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In the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3
In the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3
In the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3
In the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3

Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024: Day 1 – London Heathrow (LHR) to Atlanta (ATL)

By Nige on Sat 23 Mar 2024 at 23:43
Type: Post
Story: Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024
Tags: ATL | Atlanta | British Airways | Georgia | Hilton | Holidays | LHR | London | USA

After dropping the car at T5 Meet & Greet, we headed down to the tube for the short trip to T3. As often is the case, there was a bit of waiting around for the train to leave.

The walk to T3 from the tube was easy, and it didn’t seem like the terminal was that busy. By the time we reached Fast Track Security, our views on that had changed.

There was no one waiting to get access to security, but once through and around the corner, a long queue became visible.

A spot of lunch in the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3
A spot of lunch in the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3
A spot of lunch in the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3
A spot of lunch in the Cathay Pacific Lounge at Heathrow T3

It was Vick’s first experience of the new scanners, which were fast and efficient. The only issue on this occasion was that both of our rucksacks were selected for secondary screening! Bizarre.

Once through security, we headed to the Cathay Pacific Lounge and into their first class dining room.

We were both pretty hungy. At least Vick had an excuse, having not had any breakfast.

The Vickster ordered the mushroom soup, followed by a risotto. She seemed to be happy with her choice.

On board the BA flight to Atlanta
On board the BA flight to Atlanta
On board the BA flight to Atlanta
On board the BA flight to Atlanta

I ordered a chicken fried rice dish and a burger with chunky chips. Both pretty tasty. The chicken fried rice had a bit of a kick to it and the burger came with a gorgeous salsa-type dip.

Overall, no complaints about the food! Naturally half the tables were “reserved” and I still don’t understand why these tables are reserved and who for.

Perhaps if you are in the Cathay Pacific frequent flyer club you get an invitation or something?

We left the lounge with more than an hour to go, not being sure as to which gate we were heading to. I popped into the BA Lounge to see whether they knew which gate the Atlanta flight was leaving from – they did – it was going to be Gate 32.

Flight: BA0227 Equip: 777-200
Sched Depart: 15:35 Actual: 15:26
Sched Arrival: 21:15 Actual: 21:20
Takeoff: 15:54 Landing: 21:03

We walked up to the gate and started the priority queue. I enquired about Group 0 boarding, and the gate staff suggested they would be following the new procedures, but in the end, boarding was not announced at all.

Anyone in the priority boarding queue was allowed through, when they started accepting passengers. It was a bit like a soft-launch of a new product!

On into seats 01K/02K, and we settled in. No LPGS anymore. BA is on another cost cutting crusade. It was the old first class hard product, but at least we could dine together using the buddy seat.

Just pushed back from Gate 32 after a surprise hailstorm
Just pushed back from Gate 32 after a surprise hailstorm
Just pushed back from Gate 32 after a surprise hailstorm
Just pushed back from Gate 32 after a surprise hailstorm

We had a lovely member of cabin crew looking after us. She went by the name of Lady Diana! She was very attentive and was a good laugh, albeit she ended up being a little bit dippy.

We also both had a shake of the hand from the cabin Services director.

Just before we pushed back, Heathrow was deluged with a hailstorm which came out of nowhere. It was quite bizarre. Prior to that the day had been sunny although there was a bit of bitter chill in the breeze.

The duck starter served on board the BA flight to Atlanta
The duck starter served on board the BA flight to Atlanta
The duck starter served on board the BA flight to Atlanta
The duck starter served on board the BA flight to Atlanta

The menu didn’t look great for me, but we found some dishes which we liked the sound of. So our orders were in and we enjoyed our pre-flight nuts and drinks.

We actually pushed back about 10 mins ahead of schedule, but taxiing seemed to take an age before we were heading up into the clouds.

Once the seat belt sign was switched off, we got straight on with lunch using the buddy seat.

We swapped hors d’oeuvres to fit with our likes and dislikes, then we both had the duck as a starter.

My rack of lamb served up by BA
My rack of lamb served up by BA
My rack of lamb served up by BA
My rack of lamb served up by BA

I had the rack of lamb, which was lovely. Vick didn’t fare so well, having ordered pasta without quite realising it.

The puddings went down well however. Vick went for a almond tart and I had a caramel and chocolate thing.

After lunch, we both grabbed a good deal of shut eye – about 5 hours.

A cup of tea was ordered when we awoke, which was most appreciated.

Then we ordered our “light” meal and met up again, using the buddy seat. We miss that opportunity on the newer first class suite.

A beautiful steak sandwich enjoyed on board the BA flight to Atlanta
A beautiful steak sandwich enjoyed on board the BA flight to Atlanta
A beautiful steak sandwich enjoyed on board the BA flight to Atlanta
A beautiful steak sandwich enjoyed on board the BA flight to Atlanta

We saw 3 different starter salads before we received the basic salad leaves we wanted.

We both ordered the steak sandwich, which was fab – very tasty. Vick simply avoided the baguette that the steak sandwich was served in.

The panna cotta came next, which was also really good.

It was about an hour to Atlanta and we were both keen to get to the hotel so we could get some sleep, but there was plenty more excitement to come!

A wonderful sunset on the way in to Atlanta
A wonderful sunset on the way in to Atlanta
A wonderful sunset on the way in to Atlanta
A wonderful sunset on the way in to Atlanta

We caught a wonderful sunset in the final hour of the flight heading to Atlanta.

We arrived into Gate F5 of Terminal 1. It took an age to connect the airbridge to door 2L, before we were off on our way to passport control.

There was no one in the Global Entry queue and I was recognised fairly quickly. Vick was asked to provide her passport into the kiosk, but we both got a message “processing complete – see an agent to proceed”.

The queue for shuttle buses at Atlanta International Terminal
The queue for shuttle buses at Atlanta International Terminal
The queue for shuttle buses at Atlanta International Terminal
The queue for shuttle buses at Atlanta International Terminal

When I saw the Border Control Officer, I was ushered through, but Vick seemed to get caught up. I couldn’t hang around waiting for her – I was encouraged by staff to wait in the baggage reclaim area.

Ten mins later, Vick appeared – her Global Entry had expired. At least the officer processed her and didn’t insist on her joining the back of the standard passport control queue!

Once outside of International Arrivals, we had to look for the SkyTrain to take us to the Rental Car Center. Unfortunately, we realised that we had to catch a bus to the Domestic Terminal before being able to catch the SkyTrain.

Arriving at the Car Rental Center at Atlanta Airport
Arriving at the Car Rental Center at Atlanta Airport
Arriving at the Car Rental Center at Atlanta Airport
Arriving at the Car Rental Center at Atlanta Airport

If we had realised, we might have just ordered an Uber…

At the Rental Car Center, we had a choice of any Tesla in the Gold aisle, so we chose the nicest colour! We thought we might then be able to drive out and head to the hotel, but no chance. We had to wait a further 10-15 mins to get out of the Car Rental Center where all of our paperwork was checked.

Ten mins later, we finally arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn, Atlanta Airport/Millenium Center and checked into room 516.

We were so late, Vick dropped off to sleep quite quickly, and I sat down to watch the F1 Grand Prix from Australia, which started at midnight.


Follow the whole story here: Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024


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Author Bio: About Nige

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Nige is one of the co-founders of The Billingham Blog and works as a freelance management consultant. He loves to fly in his spare time!

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