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Taking off from Heathrow on the way to Budapest Taking off from Heathrow on the way to Budapest

Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Dec 2022: Day 1 – London (LHR) to Budapest (BUD)

By Nige on Thu 15 Dec 2022 at 16:24
Story: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Dec 2022
Tags: British Airways | BUD | Budapest | LHR | London | Trips

Once into Heathrow T5, I walked down to The First Wing (TFW) and headed through to security. There was a long queue and it was even suggested to me that it might be faster to get through T5 South Fast Track so that I could use Millionaire’s Door (that’s the term used by the BA agent manning the pre-security check). Having tried that before, I decided to stick with the queue I could see.

The CCR was all set up for Christmas The CCR was all set up for Christmas
The CCR was all set up for Christmas

It took me about 10 mins to get through security. The First Lounge was pretty busy and unsurprisingly, BA had put up their decorations. Always nice to see, as long as it’s not too early! I wandered through to the CCR which was very busy and I couldn’t initially find a seat with access to power. I moved later on when a power-friendly seat became available.

Heathrow BA CCR Restrooms

I’ve decided to do a comparison of lounge restrooms on this trip. Reminds me of James’ contribution to Restroom Rater which was an app that was created a long time ago in the US when he was helping a friend out. The first restroom up for consideration was a Heathrow BA CCR restroom, which was very poor quality; it felt plasticky. It was certainly not the sort of restroom that your First Class passengers or top-tier members would expect at BA’s primary hub in the UK. Time for an upgrade!

A CCR restroom - all plastic and leaves a very poor impression of BA A CCR restroom - all plastic and leaves a very poor impression of BA
A CCR restroom - all plastic and leaves a very poor impression of BA

Back to the trip!

After settling in, I ordered a glass of LPGS and also a pudding off the CCR menu: Mince Pie Eton Mess. Sounded nice and indeed it was fairly tasty. However, to call it anything close to an Eton Mess was a pushing it a bit. It was effectively a mince pie on a plate with some fresh whipping cream and some crumbled meringue!

The mince pie Eton mess in the CCR at Heathrow T5 The mince pie Eton mess in the CCR at Heathrow T5
The mince pie Eton mess in the CCR at Heathrow T5

When it came to 3pm, I ordered a Champagne Afternoon Tea, which came with all of the treats and a second glass of LPGS. The sandwiches appeared to be similar to those served on a short haul flight, but nice enough.

The champagne afternoon tea enjoyed in the CCR at Heathrow T5 The champagne afternoon tea enjoyed in the CCR at Heathrow T5
The champagne afternoon tea enjoyed in the CCR at Heathrow T5

The warm scone was generous and came with the standard strawberry jam and cream. Then there was a slice of fruit cake, a chocolate brownie and a macaroon. So, it was a bit of a sugar-rush afternoon!

The view of the Aspire Lounge from the BA First Lounge at Heathrow T5 The view of the Aspire Lounge from the BA First Lounge at Heathrow T5
The view of the Aspire Lounge from the BA First Lounge at Heathrow T5

In terms of service in the CCR, it was fairly poor. No one proactively asked whether I wanted to order anything (although I did see evidence of this with other passengers). I had to go seek a member of staff to ask to place an order for food and drink. The food was pretty good and the LPGS always goes down smoothly!

I enjoyed stretching my legs by wandering around T5. It’s noticeable how much quieter T5 is the later it gets in the afternoon. That’s not saying a great deal; that’s what you would expect. But it’s interesting to see things change over time. A time lapse would be an interesting project!

Flight: BA0870 Equip: A320
Sched Depart: 19:35 Actual: 20:49
Sched Arrival: 23:05 Actual: 00:33
Takeoff: 21:32 Landing: 00:27

My flight to Budapest left from Gate A3. It was the normal farce at the gate, with BA encouraging passengers with cases to check them in and as a reward, they got priority boarding. Surprise, surprise, there must have been a long queue of 40 passengers or so?

I couldn’t help but laugh when they announced that everyone should remain seated in the gate area and to keep the gate area clear. Fat chance of that – you could hardly breathe due to the number of pax milling around the gate. BA really is a joke when it comes to managing the boarding process.

Finally on into seat 01F and it looked like it was going to be a 60 min delay. The captain blamed a late arriving aircraft (even though this aircraft came from Edinburgh and arrived on time) and a delay in water being loaded.

We were going to push back and wait somewhere away from the terminal to allow other aircraft access to offboard their pax, but ATC advised that there was no space anywhere at Heathrow, so we had to block our gate. The captain also told us there was a German ATC restriction and we were in a queue for deicing, which would delay us even more… Oh joy…

A little frustrating to say the least, but I guess that’s the impact the weather can have on operations. At least I have overnight contingency and an almost 4 hour wait at Heathrow tomorrow morning on the way back.

Club Europe (CE) was very busy. 15 rows of CE is the most I have ever seen, although there were just the 2 of us in the front row.

I saw an automated tug for the first time in a while as we pushed back an hour and 15 mins behind schedule. I wonder whether BA has completed its pilot project and decided they are worth keeping? I assume so. After the push back, we headed for de-icing, which took about 5 mins and then we were heading to the runway.

An automated tug working at Heathrow T5 An automated tug working at Heathrow T5
An automated tug working at Heathrow T5

Service started fairly quickly after take off with a drink and nuts. No menu was offered. The meal was served within 10 mins. I went for my first turkey dinner of the festive season. I can imagine enjoying a few more Christmas dinners on this trip. It was pretty good as well!

My first Christmas dinner enjoyed on the BA flight to Budapest My first Christmas dinner enjoyed on the BA flight to Budapest
My first Christmas dinner enjoyed on the BA flight to Budapest

We arrived into Gate B6 as usual. Before the aircraft had reached the gate a significant number of CE pax were out of their seats opening lockers and getting their belongings. I can’t remember seeing a mass of pax getting up so early. The cabin crew made no attempt to stop them either.

A short walk down the path to the hotel and I was checking in to room 304. It’s one of the curved rooms that Vick and I stayed in on my Gold for Life (GfL) TP run to Hawaii a few years ago.

Room 304 at the Ibis Styles hotel at Budapest Airport Room 304 at the Ibis Styles hotel at Budapest Airport
Room 304 at the Ibis Styles hotel at Budapest Airport

It was a comfy place to stay with a view of the airport and the BA aircraft I’d be getting back on board in the morning.

Follow the whole story here: Tier Point Run to Hawaii in Dec 2022

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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!

View all posts by Nige   |   Website

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