Dear British Airways,

I love flying “over the pond” with you. Your service from JFK to London was amazing. The lay down seats, the endless meals, the amazing wine and the pampering.  Now mind you, I tried to use my frequent flier miles to do this- but you cagey little beast, no matter how I tried you wouldn’t let me – so I got you by booking with points from American Airlines (hat tip).

But with all my Avios (your FF points) I thought – try the first class between Heathrow and Oslo – and sure enough – you took those points and I happily booked the trip.  Thinking it would be a version of your over-the-pond service, or at least as comfortable as US domestic, I was looking forward to it. Alas, you guys made it even better than I expected – you wanted to bring me back to paradise.

Legendary BA Service:

You have a lovely first class lounge – I love those. When traveling over-the-pond going there, having a nice dinner was great. In fact, when I went into your “regular lounge” they directed me to your first class lounge.

But not so much going from London to Oslo. What I didn’t know was even though I booked this as “first” you cannot use the first class lounge in London for this flight.

When we were unceremoniously directed to the regular lounge from the first class lounge (the lady looking down at with the stern look of a headmaster telling us we didn’t belong here – maybe it was the accent) –  I thought- well, like school. So when we arrived at the “second class lounge” the attendant told us we wouldn’t have time to go in because our plane was boarding at gate A-10.

So off we dashed to the gate. Only two problems: the plane was not even in yet, the gate agent told us it would be 45 minutes. So back to the “second class” lounge (we know our place).

In this lounge you have to fight for a place for the family to all sit together- so, this was like growing up. Always had to fight for a seat. So BA is just like family – fight for a small place at the formica table.

So no obvious place for the three of us to sit down. But then we figured out the strategy for this over-populated lounge- you go where the last person left the trash (since they don’t have attendants enough to pick this up). We found such a spot- move the trash aside, used our aseptic wipes to clean the spot.  Then after 37 minutes there enjoying the “salad bar” atmosphere of serving ourselves free stale cereal, we pushed our plates to the other plates that had not been moved off and wiped down our area because we found another couple with a child who needed a seat.

We wandered down to gate A-10  we were told to discover it was not that gate- but a gate on the other side of the terminal. Don’t you just love those surprises – never know what gate, keep the folks guessing – and it is good, because my apple watch told me that by 10 am I already had achieved my work-out goals for the day. Thanks BA – you clearly “watch” out for me.

Ah, now to wonder down the jetway and find our way to row 1 (not knowing that row one was just another seat). Oh wait- here in Terminal 5 we have to be transported to our craft in a bus! – YES!

Nothing like taking a bus to a plane - even in jolly old England

Nothing like taking a bus to a plane – even in jolly old England

How novel – we get to take a bus to a plane. Clearly BA wants us to imagine we are on a small tropical island, or a vacation community in the Caribbean or Cabo, Mexico (oh wait, Cabo came into the 1970’s and now has jetways – never mind). I love that you love us to think that we are in the third world while in London — great.

Ahh – -ok, now let us head to our place on the plane. Row 1 – usually my favorite place to sit. Oh — here it is – JJ in first. Wait a second, what is wrong with this photo?

It looks like First Class if you are a toddler, but it is a normal seat. Middle seat is blocked off

It looks like First Class if you are a toddler, but it is a normal seat. Middle seat is blocked off

How clever of you BA! You simply take a row of regular seats, and block off the middle one. No extra room, no extra padding, no extra comfort. Again, I love this– it is like being in Alaska on a small bush plane – wow, are you clever. We are going on an adventure to a third world country, in an old plane – and regular seats.

The legendary pampering from the front of the cabin: well, the flight attendants were nice enough – perhaps it is the accent. I waited for the pre-flight drink – nope. Maybe a bit of water – “oh no sir, we have to board everyone.”  Good plan – always get too sloshed with those fine wines you offer up front, so I will be “dry” before take-off. I was a bit parched though from having run from one end of the terminal to another, but it is good for me. Let me settle in before getting cold water, that way I will truly appreciate it when I get it.

Your over-the-pond food menu in first never fails. I couldn’t wait to see what meal you have planned from London to Oslo.  The adventure continues! Pre-packaged sandwiches. If I might make one suggestion – if you could give this to me in a brown paper bag so I can be reminded of the sandwich my mum sent me to school with, I would ever so much like that.  So we are camping out on the plane! I love paying extra for this adventure- who would have thought it.

I couldn’t wait to get on the BA flight back from Oslo to London. I know, I could have taken SAS and had a large comfortable seat, with the amenities – but I just spent a few days in rural Norway, so I don’t want to lose my edge.

Ah- checking in for the flight-  still in row one, now to go to Oslo security. Here it is – the “Fast Track.” Nice man scanned our tickets and said, “Sorry sir, there is something wrong, I see you are in row one with BA, but they must have put the wrong code it -go back so you don’t have to stand in the long line and get them to re-issue you a ticket.” — this from the only Norwegian I met with a British Accent (it must be the accent – he didn’t get the attitude of we didn’t belong, so you must not employ him – he was nice and apologetic — never apologize, it is beyond your status).

So back to the busy counter- to get the “proper” document. Kind of a long walk. This is good- get my walk in before I get on the plane. Good move, I need my morning frantic walk, get the heart rate up – let my apple watch know that I am getting the work out for the day.

Oslo Fast Track – not for BA

The very nice agent (American accent, Norwegian origin – pleasant. Clearly not trained in the BA caste system) told me, “Oh, sorry, British Airways does not participate in the Fast track – or, they didn’t buy the service from the airport, you have to stand in the other line.”

Thank goodness, I love standing in lines with my four year old. We get to have more time together – because he likes me to carry him when he is bored. Another good work-out. In fast-track I wouldn’t have time to hold him.

Another Blocked Off Middle Seat

So as we settled into our small seats in row one the fellow behind us was complaining. Apparently he was from the British upper crust, a Lord in some parliament thing you have;  and in his perfect accent said “this is bullshit.” He didn’t get the adventure. How ungrateful he was saying, “I paid for this rubbish. I wonder if I will get a parachute”  I love the accent when they say – bullshit — it must be the accent.

All that extra room in the blocked off seat to put things

All that extra room in the blocked off seat to put things

Another Bus Ride

So, arriving at the airport, I see a jetway. No- you can’t do this to me. You can’t give me the 1970 luxury of a jetway.

So close to a jetway - but lets use a bus instead.

So close to a jetway – but lets use a bus instead.

Yes- we get a bus. The jetway is this close – but no, a bus to take us around. How novel- I love the third world adventure. Plus, let us just knock out that sense of entitlement because even though I spend more to sit close to the front of the plane to get out first (my psych issue with claustrophobia taking place as we depart) we get to depart at the back of the plane. So I paid more to wait more– I hate feeling entitled because I paid more – and good, BA – because if only I knew this I would have purchased three seats together in the back of the plane to get out first, saved some money and well – I would have expected the bad sandwich.

So – I loved our little adventure BA. But when I travel in Europe next time, I think I might pamper myself and go with an airline that will give me a real seat in the front (if I pay for it) and maybe a pre-flight drink, and a jetway. I will save the bush piloting for Alaska, where I know what I am getting.

Landing on the beach is just the start of the adventure