Old Sep 7, 10, 7:02 am
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: London
Programs: BA
Posts: 2,359
British Airways First Class and a 9 seater in Costa Rica w/pics

Note, this is a long trip report with many pictures. I have broken into into several posts to make it easier to read in more that one visit. But hey, grab a coffee / Diet Coke / glass of red / bottle of whisky, and read it one go!

My previous TR's can be found here:

India in F (Lufthansa F, Thai F, Swiss F and Jet Airways domestic J)

Swiss and SQ F LHR-JFK-LHR


VS PE LHR-JFK-LHR with child!


British Airways First LHR-MIA-LHR
American Airlines Coach MIA-SJO-MIA
Sansa Regional 9 seater propellor aircraft SJO-XQP-SJO

I'm writing this trip report out in longhand. I haven't gone all retro, it's that this trip included a short hop from San Jose to Quepos (Costa Rica) on a plane where the baggage allowance was one bag of no more than 12kg. Svelte and lithe as my beautiful Macbook Pro is, she was extraneous to my needs on this, a short trip to a friend's wedding.

At the conclusion of my last trip report, I trailed what I had hoped to be the next. The generous one-off BA half-price award sale in November 2008 had netted Mrs BiH and I tickets on BA in First to San Francisco in September 2009. For the first time in many years, work intervened and the trip was moved about within the parameters of the ticket (it had to be used by late November 2009) before mid October when I admitted defeat and cancelled the trip altogether. What a shame, 75k plus a 2-4-1 voucher for two F class seats to SFO was an absolute steal, but such is life, they went back into the ether.

I now had just over 170k miles in my account but no 2-4-1, the previous on having long since expired. My BA Amex hadn't been used much of late as I had concentrated on improving my bmi balance. The plan for 2010 was a family trip to Australia (since booked and cancelled, grr) and for Mrs BiH and I to make a quick trip to Costa Rica to the wedding of one of my oldest friends.

The 2-4-1 quickly achieved, I set about planning our route. For those of you unaware of BA's 2-4-1 voucher, it allows you to book two redemption seats for the price of one; there is just one potential sting in the tail, it's valid of itineraries on BA metal only. For the dates we planned to travel, this left us with the choice of BA to JFK, DFW or MIA to connect with a paid AA ticket or IAH to connect onto CO. I sought the guidance of those in the know on the BA forum. IAH and DFW were praised for their simplicity of transferring between planes, JFK derided for, well everything but the long AA sector to SJO in particular and MIA had as many fans as detractors. MIA won on price. The AA tickets to SJO from MIA were cheaper than any other or CO from IAH.

The wedding wasn't in San Jose, that would have been far too easy for a friend born in the Home Counties marrying a girl from the US. We would all have to schlep to Quepos on the Pacific Coast. Our choices from SJO to Quepos were 3/4 hours by road or a short hop on a tiny plane that landed on a strip amidst a sugar plantation. As a FT'er, it isn't difficult to imagine how easy that choice was. The short flight would however necessitate an overnight stop in Miami or San Jose on the way there. SANSA's last flight from SJO departs at 2pm. We chose to overnight in Miami, partly to meet up with some other friends who were also going to the wedding and had decided to spend a few days in Miami on the way there.

As the days grew closer, I looked forward to my return to the nose of a BA 747. I spent many of my Christmas holidays as a child in Kenya, flying down to Nairobi as an unaccompanied minor. I flew Y, but I recall on the last few occasions in the late 80's that on the return leg to London, the Cabin Crew moved me and the 1 or 2 other UM's to some of the spare seats in First Class for landing. As a small 12 year old, I can recall siting in what felt like a palatial amount of room, ensconced in a large, soft and well padded seat. Next to me were Captains of Industry, I can't recall what any of them actually look like but for those of you in the UK who watch Mitchell and Webb, in my mind I can see the old businessman played by David Mitchell in the 'Hennimore' sketches.

I was to return, taller, a fair bit wider and this time it was my seat for the entire flight.

Last edited by baggageinhall; Sep 7, 10 at 7:53 am
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