|Check-in is handled by British Airways ground crew|
My flight doesn't leave until 20 minutes past midnight but I made it early to JFK's Terminal 7 at 9:30 PM. It's a rainy night in New York City and I'm already thinking of a warm, sunny weather on the other side of the world - the Philippines! Hope the weather really shines, much as winter this season in the US has really been warmer than usual.
|Entrance to First & Business class lounges|
With my two suitcases and a day pack, I immediately went straight for the Business Class counter where 3 Pinoys in business suits were being checked-in! They had brown passports and the girl helping them was loud enough to say "your luggage are check-through all the way to Manila sir". I suppose they were diplomats given a send-off by other Pinoys behind me.
|Part of the seating area. Elemis Spa is at the end of the hall.|
A very personable Jeanne was my agent. When I asked her if the flight is full, she mentioned they were actually overbooked and they were looking for a volunteer from Business Class willing to be seated in coach - to be paid a cool $8000 in cash!!! I heard ka-ching! ka-ching! loud and clear and so she she called the supervisor. Unfortunately, since I was a non-revenue passenger, they had to deny me the bounty. :(
|Forgot your laptop? Plenty of PCs here|
After being handed my boarding passes and lounge invitations, Jeanne thank me for offering myself to volunteer. Passing through a dedicated security for premium passengers was a breeze. An earlier Cathay Pacific flight was already boarding its passengers as I made it to the Galleries Lounge (formerly Terraces Lounge) - British Airways' business class lounge being used also by Cathay Pacific.
I've been to this lounge on many of my Cathay flights (including two with British Airways) and somehow, I noticed a change in the decor since being renamed. It honestly wasn't up to par with what it has replaced - including furniture - but they've added at least better food than merely cookies and chips. There were a selection of sandwiches, juices, sodas, beer, and of course, wine.
|No one shall get thirsty|
For British Airways passengers, what really makes this lounge very special is the on-site Elemis Spa where free 15-munite massages are offered and the Pre-Flight Supper for those who can't wait to just hit the sack once airborne and not be bothered with in-flight meals. I tried these both on previous flights with British Airways to London and they really helped me 1) relax and 2) sleep longer.
|Sandwiches and some more carbs|
The reason I wanted to check-in early was to do some work on my laptop. WiFi connection was blazing fast but one had to ask at the front desk for the log-in password first. With that done, I helped myself to some of the sandwiches as I was starving (from work I just went home to pick up my luggage!). They were decent, tasting like those one can get from a local deli.
I remembered about calling American Express customer service in order to notify them about using my Amex card on this trip. Carl was on the other line, talking just like any regular Joe with an American accent. He was very helpful and offered me info about what Amex can do if my luggage gets delayed or lost. After I told him where I am going, he then said "I'm actually talking to you from Manila sir!" (Was he even allowed to say that?) We ended the call with him bidding me a very nice "Have a nice trip back home!"
Ah. . . the warm, sunny welcome is already there even before I set foot at the NAIA!