British Airways » Club World » User reviews
Class rating 7.6
- Boarding 7.9
- Seat for sitting 8.3
- Seat for sleeping 8.2
- Service 7.5
- Entertainment 5.9
- Food & drink 6.5
- Punctuality 8.3
- Baggage 7.6
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
- B767-300 - 6.6
- B747-400 High J - 7.2
- A320 - 6.9
- B737-400 - 6.2
- A321 - 7.3
- B787 Dreamliner - 7.3
- A319 - 6.8
- B747-400 Mid J - 7.4
- A350 - 0.0
- B777-200 (Four class) - 7.6
- B777-200 (Three class) - 8.8
- A320 (Domestic) - 6.9
- B767-300 (European config.) - 5.8
- A318 - 9.3
- Embraer 170 - 6.1
- Embraer 190 - 6.7
- A321 (ex-Bmi) - 6.4
- B777-300ER - 7.6
- A380 - 4.3
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BA 767 LHR - CAI return in Club World (sorry this is not the LCY flight; but that is the only option for long haul on 767)
Overall I was fairly pleased with my rather short long haul flight to Cairo this week, but it in no was justifies the cost. Some thoughts:
LHR - CAI
Departed from Terminal 1. There is no First lounge in T1 for gold members, but the old BMI lounge is in good shape with a nice view of the runway. Good selection of magazines, which I appreciate. The food selection was similar to the T5 Galleries selection; adequate if not superlative. A rather surly lounge guard who couldn't be bothered to find or lend me a pen, but otherwise very attentive cleaning/catering staff who were busy with a fairly full lounge. Boarding was a free for all, and while the usual announcement for business and status passengers was made, it was not heeded by passengers and staff could care less. Rather shambolic and reflected poorly on BA, but frankly not unusual. My view is that if they are going to offer this service, then it should at least be policed and monitored. Greeted by name at the door. Not particularly important to me, but if they are going to do a check at the door, it's nice to be welcomed.
On board, business class was full. This must have been one of the oldest 767s out there, and certainly looked like it had seen better days. The pros/cons of this seat have been covered elsewhere and there is not much to add here. But it was clean and I really like the seclusion of the window seat (although one has to the do the hop over another passenger to get out, getting a rather bemused look - I would rather avoid this if possible, but it is not so off-putting on a day flight). Also, this is my first business class flight where the divider (the oldstyle fan one) was up the entire flight. I liked not ever having to face my neighbour; I'm sure the feeling was mutual. Of course the drawback to this is the difficulty the FA has in serving, but they tended to circle around the back and it worked fairly well when they made the effort.
Food was adequate if not wow. I had cod for my main, swimming in cream but tasty and not overcooked. A decent Chablis. Being a 5 hour flight, there is no second service. Although I wasn't interested, there was no attempt to come by and offer any follow up drinks or anything. After the meal wrapped up, I didn't see another FA for the remainder of the flight. Perhaps with the divider up FAs think you want to be left alone; it certainly makes it difficult to get their attention even if they were patrolling the aisles (which I don't think they were). In general, I'd say the service was fine, but not special.
IFE - the usual assortment. Some good films, let down again by the BA system which makes it virtually impossible to see the screens during daylight. Even with the blinds down, detail is lost. And a disappointing selection of TV programmes. Will be glad to see the end of this on the new aircraft.
Arrival was on time, bus to the terminal, which meant waiting for all the passengers to get off before departing. Otherwise an acceptable trip, but again nothing which justified the price tag for such a journey (+£2000 bought a few days before the trip).
CAI - LHR
The return was better. The plane had a newer interior, and felt a bit less haggard and on its last legs. I again had a window seat, although on the K side, and therefore facing backwards. This bothered me not at all, and I had the advantage of being in 4K, which meant I could get in/out without hopping over another seat. A big plus.
The crew was the same I went out with (they were also at my hotel and I sat next to the captain at breakfast in the lounge - he was pleasant and happy to hear I was a passenger on his flight), but they were much nicer this time around. Maybe because they had been on the outbound with me, but the service was more attentive. Some banter and chatter. Although the divider was up the entire time again, it may have helped that I was in the last row as they could serve me more direct from behind my neighbour. I think the window seats are great, but they do perhaps leave one feeling isolated, and if you are looking for constant service, it probably will not live up to that level.
The flight was 5+ hours and departed at 8:40. I was a bit disappointed that there was one meal service and it was breakfast. The standard English breakfast, with a rather putrid looking smoothie (that did not taste too bad) and some excellent smoked fish that raised the game a bit. Otherwise, 3 hours in to the flight and I was hungry. I went to the galley to see what was on offer. The standard mix of crisps, fruit and drinks. Not really sufficient for such a long flight, IMHO, but maybe that's me, who likes to eat while I'm flying. I think BA could offer a bit more even on this shortish long haul.
