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Thanksgiving on the Cornish Coast with the Poldarks via American First Class

Thanksgiving on the Cornish Coast with the Poldarks via American First Class

Old Nov 23, 17, 10:00 am
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Thanksgiving on the Cornish Coast with the Poldarks via American First Class

Mrs. SFO777 and I are off today to England for the long Thanksgiving weekend. First to London for some theatre and then to the Cornish coast for Thanksgiving with the Poldarks. LOL. One of favourite TV shows is the BBC period series Poldark. Set on the Cornish Coast in the late 1700s, the scenery is breathtaking. So we decided to see it for ourselves. Lots of airlines fly nonstop between LAX-LHR but none of them are top tier airlines and the two that do offer First Class rank near the bottom of most anyone's First Class rankings. Tonight I've chosen the lesser of the two evils, American and their 77W service.



Despite it being a busy travel week, oddly there was very little traffic at LAX. We zipped around the Arrivals level and found numerous parking spaces on the ground floor level immediately facing the terminal.



One nice thing that American has is a separate Flagship First check-in entrance and mini-lounge. A porter took Mrs. SFO777's rollerboard and escorted inside where we were the only departing passengers at the time. We were escorted up the nearby elevator to the PreCheck security entrance, where there were only a 4-5 passengers in line. We bid adieu to our escort, who would have gone with us all the way to the lounge.



Our check-in agent had informed us that the Terminal 4 Admirals Club had just opened earlier in the day. Sadly, it was only the regular Admirals Club and not the Flagship Lounge or Flagship Dining, where will open in a month or two or who knows where. It is American after all. Despite my recommendation that we just head for the Qantas First Class Lounge and I'd come back for pics, Mrs. SFO777 suggested that we check out the Admirals Club. So here we are, down the concourse to check out the new Admirals Club. The newly renovated entrance.



Where they freshened up the place and moved the check-in podiums to the other side of the lobby.



Upstairs Customer Service counter now with only 4 positions.





The Admirals Club now occupies the old Flagship Lounge space, which was considerably smaller than the old Admirals Club. My 1st impression was... what was the point?? After more than a year, this is the best AA could come up with. When we arrived at around 4pm, this place was packed with no comfortable seats to be found. Which is what you might expect to happen when you shrink the space. Duh.

Some random pics before Mrs. SFO777 and I high-tailed it over to the tranquility of the QF First Class Lounge.





















The old TV room at the south now accessible from the other side of the lounge.



And the room closest to the tarmac, with the same old afternoon blazing sun problem.



And something called The VIP Room.



After a quick round of pics, I retrieved Mrs. SFO777 and we escaped this zoo and headed for the calm of the Qantas First Class Lounge. On our way to Qantas, we passed Gate 41, from where our flight would depart.



Our 77W.





LOL. Perhaps someday... but not today.



Another few minutes and we were back at my favorite airline lounge in the US.















The Autumn Menu... for the photo opp as we just had a drink and some nibbles.









At around T-45, we headed out and back to Terminal 4 and nearby Gate 41.



For many more pics of Off to London and an HD version of this report, please visit SFO777.com and Off to London.

Additional HD installments posted on SFO777.com...
American First Class to London
London - One Aldwych, Lunch, Theatre and Dinner
Flybe from Gatwick to Newquay
Padstow and the guy that turned Padstow into Padstein
Ross Poldark's Cornwall
From Padstow to Stonehenge

Still to come...
• Coworth Park Hotel in Ascot
• Lounge hopping at Heathrow's Terminal 3
• American First Class to LAX

Will post to FT as soon as possible

Last edited by SFO777; Nov 26, 17 at 7:38 pm
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Old Nov 23, 17, 10:03 am
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Los Angeles LAX to London LHR
American 108
777-300ER (77W)
5:30pm-12:05pm +1
November 21, 2017
Seats 1A and 1D

By the time we arrived back at Gate 41, boarding was well under way. We used the Priority Lane to jump the gate queue...



... but not much one can do about the jet bridge queue.



We originally has seats 1A and 2A but for the 2nd time this year, I was bounced from 2A and reassigned to 1D. Not sure why this keeps happening as Mr. 2A definitely wasn't a Federal Air Marshall.





