First, a magazine in the rack here in the lounge features the following headline: “Ashton’s Bum.”. In other words, there is a picture of Ashton Kutcher‘s bottom in there. I don’t open the magazine. Not something you’d see in such a place in the U.S. And, probably a good thing.
The other sign that I am not in the U.S. is that the lounge has lots of food and drink, something you could make a breakfast out of (I got here at 6 am). It has comfortable seats and even some couches and pillows that you can draw a curtain around to sleep. Quite something.
I used miles to upgrade to business class on the way over and sat in one of United’s new flat bed seats. It faced backward which was fun and I actually thought more relaxing. I’m a big guy and the seat had plenty of room, both as a seat and a bed. My only complaint is that there is no place to put a book, no seat pocket. I had a briefing notebook for my meeting, a couple of magazines (The Economist and Vanity Fair — had to read the article in there about Sarah Palin) and a book (Renegade, by Richard Wolffe). Had to balance it all. But overall a good product.
I had hoped to see Heathrow Terminal 5 when I connected here, but my flights are both in Terminal 1 so that has to wait for another day. On to Brussels where I will meet with my ACI regional counterparts and also with my friend, Daniel Calleja, who runs the aviation portfolio for the European Union. Anyone who travels across the Atlantic owes Daniel and his U.S. counterpart John Byerly, a debt of gratitude for the work they have done opening the skies between the U.S. and Europe. An open skies deal between the EU and Canada promises similar benefits north of the border.