First allow me to apologize for the delay in wrapping up this report. I haven't any wonderful excuse other than my general easily distracted nature. Oh, I have been flying quite a bit. I will also add that this is a brief installment due to the short flight. I thought about omitting it altogether but for continuity I have reconsidered.
Much is made of the transit/security experience at LHR so I was somewhat prepared for what was ahead. This is my first time transiting LHR and actually only my second visit to the airport at all. My task was to get from Terminal 4 to Terminal 5, which numerically, is a short journey. Not at LHR.
Leaving the warmth and care of Malaysia Airlines First Class to the cold harsh reality of the UK is always going to be abrupt. I found the signage in the terminal to be excellent and the walk to the bus system was accomplished with ease. Overhead signs at the bus area indicated the bus to terminal 5 was about 10 minutes away. The bus ride itself was long and unfortunately didn't offer too many good views of the airport operations.
Upon arrival at T5 I was greeted by an enormous security line. It was slow moving with many people being called out to jump ahead due to their upcoming departures. 40 minutes later I was at the screening station where my bag was, of course, channeled through the path to be scrutinized. Turns out the amenities kits that I had been accumulating on my travels to this point, all 100% sealed, were of grave concern to the authorities. All were opened and dumped out into a single tray and scanned again. Finally I was allowed to pass but was left with a huge tray of airline amenities and several empty bags and no idea which product belonged to which bag. This is of course only a concern to the av-geek collector of such things, but that happens to be me.
So bottom line, transit in London is as bad as you have read. The lines are ridiculous, the bus times are long, and the staffs are rude to indifferent.
My next insult came when attempting to enter the Galleries First lounge. My understanding of Oneworld policy is that a passenger in transit will have their lounge access determined by the class of service on the long haul sector. I thought that arriving on MH First and connecting to BA Business would permit entry to Galleries First but I was incorrect and was directed to the Galleries Club Lounge. I believe the BA staff was mistaken but I didn't have the energy to argue so just took a seat in the Club Lounge.
The lounge was full and the place was a mess. Dirty dishes and beverage containers slightly outnumbered the at capacity crowd. I managed just two pictures.
The first for comedy.
The second to say that the lounge did have great views of the taxi and runway.
In a stroke of good luck my flight to AMS was leaving from this building and so I would not have to take any other transit measures. I arrived at the gate towards the end of boarding and walked straight aboard my very first flight on British Airways.
The euro-business cabin is cramped of course. This cabin had a nice clean aesthetic and seemed either new or in a good state of repair.
Legroom is not plentiful.
IFE would be in the form of overhead screens with moving map.
We were on our way shortly and due to our gate position it was a very short taxi.
The male flight attendant attending to the business cabin was exceptional. He hustled to make this a very nice flight for all those in his care. Keep in mind the flying time was maybe 40 minutes.
Drinks were offered first.
Followed by a really nice snack plate.
Drink refills were offered as well as coffee and tea. I was very pleased by the effort that it took to provide this level of service in such a short time. He even made me a G&T in a plastic cup to enjoy through approach and landing.
For my fist act on Dutch soil.
Goodbye for now Schiphol, see you in the morning.
British Airways (South) Galleries Club - 5A
London - LHR
Amsterdam - AMS
I was prepared for the laborious transit at LHR in theory. My mind refused to believe it was as bad as all the reports I had read. It was a long and negative experience highlighted with long waits and encounters with rude people who treated everyone like criminals.
The lounge situation was a disappointment not only for access to the crowded Galleries lounge but for lack of interest in the BA rep who was handling the admittance.
The flight was a pleasant surprise in the amount of gracious service that could be provided in such a short duration.
Thank you for reading and I will be back with the final installment shortly. Happy flying!
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