Hillary Clinton is a former First Lady of the United States and you’d be hard pressed not to know who she is. I was taking a trip from Dublin to London City on British Airways and a bunch of unusual things happened before the flight.
In the USA, the Former Presidents Act gives certain benefits to, well, former Presidents and their families. This includes Secret Service protection for life. So, what happens when these people travel commercial?
In Dublin, we commenced boarding and were held at the top of the stairs leading to ground level. As I was first in line, I observed lots of people in high visibility vests milling around near the stairs to our aircraft. Eventually a car arrived and four men with suitcases boarded. “Oh, VIPs today,” I thought to myself.
After a little while, we were permitted to board. I headed up the front stairs and sat down and soon enough everyone was on board. I asked the lady beside me to let me out as I planned to move to one of the free seats. For once, I mentioned it to cabin crew and she said that boarding wasn’t complete yet. It sure looked complete to me!
Hillary Clinton Arrives
More time passed with nothing going on, and then two of the Dublin Airport Platinum Services cars arrive. A bunch of people get out and start fussing about with carry-on bags and what not and I note a lady in black, with THOSE sunglasses on, looked a lot like Hillary Clinton.
Turns out it was the former First Lady, travelling with quite a decent entourage. Why she was in Dublin, I have no idea, nor do I know why she was off to London. Either way, she was going to be on my flight.
BA4465 – Dublin to London City (DUB-LCY)
27 June 2019
Embraer 170 – G-LCYE
Seat: Club Europe 3A
Departure: 10:55 Arrival: 12:30
There was much fussing once on board because they had arrived last which meant there was little space in the overhead lockers. Hillary Clinton’s bag ended up in the hold. So much for the VIP service!
Eventually they sat down, with the lady of the moment sitting right behind me in 4A. Beside her was her PA, across the aisle two other people, and across the aisle from me was a secret service dude, complete with ear piece. Plus they had another one or two people scattered around the Club Europe cabin. The four people who boarded first were down the back.
Off to London City We Go
With the VIPs loaded, the doors closed and we headed off to the runway, running something like 45 minutes behind schedule. The safety demonstration was given and we were in the air in short order. First item of business once flying was the hot towel service.
I noted that the lead crew member asked the secret service guy something and Hillary Clinton was not offered a hot towel. Anyway, next up we were offered lunch, which was a choice between a chicken dish and a prawn dish. I selected the latter.
Happily I was also offered a scone to go with the jam and cream on the tray, which I far prefer to being given bread. The main was definitely delicious with the tart lime working well with the flavours of the prawns and noodles. Dessert was excellent and the scone… mmmm! I am a sucker for those!
Meanwhile, What About Hillary Clinton?
Considering she was directly behind me, I couldn’t see what was going on. However, I got the impression she was asleep, because her PA person next to her refused the meal tray initially, but eventually took it after much hushed chit chat. Once the trays were cleared, I headed to the bathroom.
On the way back, I wryly remarked to the lead crew member, “I see why I couldn’t move seats now!” to which she laughed and agreed. Friends advised taking a selfie in my seat with Mrs Clinton, but honestly, that would have been some mission! We landed in London City and the secret service guy made sure we all got off the plane first.
All of that said, it was a total blogger fail of mine to not get pictures. It didn’t really occur to me, and I wasn’t sure it was Hillary Clinton until she was actually on board. I’m not sure how pleased I would have been to have used the VIP services, then boarded last and had my carry on put into the hold. But, that’s a problem for someone else to worry about!
British Airways Club Europe is a good product, with pretty decent food, charred lime notwithstanding. The fact scones were provided is a big plus as far as I am concerned, plus they don’t skimp with the Champagne either.
Have you ever flown with a VIP that had a secret service detail before? Who was it and what was it like? What do you think of Club Europe on British Airways? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by Aero Icarus from Zurich, Switzerland via Wikimedia Commons.
Platinum Services car via Dublin Airport.