Holiday to Hawaii in Dec 2018

After the BIG ONE in May, this is a more relaxed trip to our very favourite destination!

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The Heathrow T5 South Lounges Complex
The Heathrow T5 South Lounges Complex
The Heathrow T5 South Lounges Complex
The Heathrow T5 South Lounges Complex

Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Feb 2024: Day 1 – London Heathrow LHR to Amsterdam AMS

By Nige on Fri 16 Feb 2024 at 09:34
Type: Post
Story: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Feb 2024
Tags: AMS | Amsterdam | British Airways | LHR | London Heathrow | Trips

The shuttle bus arrived into stop 28 at Heathrow T5. The shuttle driver was a friendly woman who liked having her rock music on reasonably loud! Made a change to the usual shuttle drivers I’ve experienced.

A dead quiet Heathrow T5 at 4:30am on a Fri morning
A dead quiet Heathrow T5 at 4:30am on a Fri morning
A dead quiet Heathrow T5 at 4:30am on a Fri morning
A dead quiet Heathrow T5 at 4:30am on a Fri morning

Having left the house at around 3:30am, I was parking up about an hour later and having experienced no delay in catching a shuttle to the terminal, I was walking into T5 South First Wing Security not long after 4:30am.

I didn’t stop to take a photo of the access point into the temporary First Wing Security area, but I found it completely empty, having had a quick boarding card check before being allowed to enter.

The lounges were not expected to open until 5am, so I had a wander around the terminal and took in the beautiful quietness.

Where's Starbucks gone?
Where’s Starbucks gone?
Where's Starbucks gone?
Where’s Starbucks gone?

The sad news was that Starbucks was closed for a refurb and I was so looking forward to my venti caramel macciatto. I wasn’t sure whether the Starbucks at T5B was open, but I was to find out a little later.

I queued up with about 20 other passengers for the south lounge complex to open and I was the first into the CCR.

That gave me a chance to get my onward boarding cards printed and my passport verified at the CCR customer services desk, before grabbing my new preferred seat in the corner of the lounge.

I didn’t see any other passengers enter the CCR for ages, so I had the place to myself – nice!

All of the boarding passes in support of my trip out to Honolulu
All of the boarding passes in support of my trip out to Honolulu
All of the boarding passes in support of my trip out to Honolulu
All of the boarding passes in support of my trip out to Honolulu

Finally a gate for my flight to Amsterdam became visible on flightaware.com at just after 6am. Gate B34. That gave me an excuse to head over to the T5B BA Lounge to check out whether the Starbucks at T5B was open or not. And it was!

On the way through the transit walkway, I picked up a missed call from the Vickster. WIFI had gone down at home but when I got her under the stairs (as it were), the power kicked back into action and normal service was resumed. Very odd!

The T5B BA lounge has been slightly improved with the Whispering Angel champagne bar. It has been here a while, but this was my first chance to check it out.

A chaotic gate for the BA flight to Amsterdam
A chaotic gate for the BA flight to Amsterdam
A chaotic gate for the BA flight to Amsterdam
A chaotic gate for the BA flight to Amsterdam

I picked up my Starbucks on the way to the gate. I was hoping to be able to carry it on to the aircraft and then sit and enjoy my coffee in comfort.

Flight: BA0430 Equip: A319
Sched Depart: 07:40 Actual: 08:10
Sched Arrival: 10:05 Actual: 10:29
Takeoff: 08:26 Landing: 10:10

Unfortunately, whilst at the gate, I heard an announcement, that there were busses involved!

So that put paid to my plan for taking my coffee on board.

That news just added to the carnage at Gate B34. There was no member of the BA gate team in control of the tensa barrier.

One of the gate team came to the tensa barrier, took it down and asked for people in Groups 4+ to come through to check their roller bags. At that point, they returned to the scanners.

Then more passengers started going through, irrespective of group or whether they had any intention of gate-checking their bag. With no control over the tensa barrier, it turned into a free-for-all. Get a grip BA…

An inauspicious start to my business class flight to Amsterdam
An inauspicious start to my business class flight to Amsterdam
An inauspicious start to my business class flight to Amsterdam
An inauspicious start to my business class flight to Amsterdam

We didn’t start boarding the busses until 10 mins before departure time, so there was no chance we were going to be leaving on schedule.

I enjoyed my Starbucks waiting at the gate, and I managed to finish it before heading onto the bus.

We finally reached the aircraft at around departure time. It was a shabby A319, possibly an old BMI aircraft with 6 rows of business class.

To be fair to BA, it only took 15 mins for all passengers to board, the door to be closed and all passengers sat in their seats. We were ready to go!

My greasey full English on the BA flight to Amsterdam
My greasey full English on the BA flight to Amsterdam
My greasey full English on the BA flight to Amsterdam
My greasey full English on the BA flight to Amsterdam

The captain advised there would be a 10 min ATC delay into Amsterdam, so the return flight would likely be departing at least 10 mins later than planned. Not expecting any issues as a result though.

Taxiing was very quick at least and we were soon up into the air.

Service started fairly quickly – it has to of course since the flight is so short. I went for the full English, which looked like it had been in the oven way too long.

Normally, the scrambled egg is light and fluffy, but on this occasion, it was hard and a dark colour. The dish was also full of grease. Not great.

Arriving into Schipol airport
Arriving into Schipol airport
Arriving into Schipol airport
Arriving into Schipol airport

The rest of the flight was uneventful – even the clouds weren’t that impressed! There was nothing bright on my side of the aircraft.

We arrived into Gate D24. I noted that even Amsterdam seemed to be struggling with stand guidance issues. We waited for at least 5 mins before it was turned on.


Follow the whole story here: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Feb 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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