Trip Reports

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Trip Report: Thanksgiving in Rome Introduction

What happens when you have two British Airways travel together tickets and nothing to do? Magic.

We had already used British Airways travel together tickets to fly first class to London and business on the way back, and we had so much fun we decided to do it again. And so we used our Chase credit cards to wrack up some spend and get ourselves some travel together tickets. We would have much preferred to fly out of LAX, which is only2 hours away from our home in Del Mar, California, but there was a great lack of availability around our dates. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

So we checked flights out of San Francisco. Nothing. And we checked flights out of Dallas. Nothing. (I must note that this was in the time before there was even a BA flight to Austin, or San Jose, or there was a first class cabin on the San Diego to Heathrow flight. Back then, our options were pretty limited.)

By the time we found any availability, it was exclusively out of Seattle. It was a bit of a ways, but (thankfully) Southwest flies directly SAN-SEA, so we scored ourselves some cheap seats to SEA and locked in SEA-LHR and LHR-SEA. Then came the question: what do we do?

We had visited London the summer before, so just staying in England wasn’t an option. Eventually, we settled for taking the short hop to Rome to explore the Cradle of Civilization.

We booked our flights to Rome, enlisted my Great Uncle and Grandfather to go along with us, and backed our bags for Rome.

Trip Report: Thanksgiving in Rome- British Airways First Class Lounge Seattle

The one thing I learned over my two day stay in Seattle was that it is cold. I knew what I had coming, I mean, I was in Seattle, and it was November, but nothing could have prepared me for the fact that it was going to be 40 degrees every fricking hour of every day. Thankfully, our hotel had a heated pool, which also happened to be indoors. I could get used to that. I also found out that they superheat your chow mein at Panda Express. Nice.

Having swam, messed about the Boeing factory, slept like a baby, and eaten a hell of a lot of superheated Chinese noodles, we left our hotel for Seattle Airport, having been in Seattle for just over 24 hours. We dropped off our rental car and hopped the bus to SEA.

 

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I must say, SEA is a beautiful airport. The huge wall of glass at the end of the terminal was great, even if the only view was the gloomy Seattle cloud cover. The huge, tall ceilings reminded me slightly of Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

We made our way from the lower floor to the second, where the check-in counters of a good number of the airlines flying out of SEA are. We found the BA first counter and checked in, which was quick. Time to departure: 4 hours.

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After we checked in, we found a departure board, which actually ended up telling us that our flight was delayed by an hour. Oh well.

We then went through security. In my opinion, the premium class line merges with the general line to soon, kind of taking the advantage out of it. However, we were there in between the early morning and noon rushes, when I imagine the place would be overflowing with people.

The lounge was located far away, almost across the whole airport, though the walk was manageable. When we got there, we found a small, yet comfortable lounge that had most of the stuff one could ask for from an airport lounge, especially one in a rather small outpost destination.

There were 14 seats, the exact number of passengers in first class on a fully loaded 777, the plane which operates the route.

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The food section was good as well. It included sandwiches, chips, and way too many kinds of cookies. If there is such a thing.

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It had a great view onto the tarmac, which made for some great photography.

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With some time to kill, I watched the air traffic and drank an excellent lemonade made by the equally great lounge attendant Conny, who seemed very interested in taking care of us, as for 75% of the time we were the only people in the lounge. Great lemonade!

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There was some really cool planes going by the windows, including an ANA 787 and a Lufthansa A330.

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Soon enough though, we spotted our own ride to London, a BA 777-300er. It would be my first time (that I can remember) on a 777.

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Not long after, we decided to make our way over to the gate to board our flight to London.

Trip Report: Thanksgiving in Rome- British Airways First Class Seattle to London

We left the lounge and headed downstairs to our gate. When we boarded, we took our seats, 1A, 2A, 2E, and 2F. I admired how stubby the 777 is. Even in 1A, there is no notable cuvature of the fuselage. 1A on a 747 is possibly the coolest seat out there.

BA Flight 48
First Class

Boeing 777-300er

When I sat down, I was offered a hot towel and a drink, which could have been either water, orange juice, or champagne. I would have taken the champagne, but…

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Anyway… I find British Airways first class to be incredibly stylish. Not like the vomit-colored rock-hard reclining bar stools that United has, but real, as Donald Trump would say, classy and elegant suites. The leather and the seat really contrast nicely, not to mention the fact that you get a good amount of work space and a very nice-looking lamp.

When boarding was finished, we pushed back and began our taxi, which didn’t take long, given that this is SEA in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday. We were soon airborne. The views on the climb out are great.

 

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One of the flight attendants working first class was called Nick, and he did a great job taking care of my sister and me. He was super nice and attentive. Great job!

On to the food. For most of the flight, there was a box of chocolates up front, which was oipen to everyone. It seemed to be a farely quinoa-intenisve day, as almost everything, including the salads, seemed to be opretty loaded down with the stuff. By the way, I didn’t take pictures of the food because, well… reasons. Just kidding. I was a noo back then. I know.

There was a also funny mid-flight incident: we eccountered two rockstars from a certain famous 80’s band (if you can guess the band’s name from this riddle, you’re great: Jude, vulgar word for rear end, holy man.) When my mom was getting up to go to the bathroom, one of these rockstars got up and basically cut my mom off to go to the bathroom. And,when he came out, we found out that said rockstar had not flushed the toilet. Because rodies do that for you.

Due to the incredibly bad timing of the flight, I had only a few hours to sleep. So I decided to maximize my time in bed and cut out early. I woke up a short distance out of London. When we landed, we made our way to the Concorde Room, which I will be reviewing later. And we spent the next 8 hours there.

Life’s good.

Hotel Review: The Inn at the Roman Forum

When our short flight from London arrived, we spent two days in the nearby city of Ostia before catching the train to Rome. Our hotel, the Inn at the Roman Forum, was conveniently located just down the street from the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and a subway staion, from which you could get anywhere in the city. The view onto the Forum was a highlight.

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The hotel was small, yet still seemed very professional. There were a total of 5 floors and maybe 12 rooms. I can see why Tripadvisor gives this place 4.5 out of 5 stars. I might give it a little more than that.

The rooms were just as I like them: classical, yet not excessively rustic. They were open and spacious, with big windows and TV’s. What more ca you ask for?

On the 5th floor, dinner and breakfast were served in an elegnant room with a large fireplace. There was a patio, which we didn’t take much advantage of as it was raining for most of our stay. The food was great: you had your standard European breakfast (eggs, lots of fruit, toast, Nutella, coffe, Nutella, Cheese. Nutella… did I mention hat they have Nutella?) as well as a great dinner made up of some great tapas-like plates. A little heavy on the croquets, though.

The location was another big selling point. Though close to the big street (which is actually closed to cars on Sundays), the Inn was on a small back road such that ou didn’t hear all the car traffic. The Vatican was a short bus ride away, the Pantheon, a15 minute walk, and the Colosseum was right down the street. The views were also amazing.

The rooms were great as well. The beds were large and there was even a pillow in the bathtub. Swag!

All in all, it was a great boutique hotel with wonderful location. The food was good and its proximity to historical sites was a huge bonus. I highly recommend it.