Two Brits Head West!! Day 02 - Travel Day to Vegas...via London again!


Earning My Ears
Oct 27, 2013
Mike and Sam Go West!
A Holiday Extravaganza​

Please click the image below to watch Episode 02 of our Holiday Vlog!

It was time to go to America!

We had set our alarms fairly early the night before and at 0530am we were both up fairly quickly and jumping in the shower etc. …Ok that was a lie, I was up and jumping in the shower, Sam was trying to prop her eye lids open with anything laying round. Because I work shifts, early wake ups really don’t seem to bother me as much, where as unfortunately Sam looked like she was a zombie until she had been in the shower! We decided that we weren’t going to have breakfast at the hotel, but were going to have something to eat before we got on the aircraft. We got the last of ours bits together, and I made sure all of the essentials like the camera, camcorder, phone etc was charged, before we headed out the door. Checkout was very simple – just dropped the key off at reception and waved goodbye.

We were on the first shuttle bus of the morning to the airport which I believe was about 0630 and were at the airport only ten minutes after leaving. There didn’t seem to be any stops on the way to the airport like on the inbound journey. The bus dropped us off at the same place we picked it up from the other day, in the central bus station area, and we walked over to Dublin’s Terminal 2 which is where Aer Lingus are housed. Although we were flying on a BA ticket all the way through to Las Vegas today, the actual carrier was Aer Lingus, so we had to ensure we were in the right terminal (as BA operates into Terminal 1 at Dublin – a note for anyone planning their potential boomerang flights). Unfortunately because it was a BA ticket, I had no way of selecting seats with Aer Lingus before now, so I was hoping I had a window seat. I ALWAYS have the window seat as I said yesterday – but what I forgot to mention about yesterday, is when we went through OLCI with BA for the Las Vegas flight, ALL of the window seats were gone. It was insane. Literally an hour before hand there must have been about 30 rows with window seats available – the exact minute OLCI opened, everything had gone. Very poor – basically pay £40pp to select or don’t expect a good experience!

We were checked in by the nicest passenger services agent I have ever experienced who genuinely laughed and joked with us throughout. She gave me a window seat without me even needing to request it – she must have read my mind! I was a little worried before hand that they may make us pay for our hold baggage (as that is the policy with Aer Lingus) – however, because we are on a BA ticket and flying the longer sector with BA, our baggage is subject to the BA policy – aka free. So it was a good result – didn’t really want to spend €40 per bag! We went through security which was mainly hassle free, grabbed our stuff and headed off into the Departure Lounge. It wasn’t as big as I thought it was going to be, however there was a small food court like place upstairs which we natural gravitated towards. Sam just wanted hash browns from Burger King – but I fancied something a bit more substation. Just over the way was a place that was serving full Irish Breakfast – well when in Rome! The whole thing with an Orange Juice only came to about €10 which I thought was pretty reasonable!

Unfortunately there seemed very little to do in Dublin Airport compared to other airports around the world – there wasn’t even a really good view of the airfield! Just walls! So we browsed around at a couple of shops at things we had no intention of buying, and then sat down for half hour or so periodically checking the screen for our gate. Sam’s friend Jade today was flying out to Las Vegas (who we were spending the holiday with) so we began trying to track her flight. Sam was convinced she was flying to Newark with United, and then onto Vegas from there, so that was the flight we watched depart from Heathrow heading our way (turned out to be completely wrong – she was on 747 towards San Francisco – whoops!).

The gate was finally announced and we moseyed on down there, where we waited for about another 20 minutes before they began boarding. We were pretty much one of the last ones onto the aircraft really, as we were sitting looking over the engine. I have to say although this was the first time I have ever flown with Aer Lingus, I was very impressed by their punctuality. The flight pushed back before I even realised the doors were closed, and the taxi to the runway was remarkably short. We were only 2nd in the queue for take off and before long we were powering into the cloudy surroundings of the sky above Dublin, with me filming every moment of course (well if I wasn't going to get a window seat for the main flight, I may as well make use of this one! )

A note to beware of with Aer Lingus though if you are planning on a boomerang - they really are just an Irish version of easyJet - you pay for all food and drink onboard. This completely bypassed me as an avgeek - and was expecting some kind of snack! But alas - nada! Oh well not to worry - still fairly full from the Irish breakfast, and I knew lunch at Heathrow was just around the corner. The flight was fairly uneventful and we landed into Heathrow's Terminal 2 with time to spare. Funnily my best mate who works in Terminal 3 - grabbed a photo of us passing by from the terminal which you can see in the holiday video at the top!

After a quick stroll through Terminal 2, we boarded our Flight Connections bus which took us over to Terminal 5 for our onward flight. The queue for Connections security was a fair whopper, but after seeing someone from work it made the time go a little quick as he stood chatting to us for a few minutes. Once through security we were starting to feel a little peckish again, so we decided on grabbing lunch now. I was easy where we eat as I can eat anywhere I want here most days! We headed to Giraffe which is always a firm favourite.