Arrival was early and through T1 quickly and onto the train, saving a few minutes over the journey from T5.
In conclusion, there is absolutely no justification for shelling out this kind of money for a flat bed on a 5 hour day flight, and unfortunately, the food and service, while fine, does not support the proposition. A shame that BA does not up the game where they can in this area. You can argue all you want about the old aircraft, but for me, the flight disappoints on the little things in food and service that BA can actually do well when it wants to. Not that I'm complaining on the food and service, but it does not offer anything memorable that one hopes for a ticket costing that much.
Upon checking in online on Sunday evening I noticed that BA1489 - 16:20 from Glasgow to LHR had been changed to a long haul 767 instead of a short haul 767, therefore I selected seat 4E and just thought it was an error on BA's site.
Checked in and dropped an bag off within 2 mins and passed through security with a few mins. Went to Eat for a very tasty meatball meat tostie and then popped in Weatherspoons for a quick beer.
Boarding was on time and quick, upon boarding I was in for a nice surprise, a seat in the old style club world seat for a domestic flight. The old style club world had been refreshed recently and the seat and cabin was in good condition. The seat is very comfy for such a short flight with great legroom.
Took off on time and had 2 Tiger beer's with a coffee and crisps which were suitable for this length of flight. The cabin crew were polite and friendly. Delayed about 20 mins upon landing at LHR due to one of the runways being closed due to a technical problem with an aircraft, the captain was excellent and must have made 3 informative announcements on the delay. Landed at LHR and was at the gate within mins at T5B. Luggage was a little slow with a wait of 10 to 15 mins.
This flight was an avios redemention so it the cost came to a grand total of £17.50, excellent value and very good flight in a club world seat!
British Airways operate up to three flights per day between Toronto Pearson International and London Heathrow using a B747-400 and has just introduced the B787 on the other two departures. Air Canada also has five daily flights between the two cities.
This review is based on one of the last Boeing 767-300ER departures at the beginning of September. I checked in for this flight online 24 hours before departure, having already pre-selected my seat at the time of booking. I prefer an aisle seat partly because I like to get out of my seat when it suits me (seat-belt sign allowing) and not having to clamber over anyone. I also prefer no one having to clamber over me so I went for one of the seats down the centre of this aircraft which is configured 2-2-2 with four rows of Business Class.
I arrived at Toronto Terminal 3 and made my way to Check-In Desks 213-227. This is a recent move for BA as the desks used to be to the far left of the long terminal building. I was attended to very quickly and my bags were priority tagged and made my way to the security check. Apparently fast-track security is only available for Air Canada premium passengers, so I joined the queue and it took over 30 minutes to reach airside. I then made my way towards the BA Lounge and had to go through a further Boarding Pass check, though the lady checking was on her telephone the whole time and people were coming back the other way so I am not sure what the purpose of this is.
The BA Lounge is located at the end of C Pier, which as you would expect is right by where the BA flights depart from. The Lounge is accessed by lift up one floor and there are other Lounges available here. I was welcomed to the Lounge and once my Boarding Pass was inspected, I was given a card which gave me access to the restaurant. This surprised me as I was not on the Sleeper Service which was due to depart a few hours later. However, I decided to take advantage of it as it may enable me to sleep for longer once on-board.
There were several choices available including soup, salads, rice and pastas, as well as cheese & biscuits and sweets. There are chefs who will cook for you too and were specialising in tortillas today. I took advantage of this whilst sat at a table overlooking the aircraft due to return me to the UK. The Lounge did become busy but this was no doubt due to the other two flights that were due to depart that evening. For those not able or wanting to use the Restaurant, there were sandwiches, soup and salad available as well as the usual nibbles, as well as a wide choice of drinks.
The flight was called around 25 minutes before the scheduled departure and when we took the lift down, we were greeted by many people waiting to board. However, there was a priority lane so I was very quickly on-board via the front door. The disadvantage of using this door is that every passenger has to walk through the front cabin making it very busy and challenging for the crew to create a calming environment.
The first thing I noticed when I took my rear facing aisle seat in the second row was the lack of storage space as this is one of the original Club World seats. There is no drawer for example for a tablet and other bits and pieces. The divider was like a paper fan that was already in place when I took my seat so I left it there. I was offered a glass of champagne and a newspaper before we pushed back on time. Shortly after take-off I was offered an amenity kit and the crew came round to take drink and dinner orders. As I had already eaten in the Lounge, I just asked for Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne, but the Dinner Menu was as follows:
• Mesclun salad with roasted beets, pumpkin seeds and goats cheese.
