The last time I went to the US I flew with British Airways. At first, we wanted to go with Lufthansa – because of the service on board – but those tickets were much more expensive. That is why we choose British Airways.
Another reason was that they had a more favorable arrival time. Do you also look at that when you book, at what time does the plane arrive at its destination?
I think that is very important. I prefer to arrive as early as possible with as few transfers as possible. The sooner my vacation starts, the better!
From Amsterdam to London Gatwick
The first part of the journey took us from Amsterdam to London. A flight of less than an hour. Before you are well and truly in the air, the plane is already descending.
We dropped the suitcases at Schiphol and had them labeled for our final destination. This way you don’t have to take them off the conveyor and then return them on your layover. They will do that for you behind the scenes.
Well, I am always scared that my suitcase will not arrive if I have not seen it go on the plane. Anyway, you just have to trust that it will arrive at its destination properly.
London Gatwick Airport
We landed at a different part of the airport than where our flight was supposed to depart from. To get there you have to take the bus to the other departure building.
To access that bus you must show your ticket to the US. So of your flight that has yet to take place. After this it is a few minutes to get to the part where the international flight departs from.
Here, just like other airports, you have a number of shops and restaurants. It is not very big, so do not expect to be busy for hours. We had a transfer of 1 hour and 45 minutes and during that time we ate, shopped and waited at the gate for half an hour.
Our gate was at the very end of the airport (am I the only one who almost always has that on every flight? I have made quite a lot of walking miles at airport!) So keep in mind that you still have to walk quite a bit to get to the plane.
Boarding and on board
This was very special. Not so much the process, but the number of people. There were 7 people – yes I counted them several times! – on board. So we had almost the entire plane to ourselves.
You also noticed this in the service of the cabin crew. They regularly came to ask if we wanted anything else. They said it was a boring flight for them, but we had a nice chat with several of them which was fun.
All in all, the flight to Orlando took about 9 hours. We were in the Economy and I thought that was quite small for that distance. The food was fine – standard airplane food – and we got something to drink very regularly.
Entertainment was in the form of a screen in the headrest of the seat in front of you. It was a selection of new and old films, series and documentaries. And some games and entertainment especially for children.
I had my tablet with me with books, videos, and music and I actually made more use of that than the entertainment set on board. But my boyfriend watched movies one after the other on the entertainment system on the plane.
Arrival in the USA
Prepare yourself for long lines at customs upon arrival in the US. And it is going really slow. A number of flights arrived at the same time as us, so we arrived at the counters with a hundreds of people and just a few of them were actually open.
We ended up standing there for about 1.5 hours… Pfff. But the advantage was, once you get through customs, your suitcase is ready.
We grabbed it and walked out. But then you are not completely outside the airport …
Most airports in the US are so big that you have to take a metro to get to the main building. In Orlando that was 1 stop, in Atlanta there were four …
From there you can then continue your way to the rental desk or the taxi stand.
Back to the Netherlands
Unfortunately, the holiday will also come to an end. We made sure we were at the airport about 3 hours in advance to check in. There was already quite a queue at the counter at that time. Usually you can check in in advance, but that was not possible in our case.
There was also a very special reason for that. Hurricane Irma was due to arrive in Orlando the next day and everyone had to leave. That meant long lines at customs and an overcrowded plane.
When the plane is full it feels almost claustrophobic. Then Economy is quite tight. Especially if you have to sleep. Because the plane was so full, the hatches above the seats were also way too full. As a result, you were asked to put the luggage under the seat for you as much as possible. Which meant that there wasn’t any room for your legs.
It is not very comfortable and it is much more uncomfortable to sleep. We were quite happy when the plane landed in London.
After this we had about an hour before we could board our flight to Amsterdam. This all went quite well.
How do you deal with the jet lag?
I always have the worst jet lag when I go back home. Then you hardly sleep on the plane and when you return home you want nothing more than to crawl into bed.
We always try to stay awake until 9.30 pm to get back into the rhythm. Quite a task after such a day of travel, but it certainly helps me to combat the jet lag.
The days after you are still tired and it is difficult to fall asleep, but you get used to it quickly.
What did I think of British Airways?
Checking in and onboard everything went smoothly. On the way back, the service was a bit less, but then the plane was also full of annoyed people who had to return earlier from their holiday.
Other than that, the staff was friendly and helpful.
I found the Economy a bit tight, especially if you have to sleep. It is also not comfortable when a stranger is sitting next to you. Who, incidentally, was also removed by the police after the flight. That actually happened and very strange when it is announced.
The only thing I thought was strange about British Airways, and perhaps that they have now changed that – but you don’t sit next to each other by default. If you do not check in on time in advance, there is a chance that your travel group will be spread throughout the plane.
That gives me the nerves before such a long flight. Then I just want my partner next to me and not a complete stranger family. (or a criminal that was escorted out by the police)
In the end it worked out but keep it in mind that this can happen.
Have you ever flown with British Airways and what did you think?