Saturday, December 24, 2005
My overnight United flight from LAX to London Heathrow went off without a hitch. (Even the talker I thought I was going to get stuck sitting next to got a different seat at the last minute. When he turned to me and said, "I thought you were getting us a private jet," I knew I was in trouble.)
Now I'm in the midst of a five hour layover before flying on to Madrid on Iberia. Since I'm flying on two different tickets I wanted to leave enough time in case my first flight was late. Since we were on time I've now got nothing but time on my hands.
So I've been taking advantage of the fact it's Christmas Eve to talk my way into places I'm not really supposed to go.
My first objective was to get into the United Arrivals Suite so I could take a shower at Heathrow. The Arrivals Suite is for passengers who PAY for a first class or business class ticket. I didn't, I upgraded to business and paid a coach fare. But as soon as I got off the plane I found a ground agent who called the Arrivals Suite and made arrangements to get me in. "We're not even supposed to ask, but since it's Christmas Eve," he said to me.
After my shower the matron in charge gave me quite the lecture about how letting people who upgrade in "cheapens the product" for those who pay a business or first class fare. But since I was fresh as a daisy and she had a charming British accent I rather enjoyed the lecture.
Then it was off to Terminal Two to check in for my flight on Iberia and to talk my way into the Lufthansa Business Lounge. Normally you can only get in if you are flying out on a Star Alliance airline (the fact that I flew IN on United doesn't count.) But the lady at the reception desk said, "You're normally not allowed in, but since it's Christmas Eve I invite you in." How Teutonic. As you can see from the photo above, I'm not exactly taking anyone else's seat.