Here is the next segment of my routing that took me from Washington, DC to Toulouse France, via London. As a reminder, I had routed myself through LHR to burn some avios on British Airways and had plans in London on the return leg.
Here is the routing:
These reports were originally published in French and you can find them here:
After 10 days spent in my hometown of Rodez (Aveyron) it was time to head home to the States. But first I had planned to spend one night in London and meet up with a good friend from DC who had already been there for a few days. We had tickets to go see a West End show so I got a hotel in the area.
Rodez by night :-)
I got to the airport just before noon for a 13:15 flight.
Welcome to Blagnac.
TLS decorated for the Holidays.
That's so Toulouse…
Although I didn't have any checked bags on the way to France, I more often than not come back to the US with an extra bag. As a French expatriate, it is essential to stock up and bring home those good French things that I miss (Confits de Canard, Foie gras, etc.). I therefore had to stop by the BA counter to drop off my bag of rations ^^ Luckily there was no wait.
My flight is showing on-time, though the boarding gate does not yet appear on the screens.
On the way to the lounge, I see my plane.
A bit of planespotting.
AF A319 with an EasyJet.
A nice A380 model in Airbus House colors at the entrance of the La croix du sud lounge
This was my first visit to this lounge as it had just opened a month or so earlier. The color palette is that of the Occitanie historical region of Southern France–I'm not a big fan of the red and yellow. Another problem with this lounge is that it is rather dark and there are no windows, which is always a negative point for an AvGeek planespotter. The snack/food offering is quite disappointing and is reminiscent of US lounges with small packets of sweet or salty snacks and cheese cubes–nothing terribly exciting. There are beers, red and white wine, but no hard liquors.
Ipads are available to surf the web or read pre-uploaded newspapers/magazines.
I leave the lounge about 40 minutes prior to scheduled departure. The boarding gate is in the newer part of the airport, Hall D.
Boarding has not yet begun when I arrive at the gate.
Some AF A32X and a Vueling Airbus nearby
From the few passengers in the gate area, it appears that this flight will not be very full. Priority boarding is called and only 2 pax come up. I board with the first group after J.
The black seats look sombre
On the flight over from LHR to TLS, I had found the seat pitch to be tight. I therefore chose an exit row windown seat for this return flight.
Ah, yes, that's much better!
The cabin during boarding.
The wingtip with Airbus in the background.
We push back on time and are first in line for takeoff.
Taking off from Toulouse-Blagnac, we often have nice views of the city. On this beautiful clear winter day we will have good views. Too bad the engine blocks the view a bit.
Reflection of the fuselage
Surprised that you can see the Atlantic ocean leaving from Toulouse considering it is several hundred kilometers to the west.
About a half hour after takeoff, the beverage and snack service begins. The snack is a decent sized chicken ceasar wrap which I wash down with a Gin & Tonic :-) This is way better that what we would get in the US, and better even than AF on intra-European flights.
I doze off for about an hour and wake up as we start our descent and holding pattern (as usual for Heathrow). One great things about those holding patterns for LHR is the great views of London that they afford.
Incredibly, it's only about 2PM, but the sun is already setting!
After about 15 minutes of holding we land at Heathrow.
Always a nice variety of aircraft and airlined at LHR!
Two Aussi Whalejets
AY A320 AY with a BA 744 landing
UA 744 landing
And VS 744
We park at T1 next to a special Olympic Dove livery A319 (TLS is one of the few BA destinations served from T1 and not T5).
Welcome to London!
Even with a checked back to pick up, I'm at the Heathrow Central station within 20 minutes of landing. I then take the outrageously priced (but very convenient) Heathrow Express to Paddington.
From Paddington I take a cab to my Hotel. I love how roomy London cabs are.
I'm staying at the Strand Palace Hotel. A reasonably priced 3/4* for such a great location.
Nice aquarium in the lobby. I'm a big fan of aquaria, with 2 large tanks at home myself.
The rooms are small but comfortable. The wifi is free and works pretty well, which is a big +++
Conclusion: A much more pleasant flight than the outbound leg.
Thanks for reading and see you soon for the next leg! Leave a comment :-)
Independent Salon VIP La Croix Du Sud
Toulouse - TLS
London - LHR
On-time departure and arrival. Comfort: The exit row makes a big difference in comfort. The empty middle seat also made for a pleasant experience. Crew: much more pleasant that the crew on the flight over. However, I was once again disappointed by the total lack of effort to make announcements in French. If small airlines like Icelandair can make announcements in the local language of departure/destination, then BA should be able to. Catering: Very decent for a 2 hour flight. Since I mostly fly domestically in the US, it is nice to have a full choice or free beer, wine, liquors and a sandwich! I've been pre-conditioned not to expect much, so I'm always pleasantly surprised, LOL
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