Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Trip Reports: The Flights of The Pilot’s Pants

Whilst encouraged by (and grateful for) the positive reactions of those insomniacs who were able to make it through my first attempt at writing up a trip report, I feel that I should extend my particular thanks to all the Chief Executives whose payrolls have been wholly wasted on their employees scrolling through this drivel in work time.

Gratitude is also due, I think, to OPEC whose recent actions have slashed travel budgets the World-over and opened up a few extra seats for redemption where those self-same CEOs used to sit.

So, from 1K, thank you again and, if you were just being polite last time then I suggest you be honest from now on. Otherwise these instalments of my life aloft may keep on coming interminably.

The Prologue

The passage of time is a terrible thing. Despite the wisdom of those who have gone before and the warnings writ large for all to see, there comes to all of us that sudden realisation that one simply doesn’t have all that long left. So, with a milestone (if not landmark) birthday rapidly approaching, I awoke one summer morning to finally accept that most final of impending demises.

Yes, I had just 29 days to redeem an expiring American Express 2-4-1 flight voucher.

Understandably panicked and spurred into purposeful action, the new British Airways' redemption availability checker was pressed into service and two practical options were offered. Club World out, First Class back from Heathrow's long-in-the-tooth Terminal Four on a Boeing 777 to Muscat for 3 days at The Chedi, or First Class both ways from the still-sparkling new T5 on a Jumbo to New York for 3 ½ days. Travelling companion: MotherContinentalclub.

By the time I’d checked out the hotels, canvassed MCC’s preferences, mucked about for a bit and asked for some others’ advice, I decided to go for Option Oman. Mixed class travel not being bookable online, I would have to wait until the following morning for British Airways' Executive Club to open and do it on the 'phone.

Needless to say, by the following morning, the outward MCT availability had gone and therefore it was a quick check of ExpertFlyer seat maps to see which flights (especially on the return) had the lightest loads before heading back to ba.com to bag the JFK flights in First. Having been ‘n’ times before, it was going to be a bit of a busman’s holiday, but I knew I’d enjoy showing MCC round for her first Big Apple experience, and the prospect of another T5 Concorde Club Room visit and the front cabin of the 747 meant that I immediately started to seriously look forward to the voyage.

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