• Grilled Alberta beef tenderloin with gooseberry red wine sauce, bok-choy, chive mashed potatoes and baby carrots.
• Pasta shells stuffed with Portobello mushrooms and ricotta, braised leeks, red pepper and green peppercorn Alfredo sauce.
• Oven-roasted Alaskan halibut fillet with Moroccan chermoula sauce, saffron and wild rice, fine green beans and tomato confit.
• Lemon tartlet with fresh raspberries.
• Danish Blue and Bothwell Horseradish Cheddar served with dried apricot with almond.
• A selection of fruit.
• Hot chocolate with warm chocolate chip cookies.
• Grilled breast of chicken with Havarti cheese and arugula on fire-roasted flatbread served with a salad.
The Wine choices were as follows:
• Sancerre 2012, Chateau de Thauvenay, Loire Valley, France
• Esser Chardonnay 2011, Monterey, California, USA
• Chateau Croix du Rival 2009, Lussac-Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
• Carmel Road Pinot Noir 2011, Monterey, California, USA
There were a couple of passengers who became quite agitated with the time it took to complete the Dinner Service as they were keen to sleep but there was not a lot the crew could do as most of the passengers did seem to be partaking in the culinary delights! I continued to watch a film and sip the Taittinger which was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours! The crew were very attentive and continued to top up my glass at regular intervals. Despite the age of the seat, I was pleasantly surprised that AVOD was available, with a very wide choice of films, TV programmes and music. I do though find the screen on the small size.
Eventually the Dinner service concluded and the lights were turned off. I took this as my cue to close my screen and extend the bed. I did manage to sleep for a few hours. As I went to the front of the cabin for some water I was greeted by the cabin crew preparing to serve breakfast so my timing was perfect!
As I started to organise myself, the occupant in front of me decided to use the front of my seat as a way through to the other aisle despite the fact that my legs were stretched out and my personal items were on the floor. I let it go the first time, but when she returned, I had to stop her as I did find it an infringement of my personal space. A man who stated was her father came along and apologised for her, though as she appeared to be beyond teenage years I thought she should know better. Anyway, she will in future!
So to the Breakfast Service, which comprised the following, as detailed in the Menu:
• Chilled fruit juice
• A morning boost drink of guava, passion-fruit and banana
• Fruit yoghurt
• Warm bacon roll served with tomato ketchup
• A selection of assorted breakfast pastries
I have travelled on several overnight flights back from North America this year, and the BA breakfast continues to disappoint. A tray is served from a trolley comprising of a transparent plastic container like you would see in Starbucks containing fresh fruit, a yoghurt and an empty plate. Warm pastries are then offered which makes use of the plate. Mugs of tea or coffee are offered which I do like. A little while later they then came round with a tray of hot bacon and scrambled egg rolls. A gripe here BA, can you please have brown sauce as well as tomatoe sauce! Although even without the sauce, it was very tasty. Tops us of tea or coffee were offered. I would simply like the presentation to be better and on a standard to the Dinner Service for example.
From the moment breakfast was served, the Captain was very informative about our progress back to Heathrow though I did sigh with disappointment when he advised that he would be returning to Terminal 5C. He did though give everyone a clear countdown to landing enabling those that needed to, to avail themselves of the facilities.
We circled just the once and arrived at the Gate a few minutes ahead of schedule.
Disembarkation was from the middle door this time with Club World passengers given priority despite the best efforts of some passengers from the World Traveller Plus cabin to exit first. The crew did a great job organising this in a firm but polite way.
We than had to walk down to the Transit Train, which was jammed by the time it departed Terminal 5B. There was then a relatively short walk to Passport Control where we were greeted by hoards of people. This was not a welcoming sight and resulted in a wait of nearly 40 minutes, even using the automated gates.
By the time I reached the luggage carrousel, my suitcase was waiting for me and I checked on my taxi before exiting the terminal.
In summary, a smooth and relaxing flight and I managed a few hours’ sleep. I can understand why BA are retiring the 767 as it is tired and the original Club World seat in the type of aircraft is very old now. BA needs to confirm what type of flight this is, i.e. whether a Sleeper Service, to avoid confusion for some passengers. Also the presentation of breakfast needs to improve for premium paying passengers. However, the crew were excellent and nothing seemed to bother them.
British Airways operate up to three flights per day from London Heathrow to Toronto Pearson International Airport using a B747-400 and have just added the B787 to both of the other departures. Air Canada also has five daily flights between the two cities.
