Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gold Status

Having earned most of the required tier points to qualify for BA Gold, OneWorld Emerald status last time I circumnavigated the earth but only flown short haul since then, my departure for Heathrow Terminal 5 was the first time my new found status noticeably impacted my flying experience….

The documented benefits included being able to use the First Class checking facilities – which at Terminal 5 is a mixed blessing for me since they are at the opposite end of the departure hall to the lifts from Heathrow Express, but the privilege was there so had to be used….

You also get entry to the First Class lounge – which at Terminal 5 is effectively the Gold lounge as those actually travelling first class have access to the Concord Lounge, somewhere I hope to experience one day… That means they are much quieter than the Business Class lounge – and they also had a better range of refreshments…. Having free lounge access will be an even bigger benefit in the USA – where as I discovered last time crossing the USA, even those travelling First/Business Class don’t get automatic complimentary lounge access for domestic flights unless they are at least a silver (BA) or sapphire (OneWorld) status flyer – I’m looking forward to yet another visit to the First Class lounge at LAX – the celebrity spotting opportunities there are at their greatest….

An undocumented benefit of my new status was first choice of food in the business class cabin – apparently I was the only Gold member in the cabin – which is a valuable benefit as I’ve come to the conclusion that meat “travels” much better than fish when being kept warm in the galley – so being able to avoiding the “sorry sir, we’ve run out of the….” message is welcome… You need to be in First Class before they cook your steak freshly for you to your own taste….

BA had no control of what happened when I left the plane – US immigration don’t permit airlines to provide “fast lanes” for even their most loyal customers – everyone gets equal treatment – being at the front of the plane can help – and I learnt a lesson – pick a seat on the left of the plane if you can – you are a little closer to the air bridge….

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