It’s June 5th as I write this, and DOS and I are in the American Airlines Lounge in Orlando, waiting for our short flight to Miami, and then continuing on to London via a British Airways Airbus 380 mega-liner.
The weather forecast has been showing the typical summer afternoon thundershowers for late afternoon, but it’s been pushed back to 5pm now, instead nearer our 3pm departure time earlier today. When we checked in with American Airlines at 1:30pm for our flight from MCO to MIA, the flight still showed on schedule, so that’s a good thing we hope. We leave at 3:30pm, so “knock on wood” I think we will be ok. The problem in Orlando (and Florida in general) during the summer months are the intense afternoon thunderstorms which can delay or cancel flights at a moments notice. If lightning is spotted near the airport it automatically closes the airport ramp for 15 minutes and remains closed until all is clear, not to mention the impact of the arrival and landing aircraft flying thru the storms.
We stayed last night at the Hyatt Regency Airport, to get a jump start on our vacation. We used to stay at this Hyatt fairly often when I was working and had an early flight, but now it’s nice just staying there for leisure, and as Steve (DOS) says, it turns a mini “Staycation” into a “Vacation or Way-Cation”! The Hyatt Regency MCO is located directly inside the airport terminal, so it makes it ultra convenient when flying out; you just take the elevator down to the terminal level for your flight. The Hyatt is located pre-security, but fortunately we have TSA Pre-Check, as well as “CLEAR” (expedited security), so we get right thru security without waiting in the sometimes lengthy lines.
During our short overnight stay at the Hyatt, we had a nice balcony room overlooking the runway, which we always request as we love watching the planes take-off. We also had dinner at the hotel, and later a leisurely late-morning breakfast before taking our afternoon flight.
On this trip we will be gone for nearly a month as we will be flying overnight tonight to London, and then starting there for a week to tour around a bit. Then later in the month we are taking a Princess 16 night cruise roundtrip to several Norwegian ports from Southampton, followed by another night in London and then flying home on June 30th.
As usual, we took way too much luggage (4 checked bags and 4 carry-on bags between the two of us). We ordered an Uber XL to take us to the airport Hyatt, and from there we had a bellman assist us to the room, and then later again today when we got a late checkout.
It’s nearly time to head to the gate now in MCO, but I’ll write later when we get to Miami.
Later on from Miami. . .
We had a quick 45 minute flight from Orlando to Miami, followed by a three and a half hour layover there.
As we were flying International First Class, we had access to both American Airlines Flagship Lounge and Flagship Dining, which was located near D30 at Miami International Airport. DOS and I started off our visit in the main area of the mammoth Flagship Lounge, where a buffet dinner and complimentary wine, beer, and spirits are served. There were 3 types of red wine, with Textbook (Napa Valley) being my favorite of the three.
We then had dinner in the more exclusive Flagship Dining Room, a separate area available only to passengers flying International First Class. Our flight to London was ticketed by American Airlines, although the flight was operated by British Airways as part of their code-share agreement. The Flagship Dining Room is fairly small compared to the masses in the large main lounge, and with the arrangement of the booths and tables, as well as a dedicated wait staff and complimentary ala carte menu, offers an intimate and classy dining experience.
After a leisurely dinner in the Flagship Dining Room, we then headed to the “E” gate around 7:30pm for our flight, after taking a short tram ride.
Our flight was operated by British Airways on an Airbus 380 double-decker wide body jet. Our seats were 2E and 2F, which were the adjacent seats in the center section of First Class, located on the lower level. We were welcomed aboard by the Purser, shown to our seat, and shortly later offered a glass of pre-departure Champagne.
Our onboard flight service was outstanding, and the food and drink presentation was wonderful. The food was plentiful and served course by course, and the wine and drinks was definitely free-flowing. British Airways First Class is truly that: First Class!
In all honesty, however, I think the filet was better in the American Airlines Flagship Miami Lounge, but no complaints of course as we were at 35,000 feet and already pretty full from the earlier airport meal! The place settings and service, however, was like something in a five star restaurant!
I watched the movie “Rocket Man” about Elton John on my personal monitor during the meal service.
The movie was ending slightly after I finished up dessert. There were three wines served, and I tried all of them which were wonderful!
DOS and I got about five hours shut-eye on the lay flat bed, which was actually prepared for us with a comfy comforter and large pillow.
In the morning, we had a nice hot breakfast with pancakes and bacon, along with fresh coffee to perk ourselves up.
We landed in London Heathrow on time after the nearly 9 hour flight around 10:15am, and proceeded to Terminal Five for immigration and customs, both which were very quick, and immigration was actually automated via face and passport recognition kiosk.
Once thru Customs we met our driver DOS had pre-arranged, loaded our 8 pieces of luggage in the large SUV, and had an hour drive to our hotel, the Churchill Hyatt Regency, known locally as simply “The Churchill”, after the former Prime Minister.
As we arrived early, we did have a bit of a wait before our room was ready, probably delayed a bit more as we had a specific suite assigned. The Concierge, Pren, was wonderful however, and personally showed us to the 8th floor Concierge Lounge while we waited on our room to be ready.
Both DOS and I were started to get pretty tired within an hour waiting due to the “jet lag”, but we helped ourselves to the coffee and Diet Cokes in the lounge while we waited.
Once our room was ready, Pren came back up to the lounge and personally showed us to our suite, also on the 8th floor which will be convenient for our stay. Here’s a couple photos of the room.
Welcome to London!