Susan Boyle and an (apparently) flooded first class cabin on British Airways…

After I posted about my disappointing experience in the Concorde Room I got up to leave, only to realize that seated right next to me all along was Susan Boyle. Susan “I dreamed a dream” Boyle. I nearly fainted, so sat right back down even though I was running late for my flight. She was wearing pearls the size of tennis balls, and made Flavor Flav look like he was modest. She did seem very nice, though…

Below is the best picture I could snap (partly because I was shaking like a dog when they know they’re going to the vet).

I’d be curious to hear what you guys think. If you see someone famous in the lounge, do you just let them have their privacy, or do you think it’s appropriate to tell them they’re awesome and/or ask for a picture with them?

After catching my breath for a moment, I headed to the “B” satellite, where my flight was departing from. I went to the “Fast Track” lane, where the agent scanned my boarding pass and gasped, followed by a loud sigh. “Tssssssh, I’m sorry, I’m afraid there’s a slight flood in the first class cabin so I’m going to have to ask you to have a seat over there and I’ll call you as soon as I have the authority to do so.”

Flooding in the cabin? What the…?

Mind you, the area they had me sit was also where they did the “secondary” screening, which roughly translated to every minority passenger being pulled over for a “random” additional screening.

After about 15 minutes the agent was apparently given the “authority” to continue boarding, so on we went. I was picturing some water-sucking vacuum to be at work in the first class cabin, though it was completely dry, as apparently there was just a small problem with the lav.

The crew was spectacular and I’ll have lots more details on that with the trip report.

There are just two other things to note for now. First, when the Customer Service Director (CSD) came by my seat to welcome me aboard he looked at his iPad and said “thanks so much for your constant business to British Airways, your retention is very good.” My retention…?

Second, and more exciting, was that we had a go around in Seattle. The cloud ceiling was extremely low, and below is a picture from when we were maybe 1,000 feet above the ground.

They couldn’t see the runway, apparently, so they executed a go around and we continued a fairly long pattern back to Seattle.

Visibility was much of the same the second time around, though they managed to break out of the clouds just in time I guess.

Secretly I was quite hoping for a diversion!

Anyway, on the whole a nice flight, though I’ll stick to my belief that British Airways first class is the world’s best business class product.

Filed Under: British Airways, Travel
  1. I think you need to see more celebrities. I’m not sure I’d recognize Susan Boyle, much less be struck down. Maybe she was like, “Holy Crap, it’s Lucky!”

  2. I love Susan Boyle. Don’t think I would’ve went out of my way for just any celebrity but I prob would’ve mentioned how awesome she was on my way out. She’s still early enough in her career to go through the motions before she gets tired of fans bothering her anyway. She seems humble enough to me!

  3. Coins, I once approached Sinbad in the UA RCC at LAX. Some stars are more approachable than others.

    I was in Las Vegas in December when I saw Haley (Sarah Hyland) from Modern Family enter a bar. I approached her for a photo. If you would follow me on Facebook, you would have seen the picture.

  4. My dad saw Mike Rowe (host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel–not super famous, but more famous than us) in the AA lounge in Miami. Walked up, asked him if he was “that guy…”, Rowe confirmed, dad said “Cool” and walked away. A brush with semi-stardom, but I don’t think Mike Rowe came away bothered by it.

    What you should’ve done was start singing “I Dreamed a Dream.”

  5. As she seemed to be in an ‘open’ area and not surrounded by hulking bodyguards, I think a quick stop by and expressing appreciation for her talent would have been very graciously received. I don’t know many people who don’t savor being appreciated.

    I think I would have had to stop.

  6. Just wanted to say thank you for noting the ‘“secondary” screening, which roughly translated to every minority passenger being pulled over for a “random” additional screening.’ Hysterical and true!

    Back when I traveled once or twice a year to London, on the way back through LHR I was stopped 4 out of 5 times for a “random” additional screening. Alright, so maybe not so hysterical, but true.

  7. I nonetheless would go “Excuse me, are you by any chance ___?” before CALMLY conversing with them and control yourself. Since “OMG, you’re ___, can I have your autograph?” can get off-putting rather quickly. That and IN CASE you mistake someone for someone else.

