We’re up at 5:30am to make the short trek back to Heathrow. Although the bathroom in the Thistle is quite well maintained, the shower is rubbish which is not the best start to the day.
At checkout I’m charged the full £12 for our Pod fare which is fair enough seeing as were got the inbound trip for free. The Pod station is deserted and we make it to the check-in desks less than 10 minutes after leaving the hotel. Nice.
Having reached Executive Club Silver status as frequent flyers with British Airways we get Fast Track security access. There is one man in front of us at the scanners and the process is astonishingly quick.
Once through it’s on to the South Galleries Lounge to grab a snack and a drink. Another perk of Executive Club Silver status – we could get used to this. It also comes in handy when our flight is delayed. Our 9:35am departure has become an 11am departure. Definitely not cool.
Equally uncool is the boarding process. At the last minute the gate staff decide to abandon the boarding groups and allow an Easyjet-style free-for-all. Thankfully we are near the front and manage to avoid the worst of the elbowing behind us.
We’ve chosen seats 52 J and K which are located right at the back of the Boeing 777 we are flying on. Although it’s a long way to the back, we like this section because there are only two seats – which means there’s no Billy Nomates weirdo to fight for elbow space with. Some people do complain about being close to the toilets and the galley, but this wasn’t a problem for us. Being able to choose our own seats in advance at no additional charge is an important benefit of Executive Club Silver status.
Top Tip: Sitting at the back of the 777 ensures you won’t sit next to a stranger (unless you are travelling alone). However, there is a risk that the more popular food choices run out before the steward reaches you.
The flight is uneventful – which is always a good thing. Lunch is chicken chausseur which could have been great – but it was ruined with mushrooms. Afternoon snack is a chicken or vegetable pastry. Unless you sit in the back row where they run out of chicken so you have to have the vegetable. Not having to fight with a stranger’s elbows beats chicken pastry for me though (it probably had mushrooms in it anyway).
Top tip: Linda wanted to use her AirPods Max on the plane to watch movies on the in flight entertainment (IFE) system. However, the lightning port on the headphones is incompatible with the dual audio jack setup on aeroplanes. The solution? A cheap Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the IFE socket and streams audio wirelessly to the headphones. Pairing the devices tales a bit of patience, but the device does work eventually.
Simply plug this unit into the headphone ports in your seat and enjoy wireless audio streaming to your Apple AirPod Max or AirPod Pro devices.
It can also be used with the newer, single port seats like those found on BA’s A380.
Once at JFK there is an hour-long queue to clear immigration (bloody Brexit) and then it’s on to the Airtrain heading towards Howard Beach. At the subway station we get in a faff trying to buy Metrocards, but finally we manage to get a ticket and reach the platform just after the Manhattan-bound subway leaves. We “enjoy” a 20 minute sit in the cold and damp waiting for the next one.
Eventually we get on the train and make it into the city, disembarking at Fulton Street. A very wet nine-minute walk gets us to our hotel for the night – the Wall Street Inn. The hotel is a little dated, but the location is perfect for our transfer to the ship tomorrow.
We’re assigned a sizeable corner room on the sixth floor which has windows in two walls. This is great but… like most of New York, the hotel is surrounded by scaffolding – so there isn’t much of a view to enjoy. The bed is comfy and the bathroom is adequate however, so we’re both happy.
Top tip: I managed to book a corner room at The Wall Street Inn for ~£140 through booking.com. This is considerably cheaper than booking direct – and it may have been a mistake rate. It is worth checking and refreshing search results periodically as you may occasionally find a gem like this. And as always, you can earn Avios points by visiting booking.com or ebookers through the BA Executive Club shopping portal.
As the jet lag begins to kick in we head over to the World Trade Center district to try Chick-fil-A. It’s pretty good. Then back to the hotel for an early evening.
Tomorrow – we board the Sky Princess at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal.