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.
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Featured image by Aero Icarus from Zurich, Switzerland via Wikimedia Commons.
Platinum Services car via Dublin Airport.
The only way you can be sure to avoid Hillary on a plane is to fly to Ohio, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania.
I can imagine! Thanks for the comment 🙂
I once flew with Princess Diana from LHR to Barbados. She boarded last and had the whole upstairs on the 747 to herself (and her security detail). She deplaned first and that was when the crew announced we all had to wait while “Her Royal Highness, the princess of Wales deplanes. All other passengers will deplane after she disembarks.” There had been no announcement on departure so I didn’t find out until we landed. All we were told upon departure was that the upper deck was not accessible that day. Sadly for the pilot or first officer, this was not… Read more »
I think that would be the perfect way for a VVIP to fly really, on the Upper Deck of the Boeing 747. Completely private yet not too large as to waste space. You’d be able to get everyone in there without being crowded. Probably a good thing they didn’t announce she was on board earlier in the flight, as people would probably have tried to sneak up to say hello. What a shame about the landing, I bet that was embarrassing! Probably a bit scary for everyone all round too, if the landing was that hard. I wonder if she… Read more »
British Air: Flew w/ TIM COOK, CEO of Apple, SFO – LHR. He traveled in First, traveled solo and didn’t sit in BA SFO First lounge (small room). Instead, he sat in BA SFO Business lounge and probably checked out what electronics were being used. Yes, I snapped two decent pics! Nice person. Told him how much I appreciate Apple products as we boarded. He was gracious and smiled. On arrival, he was whisked away by BA VIP LHR. (Have also traveled one seat over fm Leslie Stahl, CBS 60 Minutes, AA, SFO-JFK & Willie Nelson, BA, LHR to LAX).
There’s a few people you’ve managed to travel worth naming there! Interesting he preferred the business lounge over the first class lounge. Nice that you got some pictures as well! Sounds like a memorable experience all round. It’s been great seeing everyone’s stories here, I have to say. Thanks for the comment!
The former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his wife were on my CX flight in First from Jfk-hkg back when he held that position. The security detail was in the back during the flight. A few days later, I saw him in the news and he ended up in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Nice that you found out where they went. I always find it interesting to see which airlines the people in the top jobs fly when they fly commercial. CX First Class is very nice indeed, I hear. Thanks for the comment!
Gerald Ford was once on my flight from Palm Springs to Chicago. The full security detail was up out of their seats before we even got to the gate.
Nice! That’s interesting they were up and about so quickly. Perhaps it’s slightly different when it comes to Presidents. Thanks for the comment!
I once flew with a super famous rapper from LAX to FLL on Jet Blue. However, he was so famous I had no idea who he was. My daughter said next time, if I don’t know who it is…for me to snap a pic of him and say, “Look who I’m flying with!” The comments should pour in.
That’s the thing, some people are famous to some people, and others won’t have heard of them. For all I know, I’ve sat next to famous people on many occasions but I don’t really pay too much attention to the other passengers on a flight. Eyeballing everyone would be a bit weird, I think! Thanks for the comment!
Very similar to you, I flew in business class one seat in front of Barbara Bush from PWM to ATL 20 years ago. Secret service in the seats in front of me and one beside her. I thought it strange to be in the seat between her and SS agent. I heard her talking about Nancy (Reagan?) during the trip. Uncomfortable exiting plane between her and SS agent. My only words to her were “please, after you” when I stood to exit. But she deferred and told me to go in front of her. I think I made a pretty… Read more »
Yeah those secret service agents don’t look like they would take any crap from anyone. That would have been interesting to overhear the conversation. With Hillary, she said a few words about this and that, I think just to say she was fine with her bag going into the hold, but otherwise she was quiet throughout. Nice you’ve experienced something similar. Thanks for the comment!
Ha ha! Cracking report, Trent – nice to see you mixing with the movers and shakers of global politics. I was once sat a couple of rows behind Gordon Brown on a London to Edinburgh flight back in the mid 1990s. If he had any security people, they were very well hidden! However, he did get extra biscuits off the cabin crew during the flight….
Hahaha! Glad you enjoyed it. One of my University lecturers joked, “She’s just tweeted that The Flight Detective is sitting in the row in front of me!” 😛 I’d say you’d see a few politicians on the London to Scotland flights, since it’s really the best way to get there. Thanks for the comment!
No pictures means fake news, ha ha. You should have tried a selfie and see if you could position the camera so a sliver of Hillary’s head would be seen in the space between seat 3A and 3B. And/or make a video while your phone is in your shirt pocket when you return from the lavatory. Or even, at the end of the flight, wave at her. You may be surprised and find that some celebrities like it when they are recognized.
Hahahaha! She is fairly petite, so I don’t think I could have managed the picture between the seats without looking obvious. Last thing I needed was to be thrown out mid-air! I’m sure she would have been fine – everyone knew who it was, I’d say. I have also heard she is very nice. Even so, it was not really my place to bother her 🙂
I had Chelsea Clinton and Family/Entourage on a DL flight from JFK to LHR two years ago. They also boarded last but got off first and went through a different customs clearance than the normies. They were next to and directly in front of us and their youngest kid Aiden kept throwing his pacifier at us. It was very cute but chelsea was very apologetic and sweet about it. He also blew the undercover agents cover by constantly trying to go to him and wave at him. Also pretty endearing. Otherwise a flight as normal. The husband and daughter kind… Read more »
Interesting that they got off first, when I experienced the opposite. Lovely that Chelsea was apologetic at the kid throwing his pacifier! Too cute indeed, especially waving at the undercover agent! It was all totally normal apart from that. To me I’d think it was a bit of a chore to have the secret service and rigmarole every time you went travelling, but I guess that’s all for the best for them, considering their profile and the nutters out there. Thanks for the comment, great to hear another experience!
What a fun report! “Friends advised taking a selfie in my seat with Mrs Clinton” — that would be a fun thing to have and share, though sometimes I think most VIP just wanted to be left alone.
Thank you! My friends were joking around with the “pictures or it didn’t happen!” lines. I would probably have been thrown off the aircraft mid-flight by the secret service people! I think she just wanted to chill out and nap, I guess she had another full day ahead she had to get through.
Well, I really don’t know about throwing you “off the aircraft mid-flight by the secret service people”. That’d be very cruel, don’t you think? 🙂 Of course, if you had taken a selfie (without asking), I wouldn’t be surprised if the agent give you a hard time. (Not sure if he could arrest you for taking a selfie, though).
True… it would have been pretty obvious though. She’s quite small so I would have almost have had to stand up to get one, throwing subtlety to the wind. Still would have been nice to say hello though 🙂
I got Prince Philip and Lady Di on two different flights, both on Concorde, from LHR to JFK. While the Prince mingled with other passengers (myself included) and there were no sight of bodygards (although I am sure they were on the plane) , Lady Dy did board the last and leave the first, without talking or even smiling to anybody. And let me tell you, BA flight 001 had always some really VIP s. While I loved Prince Philips kindness and joyfulness ( although he hit te celing several times when he stood up) , I really was mesmerized… Read more »
I knew he was quite tall and am not surprised he had trouble standing in that small cabin! Interesting to note the differences you observed between him and Diana. I guess part of that reason was because of her celebrity. The press and public were very hungry for details about her, whereas probably not nearly on the same level as Prince Philip, which may explain some of it. Thanks for your interesting comment!
America is tired of Hillary, so she is off peddling her tired song to Europe. I think it will be another year or two until she winds up in Africa for her rejuvenation tour……
It sure will be interesting to see what the future holds. Thanks for your comment!
I would pass gas I walked past her. Or open a bottle of fish sauce. LOL.
Don’t care for Trump.
Sick & tired of clintons.
Hahaha! For what it’s worth, I hear cabin crew call walking through the cabin while passing gas “crop dusting” 🙂 Thanks for the comment!
You can can crop dust anywhere. Breaking wind near liberals and Democrats gives you “extra points.”
Well, that’s one way to score things! Thanks for your comment.