  8. In my line of work I see on average 35 celebrity/ professional athletes per week. When they are on stage or on the field, those are the times they expect to get special attention from fans. I always saw it as the price they pay for getting millions of dollars and being famous, it’s all part of their job. But when they are off the field and on thier own personal time, those are the times they are just like you or I. Nobody wants to get grilled about thier work when their not working, I don’t like talking about my work when I’m on my personal time, the pro athlete doesn’t like getting beefed about missing that catch that lost the game while he’s in the grocery store with his family, and the celebrity doesn’t like getting mobbed while he’s out with his wife for the evening. So in my personal experience I treat celebs just like I want to be treated when. The most I’ve ever done when meeting someone famous is to say I appreciate their work and thank them for it. Something respectful and not over the top.

  9. I met Iron Chef Morimoto at the SFO United Club international terminal. Although the best celebrity plane encounter was when the Mythbusters were sitting in front of me in first class. Of course, then there are all the Comic Con encounters…

  10. Please give public figures their privacy in most cases. However, if you are just sitting next to them and happen to strike up a conversation as if they are anyone else, then i see no harm.

  11. @ Jm — That was about 30 seconds before our go around, which was maybe 200 feet off the ground. I was shocked, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t more than a thousand or so feet.

  12. Mark Zuckerberg in the elevator of the Park Hyatt Tokyo > than Susan Boyle on a Virgin Galactic flight to the forth dimension.


  13. I love Susan Boyle. I would probably walk near that area and see if she is in a good mood. If she is, I would say hi. If not, I won’t bother her.

  14. Once flashed a thumbs up to the Fonz (Henry Winkler) at Delta check in at LAX.

    My feeling is that if they are public a respectful hi and comments are appropriate but nothing further.

  15. This has been Seattle weather for over a week now. Lots of fog, sometimes freezing fog. Very very low ceilings. But no rain!

  16. @lucky

    Was their some special deal for BA first class that you were revenue?

    Doesn’t a ticket like that cost over 5,000 dollars?

  17. Owen Wilson was in the row behind me on LH LAX-FRA. Seeing him walk to/from the lav in his jammies during the flight was enough. I was last off the upper deck behind him and he was very gracious in thanking the crew.

    By the way, Lucky, where would you have liked to diverted? and why? (I’m all for a little excitement and prolonging a flight.)

  18. And by and by the way, I said on FB “pics or it didn’t happen”. This is the sorriest pic. I’m not so convinced it was SuBo.

  19. Just met Nick Offerman at Sundance. He was having a drink by himself and I went over and talked to him for a couple of minutes. Super nice guy and I got a picture with him.

    Last summer I was able to switch seats with Clyde Drexler on 1st Class EWR-BCN so I could sit with my wife.

  20. If I saw someone famous in public, I would leave them alone. I don’t like complete strangers coming up to me & talking to me, and I try to treat others the way I want to be treated.

  21. Once at dinner I sat at the table in the Russian Tea Room next to John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun, et al.), and didn’t say a word. And those tables at that restaurant are about 10 inches apart.

    Just because you recognize an individual doesn’t mean that you “know” that person enough to intrude on his or her privacy.

  22. @ boxo — I wasn’t so concerned about where we would divert, but rather would have just enjoyed the short repositioning flight from that place to Seattle. I’ve never had a 20 minute flight in a jumbo before. 😀

  23. If it was Susan Boyle, I wouldn’t have bothered her. But if it was YOU, dude, you are going to sign a celebrity autograph before I leave you alone. 😀

  24. I may be quite jaded since I live in and grew up in L.A. but I just let them on their way. I once saw Conan O’Brien, Matt Stone and Trey Parker at Le Pan Quotidien and though I so wanted to thank them for all they did to impact my childhood, I did. That’s the only time i wanted to interact with a celebrity after a sighting.

  25. Nice shaky picture… I’ll take your word for it :-).

    BTW I got to fly with your favorite SQ FA yesterday…..

  26. I saw Stevie Wonder in the AA lounge in MIA in November. Just took a few pictures that sort of came out like this one. 😀

  27. If you had been on UA 876 on Monday NRT-SEA, or the NH flight, they both diverted to PDX.

    I’m not positive, but I think it was Sinbad on my UA/OO flight from SEA to LAX yesterday

  28. Mick Jagger was in the Concorde Room in JFK a couple of years ago when I was doing my first BA flight with the Chase companion pass. I just thought it was the perfect British experience to have him there.

