There is always something exciting about starting a big trip and for me that feeling of actually being ‘on holiday’ starts when I get on the Heathrow Express!
I arrived at Terminal 5 about 3 hours before my flight and checked in a bag at The First Wing before heading through to the Concorde Room. There was a group of my flying chums already there, some on short haul flights and a number on their way to Penang or Chang Mai – I can’t remember. It was great to see them again and share a traditional Espresso Martini with them.
The flight departed at around 10pm, so I opted to eat on the plane. We had time for a spa treatment before heading over to the satellite gates via the walkways. Even though I walk through the tunnels whenever I have a flight from B or C gates, I still cannot get over how amazingly serene it is.
Boarding was easy, but it always frustrates me when travelling with someone that the first person gets shown to their seat and the person behind gets left to find their own way when it is clear they are travelling together. Saying that, it wasn’t difficult to find 1K from the door and I was soon ensconced in the seat with a glass of champagne, hot towel and nuts.
We took off on time and were soon on to the dinner service. This was about a week after the introduction of the new soft product, including Temperley pyjamas and new wash bags, crystal glasses and new crockery. It is always annoying that the female washbags are so much more exciting than the male ones – mine was just a black faux-velvet whereas the ladies was bright and exciting. Menus were handed out and meal choices taken.
Dinner started with a trio of amuse bouche and a Gin Zing, one of their new cocktails. The menu says it is a “tantalising mix of Tanqueray No. Ten, citrus and bubbles, served over ice” which I thought would be akin to a French 75 with gin, champagne and lemon. It was very strong and I am not sure if they used soda water for ‘bubbles’ but I had to ask for a can of tonic to go with it and didn’t have another!
For starters I had the Loch Fine smoked salmon tartare and a glass of the delicious. Chassagne-Montrachet white burgundy. I have a soft spot for wines of this region following a summer job crewing for a hot air balloon company which flew in the region – we once launched three balloons from the square outside the Hotel Le Montrachet.
Main was the Grilled fillet of North Atlantic turbot with a selection of sides – this is a new thing which I don’t like! Just decide what should go with the dish and serve it! I am someone who is perennially indecisive when it comes to these kind of things so it makes my life harder. This came with a glass of the Chateau La Dominique, a Bordeaux which was great. I would have had some more with cheese, but in the interests of research I had to change!
I wasnt going to have pudding and move straight onto the cheese but I was persuaded by the crew to have some and the desert wine. I am not normally a sweet wine fan, but it was delicious.
Finally I finished with the cheese board which is always a favourite for me. The port was good, but it was a bit cold and given that it was about 1am in London by this time I wasn’t keen on letting it warm up for too long.
I then settled down for some sleep. The bedding is very comfortable, and I loved the proper pillow and duvet. However, it is always too hot so I didn’t sleep as well as I would have liked.
I wasn’t going to eat breakfast, but again was persuaded by the crew to have the Eggs Benedict – not a good move. The spinach tasted funny and the hollandaise was dry. How do you make dry hollandaise?!
I did have a very good cup of tea, though, so it wasn’t all bad! Before too long we were on approach into Hong Kong.
The plane arrived into one of the furthest gates from immigration so we had a good walk through the terminal.
I think that this was my 8th flight in First on British Airways and it was par for the course. The seat is comfortable with noticeably more space than 1K on a 747. The crockery and crystal-ware was an improvement and the food was good, although not entirely consistently. The drinks were of a good quality, but not at the level of Qatar’s Krug or JAL’s Cristal but the crew were the perfect mix of efficient and friendly. I really enjoyed it, and it was a great start to holiday we had been looking forward to.
Stay tuned for what we got up to in Hong Kong!