Travelling to Orlando

I woke up at 5am about 30 minutes before the alarm was due to go off. We got up and closed up the last case and had a cup of coffee while we waited for the cab to come at 7. He was on time and it was a very nice mini van – plenty of room for us and our stuff. The roads to Heathrow were empty. I can’t remember the last time we had such a fast trip. We were outside Terminal 5 by 830 and on our way in.

It was medium busy. Nowhere near pre-pandemic business but much busier than in May when it was a ghost town, and also October when I flew to Dubai. With Verifly and our boarding cards issued, we had no line at all and went immediately to the self service bag drop and said goodbye to our suitcases. Bob had to take his golf carrier to the Oversize Baggage drop and that was it. Security was quick and by 9am we were airside and meeting up with Fi and Stuart who were already there.

Breakfast was first on the agenda and we went into Giraffe and had versions of Eggs Benedict. I had Eggs Royale which came with smoked salmon. All very nice. Then Fi and I had a wander round the duty free. I gave myself the usual ritual spraying of Penhaligons Cairo and then we wandered off to the gate.

BA board in a strange manner based on some algorithm based on seat price and location rather than pure row number. Crazy. Anyway, eventually we got on although it was clear we were not going to make the 1205 scheduled time. It was quite busy but we were lucky and got a row of three seats between the two of us. What can I say about the flight? It was smooth. It was long and tedious – 10 hours. It was wierdly cold. Normally I find flights too hot if anything and am begging the staff to crank up the a/c. On this flight I was wrapped in 3 blankets and my pashmina. It was icy.

I managed to sleep a bit. Read a book. Watched some tv….. The food was the worst….. Really BA are shocking these days. Worse than Turkish Airlines, and far worse than Emirates both of which I’ve flown this year on much shorter flights. Lunch was miniscule. A tiny spoonful (not more) of goat cheese and tomato salad; a tiny container of vegetable biriani (nice but I couldn’t actually tell you what the vegetable was), and an egg cup of toffee chocolate pud. No bread. Not even the ubiquitous crackers and cheese. And no coffee or tea. At any point. Then, an hour before we landed they came around with a snack tea which consisted of half a sandwich (coronation chicken ) and a small bar of kitkat. Again no hot drink just juice or water. We were all starving by now. I mean….. 10 hours on the plane…… terrible. I wouldn’t choose to fly them again if there was a choice. Such a shame that they’ve sunk so low.

We landed about 35 minutes late but were quickly through immigration, finger printed and photographed. Got our bags ok and cleared customs. It took about 40 minutes. Then our luck turned. Orlando airport has a bizarre arrival system for international flights. You land and clear formalities at a satellite terminal. Then you have to put your bags on a transfer belt to be conveyed to yet another baggage carousel in the main terminal building, which you reach by monorail. You could take them with you but if, like us, you have a lot, the transfer belt is a necessity.

We got to this second baggage carousel as the bags started to be delivered. And they all came off except Stuart and Fi’s main case. There was no one around to help. No BA staff in the vicinity, no one. We were not alone there were a few other people on our flight waiting for bags and some people from an Emirates flight. Lots of time passed. The carousel stopped turning. Never a good sign. Stuart went off in search of a BA person. While he was gone our limo driver turned up and an Emirates rep and an Orlando baggage operative. We waited and waited. Finally at 750, about 90 minutes later, the carousel gav a hiccup and spat out the missing bags…… God knows where they’d been. We were so relieved we didnt stick around to ask questions, off we went in the limo.

Thankfully only about 30 minutes to Marriott Grande Vista and I checked us in and we are happily occupying a 2 bed apartment overlooking the lake. It was about 845 when we got into the rooms so we ordered dinner from room service and began unpacking. The food and much needed beer and wine arrived quite quickly and we ate up, still so hungry. Got unpacked and fell into bed, ready for the fun to start tomorrow. The car is being delivered at 9am so we set alarms.

As travel days go these days it was pretty good. No dramas over documents. Verifly completely eliminated that. Mask discipline on the plane seemed good. We are happy to have arrived.