The first long haul section of the trip was perhaps the most eagerly awaited flight for me. I have flown on a 747, and in First class, before but I had not been able to do so in row one as this was the first time that I had done so as a Gold member of the executive club, I had been able to choose 1A when I booked the ticket.
Boarding was just getting underway when I arrived from the walkway, so I was able to board just a few minutes after arriving at the gate. I was greeted at the door and shown to my seat.
With the recent news that British Airways are retiring their fleet of 747s with immediate effect, I look back on this trip with fondness. The 747 had a special place in aviation history as it truly was a game changer for mass long haul travel. It has an iconic shape and it still surprises me that it is the fastest subsonic jetliner in the skies today. This is due to the four massive engines that propel it through the sky, but this comes with a much larger fuel cost than two engines. Whilst the planes were so old that the airline was not paying for them any longer, the fuel cost must have been astronomical.
It’s fair to say that the interior was also looking slightly tatty around the edges.
However, once settled into the seat you forget about these things – especially when a glass of champagne is brought to you!
The thing about 1A and 1K is that it is so far forward in the nose that the windows are angled slightly forward which gives a unique view from the aircraft.
Whilst taxing around Heathrow there are always some exciting things to spot.
Amenity kits and pyjamas were handed out and I probably changed into the pyjama top before the second glass of champagne arrived. I find that on a day flights I like to wear the top as it is a little bit more relaxed than what I tend to wear, and it keeps my clothes fresher at the destination. I also like taking the top to use as a gym top later on in a trip.
The flight was timed to leave at 1310 and arrive into New York JFK Terminal 7 at 1600. I really love this flight time because it gives the perfect opportunity for cracking meal with some delicious wine and a snooze.
To start with I had an amuse bouche of Mini baked potato with Loch Fyne smoked salmon, horseradish and Keta caviar, paired with a white Burgundy – one of my favourite types of wine. The pretzel bread is wonderful and I like the cruet set.
This was followed by a delicious starter of warm, crispy coated king prawns with cajun mayonnaise – I could have had double portions they were so tasty.
For the main, I went for the grilled Dover sole which came with lemon butter, fresh asparagus and smoke tomatoes with a glass of St Emilion Bordeaux.
I decided to have the desert which was fabulous – warm cinnamon doughnuts with a creme anglais and an Australian Muscat.
I finished this with the cheese course and a small glass of port, followed by a cup of coffee.
The whole meal was done by about three hours after takeoff, which still left just over half the flight to go. I watched a film (although it was clearly not memorable as I have no idea what I watched) and then had a doze. I don’t bother getting a bed made up on a day flight like this, but I do find the pillows make for an excellent snooze.
About an hour and a half from New York the crew offered afternoon tea but I did not partake. I am a big fan of scones and clotted cream, but given I still had a trans-Continental flight and time in the American Airlines Flagship First dining room, I didn’t need any more food!
Touchdown was smooth and we had a reasonably quick taxi to the gate. Immigration at JFK is never quick and despite being amongst the first off, I was still greeted by a big queue. Without Global Entry or anything to speed up the process, I just had to wait but thankfully it was quicker than my trip through Philadelphia the year before.
I left Terminal 7, jumped on the AirTrain to Terminal 8 where American Airlines are and used the Flagship First Check in which is to the far right of the terminal building.
It’s a bit superfluous when only taking hand luggage and with mobile boarding passes, especially without TSA Pre Check as it doesn’t do much to cut the line for security – but it’s better than nothing.
Before long I was in the Lounge for what was to be the most incredible ground experience I’ve ever had!