After 4 nights at the Mandarin Oriental NYC (again, highly recommend the suites), it was 4 more nights of stuffing ourselves in Manhattan at Jean George, Eleven Madison Park, Daniel and Per Se, it was time to go back home .
We checked out and got our car to JFK, we arrived at about 19:15 and up to First Class check in. We had noticed earlier in the day that our flight BA182 was going to be fitted with the Old First seat, so we got to the airport early to eat in the CCR so we could go straight to sleep on the flight.
At check in we had a desk each and they looked concerned when we said we were on the 182, they asked if we would mind going on an earlier flight. We replied yes as long as we got window seats. They tapped away and said there were no window seats available, by this time the check in supervisor had come over and again asked if we would mind getting an earlier flight. She then got on the phone and was saying “I’m putting 2 more on the flight, I’m sending down 5 more bags”. So we were then told she had got us on the BA116, window seats together and the flight would be leaving in 35 minutes, so there was just enough time to get a drink in the CCR. They were worried about LHR closing due to the Snow so were moving all First Class passengers off the last flight. Fantastic! New first and would get home about 3 hours earlier.
There was dedicated security for BA Club and First, very quick and the CCR just to the left once through the lane. Handed over our boarding passes in the CCR where they remarked that we will have time for a drink and even a starter as they will call us as late as possible.
We had changed our plans; we would now eat on the plane and just have a drink in the CCR. The CCR was great, much better than all the other lounges we have been to in the US. It was very quiet in the lounge, had a drink and sent a quick email to inform people of our earlier arrival. Boarding was announced so we made our way out of the CCR and towards the gate. Priority lane in use, small queue on the jet bridge, to the door and once again welcomed by name and escorted to our seats.
Drinks were offered along with sleep suits and amenity kits. Something I forgot to mention in the outbound, there are slippers and a blanket already at the seat. Great slippers, makes it nicer walking into the toilets. Our cabin crew chatted to us, asked what we had been up to, what were we doing when got home etc. Once again the IFE was already on; interrupted for the safety demo and then we were off into the sky.
Cabin crew came around, took drinks orders and asked if people were going to be eating. Most of the other passenger (cabin only half full) decided to go to sleep. We and a few others did take up the offer of food. I had salad for starter and main, I was after a light meal after all the tasting menus! After eating I asked for a glass of Baileys and for my seat to be turn into a bed while I got changed. The First PJs were very comfortable and so was the bed. Much more so than both the Upper seats (“old” and new). I think that the BA seat is ok at being the same surface for sleeping and sitting as they aren’t leather so you don’t get so hot.
I turned onto the IFE and as we were on a 777 and it was fitted with the latest version. It had LOADS of content; you could spend the whole flight looking through it all! There seemed to be the entire collection of James Bond films. After watching TED I got some sleep. Upon waking I was offered breakfast which I declined. A while later the 20 minute announcement was made, so the cabin crew were clearing up and severing breakfast. At about 5 minutes to landing a passenger had asked for some breakfast! The cabin crew did decline him, advised him of the arrivals lounge, but she also offered him a coffee or juice! He declined, she sat down and we landed.
On the ground we waited about 5 minutes for our gate on B (BA are the same as VS in insisting on a certain gate for a certain flight, rather than using a free gate or stand). Off the plane and a quick march to the train. Back into A and another walk to the immigration hall, again expecting it to be packed at 07:30, but again, empty. No stopping and straight through. Into baggage claim, instantly the belt cam on and bags off, ours some of the very first out. Then it was through to the arrivals lounge and the Concorde Breakfast room where we had a lovely breakfast.
Once properly awake it was sadly time to head back to the Sofitel and down to the car park to drive home.
It was a fantastic holiday, and, strangely, made better by Virgin making me try BA out.