Tier Point Run to Palm Springs in Dec 2023

To continue the build of my Tier Points in my next British Airways Executive Club membership year, I am heading over to Palm Springs to (hopefully) see some sun!

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Access to the Temporary First Wing Security area at Heathrow T5
Access to the Temporary First Wing Security area at Heathrow T5
Access to the Temporary First Wing Security area at Heathrow T5
Access to the Temporary First Wing Security area at Heathrow T5

Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Feb 2024: Day 1 – London Heathrow LHR to New York JFK

By Nige on Fri 16 Feb 2024 at 20:54
Type: Post
Story: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Feb 2024
Tags: British Airways | JFK | LHR | London Heathrow | New York | Trips

From Gate A21 I whizzed around into Arrivals and found the automated passport kiosks completely empty. Consequently, I was straight through. What was all the fuss about over the last few years?

Up to the departures level, and I remembered to take a photo of the entrance to the temp First Wing Fast Track area. It seemed to be very well sign-posted and well organised. The most important thing, it was completely empty, so I headed through in no time and into the CCR.

The mini CW cabin on the BA 777-200 aircraft heading to New York JFK
The mini CW cabin on the BA 777-200 aircraft heading to New York JFK
The mini CW cabin on the BA 777-200 aircraft heading to New York JFK
The mini CW cabin on the BA 777-200 aircraft heading to New York JFK

My flight to JFK was due to leave from Gate B42, so after having a chat with the Vickster, I headed down there via the transit walkway.

It was very quiet at the gate when I arrived. It was early so there were very few passengers interested in boarding at that time.

Flight: BA0115 Equip: 777-200
Sched Depart: 14:00 Actual: 13:54
Sched Arrival: 17:20 Actual: 16:23
Takeoff: 14:19 Landing: 16:18

I enquired at the gate about Group 0 boarding, and I was welcomed in to take a seat. No doubt there would be minimal benefit in taking a seat on the other side of the gate, but what the heck. It’s a nice perk!

Champers and some nuts to get the party started...
Champers and some nuts to get the party started…
Champers and some nuts to get the party started...
Champers and some nuts to get the party started…

I must have waited 30 mins behind the gate at the top of the stairs before we were allowed onto the aircraft.

On into seat 07A and the comparison between First and Business became really obvious. The level of service is just not there in business – it feels like you are a seat number rather than a person.

However, the seat was great – almost on a par with First class.

I was offered a glass of something from a tray of generic drinks. I selected champagne, but it’s not on the same level as LPGS. However, I wasn’t complaining!

Reboot number 2 of the IFE on the BA flight to JFK
Reboot number 2 of the IFE on the BA flight to JFK
Reboot number 2 of the IFE on the BA flight to JFK
Reboot number 2 of the IFE on the BA flight to JFK

I was provided a menu and fairly quickly I was asked what I would like to order. It was a toss up between the roast pork and the butter chicken. The cabin crew convinced me pork was the way to go. That turned out to be a bad decision.

Managed to get my WiFi access hub online, but still didn’t appear to be sufficient power via USB. Was then told that WiFi was not available on this flight – seems like a complaint was on the cards.

I started watching Wimbledon which is a great chick-flick, but after popping to the loo, the screen froze. After 20 mins and two reboots by the cabin crew later, it finally kicked back into action.

My salad starter on board the BA flight to New York
My salad starter on board the BA flight to New York
My salad starter on board the BA flight to New York
My salad starter on board the BA flight to New York

The meal service started fairly promptly and I received an attractive looking tray with a 3-way loaf of bread and my salad starter.

It was a goats cheese salad that came with beetroot and it was lovely.

It was a good start to the meal.

The roast pork main course which was a bit tough
The roast pork main course which was a bit tough
The roast pork main course which was a bit tough
The roast pork main course which was a bit tough

The roast pork came next and this was the point that I thought the butter chicken sounded really nice.

The pork was fairly tough and tasteless to be honest.

The mash was OK but the veg insufficient.

That was a poor follow-up to a really nice starter.

A beautiful almond thing with a lovely custard
A beautiful almond thing with a lovely custard
A beautiful almond thing with a lovely custard
A beautiful almond thing with a lovely custard

The almond pudding I ordered looked attractive and was very tasty. I’m not a big fan of almonds, but I was happy enough with this.

The accompanying custard was also good.

After a bit of a snooze, I checked the WiFi again and I was surprised to find it was now working, so I connected and paid for 4 hours.

So much for two separate cabin crew telling me it was not going to be available on this flight.

The foccacia, panna cotta and a nice cup of tea
The foccacia, panna cotta and a nice cup of tea
The foccacia, panna cotta and a nice cup of tea
The foccacia, panna cotta and a nice cup of tea

I did some Dovecote biodiversity work before tucking into the second meal. I was thinking I would bypass this meal to save my waistline, but yet again, temptation got the better of me.

I went for the foccacia which was nice. It came with a tangy-tomato sauce.

Also along for the ride was a panna cotta, which was absolutely stunning.

A view of Block Island on the way into JFK
A view of Block Island on the way into JFK
A view of Block Island on the way into JFK
A view of Block Island on the way into JFK

Overall, the cabin crew were pretty good. They called me by name, which shows some attempt at personalisation.

Although they spent far more time gabbing in the galley than serving Club World passengers (as far as I could see)!

Perhaps it’s only right that there is a difference between the service offered in First Class and that offered in Club World.

It’s probably just me yearning for that first-class treatment.

Got a photo of Block Island and Montauk Point as we flew past.

On final approach into New York JFK
On final approach into New York JFK
On final approach into New York JFK
On final approach into New York JFK

We arrived into Gate 20 of Terminal 8 and I was in prime position for the opening of door 2L and off along the rabbit warren of T8 to immigration.

Immigration looked as busy as it usually does, but normally the Global Entry queue is minimal. Not today.

Firstly there were only two GE kiosks open, but once I got to one, it did its facial recognition stuff really quickly and asked me to go see an officer for the next step.

I then joined a 15 person queue.

Just to lighten the mood, here's a cute photo of Mango in her box
Just to lighten the mood, here’s a cute photo of Mango in her box
Just to lighten the mood, here's a cute photo of Mango in her box
Just to lighten the mood, here’s a cute photo of Mango in her box

The 15 person GE queue took a good 10 mins. Not entirely sure why, because when it was my turn, the officer asked whether I was Nigel and told me to go on my way! Why wasn’t everyone treated the same?

Baggage reclaim and customs is normally a walk in the park, or at least a brisk walk out through the door. Not today.

There appeared to be a long queue of people with bags who were being checked by an officer at customs. I assumed the checks were for bags collected in baggage reclaim, so I followed some people who walked straight through this checkpoint.

To be polite, I paused and asked the officer as to whether I could go through since I didn’t have any bags. In typical Border Control fashion, I got a stern response “Join the queue”.

Where’s the respect? I asked a polite question. Either answer the polite question with a polite answer, or perhaps just say “please” at the end of the stern response. I don’t ask a lot. Respect works both ways.

So I joined the long line. Some passengers were being asked to have their bags re-scanned – that happens on connections anyway. When I got there, the woman just told me to go on my way.

WHY DID YOU JUST WASTE ANOTHER 10 MINS OF MY LIFE?

Although by this stage, I wasn’t in a great mood, I was looking forward to stretching my legs and getting into one of the lounges at JFK. But which one will I be allowed in? Soha or Chelsea?


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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