This review is based on the last daily flight by British Airways on-board the Boeing 747-400 which departs at around 16.30 each day. The other flights depart at 12noon and 14.00. I checked in for this flight online 24 hours before departure, having already pre-selected my seat at the time of booking on the upper deck of this 747-400.
I usually prefer an aisle seat partly because I like to get out of my seat when it suits me (seat-belt sign allowing) and not having to clamber over anyone. When I reserved my seat, 64A in the last row was available which although a window seat, according to Seatplans I would have direct access to the aisle.
I arrived at London Heathrow Terminal 5 and made my way to Check-In Zone J. All of the desks were occupied but I was quickly attended to by a friendly member of staff and my bags were priority-tagged.
I then made my way to Security and after my Passport was checked at the automatic gate, I went through the security screening. Although there was a queue in front of me a member of staff directed me to another lane that was completely empty. I sailed through here, and from arriving at the Terminal to being airside took less than 10 minutes.
I then made my way through the Terminal to the South Lounge. I found a seat by the window overlooking the side apron which gave views on planes about to depart on the southern runway. Importantly, I had access to a couple of sockets as I had some work to do. The Lounge enables you to work very easily with the free Wi-Fi which does not cause any issues.
Despite the comments on the BT Forum about the deteriorated food available, anyone sampling the fare on offer today would be pushed to complain. There was a selection of sandwiches, baked potatoes, salad, pasta, cakes and pastries. In addition, there was a fully stocked bar to select from including several choices of wine to choose from. I attracted the attention of one of the team that were very visible within the lounge clearing tables and stocking up the food, and requested a glass of champagne. It is always a lovely start to a trip!
As an added bonus, I also witnessed BA’s A380 departing for Frankfurt. It was an awesome sight and reconfirmed my ambition to travel on one of these beasts!
At 65 minutes before the scheduled departure, the screen indicated that the flight would depart from Gate C65. This would therefore mean a trip on the train and also as there are no lounge facilities, it would need careful judgement as to when to leave the South Lounge so as not to be waiting around by the Gate.
I left the South Lounge about 45 minutes before the scheduled departure and as I approached the Gate, they were calling passengers with children and those needing extra time. A few minutes later, the First, Club and Executive Club Gold, Silver and Bronze were invited to board. Following a further check of my Boarding Pass and Passport, I made my way down the stairs, and there were then separate air bridges for Premium and Economy passengers.
To be honest, I don’t think that this works that well for this type of aircraft. It is the mid-747 meaning that on entering the aircraft, immediately left is First Class, whilst immediately right is World Traveller Plus. Club World passengers therefore have to walk through this cabin in order to access the Club World cabin on the lower deck or indeed to use the stairs in order to reach the Upper Deck. I am sure that if the premium passengers board first then it is not so much of a problem, but once general boarding starts, there must be the problem of passengers trying to reach their seats in both directions in the aisle.
In any case I was in the attic as the flight attendant called it when he warmly welcomed me on board. Once upstairs, there were two crew members who welcomed me by name and showed me to me seat. I could not believe the amount of space I had available. To give an idea, there were four windows in my ‘cubicle’ and because I was in the last row facing the rear of the plane, I could access the aisle at will as well as be served without inconveniencing my neighbour. I must admit that I did raise the screen immediately I reached my seat for extra privacy and no one objected.
I was offered a glass of champagne, orange juice or water and obviously I went for the former. The Piper Heidsieck was excellently chilled and I was tempted to ask for another glass as we seemed to be waiting for some time past our scheduled departure time. I was also offered a newspaper and handed the menu.
The Captain apologised for our delay departing the gate and the reason was due to a passenger not making the flight and their bags being off-loaded.
As ever at Heathrow, we queued up to take off for about 20 minutes but eventually we were airborne and very quickly the seat-belt sign was extinguished. Almost immediately, the amenity kits were handed out followed shortly after by the flight attendant formerly introducing herself and explaining what would happen over the next 8 hours or so. It was very friendly and informal and did make me feel special!
My dinner selection (or lunch if on Toronto time) was taken followed shortly afterwards by the drinks service. I must admit that I tend to associate a trolley service with economy travel, so wish that BA would do away with this, especially with just 5 rows to serve on the upper deck. A further drinks service followed before lunch/dinner was served.
The choice was as follows:
• Devon crab and cod timbale with fennel and orange salad.
• Roasted Mediterranean vegetable salad with tomatoes, basil and bocconcini mozzarella.
• Fresh seasonal salad served with vinaigrette.