My 1D. The adjacent 1F was available but with Mrs. SFO777 in the best seat on the place, no reason to give that one up. Plus we were able to communicate across the aisle. Service today started very well especially when our lead flight attendant Barbara brought out the good champagne at the gate. She had initially come around with a tray of champagne or water. When I asked when the champagne was Laurent-Perrier, she laughed and admitted that it was indeed the cheaper pre-departure champagne. After some pleasant banter, she asked me to give her a moment and she'd pop the good stuff. Which she did first bringing out the bottle to show. Not the Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle from my last flight, but the equally delicious and expensive Philipponant Clos des Goisses which Mrs. SFO777 professed to be "the best she's ever tasted". Wow. What a great start to our flight.



The new Casper sleepwear. The slipper were nice but the PJs not so much. The old PJs were amazingly comfortable and I'd actually taken some home. These were not nearly as comfy.



The new AA Cole Haan amenity. Beautiful leather case.



Unfortunately, inside was the more of the same old crAAppy stuff.



While American's domestic catering is so bad as to be virtually inedible, their international First Class food and wine, especially to London has been very good. Tonight's menu...



But the most amazing indeed shocking part of the current service is the wine list. For our tastes, this wine list is one of the best and most generous list on any airline in the world these days.



The Philipponnat was excellent and retails for over $100.



The Latour Chassagne was spectacular.



And Silver Oak Cab? Wow. And a Paul Hobbs Pinot.





Once in the air, another glass of the Philipponant.



And then showtime, AA style.



OMG, proper salt and pepper shakers.



Unfortunately, it was downhill from there with the most disorganized and disjointed service in quite a while. No drink refills or wine orders before Barbara delivered the soup. It took another 10 minutes to get a glass of Chassagne and for a 2nd flight attendant to offer bread. By that time the soup had pretty much cooled down.



Tasty, but cold.



Next up was the salad or basically a bunch of greens.



Much better after I sliced up the lettuce and mixed in the balsamic.



At this point, Barbara brought the goat cheese starter, apologizing that she had forgot it earlier. It wasn't very good so forgetting it might have been doing me a favor.



By now, I'd kind of figured Barbara out and made sure to ask for a refill or my next wine well in advance. And she'd kind of figured me out by bringing me full glasses of wine. That way, we're both happy. I have my wine and she doesn't have to keep topping me up.



And my full glass of Silver Oak. OMG, what a stunning cab.



We both pre-ordered the Beef Short Rib Rendang, which was fabulous.



Yum.



Ah yes, the old annoying lights from the galley. Not that the wafer thin curtain would help but at least make an attempt.



For dessert, I had the Warm Upside Down Toffe Jackfruit Cake and a glass of the Nederberg Late Harvest.



Sensational!



Still no curtain.



While I went to the lav to change into my PJs, Barbara made up my bed.





And finally, the curtain, like it made any difference. LOL. I slept pretty well for close to 5 hours and passed on breakfast.



Service on AA is hit or miss and while tonight was mostly a miss, the food was good and the wines spectacular. It's not AF or EK, but a reasonably pleasant way to fly to London.


For many more pics of American Airlines First Class to London and an HD version of this report, please visit SFO777.com and American Airlines First Class to London.

Additional HD installments posted on SFO777.com...
American First Class to London
London - One Aldwych, Lunch, Theatre and Dinner
Flybe from Gatwick to Newquay
Padstow and the guy that turned Padstow into Padstein
Ross Poldark's Cornwall
From Padstow to Stonehenge
Coworth Park Hotel in Ascot

Still to come...
• Lounge hopping at Heathrow's Terminal 3
• American First Class to LAX

Will post to FT as soon as possible
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Last edited by SFO777; Nov 27, 17 at 2:48 pm
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Old Nov 23, 17, 10:59 am
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Another fantastic start to the trip report!

Last edited by wakesetter93; Nov 26, 17 at 1:43 pm
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Old Nov 23, 17, 12:14 pm
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Wow, AA has really stepped up their wine game. Props for serving the Philipponant, it is nice to see an airline serving something different from the more well known champagne houses(like krug,dom,lp etc.), as its great to be able to try different stuff up in the air(Mrs. Gripevo and I found a new favorite with the Pol Roger Winston Churchill in OZ first). Pretty crazy that they are serving Silver Oak, considering the large price tag for a fancy Napa Cab. Great report and happy thanksgiving!
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Old Nov 23, 17, 12:56 pm
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Yeah, a new one!