Sam ordered the Soup of the Day, which we were both convinced the server said was Tomato. I have never seen a green tomato soup before...but theres a first time for everything! I ordered a goats cheese and pesto focaccia with sweet potato fries - GOD I love sweet potato fries! I wanted to grow them on my allotment (the sweet potatoes!) but the plants never arrived from the supplier which was a shame. The meal was fairly reasonable, and only came to about £3 after I had used some staff vouchers

We headed to WH Smith next to purchase some sweets and drinks for the plane (TIP - always have a bottle of water (LARGE!) when you go on a long haul flight - nothing worse than being trapped in a seat, 8 hours in, gasping for a drink - if you don't drink it you've wasted a few quid!). We also bought a bumper pack of puzzle books (well, 4) to do on the plane. I knew it wasn't going to be a huge success, on the basis I always take a puzzle book on holiday, end up doing 1 puzzle, and it goes in the bin when I get home. But this had 4 books in it, for less than the price of 1. So it was a no brainer. 1 puzzle = a fair bit of time wasted on the plane. My friend who works in T3 messaged me to tell me my gate (staff perks! ) and we headed off their about an hour before the rest of the hoard. It was over in B gates, so had to grab the train service which ran us over there in about 20 seconds.

Our noble steed awaited. Lima Fox for the avgeeks reading. Big elderly 747 for the non avgeeks reading. We were scheduled for one of the newer 747s, not that that would have made much difference, but that had been used on another route this morning, so we were stuck with this one. Ahh well, it could have been worse. Oh wait, it was - I had no window seat :cry: - help! We grabbed a seat by the window (hard not to do over here) but also near a power point so I could charge my phone. I did have a portable battery AND a charging case, but on a long flight its always best I find to start the flight with all devices you may want to use as charged as possible!

We were due to be meeting up with Jade's Mum & step Dad, as they were on the same flight as us to Vegas, so Sam sent them a text. Perry was just necking a beer at the bar and they soon moseyed on over and came to find us. They were as excited as us to get to Vegas, and very soon after that they began boarding our flight. We were some of the first to get into World Traveller (Economy) for the flight, and then I met the girl who was going to be sitting in MY window seat for the next 11 hours. An American girl who didn't want to acknowledge my hello, didn't want to talk to anyone. Just wanted to put her headphones in, put the window blind down (when she was allowed) and sleep. Thanks for that!...

I was chatting to my friend Luke on Facebook Messenger (the pizza obsessed chap in LA) who was listening to the ground air traffic control (from LA!) and he let me know we were about to push back - I was actually shocked - 1 minute early! We had been watching this flight for the entire month before, and literally every single day, it departed with a 40 minute delay at the absolute minimum, sometimes by up for 5 hours late!) - it was a miracle!

Sure enough we pushed and headed out to the northern runway, the same runway we had landed on earlier, to depart off to Vegas. My view was the above, at the slight attempt I made to capture some sort of footage of our flight. A complete failure for my aviation video but it'll pass (just!) for the holiday video! BA269 to Los Angeles departed just ahead of us - we'd be there in just a few days, but soon it was time to power up and depart to the north to Las Vegas! The climb was fairly uneventful, except for the typical 747 shudder on rotation where the wheels shake the entire fuselage - the norm for these old birds!

About an hour into the flight (a little late!) the first drinks service began. Sam grabbed an Apple Juice and I grabbed a Gin & 2 Tonics (another TIP - try and grab 2 tonics unless you like your drinks strong - the miniatures are 2 measures of the hard stuff! ) but the flight attendant didn't have any ice...

She said she would be right back. I waited... and I waited...and I waited. Then she came back down the aisle about 10 minutes later and said she had totally forgotten and would I still like some? Yes please was the obvious response! However, on her return my tray began to look like this...

Why thank you very much!

They soon brought around the dinner after that. Typical BA choice (it never changes) - "Chicken or Pasta?" - I opt for the usual - Pasta. Tonight it was Vegetable Lasagne which was actually fairly nice. Also on the tray was a Fish Salad which was very refreshing, the typical bread roll, some cheese and crackers and a nice fruit dessert. I had Sam's Fish Salad (don't know how someone who likes fish didn't like it!). After collecting it up, soon after the blinds were forcibly drawn (ours was already down as the girl next to us who didn't want to talk, also didn't want to eat, and was already asleep...) and the lights went out.

I stuck on the DIBBcast and heard our awesome Bon Voyagee - thanks guys! I didn't need a new mortgage for the trip before hand but I think I may do now! Sam had a listen too and laughed. She decided she was going to get a little sleep afterwards so stuck on a movie (I forget which) and shut her eyes. I tried to watch something on the TV which I can't remember what it was (it obviously wasn't that good!) but ended up playing a few games on my phone, before watching one of Lee Evans' stand up gigs, and some stuff I had previously put on my iPad.