• Seared fillet of British beef with dauphinoise potatoes, seasonal vegetables and red wine and tarragon sauce.
• Seabass with curly kale, creamed leeks, butternut squash and ginger and chive sauce.
• Tortiglioni pasta in creamy garlic and herb sauce with button mushrooms and baby spinach.
• Chilled main course Caesar salad with roasted chicken and Caesar dressing.
• Layered summer pudding with berry cream and compote.
• Double Gloucester and Bleu D’Auvergne cheese served with fig compote and biscuits.
• Vanilla and dulce de leche ice cream by The Ice Cream Union.
• A selection of fruit.
The Wine choices were as follows:
• Sancerre 2012, Chateau de Thauvenay, Loire Valley, France
• Esser Chardonnay 2011, Monterey, California, USA
• Chateau Croix du Rival 2009, Lussac-Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
• Carmel Road Pinot Noir 2011, Monterey, California, USA
I selected the Mediterranean vegetable salad to start followed by the pasta and the cheese and biscuits. Jan the flight attendance did state that since they had started offering Club World meals to World Traveller Plus that they were stocking more and did seem to satisfy most first choices. They did meet my choice and I was very impressed with the quality.
Throughout the meal service, I watched a film on the AVOD system. The choice is awesome, though I must admit that I would prefer a larger screen. After I had watched one film, I resorted to my iPAD, and with the extra space and ledge available was a better option.
Afternoon Tea was then served which comprised as follows:
• An individual selection of sandwiches featuring roast beef with mustard, prawn cocktail and egg with watercress.
Plain or fruit scones served with warm with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
The service throughout was very attentive and certainly felt exclusive on the upper deck, as well as being friendly. When I was chatting to the crew they said that they always try to get the Upper Deck together as they are friends as well as colleagues and this comes across as they do work really well as a team.
We landed on schedule but then had to wait for approximately 15 minutes for the earlier BA flight to vacate the stand. Once we reached the gate, only one air bridge was attached to the aircraft, in the middle, which meant that the passengers on the Upper Deck deplaned first. It would also mean that the First Class passengers would be leaving the aircraft after the World Traveller Plus passengers. Again this confirms that the seat layout on some of the 747s is wrong!
I cleared immigration quickly but then had to wait for about 20 minutes for the bags to appear.
In summary, an excellent Lounge experience at T5 and a fantastic journey on the Upper Deck. If the 747 is an option, I will certainly try to obtain a seat on the Upper Deck, in particular 64A or 64K. The quality and choice of food was excellent as was the AVOD choice, though the screen is a bit small.
This was Part 2 of my reacquaintance with Club World after a couple of years' absence. ( My earlier review of the outbound flight to PVG seemed to have been removed after a day or so - I hope it didn't offend anyone - it was actually reasonably complimentary). On this occasion alas a sharp dose of a Chinese stomach bug meant that food and beverage was given a miss, so I apologise for what is therefore only really half a review.
Transfer to airport: Feeling like death warmed over I ditched the idea of travelling to PEK by railway on the advice that it is very difficult to access the station from the street due to absence of parking, and the need to travel down to the platform by two elevators with a security check in between. As it was, the absence of early morning traffic saw the journey from downtown at not much more than 30 minutes.
Terminal 3 is a huge funnel-shaped edifice and certainly impressive in terms of scale, but I rapidly concluded that it was too big for its own good. Sure an impressive use of space, but the one thing they forgot to include were moving walkways. Having checked in with minimal fuss and plenty of courtesy, I followed the signs to the train to the E gates, and after fairly long security/immigration queues and a considerable hike - there is no option - I arrived at the BGS lounge used by BA and a number of other airlines. Time reaching the lounge almost exceed time in the taxi!
Lounge: The stairs hinted at the horrors that lay within. Every other step displayed a potted poinsettias wrapped in silver foil. Handy if you were looking for the mother-in-law's Christmas present, but otherwise totally tacky. Inside I still can't place the "style" and "ambience", all I can say is that it is completely without appeal or redeeming features. A sea of brown squirley patterned carpet, brown/beige velour armchairs, brown nylon table cloths, large and mainly empty fish tanks, large ponds filled with dirty water and staining the surrounding carpets, old water boilers, dismal food and drink offering and dingy bathrooms that needed updating. There were, however, chefs preparing dumplings etc. I can't believe BA seriously consider this to be an appropriate offering for premium customers. On leaving, and ahead of the announcement - I'd had enough - I spied a large typed notice introducing the Cabin Service Director on the flight by name and advising that he was looking forward to serving us. It felt like a slightly odd and meaningless gesture, made all the more confusing by the fact that his first and surnames had been joined together into one long word and on first reading it was quite difficult understand. Expectations having been raised, I only saw the CSD dash past a couple of times en route to the flight deck.