Originally Posted by wakesetter93 View Post
Love the look on this guy's face, another fantastic start to the trip report!
To be fair I understand this guy, wouldn´t be too happy to be in a report either
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Old Nov 23, 17, 1:11 pm
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Color me impressed! Philipponat Clos de Goisses is one of the finest Champagnes out there! I heartily prefer it to Dom Perignon, though I'd take Krug over either.

What a wine list! What's AA F availability like with BA Avios? Have been booking BA F for JFK-LHR but this report makes me want to try AA for my next booking! The seat/storage looks more spacious, plus I've heard great things about the Flagship First dining at JFK, too.
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Old Nov 23, 17, 1:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Gripevo View Post
Wow, AA has really stepped up their wine game. Props for serving the Philipponant, it is nice to see an airline serving something different from the more well known champagne houses(like krug,dom,lp etc.), as its great to be able to try different stuff up in the air(Mrs. Gripevo and I found a new favorite with the Pol Roger Winston Churchill in OZ first). Pretty crazy that they are serving Silver Oak, considering the large price tag for a fancy Napa Cab. Great report and happy thanksgiving!
They served Heitz when I flew F back from SYD in August. What's with not listing the vintages of the list though? Lovely list however.
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Old Nov 23, 17, 5:01 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Yeah, a new one!


To be fair I understand this guy, wouldn´t be too happy to be in a report either
Personally I'm hoping to one day make it. I've been practicing my stink eye to everyone I see taking photos in lounges and airports across the world, just in case.

And was it just me, or did everyone else's moods also change substantially between the AC and QF photos?
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Old Nov 23, 17, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by wakesetter93 View Post
Love the look on this guy's face, another fantastic start to the trip report!
Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Yeah, a new one!
To be fair I understand this guy, wouldn´t be too happy to be in a report either
Thank you wakesetter93 and offerendum. Actually, I had thought that one was a little over the top and had meant to use a blurred pic like I did in a AC thread in the AA forum. I just subbed that photo out.

Originally Posted by Gripevo View Post
Wow, AA has really stepped up their wine game. Props for serving the Philipponant, it is nice to see an airline serving something different from the more well known champagne houses(like krug,dom,lp etc.), as its great to be able to try different stuff up in the air(Mrs. Gripevo and I found a new favorite with the Pol Roger Winston Churchill in OZ first). Pretty crazy that they are serving Silver Oak, considering the large price tag for a fancy Napa Cab. Great report and happy thanksgiving!
Thanks very much Gripevo. Kudos to AA on the wine selection. It's a shame that service is so inconsistent.

Originally Posted by CappuccinoAddict View Post
Color me impressed! Philipponat Clos de Goisses is one of the finest Champagnes out there! I heartily prefer it to Dom Perignon, though I'd take Krug over either. What a wine list! What's AA F availability like with BA Avios? Have been booking BA F for JFK-LHR but this report makes me want to try AA for my next booking! The seat/storage looks more spacious, plus I've heard great things about the Flagship First dining at JFK, too.
Thank you CappuccinoAddict. It's a tough call between AA and BA. Neither are world class but each has commendable service elements. If you try AA, just make sure to bring a baseball cap so that you can block or at least minimize the lights from the galley. Even with the non-curtain curtain, it is still annoying unless you can shade your eyes. I've never encountered an AA crew that understood or cared. AA First award availability is typically not as good as BA. I lucked out and found our 2 First saver award seats a couple of months ago when Thanksgiving loads were still light. I bought a discount A ticket for our return as the prices were quite reasonable when combining it with a return next year.

Originally Posted by jdanton View Post
They served Heitz when I flew F back from SYD in August. What's with not listing the vintages of the list though? Lovely list however.
Thanks jdanton. Agree on the vintages. I chalk it up to AA being AA. Either not thinking it's important and wanting to give some wiggle room.

Originally Posted by bhamsan01 View Post
Personally I'm hoping to one day make it. I've been practicing my stink eye to everyone I see taking photos in lounges and airports across the world, just in case.
And was it just me, or did everyone else's moods also change substantially between the AC and QF photos?
LOL. Yeah, I always seem to get a few stink eye pics each trip. Typically, I don't realize it until I'm editing them. Thank you bhamsan01.
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Old Nov 23, 17, 11:32 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
Yeah, a new one!


To be fair I understand this guy, wouldn´t be too happy to be in a report either
I'm guessing based upon the smirk on his face he knows exactly what SFO777 is doing
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Old Nov 24, 17, 4:33 am
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Looking forward as always to the report!

