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The average flight time is 9 hours and 46 minutes.More information
Welcome to the last chapter of my trip to Qatar.
This was the second leg of a three-part trip from Doha to Bogotá.
This is one of the most special flights I've taken so far since I lost my 747 virginity (I flew one when I was 6 months old, so that doesn't count). For us av-geeks, this is huge. Is a date with the Queen.
On top of it, I got to fly BA, it was my first long-haul airline and to spend a couple of hours in one of my favourite cities, and Heathrow is a temple of sorts for us av-geeks. So much history and planes and airlines… few airports on earth can match that…but there are many other special things about this flight for me.
The complete routing was as follows:
and now, on to our business….
I read war stories of horror about Heathrow. Blood and tears had been shed in its gray narrow hallways.
But I was a guy with a purpose: I was going to fly my first 747 and nothing would ruin my special day.
I was also excited to be in London, even if for a couple of hours and not out to the city…it had been ages since I had been there.
So we first had to get ourselves into the ultra sophisticated system that allows us to cross from Terminal 4 where we were dropped by the QR 777 into Terminal 3, where my date was waiting for me.
The ride was cold but pleasant. The fog did not allow us to see too much. Butterflies were starting to churn inside of me, pulse was accelerating, palms were sweating (do you remember your first date?)
The bus dropped us and then we arrived to a security check. Everything was running nice and smooth, we were after a French family with kids. They were quite disorganised and the guy was in haste…but everyone else, including the staff, were on a chill morning mood.
Since my PC fiasco in IAD I was particularly careful not to loose it again.
After security we passed through a BA counter. I was attended by a nice guy, I told him my whole spiel (its my first time on the 744, please let me have a window seat!), we was moved…for a second i hoped I might have a nice surprise…but no luck. Full flight today. A little part of me died…but I was a man with a purpose.
Now we were into the bowels of T3 (it felt like a hospital)… I saw a sign to the No1 Lounge, I remembered I had access to it and so I went in. My tripmate went somewhere else, we would meet at the gate.
I was nicely greeted and granted access to a shower. The place was top notch.
It was a bit busy but still I managed to score a nice view of the tarmac.
Breakfast selection was decent. I don't recall anything awesome about it, but I certainly enjoyed my time there.
Soon it was time for my date with destiny.
I exited the Lounge into one of the longest concourses I had ever walked. It felt like neverending. Not even my marathon through concourse D at MIA felt so long.
But excitement was mounting in…
It was Jumbo Day for me!
But my very first Speedbird was a 777 back in 2000
The gate lounge was packed and a bit chaotic.
Attempt no. 3 at getting a window. Attempt failed.
Okay, time to accept that this wasn't going to go the way I intended, but its okay.
In I went. Our ride today had the special OneWorld livery. The interior was still the good old WT. Objectively speaking it was outrageously outdated, the seat and PTV was basically the same as the ones on my very first BA flight 16 years before. But the plane was very well kept. It was magic, and my inner geek was just squealing in happiness.
Pillows were provided allong with a plastic bundle containing toothbrush and paste and the blanket.
I could not enjoy my ride through LHR's congested taxiways. Nor could I see the take off. Only hear the noises made by the four Rolls Royce engines.
I was basically enjoying every single breath out of that 9 h flight, my first and only (?) flight ever on a 747.
This is so retro…
I tried to watch a couple of films on the Gameboy screen…
Our food was then handled. No choices, only veg. I wanted to try a sausage, I remember sausages being quite tasty in Britain…but no luck. Quality and quantity were appropriate.
Sometime midway through the flight there was a booze run…I thought it very early but what the hell. I asked for some Jack Daniel's but they were out of it, it seemed it was down to Gin..but then the FA remembered they had some whiskey, I gladly took the scotch. Sorry for the blur.
I had to take advantage of my aisle seat…so I wandered around the plane. The WC was okay.
The plane's overall fell was 80 ish. It was heaven for me.
We had another meal before arriving. I found the picnic box to be a cute detail. The food was nice and tasty (I loved the scones).
Soon our flight was coming to an end. I felt so happy. So the other two special facts about this flight….Miami is the foreign airport I've been the most to, it was basically the only place we travelled to at the time, so in Miami is where my avGeekness developed.
I remember seeing the majestic and elegant British Airways 747s landing and basking under the Florida sun, and wondering how awesome would it be to fly one of them rather than the Aces 727s I flew between MIA and BOG. I remembered how I just spent hours seeing the plane and all its details, and how my dad taught me how to tell the difference between the GE, PW or RR engines.
And 2, this flight took place roughly around my dad's death anniversary; I thought it was a nice gift from beyond for me to finally have the chance ride the gorgeous jumbojet to one of the places my passion for aviation grew into me.
We landed while we all these thoughts and sentimentalities were going through my mind.
My date with the Queen was finally over.
We docked into concourse E (or F?) and went into the D Concourse FIS. Most of my fellow passengers were ESTA visitors so they went to the machine zone. Being a visa-national I went to the manned booths. I wasn't asked too many questions and was free to go without wasting too much time.
Now we had a whole 6 hours to waste in MIA…which, unlike those days where you could see a myriad of planes and liveries from all around America and Europe, you're now stuck to AA and some oddball LA, DL and AV plane.
While queueing to take off to Bogotá, I saw G-CIVK fly back to LHR.
So long dear Queen…it was a pleasure!
So of course this won't be an objective assessment, but I'll try to be. For being my first 747 flight, of course it was awesome. But if I were a regular traveller between the US and UK I might have dreaded being stuck to the dated IFE, and the lack of choice for food...for what I've read BA is giving less and less perks. So at least my bliss made me ignore those details I wouldn't have liked otherwise.
Heathrow was okay, I survived it. The Lounge did its job: I got a nice shower, I had a decent breakfast and had cool apron views.
BA was fine. It did not live up to its glory days and to the awesome experience I recall from my first flight with them (I was an impressionable kid back then), but the plane was clean and the crew were kind and respectful.
MIA immigration behaved quite well. But given that I didn't spend much time waiting for my blue stamp into the US, I had lots of time to spare in a rather boring place. By then I was so tired that I didn't feel like roaming or doing anything. Back then wifi was limited at MIA , and it sucked for my long connection. There are no lounges other than AA's at the North Terminal, so not much to do other than going to overpriced and crappy restaurants or boring yourself to death watching AA planes.
Thanks for reading, ¡saludos!