The loss of bmi British Midland in 2012 was a real shame, however the was one shred of silver lining to this black cloud.
A few thousand Diamond Club points (converted to Avios) would give me enough for a round trip return to Copenhagen in Business Class for £40 + miles.
Copenhagen is easily my favourite city in Europe and this was my third trip…
To HEATHROW! In my efforts to try new and 'interesting' ways to get places, I decided to forego the Heathrow Express, Piccadilly Line and awful N9 bus to get to Heathrow.
TfL operate a limited stop service from Croydon to Heathrow Bus Station. It's the X26, and is basically free to Travelcard holders, and a bargain £1.40 if you have a Pay and Go Oyster Card. Enough about that. This bus is seriously slow.
Perhaps it was the roadworks, my tiredness and the awful weather, but having left Croydon at 7am sharp, I reached Heathrow at 940am. And I had to change at Hatton Cross, for an interminably slow bus to Terminal 5. Never ever ever ever again.
The journey was made bearable by a fellow passenger called Sinead and we talked for the entire journey, about British Airways, Aer Lingus, Ryanair, the Tories etc. Basically, we sorted the world out. No need to thank us. ;-)
I arrived at Terminal 5 and had already checked in so headed straight to security. I momentarily forgot that I was in Club Europe so was about to join a very long queue, then spotted the Club Europe / Club World / First queue which was moving much faster. The security team were very friendly and I was through in no time.
One of the reasons I blew my Avios on a European redemption was that I wanted to try the Galleries lounge in T5.
I wasn't immediately impressed. It was packed for a start. The food was fine (bacon rolls etc.) although I understand the caterer has changed so your experience may vary. I attempted to get some refreshments - questions like : do I leave my hand luggage 'unattended', do I drag it with me (and possibly lose my seat!) crossed my mind and I decided to leave it at the seat, and had a self service bacon roll and some pastries. Again, another thing that miffed me was that the tables were too low to really use to dine from so I had this awkward balancing plate maneuver as I tried to eat. Now no one has suffered more than me.
There was another part of the lounge visible through a glass partition, that looked quieter, but no clear signage as to whether that was open to me, whether you could take food through etc. so I stayed where I was, sipping a very refreshing orange juice.
After finishing the paper (I know, you're half way through the trip report and not one photograph) I decided to go for a dander.
Oh! When I came into the lounge I never even considered the possibility of turning left (force of habit), and that was when I sensed there were far more seats and the place seemed far more spacious than I thought. I had a glass of Champagne (which you have to ask for, a bit like Oliver Twist when it comes to a top up!)
And there were showers! So I had a shower. I had been up since five and it was now half ten so I reckoned I deserved it.
The lady at the reception handed me a vibrator that buzzed in my pocket when the shower was ready. (Steady on!!) She was really nice and asked if I was related to the footballer. One look at me should have given her the answer!
It was a great shower. There is an overhead waterfall shower, jets and a hand held option too, and you can listen to music. I left feeling happy and refreshed and bored so I went to the gate.
The staff were lovely but Virgin Atlantic's Clubhouse still gets my vote.
Boarding was not in anyway organised. There was a FAST TRACK sign but I have found that there's always a rush to board, and then a queue on the jetbridge.
I am not a 'diva' as I have always found that there is inevitable a queue on the jetway anyway, but if as an airline you are going to offer a priority service, then you should provide it.
The real secret is getting to the gate at the last possible minute but that's a gamble, let's face it!
I settled in to my seat, 3A. You often get the feeling from BA that their planes need a really good deep clean.
Staff were very friendly, a bit more senior than on recent flights, which I like. Take off was delayed by 13 minutes, the cabin crew saying to passengers more a few times that the flight was very busy and helping them pack the overhead lockers.
Just before take off I took a peek at the view.
And this was the view as drinks were served:
Now, what to have to drink? Oh you know me by now!
And some snacks. With one of those funny allergy warnings. (A bag of nuts may contain nuts!)
The meal was soon served but was more like brunch. I had another Champagne to go with it.
Underneath the (lava hot!) Apple Danish pastry was a bacon and cheese croissant. So bad, but so good!
The rest of the flight was very nice.
Before long I was through the unusually slow arrivals at Copenhagen for the Metro the city centre.
British Airways (North) Galleries Club - 5A
London - LHR
Copenhagen - CPH
Club Europe to Copenhagen. Photography light I am afraid!
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