Sam awoke a little while later and we decided to go down the back of the aircraft to see Tamsin and Perry (Jade's folks) and stood there chatting to them for about 20 minutes. I had to keep going down the very back of the plane whilst the crew were walking up and down the aisle (as I'm not as thin as Sam!) with drinks trays - hell of a climb back up to the mid cabin from the rear. You don't realise the angle of attack the aircraft is at when seated in the passenger cabin (for non avgeeks - the angle at which the aircraft is pitched up by when flying).

Soon it was sleepy time again for Sam, but we were slowly heading across the US and soon the lights were back on again for...breakfast? Dinner? No - afternoon tea. A small box of Egg sandwiches and scones with clotted cream and jam landed on our trays. Sam didn't want hers so naturally I helped her out. I would have helped out the grumpy American girl too with her good as the scones were pretty good, but as she was out stone cold she wasn't even asked if she wanted them!

Pretty much after we had all the trash collected, it was time to land. We made a fairly standard approach over the Mojave and down into Las Vegas fairly on time! It was nice to see the strip and some of the hotels out the window (not seen in the photo above - but can be seen in the video) before we pulled up to the gate.

Somehow, we got to the immigration queue and it wasn't very long at all! That didn't stop it being a long wait though! It seemed about 6-8 desks were open for US Citizens with a short queue, and about 2 desks were open for All Other Passports - about 400 people were in this queue by the time people stopped filing in from the jetties. We weren't really allowed our phones out at this point and a few people got told off by the officers - yet continued to disobey and have their phone out. I'm sorry but I'm a stickler for policy - a guy in a uniform with a gun and cuffs tells you to do something, you do it?! Idiots (the passengers!). Anyway we were soon through and collected our bags, went through customs and out into the arrivals hall.

My idea now was to take the free shuttle bus to the Bellagio - Tamsin & Perry didn't know about this and were just planning to take a taxi. So the first thing that happens to us as we step out the door is...

A party limo... A guy had approached us saying his party limo was only $80 to the strip and it was parked just at the drop off area 10 seconds walk away. Split between 4 we thought... well WHY NOT? So we indulged. It was quite an experience - especially with the drivers choice of music - you can hear this in the video - apologies for any profanities from the... singer... that you may or may not hear!

Anyway it was a pretty cool experience! Jade rang me when we were in the limo as she had landed in Vegas a few hours before hand, and had already checked in - apparently the website I had booked with had got her and Sam sharing a room, and me and her friend sharing another! Obviously that was wrong, but it didn't matter who slept where. We soon arrived at our hotel - the Bellagio! :spin: At check in we were told we had been upgraded to a corner suite in the spa tower - get in! Although we had no idea where it was, and had to ask directions, we headed in the right general direction and ended up at our room on the 14th floor.

WOW! What a room. I don't think I had ever stayed in such a luxurious hotel suite/room ever! It really was awesome. Housekeeping had left the TV on on an ambient channel as it were - of a fish tank! There were other channels like a roaring fire - really didn't need that - it was 10pm and still baking outside! Anyway, as much as we wanted to enjoy the room and sit there gobsmacked, we headed downstairs to meet up with Jade who had found a nice seat in the Sports Bar at the back of the casino. Snapped this photo on the way down there, our hotel corridor - The Shining come to mind?!

We met up with Jade and a few other her & Sam's friends, and Tamsin and Perry in the sports bar (who were all here for the wedding on Friday of course) and we sat chatting for about half an hour. Some were coming to the end of their holiday and we were only just beginning it, so we were keen to know how they had enjoyed it. I was absolutely knackered, but it didn't stop me posing next to an Ellen DeGeneres slot machine...

I was absolutely parched, but equally knackered, so we went in search of somewhere where I could get a bottle of drink to take up to the room. The hotel and casino seemed huge and bewildering, and we couldn't find anywhere apart from a juice and milkshake bar where I grabbed a glass of coke in a plastic cup for a few bucks, then we headed back to the room. Funnily enough, right next to the elevators was indeed a small shop where for a small fortune, you could buy snacks and drinks to take to the room.

Anyway, we were absolutely shattered so literally just collapsed into bed and after setting our alarms, we were fast asleep. We had a very early start the next morning - well 5:15am the alarm was set for - which was actually 1:15pm body clock time. As we were off for a day long tour to the Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon!

Thanks all for reading and watching Episode 2 of the holiday vlog! Any YouTube subscriptions and likes I really appreciate of course! As I said, tomorrow sees us venture out to the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon, with the most hilarious tour guide! Followed by a nice meal at the Luxor, and watching Criss Angel - Believe! Stay tuned for Day 3 folks!


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