  29. Again with the: “I’d be curious to hear what you guys think.”

    You sure this isn’t The Points Guy?

  30. Saw Paul Walker and it was on a US airways flight awhile back. No one noticed him except me and he was traveling solo. Kinda cool experience and he was the nicest guy ever about having a picture.

  31. I once was behind a v famous actor in the TSA line in Boston. I couldn’t help myself and said quietly to him “If you’re who I think you are, you a cool dude”. He absolutely heard me but I didn’t make eye contact when I said it and continued on my way. Guess who sat next to me on the flight – Bos-DCA shuttle. I didn’t acknowledge him or even look at him during the entire flight. A few hours later I heard him interviewed on Diane Rehm.

  32. Oh, and I’m not making this up. My husband and I were in the pro shop of our golf shop and there was W Buffett, B Gates, and Jack Welch. My husband didn’t recognize them and he headed into the locker room behind them. When he came out I told him who was in there and he said that was funny because when he saw Jack he asked him how he played and the two of them talked about a tourney they were in the past wend. (My husband beat him!) Jack’s a member of our club.

  33. I’m usually pretty naive, and in most cases shy, about celebrities. I sat next to Floyd Mayweather on a plane, and didn’t even know who he was. I’ve also flown with George Foreman & JC Watts. Bill Daley was on my flight this past weekend. If I do say something, I’ll share that “I’m a fan” and leave it at that.

  34. Susan Boyle? Who the heck is that?

    This makes me wonder how many famous people I’ve bumped into while traveling without having the faintest clue who they are.

  35. Spent the day with Dave Winfield first as a seat mate lax to ord then we spent the afternoon in the RCC talking miles and points. Great guy. We still email one another occasionally.

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters sat in front of me one day and BB King next to katybug one flight.

    All were very pleasant

  36. The one time we were in the Concord room at LHR we saw Mick Jagger lounging on the couch (seems like a common sighting…)- actually I didn’t even notice him, it was my wife who did. Nobody was bothering him and I thought that was about right.

  37. I was having lunch in NYC with my mom and my grandfather. Restaurant was packed, and there was a woman at the table next to us that was becoming frustrated with slow service and other service problems. We started chatting and got into quite the conversation about dogs (who both my grandfather and the woman love). We seemed to have cheered her up a bit. She finished up and said she had to bolt….but take a look at that giant TV outside in a few minutes. Turns out she was a CNN news anchor and we had no idea!

    Also ran into Iron Chef Michael Symon (also from “The Chew”) a couple times in Cleveland (Symon’s hometown). Great guy, and he doesn’t seem to mind chatting.

  38. My wife and I were on the way to Italy for our honeymoon when we were sitting in the Admirals Club at JFK and heard an unmistakable voice from around the corner. It was Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews. She was kind enough to sign an autograph for us but we didn’t have the guts to ask her for a photo, nor did we want to bother her more than we already did.

  39. Oye do some of you people lead sheltered lives. OF COURSE you bother these people in public. They ARE celebrities for god’s sake, this is what they do for a living!!! Their worth is determined from people noticing them in public. Sheesh!

    If you’re totally uncomfortable though the best way to recognize a celebrity is to just shout out a “Hey, xxxxx!” (Sarah in your case) as if you see an old friend walking by on the street. (It also has the dual effect of making them wonder if you are more important then them – they are human after all…)

    eg: walking down 8th Ave with my sister and Joe Pesci (in his more famous days) is crossing the street towards us. A quick “Hey, Joe!” as we pass was totally welcomed.

  40. In for a dime, in for a dollar- if celebs want the Red Carpet fame, they need to play the regular carpet game- and at least acknowledge a ‘hello’, ‘you’re great’, or ‘thank you for what you do’. Don’t want the attention? Join NetJets.

    After the Chicago DO this year I was walking through the AAdmirals club and I saw Lucky! OMG! Sat and and talked for awhile, very pleasant bloke, but couldn’t get up the nerve to ask for a photo! 😉

  41. Heh. Like Arthur, I used to deal with famous people in my line of work. I used to work in the private jet business. People flying on those jets pay big time for their privacy.