Boarding: Straight on board via the fast track and a very warm and cheery hallo from the crew member on the door. It felt like a good start. The upstairs welcome was similarly friendly and I settled in. Drinks and washbags were provided, and once again a small square of damp rag was passed through the "serving hatch".
Seat/cabin: I now had cause to recall that the 747 upper deck's advantage can also be its disadvantage. As a small and intimate space it can feel calm and peaceful, as long as everyone else up there is calm and peaceful. On this occasion there wasn't a peep out of the passengers, so the only voices to be heard were the crew members nattering without stop from boarding to lights out. I'm not sure that they were necessary talking loudly, it was simply that from where I was sitting you could catch the lot, even above the engines and hear little else. They barely seemed to stop to draw breath, the only punctuation being the slamming of lockers (why oh why does that have to happen, and why is it that no noise you can create in your own home quite replicates the awfulness of that particular snap!) and galley cupboards. I'm not sure how long the dialogue went on for as I was probably asleep after about 45 minutes but they were certainly still hard at it when I nodded off. It also struck me that had they not been so busy talking prior to departure, they may have noticed that a number of window shades were still closed on takeoff, which I thought was against BA policy.
Regarding the seat itself, another slightly grubby affair, with a generous dusting of crumbs, a few stains, and a loose cover which kept slipping and was a bit annoying when the seat was upright. Surrounding plastic was not particularly clean with sponge marks and sticky fingers. The side locker handle was covered in orange gloop - presumably spilled orange juice from the previous flight - and the carpet needed a good sweeping. The overall appearance was tired and lacking a premium feel. Having said all that, once again the lie flat bed was very comfortable and I slept well for a large part of the flight despite the temperature, or lack of it. The crew later apologised that although the temperature reading was 24 degrees, this was clearly not the case. Perhaps another example of ageing 747 syndrome?
Food and beverage: Sorry, my own particularly circumstances meant that I had now taken a solemn vow never to eat anything ever again. A few days later my vow is, more or less, unbroken.
IFE: The 747 selection was significantly reduced from that on offer on the outbound 777-300, which while extensive, included very few good films. The screen was dark and not clearly focused. BA is well behind the game on IFE technology in parts of its fleet. Even the more basic version of Emirates ICE system far outranks BA's IFE.
Washrooms: One of the washrooms had a broken locker which kept falling onto the floor. It was, however, very clean throughout the flight.
Cabin service: the crew were attentive, courteous and appeared happy to be interrupted with requests.
Baggage reclaim: My case was priority tagged and appeared some 10-15 minutes after the first luggage appeared.
Conclusion: I didn't feel that I engaged as actively with the service as I would have done under normal conditions so can't fully conclude on how the experience stacked up. From what I saw of the food, it looked like the standard CW fare - actually a bit better - though interestingly it was an entirely western menu. Most importantly for me, I was grateful to have managed a good sleep despite the temperature. Overall though, when I was awake I didn't feel this was a tip-top premium experience - it just seemed a bit lacklustre and unspecial. If you're paying upwards of £2k, you should at least be assured a clean space and it really bugs me that standards have dropped so badly on this front. And while far from being what I would consider a demanding individual, as a passenger I want to feel that I, and my fellow travellers, are 100% the focus of the cabin crew. I don't want to listen to what they are talking about, any more than I would expect anyone else to be interested in my private conversations or wish to be disturbed by them.
So after a break, will I be returning to BA? Probably, after all they have the direct routes out of the Heathrow which I can access very easily and don't actually mind too much (unlike other posters). I'm also an active saver and spender of Avios points, and again unlike many posters have been fairly lucky in being able to secure reward flights when wanted. But I'm much more prepared now to fly with others who offer a better service, and particularly for leisure travel when I'm generally prepared to fly indirectly to secure a good price and service. It feels like the time has come for BA to up its game in CW, particularly as the key advantage of consistently being assured a genuine lie flat bed is now no longer such a unique USP.
I flew down from Glasgow to join BA09 to Bangkok. Being a saturday and a late booking, I had to take a relatively early flight down south and so had an extended stay in the very quiet but also very pleasent First Lounge in T3 where I completed a couple of reports that urgently needed attention. Towards the end of my stay, I enjoyed a varied and very tasty dinner so that I could sleep early on the flight.
