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BA283 London Heathrow (LHR) - Los Angeles (LAX)
 
Date: 10 September 2005
Departure (scheduled): 17:50
Arrival (scheduled): 12:00 +1
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
Cabin: Club World
Seat: 61A

I had checked-in online for this flight, but had not been able to change seat. As I already had an upper deck window seat, I wasn't too bothered. Physical check-in wasn't as painful as I had been led to believe at LAX, despite having to take your checked luggage to be screened separately. There was no queue either there or at check-in. Also the security line was non-existent and I was sitting in the lounge not 15 mins after walking into the terminal .

Unfortunately the BA lounge at LAX is an embarrassment. Clearly one of the worst on the network and from what one would assume is one of BA's premier destinations. I can only presume that they are constrained by the space limits of the terminal, but the room is fairly small and has no useful facilities, i.e. internet or showers. However it did have champagne in the fridge!

The plane was parked at a remote gate, so we had to get a bus out to the stand. We passed no fewer than five Qantas 747's on the way, must be a huge destination for them. The remote stands were fairly impressive, they were actual buildings with airbridges, you just had to get a bus to the door of the right building!

I was soon on board and settled into my seat. I then witnessed one of the most bizarre situations I have ever seen on board an aircraft. A middle aged German couple got on and were obviously in a mood about something. The guy started kicking the draw under his seat in order to get it to close, but was kicking it hard and made no attempt to close it by hand. He was then (rightly) admonished by the FA whereupon an argument started about poor service etc. . Eventually due to the couple's continued poor behaviour, the captain was summoned and they were moved downstairs. They were giving it the usual "we have a choice of airline for our money, we will never fly BA again", but the cabin crew told me later they had no status and were travelling on miles tickets anyway . I was told they continued to cause trouble downstairs throughout the flight and would be denied boarding for their connecting flight to Germany. Good, served them right.

That malarkey took an hour or so to sort out, so we were well late leaving, but the captain informed us that the flight time would be very quick at only 9h 20m with a strong tailwind, so time would be made up en route. Take-off was out over the Pacific, with a big left turn and back over downtown LA and homeward bound.

Again there were no menus, but proper service had otherwise been restored since my outbound flight, so I had a glass of champagne and choose the main course of chicken curry. The starter of salmon was delicious (as usual), but the chicken curry was awful, containing slimy and fatty parts of the chicken, one of my absolute pet hates . I very nearly handed it back, but I figured that the FA's had had enough stress for one day and anyway I wasn't that hungry by then.

I reclined my bed and tried to get some sleep, partially successfully for about 6 hours. I woke up about a couple of hours out as the lights were switched on and breakfast was served. But I really wasn't hungry, so took only the fruit and smoothie option, planning to have a fuller feed once on the ground in the Arrivals lounge. Descent into London and landing was fairly unremarkable, except that there was very low cloud and the landing gear went down way before we saw the ground.

Once I was on terra firma and had collected my bag, I headed towards the Arrivals lounge. This was my first time using the lounge and although it was smaller than I had imagined, it was empty at this time of day. The facilities were superb, and I had a thoroughly refreshing shower in the Molton Brown spa. Even after this I was not hungry, but did linger in the lounge long enough to witness England demolish the remainder of Australia's first innings in the final and deciding Oval cricket test match. Ah, to be back in England!