Houston to Heathrow, via Miami, on American Airlines – PART 1, preflight

My trip home has come to an end, and it’s time to take the journey to my other home in Bristol. I saw lots of family, ate quality Mexican food, and even caught a track meet at my old workplace. All in all, it was a great visit. However, I’m about to encounter my least favourite part: saying goodbye. When you live across oceans, it’s an unavoidable aspect of returning to your original home. The visits go too fast and are never long enough. And I’m always aware that my trips to Target and HEB will be my last, possibly for another year. And yet, the longer I’m away, I get anxious that each day waking up in this time zone will make it harder to adjust back to Bristol time. It’s just one of the things I have to get used to each time, that never really gets any easier. Such is life.

That said, it’s time to head to Houston George Bush Airport. I am flying to Heathrow with an almost 6 hour stop in Miami. I don’t normally like long stopovers, but as this flight was booked with frequent flier miles using American’s Advantage program, I’ll just go with it. Especially since it cost me all of £5 to book. And since the second leg of the trip is a business class seat, the layover will be spent counting down the minutes in the lounge. Not so bad after all!

Arriving at IAH is always just fine for me. As long as it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas, the 20 minute drive always seems to give way to a quick check in experience. My first flight was in economy and I was sat in row 8c, which is a Main Cabin extra row a.k.a. more legroom. If I’m taking a short flight under 3 hours, legroom isn’t much of an issue for me, but I will admit, this was nice. Bulkhead seats always seem to offer that perk, even though all bags must be put up top. And as with most economy flights on American, coffee and soft drinks are offered with a snack of biscoff cookies or pretzels just after takeoff. The 2 1/2 hour flight was uneventful (just the way I like it) and it arrived on time. My phone was deep in my carryon, hence no pics of the seats, but the plane was clean and pleasant.

Now, for the lounge. I don’t usually take advantage of lounges as I live close to Bristol airport and my family is close to the Houston airport. So, I tend to arrive with enough time to check in and find a water fountain to refill my bottle. The lounges I have experienced before were good (Delta in Indianapolis) and not so good (United at DC Dulles), so it will be interesting to see where this one falls.

I used the Flagship lounge located near gate D30. There’s also an Admiral’s Club adjacent to it. Upon check in, I was greeted warmly and given the WIFI code – two things that put me at ease straight away.

I noticed instantly that the lounge was airy and comfortable, with plenty of seating on a Tuesday afternoon in late March. However, come 4 pm, there was a noticeable increase in passengers. That said, I still spotted empty seats and there didn’t seem to be any shortage of food or drink.

What I liked most about the seating arrangement, was all the intimate and cozy spaces throughout the place. After choosing a seat with a view of the runway, I ended up in the quiet zone, which had cubical like seats and comfy lounge chairs in a darkened environment if one wanted to take a nap (as shown in the photo above).

Unfortunately, I was having a sore stomach as I went overboard on Mexican food last night. So, I regretfully did not partake in as much of the food options as I normally would. There were definitely plenty of options from salads, charcuterie, roast beef, gnocchi, chicken, soups, etc. I had a small sampling of the cold salads, but I really wished I had my usual appetite.

This was a lovely experience, and the perfect place to spend a 6 hour layover before flying to London Heathrow. I don’t have a broad base to compare it to, but this definitely is on the good list.

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