This blog continues our trip from Orlando to Cape Town, Africa as part of an AMA Waterways Tour and River Cruise.
After leaving the Premium Lounge in Miami Terminal E, I headed to the gate. Steve (DOS) had already headed over to the gate to see if he could get his Business Class seat upgraded to First. I initially went to the wrong gate though as I was chatting with a gentlemen in the Lounge who was also going to London, and then on to Capetown. I made the assumption (wrongly) that we were on the same flight to London Heathrow and walked with him to his gate. He was actually on British Airways to London leaving about the same time as my American Airlines flight to London was. After realizing the error, I quickly headed the long walk over to the D-13 gate, which was just starting to board. I was so glad (and surprised) Steve (DOS) got the upgrade from Business to First Class! Although seated on opposite sides of the Boeing 777-300; I was in 2A, while DOS was in 2G, we could at least visit periodically during the 8 1/2 hour flight to London.
Upon boarding we had the new Cole Hahn amenity kit at our seat waiting for us, as well as the Bose headsets and black pajamas. On this flight I didn’t change in the pajamas as I was wearing comfortable Columbia pants and a lightweight Polo shirt. I had a glass of pre-departure Bubbly, and settled comfortable into my seat.
We had an outstanding husband and wife cabin crew for our small eight seat First Class section. While the menu offered three different entree choices for First, I really didn’t care for any of them (no beef was on the menu). When it comes to food, I’m a pretty simple meat and potatoes type guy, while DOS can easily make a meal of the fancy foo-foo type foods offered.
I had actually planned to switch entrees with DOS when he was going to be in the Business Class cabin, but now that he was upgraded I wasn’t sure if I could get a ‘downgraded’ Business Class meal. I asked ‘Dave’, the Purser if I could have the beef selection from Business, and he was happy to accommodate my request. Being served my beef, really enhanced my First Class experience, not to mention the nice red wines to go with it.
The eight and a half hour flight ‘flew by’ with the meal service, the on-demand movie selection, and best of all, the full size sleeper seat. The wonderful dinner service was served course-by-course in a leisurely but very efficient manner.
While having dinner I watched a movie, ‘The Girl on the Train’, which was one of those movies that I didn’t ‘get’. Billed as a thriller, I was less than thrilled with it, even though I managed to watch the whole movie.
After a cheese course and glass of Port, I slept a good 4 hours on the flight, before waking up shortly before landing. I periodically looked over at DOS, and he was sound asleep after having dinner. I had decided to skip breakfast, but did have some morning coffee to perk up, while DOS had the full breakfast aboard.
After we landed in London Heathrow, we got the Fast Track card for immigration, and had only a short, perhaps 15 minute wait in line before getting cleared. Since we checked our luggage in Orlando, it was tagged all the way to Capetown, and we didn’t have to reclaim our bags in London, which was a huge convenience as well as timesaver.
After leaving immigration, we made a short stop at the American Admiral’s Arrival Lounge, were we had a light breakfast, juice, and some more coffee.
We then took the train from terminal 3 to terminal 5, where we then walked down a maze of corridors over to the Sofitel, where we had reserved a day room for our 12 hour layover. Having the day room at the Sofitel was WONDERFUL, and we had the room until 6pm, although we ended up heading back to the airport around 5:15pm. It was nice to shower and take a decent long nap before heading out on the next flight to Cape Town later that night at 9:30pm. The Sofitel was a premium quality hotel, and I highly recommend it if you have an extended layover in Heathrow.
On our next post, our journey continues onward to Cape Town.