Sun Never Sets on BA Terminal 5
I bumped into Colonel Sir Timothy Trimley (Retd.-9th Kings Own Lancers) at the Club the other day and he opened by asking me, Do you like cuddles? Curious question, but then, curious chap, the Colonel. He suggested I get my answer straight, now that BA have finally ironed out all the wrinkles and its safe to use their terminal at Heathrow; far better than putting up with all the goings-on over at other airlines Clubhouses, he said.
The Colonel reported that from the moment you hurl your keys at the BA Valet Parking Service and stride into Terminal 5, you’re in the BA way of things. Not for the Colonel, even at 84 years of age, any of this softy Virgin thing where a man picks you up at your home and lifts your bag into his boot. No, if you’re flying BA, you’re strong enough to drive your own car and strong enough to pack your own bag. BA Valet does a lovely car wash too and, apparently, keeps your car right there at the airport, so no ones putting surplus miles on the motor. Yes, very safe pair of hands at BA. Hope they support the England cricket team. And, once inside, instead of eggs banquette and cheeky smiles, the Colonel rested easy in the comfort and care of the waiters at Gordon Ramseys Plane Food; they are definitely non-cuddlers, bowing to your table and veritably running to the kitchen with your order. These boys clearly have the fear of god beaten into them every morning by Gordon Ramsey himself and it is damned good to see. Even if, in their haste, the egg inside the bacon and egg roll was still runny and had to be sent back. Chef probably had his head deep-fried for that. Gordon Ramsey, he’s the man, isn’t he? the Colonel chortled. BAs lounges (you are up the sharp end of life, aren’t you?) are easy to spot as they’re the biggest things in the Terminal.
Go up in the lift and you’re soon reassured that with BA it’s different doors, different floors for Club or First, none of that mock egalitarianism you find at other lounges. To widespread nods of agreement, the Colonel reminded us that it’s no use pretending to people there isn’t a hierarchy. They only get disappointed later on. The Colonel was also impressed that when he signed in at his desk, no time was wasted with, Have a nice trip (that’s up to them, isn’t it? No point talking to me about it!) or even smiles. Once inside, the Colonel said, don’t bother with the art: it’s nonsense. A horse with a lampshade on its head? Nonsense. Although it did remind the Colonel of a similar thing he’d seen with his own eyes at Magdalene, where a chap walked around for a whole term with a little velvet and tassels number on, that he’d taken from the Buttery.
There is lots of room inside the Lounges because BA have decided not to clog the space up with bloody pool tables (now billiards, that would be handy, or even a Fives Court) but instead have splashed out on plenty of those big flat TVs, a few free magazines and some low-rider chairs to slump in if you’re unlucky enough not to have been born an Englishman and are only in here on a stopover. There are rows and rows of computers (with a little message on the screen helpfully explaining they can be used for connecting to the interweb, for business or for fun; just in case anyone is not sure what computers do) and since Lady Trimley is always trying to get him to appreciate the aesthetics of his surroundings, he’d made a note of the colour palette of the place so that he can tell her about it next time he saw her: Black. In fact, he’d heard one chap say it looks like the kind of place your father goes and buys himself when he’s been chucked out for having an affair with a woman half his age. Hed immediately asked the chap for the lawyers details because the chaps PA has clearly done well out of the settlement.
On one wall, the Colonel noticed a helpful little sign which said, Children must be accompanied at all times. Very practical and nice and discreet, much less embarrassing than having to ask them to find themselves a parent before they walk anywhere. Or even catching them running around enjoying themselves and laughing. As the Colonel said, it’s all just a matter of working out whether, in life, you are a cuddler or not. In BA, it’s all about life’s little luxuries without life’s indulgences, a place where a man can be a man and where you accept that life’s a struggle and something to be borne stoically. Which was a useful reminder, the Colonel said, to send a little bottle of something back to Lady Trimley in economy.