I made my way to the gate in very good time - a longish walk and boarding was called soon thereafter. I was one of the first aboard and was welcomed at the door by name and what seemed to be a hushed voice directing me to my seat - maybe F and C passengers are offended to walk the airbridge with minions in Economy?? My regular choice of seat on this aircraft is 29A, the row behind the two Exit seats and with a space in front which allows a good leg stretch and direct access out without disturbing neighbours. The flight was not full and the seat next to me remained free, adding to my sense and feeling of space.This arrangement worked really well for me and allowed about 7 hours sleep during the night.
We pushed back on time and were airborne after about a 15 minute taxi. Service commenced immediately with drinks, followed by dinner which I declined (Vietnamese chicken or vegetarian pasta). The cabin was mercifully quiet all night so that I woke up about 2.5 hours out of Bangkok, refreshed and happy to use the toothcare set provided as a token towards an amenity set.
Breakfast was served an hour and a half out and consisted of a very tasty and well presented cooked English, yoghurt and muffin plus OJ and coffee.
We landed about 15 minutes early and disembarkation was quick. I made my way to security and upstairs for the endless march that is Bangkok Airport to my next flight. I assumed that 75 minutes would be sufficient time to transfer my suitcase - how wrong you can be!! I will find out in due course whether it has followed me to Rangoon on a later connecting flight ....... or not!!
LHR - PVG
It was actually Club World but there was no drop down box.
For various reasons, often to do with price, I haven't travelled BA Club World for a couple of years, and not since starting to follow this forum. I was therefore curious to see for myself how things would shape up. Where would I stand on the Ying-Yang versus direct-access debate? Would I be mauled by vicious lounge dragons? Would LHR withstand comparisons with recent trips through HKG and BKK? Well here goes....
Checkin was easy and pleasant. I was directed towards the South Terrace Lounge as the flight didn't have a stand allocated, but taking no notice I headed straight for the Satellite B lounge which I much prefer. Security was a shambles. No Fast Track and very slow moving queues.
No lounge dragon today, not even a lizard, but instead a charming welcome and advice that the flight would leave from Satellite C. After an immediate and blissful 15 minutes in the Elemis Spa massage chair I set out to explore. Washrooms were spotless and there was a fair selection of late breakfast/early lunch fare including salads. I wasn't particularly hungry and despite the reasonable variety curiously it was all different shades of beige and I gave it a miss. As to the communal biscuit and savoury nibbles jars I can't say I felt too worked up. Yes I too used to snaffle the odd packet, but I'm sure my waistline is all the better for not having done so. The lounge was calm (subdued?) except for some odd background music and the ubiquitous "I'M IN THE LOUNGE" mobile conversation. Verdict - perfectly pleasant and relaxing (and I got a peek of the 787 on stand just below which looked surprisingly small).
Boarding commenced more or less as soon as I got to the Gate? Ok I am prepared to join in with "Why no lounge at Satellite C." Completely ridiculous. And if that is to be the home of the A380, which it was when I arrived, an odd way to treat premium passengers on the new flagship. I was greeted by a very pleasant CSD at the door and other crew were equally cheery and attentive throughout. I've had very mixed experiences in this department in the past, but this was a good day.
So to the seat. Well first off the crumb fairy had visited as usual to spread a little of her magic. Why oh why do you always have to brush the seat on BA? Immediate black mark. I like the rear facing window seats and it does feel less boxed in than say the Emirates/Thai cubicles I encountered last month. But I'd forgotten how much I hate the serving hatch feel of the divider and all those sticky finger/damp cloth marks. Yuk. And it's just plain odd to be that close to facing a complete stranger. As for the climb over a stranger to get out, well fortunately nature didn't call too often, but it's quite hard to do that particular manoeuvre with much dignity if you are relatively short in the leg as I am. The good news was I was very tired having been rising earlier and earlier to adjust to oriental time. With the aid of two extra economy blankets which I requested, and which were frankly more effective than the strange duvet thing which seemed to have had all its stuffing knocked out of it, I managed a very good 6 hours sleep. Verdict - for me a very comfortable seat, but I'm now firmly for direct aisle access.
And so to cabin service. I liked the crew very much, and everyone serving though out the cabin was polite and responsive. The drink service was fairly prompt and regular top ups were offered. I did find it odd to be offered a hot towel, only to be given a piece of damp rag. They seriously need upgrading. I could have read a newspaper through mine. Food was so so. I won't list it all but there was a good selection to suit all tastes. Choosing the red snapper was probably bound to be a mistake as it was extremely tough. The smoke salmon starter was, however, very generously proportioned and accompanied by a good selection of breads. And after a pot of delicious ice cream I felt reasonably well disposed to the world. Sorry wine buffs -didn't touch it and wouldn't be able to offer much insight if I had. Breakfast was very good. Nice fresh fruit, warm breads and well -cooked full English (ie not baked to a frazzle as sometimes).
