Originally Posted on
September 23, 2012
Revised and reposted August 2021
Best Western was kind enough to let us check out of our room at 1 p.m. instead of the usual 11a.m. as we were scheduled on our boat cruise at 10 am. that morning. They stored our 6 suitcases for the afternoon while we walked to see ground zero in New York City.
Calvin, our taxi driver, picked us up as previously arranged and drove us to Newark Airport for our flight to London England for our 8 hour stop over on our way to Zambia.
We were 4 hrs early for our 11p.m. flight and Carl was having a tough time pushing all of our luggage in the cart so we checked it in. I walked up to the British Airways counter and had my fingers crossed that each case was under the 50lb. limit.
The wonderful British Airways check in attendant looked us up on the computer and said” you are traveling to Zambia?” We said Yes”. She then asked how many bags?. In unison we replied” 4″. She then said” you realize that you are only allowed 1 checked bag each at no cost and my response was” yes I but these items are going to a family in Zambia that have nothing.” It is books & clothing and medical supplies. A humanitarian mission.” She didn’t say anything.
I then asked if we could get seats with extra leg room and she left for a minute saying she was arranging our seats. She lifted the 1st two bags off the scale. I said” you must get a good work out doing that”. She smiled.
We then kept our mouths shut and waited patiently.
While she was gone Carl put the remaining two large bags on the scale and a male employee took them off and put them by the conveyor belt. I was holding my breath hoping that they made it through under weight and that they were not going to get separated from the other two that had already gone down on the conveyor belt.
The BA check in attendant returned with our luggage receipts and informed us we were bumped up to World Travel Plus seats which gave us larger seats, more leg room and 2 checked bags each for free. I was ecstatic as I had stressed so much over our budget and we now had saved another $120.00. Wueee!
We decided to wait a bit before going through security so we sat and ate our left over pizza and watched the busy airport around us.
We were fortunate enough to be sitting 4 seats away from two BA engineers who were on break. A short stocky woman approached them. She was dressed all in black pushing her airport cart carrying one suitcase.
I over heard her telling them that President Clinton had let all of the prisoners out of jail. They were psychotics, rapists and KKK and they were now working in this airport. She said that we should watch out.
Steve, the 30 year BA veteran was very diplomatic as he calmly covered his name tag and told her that he was undercover and sitting there watching for all of these criminals. The poor woman seemed dumbfounded that someone was actually discussing this with her and stood there shaking her head up & down.
The new apprentice Eddy who was sitting beside Steve was having a hard time curbing his laughter through his beet red face.
The woman seemed satisfied and walked away agreeing with what Steve was saying while shaking her head.
I told Steve that I thought he handled that exchange very well. He explained that there are a few homeless people who walk around the airport with a bag trying to look like a traveler but who actually sleep in the airport.
We started chatting and I told him that we were off to Africa and why. We told him we were so fortunate to be upgraded to World Traveler Plus and he replied” You should have been put up to Business Class”.
Well, guess where I am writing this from? Thanks Steve!
Carl & I have our own little booths facing and beside each other. We have foot rests to stretch out and get horizontal , a complimentary toiletry bag, blanket pillow and TV screen. Before I had even sat down, the attendant asked if we would like orange juice, water or champagne. A very excited, even a bit nervous me replied” I am not really all that fond of champagne, do you have any red wine?”. ( It was about 10:30 P.M.) The attendant replied” Regulations don’t allow us to serve anything other that what is here until after take off”. I said OH, I’ll have a champagne then. Thank you!
We then sat back while everyone got settled and read the menu! Yes the menu!
It was prepared especially for the 2012′ Olympic travelers. We had Grilled artichoke, blanched asparagus and tomatoe petals with sherry truffle vinaigrette served with Caledonian blue shrimp. Devine!
I arrived in London refreshed and excited to see who was coming to meet us for lunch in the airport. Carl stayed up all night watching movies!
Thank you British Airways for making this trip my most memorable yet. I didn’t know at the time, but this was to be trip 2 of 5 so far to Zambia.
Stay tuned for the next episode in 2 weeks time when we meet the Zambian 2012 Olympic team. How appropriate as we just finished watching the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.