Good Advice Tried and Tested

British Airways B767-300 Euro Traveller

08/12/2014

CHECK-IN

British Airways flight BA907 from London Heathrow to Frankfurt is an early one, departing at 0705 and arriving at 0945.

I had checked-in online the day before to save time at the airport. The "Manage My Booking" facility on the BA website allows you to either download your boarding pass onto your phone or print it out, and choose your seat. Note a fee applies if you want one with more legroom.

I arrived at a very quiet Terminal 5 at 0515, where there was one counter open for fewer than a dozen people waiting to drop off their luggage.

At 0539, I made my way to the electronic gates leading to the south security zone, as I had no checked luggage. I scanned my pass, using my phone, at one of the three open gates (there was a separate queue for passengers requiring special assistance).

Eight of the nine luggage scanners were open, so waiting time was short, and I was airside by 0546. I headed left towards some shops (most are on the level below) and down the stairs.

Information screens indicated that my gate would be shown at 0605 but at 0620 there was no change, so I decided to make my way to the C gates area (that much was evident) via the transit train, as panels advised that it was 20 minutes away by foot.

I took the elevator located in the main waiting hall, followed the signs and was at the C gates area within ten minutes.

BOARDING

On my arrival, I could see I needed to be at Gate 65, which was a very short walk away and people were already boarding via an airbridge.

Without taking a seat, I immediately joined the short queue, with two lines and no designated priority line. The aircraft was still almost empty, so I was soon seated in 36J.

THE SEAT

Flying in Euro Traveller (economy), my seat was near the back and close to the toilets. There were two located behind seats J and K, which only had 38 rows (A and B had 39 and D-F had 40 rows). That said, there was no noticeable disturbance.

Legroom was adequate, as was the space in the overhead bins. Three BA magazines were stored in the seat in front – Highlife, Business Life and Highlife Shop.

WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?

Seats 27A and B and J and K — and, to a slightly lesser extent D, E and F — visibly had more legroom, which may incur a fee if requested through "Manage My Booking".

I would avoid the very back rows as, with three washrooms and a galley directly behind, could be noisy.

From my seat, I had a clear view as it was situated a fair distance behind the wing. There was also front and back disembarkation on to the tarmac, so I wasn't held up waiting for passengers to alight from the front.

THE FLIGHT

After 20 minutes in my seat, there was a welcome announcement informing us that the flight would be one hour and ten minutes at 33,000ft.

We eventually pushed back at 0717, the safety demonstration was projected and we were airborne at 0739.

Ten minutes later, a snack was handed out, starting from the front of the cabin. It took about five minutes for me to get my cold croissant with ham and cheese and pot of orange juice. Hot and cold drinks were then offered at 0754.

Everything was cleared away by 0805 and the flight seemed very short once we got going, landing at Terminal 2 a few minutes early at 0928 local time (0828 in the UK).

ARRIVAL

Taxiing took a little while, but being able to disembark from the back speeded things up, although I had to haul my carry-on case across the middle seats (D-F) as the galley area was narrow and the air hostesses were standing on the other side, seeing people off the aircraft.

After a short bus transfer, I arrived at immigration at 1001. The queues were much shorter for the manual controls than the automated ones, so I went for the personal touch and was out the other side a minute later.

It was then just a matter of dodging suitcases abandoned on the floor in baggage reclaim that had apparently failed to be reunited with their owners after doing some rounds on the carousels.

VERDICT

Check-in, boarding and disembarkation were very straightforward and fast — I imagine that's a perk of taking such an early and empty flight.

We waited a while on the tarmac before pushing back, but this did not lead to a delay in our flight schedule. The croissant snack may have been nicer warmed up but was perfectly edible, and the short wait on the bus after disembarkation was very cold, but the two buses filled up and headed off quickly.
 

FACT FILE

  • SEAT CONFIGURATION 2-3-2 (A-B, D-E-F, J-K)
  • SEAT PITCH 31in
  • SEAT WIDTH 17.5in
  • CONTACT ba.com


Miriam Jones