For the second meal I decide to go with the onion and chicken curry with rice. For dessert I have a plate of fresh fruit.
I spend the rest of the flight looking out the window and admiring that lovely wing and engine. I think I’m in love…!
About 50 minutes out of London the captain comes on the blower to inform us that it’s quite windy in London and that we should expect quite some turbulence on the approach. He also says that we should be arriving in Heathrow at about 15h03. I’m a bit skeptical about this, mainly because by the time we make landfall somewhere over the Thames estuary, we’re still cruising at 25’000 feet. And indeed, eventually we end up doing three or four loops in a holding pattern over London City before we’re finally cleared for the approach.
Whilst in the holding we even end up flying in formation with a British Airways A 321, a Germanwings A 319 and a PIA B 777-200. It’s quite impressive to watch really. Especially the British Airways A 321 seems so near.
My first decent air to air picture…
While we hold the cabin crew pass through the cabin offering cold green tea.
When eventually we are cleared to land, we’re treated to a beautiful approach, right over the West End, with Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace clearly visible.
TRANSFER IN HEATHROW
JAL uses Terminal 3 in London Heathrow. Evidently British Airways have dramatically scaled back their operation over the Christmas and New Year period. My flight from Tokyo arrives in Heathrow at 15:30. Even so there are no more connections to Amsterdam today. So I shall be spending the night at the Heathrow Sofitel, which is connected to Terminal 5 via a footbridge. To access the footbridge walk to the north end of the terminal and take the last exit, where there is a lift taking you up to bridge level.
The most convenient way to transfer landside between terminals in Heathrow is to use the Heathrow Express, which is free for transferring passengers. The trains are sufficiently frequent and the journey between Heathrow Central and Heathrow Terminal 5 only takes about five minutes to complete.
You can also transfer airside between Terminals 3 and 5 by using the complimentary shuttle bus, even if you’re planning to exit in Terminal 5. This is the easier option because you won’t have to walk so far. The shuttle will drop you off at arrivals in Terminal 5. From there you can either head one floor up to security and departures beyond, or you can simply queue up for immigration on the arrivals level.
All this doesn’t work in the opposite direction though.
For this flight I collect 160 Avios and 15’555 tier points, but only as long as the flight is booked under the BA code-share. As a JAL flight I would only collect 14’000 tier points.