Welcome to my next trip report, a recap of my journey to London earlier this month to bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II.
London Bridge Is Down, A Trip Report – The Queen Is Dead, Long Live The King
The phrase “London Bridge is down” was used to communicate the death of the Queen to UK Prime Minister Liz Truss and other key personnel, setting an elaborate funeral plan into motion.
When it was announced that the late Queen would lie in state in the Palace of Westminster, I immediately decided I would fly to London from Los Angeles to pay my respects.
But there was a small problem. I had a dinner meeting on Thursday in Los Angeles that would go until 8:00 pm – and I had to be back on Saturday evening ahead of the funeral of my own grandmother.
That left but a single option for my outbound: Virgin Atlantic’s third daily flight to London Heathrow, leaving Los Angeles at 9:55 pm. British Airways traditionally had a late flight as well, but it is not presently operating.
One-way (and round-trip) fares were through the roof and no award space was available, so I set Expert Flyer alerts for economy class, premium economy class, and business class and hoped for the best.
Two days before I was to leave, I checked the Virgin Atlantic website and found ExpertFlyer had failed to notify me that there was a single economy class award seat. I booked it immediately, while still hoping premium economy would open up. It never did.
As it turned out, the flight on Virgin Atlantic to London was about as lovely as an economy class flight can be, even though every single seat on the aircraft was filled.
I arrived at London Heathrow and hopped in a taxi (the FREE NOW app, formerly called mytaxi, is much cheaper than Uber). With the depressed GBP, the journey to central London was only $45…it made no sense to take the Heathrow Express or even the Tube at that price.
And then I waited in line. And waited some more. At 4:35 am the following morning, I had filed past the Queen’s casket and could declare mission accomplished. There will be no hotel reviews in this trip report.
I flew home on JetBlue in MINT business class, traveling from London Gatwick to Los Angeles via Boston. JetBlue continues to impress with its superior onboard product compared to its American peers. Sadly, Emirates Skywards miles can no longer be used to book JetBlue flights.
Had I still been in line and unable to take the JetBlue flight to Boston at 10:50 am, I would have booked the 4:40 pm United Airlines nonstop to LAX.
I’ve already written about The Queue and shared my contemporaneous thoughts on filing past the Queen’s casket and will not repeat that again. Instead, I’ll review flights and lounges that I encountered on the trip.
- I’m Flying To London To Bid Farewell To Queen Elizabeth II
- Virgin Atlantic 787-9 Economy Class Los Angeles – London
- As I Queue In London For The Queen, What’s In My Bag?
- Mission Accomplished In London!
- Photo Essay: London Mourning
- The Gateway Lounge by EasyJet – London Gatwick (LGW)
- JetBlue A321neo Mint Business Class London – Boston
- Air France Lounge Boston (BOS)
- United Club Boston (BOS)
- Stephanie’s (Priority Pass Restaurant) – Boston (BOS)
- JetBlue A321 Mint Business Class Boston – Los Angeles
As always, thanks for reading, and stay tuned for a fast-paced trip report!
“The London Bridge is up” has a whole different meaning
Kind of like Emperor Palpetine returning in Rise of Skywalker
The original London Bridge is now in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
Jerry went all the way to London just to see Big Ben. He was so disappointed when he found out it was a clock.
Looking forward to the entire series of articles. The trip beats my 28 hour London trip. The upcoming economy class article is useful because many people, including me, do fly economy class.
Hmm, why not the United nonstop on the way back? Doesn’t it arrive within half an hour as the JetBlue flight?
I wanted to fly MINT.
Mind sharing how much JetBlue Mint cost? I remember booking w/ Emirates Skywards was discontinued and I imagine you had to book it quite close-in
Ticket was 1644GBP r/t, with return in economy class.
Looking forward to the reviews. Speaking of skywards I just booked my family of five on the a380 in biz class by buying economy and upgrading with points. Not a bad deal. $400 and 39k miles.