London to Houston: January 3rd

We all slept like logs, but woke up early. Well, before 9:00 AM, which is late considering our vacation schedule. Since we were all traveling casually dressed, it was a breeze getting ready.

We had our complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then returned to our room to finish packing.

We took a taxi to the airport and arrived three hours before our flight (UA #5 – a 787 Dreamliner) departed. As it turns out, this was the best thing we did for ourselves. When we arrived at the United check-in desk, we learned that while we were at the top of the upgrade list for first class, we would soon be passed over by several Global Services members. The very nice United representative offered to sell us the upgraded Business First seats if we paid the taxes (only) on them. Since the seats were retailing for $13,000 (!) at full fare, and there is no way in the world that we would ever pay that much for an upgrade or ticket, we jumped at the chance to buy them for such a small amount of money. This ended up being another great decision as our flight was delayed and it was going to be an even longer flight than anticipated due to a very strong head wind and bad weather all along the NE and SE US coasts. I should also note that there ended up being 6 babies in first class (36 seats total), so we weren’t the only folks traveling as a family.

After we got our tickets settled, we headed through the Fast Pass security lane (in and out in 15 minutes) and made our way to the VAT refund line. While the approval part of our refund was a breeze, collecting our refund took over 30 minutes. Blerg. By the time we made it to the gate…our flight was delayed another 30 minutes. We ended up passing the time in the super posh United Club in Terminal 2.

The Club is brand new and is very luxurious. The food and beverage selections are top notch and everything is complimentary. We ended up having quick snacks while letting George run around.

J and G in club

I should note that there were lots of children there and the Club is very family friendly. At the same time, the Club is also business traveler friendly and had loads of plugs and desktops, as well as showers (for that business traveler on the go).

We finally boarded our flight and after a lengthy tarmac delay, ended up departing more than 2 hours later than scheduled. We had to do some seat exchanging to make the it work, but George and I ended up in the middle two seats of our 2-2-2 row and John sat in front of George. We passed out our remaining “George” bags to our seat mates, but honestly, no one seemed to be bothered by all of the babies in the first class cabin. In fact, most folks reached out to us and were very supportive and encouraging about our travels with George.

George fell asleep just before take off, but woke up 45 minutes later when the lunch service began.

g plane Collage

I quickly gobbled up my meal while John held G, then I held G while John ate his meal.

J eats

George fought sleep hard and was awake for the first six hours of our flight. It was so nice to have lie flat seats and extra space in first class in order to stretch out and keep George entertained. We would have managed in our originally booked bulkhead seats, but our alternative worked out even better. When George did fall asleep, he would only sleep on me (and not in his car seat), so I held him for the next 4.5 hours. We were able to transition G to his seat for the last part of the flight. While G slept, I typed up all of the blog posts for our trip (well, I at least came up with a draft of each post).

M and G Collage

We landed without incident, although it was three hours later than we had anticipated. After landing, we walked down to Customs and quickly passed through thanks to our participation in Global Entry. Our bags arrived quickly and we were at our car in no time.  With minimal traffic on the road, we were home quickly and George was in bed shortly there after.

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