Trip Report: British Airways Club World (business class) London to San Diego

01. Introduction: San Diego to London and Stockholm on British Airways
02. British Airways Club World (business class) San Diego to London
03. British Airways Club Europe (business class) London to Stockholm
04. A lazy day in Stockholm, Sweden
05. RadissonBlu SkyCity Arlanda Airport
06. British Airways Club Europe (business class) Stockholm to London
07. British Airways Club World (business class) London to San Diego

BA 273
London, England (LHR) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Tuesday, June 18 2013
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 10A (business)

british airways 777-200 G-YMMS side view
British Airways 777-200 G-YMMS illustration by Norebbo

Faced with a 6 hour layover at LHR, I was seriously considering heading into London for a quick bite to eat and a few pics. I haven’t been to London since 1997, so I was really tempted to hop on the Tube and do some exploring. But knowing how busy Terminal 5 at LHR could be from the experience of my inbound flight two days prior, I decided that the stress of rushing around minding the clock just wasn’t worth it. Besides, my wife and I have been talking about going to England for our next vacation anyway, so I’ll get my chance sooner or later.

Things weren’t quite so busy in the airport yet, so I decided to check out the business class lounge – which would be another first for me. I’ve never been in an airline lounge before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. What I found was pretty nice. Big open spaces, a bit more quiet than the main terminal, and lots of free food and drink. The breakfast spread was still out, so I grabbed some fruit and water (still feeling guilty for such a heavy breakfast on the flight from Stockholm), and grabbed a seat by the window. I spent the next hour or so just catching up with the news on my iPad.

The next 5 hours were spent in and out of the lounge, walking around T5, up and down, over and around. It was a pretty gloomy day at LHR, but the airfield was busy with planes coming and going, keeping me entertained for the most part. I went back to the lounge for lunch, only to find the place completely jam-packed and not any more calming of an environment than the main departures hall. The place was a zoo.

About an hour before the flight to San Diego, the departure gate was posted on the electronic boards. It was to depart from the B gates, which required me to jump on the intra-terminal train for a short ride over to the other building. By this time, I just wanted to get on the airplane and go home. I was pretty darn tired of being in an airport!

Boarding was finally called and I was more than happy to get on the plane and snuggle into the serenity of my lie-flat Club World seat. Once onboard, I actually fell asleep within 10 minutes of sitting down. I hadn’t realized how tired I was, but I didn’t wake up again until we were powering down the runway on our way out of LHR. From having watched the action on the runways all afternoon, I know that the congestion was thick and I’m sure that we sat for a while waiting for our turn to depart. Luckily, I missed all of that thanks to my nap.

Onboard service was good, just as it was on my outbound flight. Along with lunch, I passed the time watching episodes of Big Bang Theory – a show that I’ve heard a lot about, but never watched before. It was entertaining for sure, enough to make me watch every episode available (six total). Once that was over, I converted the seat to a lie-flat position and slept like a baby for the rest of the flight.

Fully flat Club World seat on the British Airways 777
Fully flat Club World seat on the British Airways 777

I woke up with roughly an hour to go before landing in San Diego, and was able to get some pretty nice pictures upon our arrival into SAN:

Overflying downtown San Diego on final approach to runway 27
Overflying downtown San Diego on final approach to runway 27
Seconds before touchdown at SAN
Seconds before touchdown at SAN

In conclusion, this trip has taught me that business class is so worth it in every respect. This was the first long-haul international trip that I returned from where I was not physically exhausted and mentally drained. I felt surprisingly fresh after stepping off the airplane in San Diego, ready to go to work the next day as if nothing had happened. Those business class perks (lie-flat seats, Fast Passes, lounge access, etc) made the whole experience really nice.

These kinds of adventures are very therapeutic for me, allowing me to do some soul searching while at the same time learning a bit more about myself in the process. This trip succeeded magnificently in both regards.

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