and bread. This is more of a lunch than breakfast in my eyes, which suited me fine. 

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The rest of the flight was uneventful and we landed on time, having caught up with the delay enroute. We were first off the plane and through passport control without a hitch. One thing that was interesting was the comparison we could do between priority and non-priority bags. The brothers’ bag were tagged at check in and I’m pleased to report that they were amongst the first off the belt; ours, on the other hand, were not priority and were, of course, the last to arrive!

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All in all, it was really great to be upgraded, especially on this occasion!

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