Having already read a bit more on your website, you might want to ditch Gatwick (one of Europe's worst places) for the train the next time. Some daytime trains even have pullman dining cars, which makes for a very civilised ride!

https://www.seat61.com/Cornwall-slee...don_&_Cornwall
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Old Nov 24, 17, 6:38 am
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Looking forward for your photos from the Cornish Coast. I also like Poldark.
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Old Nov 24, 17, 11:37 am
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We arrived on time at Terminal 3 and despite arriving at a gate with multiple jet bridges, AA only used 2L which made it a long time before we got off the plane. And then the long, long walk.



Our Blacklane driver was waiting for us and we were on the A4 a few minutes later.





Past Launceston Place in Kensington, where we rented an apartment for a couple of weeks a few years ago.



And the National History Museum.



Harrod's.







And around Trafalgar Square.













And to our hotel for the night, One Aldwych.













Our Suite 508.





With a great view across Waterloo Bridge.











In addition to our Celebrated Experiences upgrade-on-checkin, we received a Ł60 lunch credit at Eneko, the hotel's signature Basque themed restaurant and the London resto outpost of superstar Bilbao chef Eneko Atxa.





Mrs. SFO777's excellent salad starter.



While my Suckling Pig Tempura was delicious.





Basque oyster mushroom risotto, ceps emulsion.



And my Trigo, wheat pasta, red pepper sauce, egg yolk, shaved truffle.





After lunch, we headed up to our room for a much needed nap. Beautiful nightime view from our suite.



Just after 7pm we head out and up Strand towards our theatre.







And The Duke of York's Theatre for Ink, an acclaimed play about Rupert Murdoch's purchase and transformation of The Sun and the entire London newspaper business in the late 1960's.



I bought tickets online a few weeks ago. The price was quite reasonable and included something called The Ambassador Package, which included "VIP entrance, welcome drink and nibbles". Had no idea what it was but what a treat this turned out to be. As we were escorted from the lobby past the crowds to a intimate lounge where just 10 people got to relax before the play and intermission, or "the interval" in London.



Our charming hostess Anna Marie, would served drinks, transferred them plastic for the theatre, and then escorted us to our theatre seats.



And then at the interval had more drinks waiting for us back at our lounge seats. What a way to go to the theatre!!





No pics during the performance but it was fabulously entertaining and educational with great performances from Richard Coyle and Bertie Carvel.



Afterwards, we headed across the street and back to and past Covent Garden Marketplace and Balthazar, sister restaurant to one of our NYC faves.







Mrs. SFO777's Lobster Spaghetti.



And my Dover Sole Meuničre.



And the short 4 minute walk back to One Aldwych.



For many more pics of London - One Aldwych, Lunch, Theatre and Dinner and an HD version of this report, please visit SFO777.com and London - One Aldwych, Lunch, Theatre and Dinner.

Additional HD installments posted on SFO777.com...
American First Class to London
London - One Aldwych, Lunch, Theatre and Dinner
Flybe from Gatwick to Newquay
Padstow and the guy that turned Padstow into Padstein
Ross Poldark's Cornwall
From Padstow to Stonehenge
Coworth Park Hotel in Ascot

Still to come...
• Lounge hopping at Heathrow's Terminal 3
• American First Class to LAX

Will post to FT as soon as possible
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Last edited by SFO777; Nov 27, 17 at 2:50 pm
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Old Nov 24, 17, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by Romanianflyer View Post
Looking forward as always to the report!
Having already read a bit more on your website, you might want to ditch Gatwick (one of Europe's worst places) for the train the next time. Some daytime trains even have pullman dining cars, which makes for a very civilised ride!
https://www.seat61.com/Cornwall-slee...don_&_Cornwall
Thanks so much Romanianflyer. Thought about it but the train doesn't come close to Padstow and it looked like it would have been a lot longer with the additional car transfer.

Originally Posted by CosmosHuman View Post
Looking forward for your photos from the Cornish Coast. I also like Poldark.
Thank you CosmosHuman. We just got back from a wonderful and mostly sunny day of touring. Will post those pics ASAP.
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Old Nov 24, 17, 1:01 pm
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There should be a FT law that you must finish your Asia trip report before starting a new report to the UK. I have a hard keeping track of all your globetrotting. Look forward to the rest of the report.
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