We hit the ground running at Heathrow...literally! The plane was late from Dubai. We ran to the bus, trying to follow purple arrows, fighting all the way about the correct colour of arrows that we had to follow. I KNEW they were purple, somebody else thought they should be green. Got on the bus, ran off the bus, ran through terminal five, screaming at each other about the directions we were taking. I tell you it was bedlam! Ran to the express queue, (remember we are royalty) were told we had to go to another counter, ran to another express counter, where the man asked us, "Why are you here, you should have gone straight through." He then informed us that we had missed our connecting flight.
I tell you, the stress! Then we had to navigate customs, where of course a lady officer took me aside and patted me down. After that we walked about a kilometre through THOUSANDS of people to the British Airways Galleries First Lounge. I had to stay alert as I was fully aware of the threat of pick pockets and roaming bands of gypsies. I wasn't going to be a statistic!
After a bit of argy-bargy at the counter of the Lounge, we gained admittance. We then had to contact the car service in Rome to tell them that we were going to be late. As we had no international sim for phones or ipads, this was quite difficult, and the British Airways staff were quite indifferent to our pleas for help. After experiencing exceptional service with Qantas, being on a whole, fawned over by Emirates, it was a bit of a shock to the system.
Saying that, the lounge would have been quite an oasis if other matters hadn't been so pressing. In hindsight, I should have knocked back a few champas's and just chilled...even though it was breakfast time. Maybe gone to the spa for a 15 minute massage. (Yes, you can to that!)
It was very big, with a cafe/club/upmarket pub kind of feel. (British Airways describe it as boutique hotel.) Nice decor with pops of colour in the furnishings and the artworks, but still very tasteful and soothing. Great timber floors. Good selection of food. It just wasn't the Qantas First lounge.
After getting our affairs in order, and having digested a plate of kippers, we attempted to think positively and proceeded to our changed British Airways flight to Rome, and I can tell you, it was a doozy! Seated in the worst seats in the back, I think we were on the oldest plane in the fleet. The plane was delayed as they had to change a light bulb. Oh dear! Imagine Fawlty Towers, but with ageing Italian flight attendants. We thought we were in a Jaques Tati film.
And that my friends is the glamour of a long haul flight. I shudder to think what we would have experienced if we hadn't had the opportunity of the lounges.
Here's a little song that kind of reminds me of that drizzly morning. (For some reason it isn't coming up on iPads, but is OK on my laptop)