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Day 1 : Wednesday 13th June 2007

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NYLON (or LONNY more appropriately)

As is becoming an unfortunately regular occurrence on these trips, I had one too many beers and a late night before waking up at 5:50am after only about 5 hours sleep. At least I had managed to pack the night before.

A taxi arrived at 7am and took me to Paddington where I was straight aboard a Heathrow Express train to Heathrow T4. The terminal was as quiet as I have seen it and there was a free agent at First class check-in (a Gold card privilege, on this trip I would be in Club World). Fast track security took only a matter of minutes and then I had the great fortune that one of my friend's was also travelling this day to Tel Aviv in FIRST and was able to guest me into the Concorde Room which is normally reserved for First class travellers only. I had a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast with a bowl of fruit and, of course, some Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque 99 which is making a welcome return to the BA First lounges.

Following my friends' departure, I decided to put my newly acquired Priority Pass to good use and revisit one of my old haunts, the Holideck lounge. The top deck of this lounge provides excellent views over the southern runway at LHR (see photos below). After a few phone calls, I headed for the BA First lounge where the first major potential hiccup of the trip occurred. My chosen seat, 62K was unserviceable and I had been moved to the only other available seat 19K. I expressed my dissatisfaction, but there was little to be done. The F lounge was packed and it was not long before I headed to the gate for my flight.

BA175 London Heathrow (LHR) - New York John F. Kennedy (JFK)

Due to our early arrival at JFK, we hit the tail end (i.e. the economy passengers) of the BA flight from Manchester at immigration and it took a good 30 mins to get through. The poor people in economy on our flight must have ended up waiting for an hour at least. Out of 24 or so immigration stations, less than 10 were open . This delay did mean that my suitcase was waiting for me and I was soon in a taxi on my way into Manhattan.

I remembered how awful Manhattan traffic is as the part from the exit of the Midtown tunnel to my hotel took about as long as the rest of the journey from JFK, but eventually I was checked in. Being quite tired and with an evening out planned, I just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening, I met a couple of friends and we ended up having a few drinks and heading to a lovely curry house called Mint on 50th St, only a couple of blocks from my hotel. By 9:30pm though I was pretty exhausted and headed for bed for a good night's sleep.

View from the Holideck Lounge