    So what would I say? I’ve seen so many of them that I could honest to god care less who they are. So, if I were to approach them in public, I’d guess I would ask what happened to the private jet.

  42. “Is that Tom Bosley?”

    “What would Tom Bosley be doing on a train in Switzerland?”

    “I’m almost certain… Tom! Did he look?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Well if I yell, you have to watch. Tom Bosley!”

    “No, it’s not him.”

  43. I am not sure it should be called “secondary” at Heathrow.
    – Talk to someone before you can checkin
    – checkin
    – normal screening
    – usually followed up with a “secondary” because your shirt isn’t form fitting (or they can tell I am Irish?)
    – usually followed up with a “random” bag search
    – a second “random” bag search? Do you not trust the guy standing RIGHT next to you? Whatever…
    – AHHH!! The lounge… pre checkin document check
    – now the REAL lounge check-in
    – back to the “real” lounge check-in who didn’t actually check us in since she can’t figure out why I am trying to go into the Flagship door.
    – gate pre check
    – boarding pass scanned
    – bag searched again

    That was my last return from LHR in October. Irish are definitely a minority at Heathrow.

  44. lucky said:…I’ve never had a 20 minute flight in a jumbo before.

    Well, it would have been more like a Q-400 from PDX or YVR:-)

  45. Severl years ago in the Concorde Room I “spied” Daniel Craig. He appeared short and bored. Only one gentleman approached him during my stay, and seemed to quickly compliment his work and ask if another 007 was in the works. I believe the best course is to leave the celeb alone; we all need our privacy – even the short and bored mega stars.

  46. Regarding the BA retention comment: No doubt the lav was not fully repaired and they were relieved to know Lucky had retention skills.

  47. @lucky Why were you shocked? They were most likely flying an ILS, and the standard DH (decision height) for that is 200′. DH (unlike an MDA) even means that you can go below that altitude while pitching up to climb, so they could have been as low as maybe 150′ above the ground. Oh the horror!

  48. Also, for the curious – seeing the runway is not what matters. It’s more complicated that this, but on a basic level you need to see the runway environment (like approach lights) AND you need to have a certain minimum visibility for the given approach. Visibility is what matters once you’re at DH. And of course actually seeing the approach lights.

  49. Yes, that was Subo, all right. To her left in the picture (our right) is her manager Andy Stephens. Had you approached them, I’ll bet they would have been gracious as is their custom with fans. Thanks for the pic and verification that she did go to LA.

  50. [Not namedropping or bragging] One of my summer internship supervisors (freelancing during the off season) is a producer for a famous singing competition on a network that rhymes with “hawks.” When we were in the ORD Admirals Club I was introduced to a past and a current host, along with a few “guests” who were more famous than the hosts. Also, the SkyClub in SLC last week was insane (I’m assuming Sundance.) At least three A-list actors/directors in an hour and a half. Point is, these encounters are all too common, especially when you’re not traveling in Kettle Class. Most of the celebs love being complimented, as long as you follow the golden rule. If you wouldn’t mind (not busy/in a conversation), it’s fine to approach them subtly.

  51. Living in So Cal and working (for a time) in Beverly Hills, I’ve seen (and occasionally have met) my share of celebs. But one of the biggest was in an airport lounge, in this case the President’s Club at EWR about 10 years ago.

    I went to the bar to get a drink and the bartender was ignoring me and looking over my shoulder and asked that person what they wanted. The person behind me laid his hand on my shoulder and said, “I think this man is next.” I turned and it was Robert Plant. I thanked him and he was most gracious. The club was packed and it seemed like he was mostly left alone, which surprised me.

  52. I almost spit my over priced wine out after reading @JRL’s comment.

    Personally, it would depend on the celebrity. If they seemed approachable, or if they are well known for interacting with their fans, I would approach the celeb and ask their permission for an autograph or a photo. If they said “no, I’m with my family” or “not right now,” you have to respect that and move on. Otherwise–if it’s someone you admire, you’ll always be wondering for the next few flights “what if I would have asked him/her for a photo, but now I’ll never know what they would have said”

    Moral of the story: it never hurts to ask (politely) 🙂

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