IFE. Oh dear. Big let down here. I find the system very intuitive and easy to navigate. But there were no new releases and a huge selection of Bond Movies or real B-list stuff. TV selection also rather dull and US- focused. Some decent classical selections to listen to, but not a touch on others. Fortunately I didn't have much movie time, but if this had been a "normal" day time flight this would have been a disappointment.
So overall? I generally judge a flight by how I feel when I walk off. This time I felt better than when I had got on, and that's not something you can often say, largely because of some much needed zzzz. The time passed quickly and every interaction with a crew member was pleasant and easy. I did find the seat irritating in some ways but the privacy and peace and quiet were a bonus. Perhaps there was no particular wow factor about any aspect of the journey, but taken together it felt more or less consistent and joined up and overall I felt it represented good VFM.
I was running a bit late so I used the First check-in area for the first time as there were queues at all other desks.
Security quicker than usual.
I spent 30 minutes in the F lounge before being called to the C gates.
Effortless boarding. At the last minute I had changed my seat from 1B to 7D. As 7E and F were free I popped across to the middle rear-facing seat.
What struck me most about this flight was that CC were much happier working on this brand new aircraft and this was apparent from boarding.
Meal service was typical Club Europe fare - perfectly acceptable in my books.
Obviously the aircraft was in impeccable condition, but I did not notice any other difference in terms of CW configuration apart from the more subdued interior and tinted windows.
I believe this was the last training flight to ARN as tomorrow (1/9) the 787 commences its first longhaul to Toronto.
What a welcome addition to BA's fleet.
Oops, I forgot - this was my first time in a rear-facing seat. I loved it and think I would suffer less fatigue after a longhaul flight.
Not often I say this - Top Marks to BA.
I flew BA268 from LAX to LHR on a 747-400.
I had checked in on-line the night before without any problems and printed off a boarding card and rocked up to Terminal B (Tom Bradley) at 6.15pm. The BA check in desks can be easily found in Area B, which is clearly signposted.
The area was very busy with a large group of teenagers milling about the BA section and blocking the queue area. No one asked them to move and they didn’t respond well to polite ‘excuse mes’ but I successfully shoved me way through to a check-in desk where I was immediately seen by a very friendly agent who took my bag, popped on a priority label and made sure I knew where to go for the One World Lounge before bidding me a good journey.
There’s no priority security at LAX and while I was heartened to see that the queue was fairly short progress was nevertheless slow because the TSA agents were only operating one x-ray machine and security scanner. Saying that though, the TSA agents were easily the most cheerful and friendly I’ve ever come across in a US airport. They were exchanging jokes with passengers, making regular announcements about what passengers needed to do (laptops out of bags, shoes off and belts off) and being proactive with passengers plainly unused to the whole soulless experience. In the end I cleared security after about 30 minutes and made my way to the One World Lounge, which is clearly signposted right as you leave the security area.
The lounge is on the 5th floor, accessed by a lift. The lounge is (as the name suggests) shared between all of the One World airlines but really isn’t particularly big. It’s essentially one long room that’s effectively divided into four sections – a small seating area, an eating section with tables laid out with cutlery and wine glasses, a business section and a bar area. I’d arrived early enough to have my pick of spots and after a perfunctory greeting from the lounge dragon, I took a space in the business area (which is about mid-way through the lounge).
Although no sleeper service is available from LAX (a real shame in my opinion because the 9.30pm departure means that it’s too late to be eating a big meal on the plane), a selection of hot food was available - tomato and garlic soup (which looked a little greasy to me), jasmine rice, a beef dish, macaroni cheese, stir-fried noodles and a vegetable option that looked like baked courgettes and other veg. There was also a small cold cuts section with dips, a tray of bread rolls, cheese and biscuits and a range of cookies. Note to cheese fanciers – they only brought out one cheese at a time and only replaced it when it was all eaten, so when I arrived there was a stilton but this was replaced with American cheddar. It’s therefore worthwhile keeping an eye on it if you fancy some.
I worked my way up to a carbgasm thanks to macaroni cheese and noodles and then over-indulged on the American cheddar and biscuits before trying to work it off by taking a stroll around the lounge area to stretch out my legs. There are TV screens in the bar area and a fairly good range of beers and wines (although I didn’t partake). There was also a decent range of newspapers and magazines (including UK and US titles). The toilets were clean and stocked with Molton Brown toiletries.
I used the free wi-fi to get on with some work and charged up my laptop at one of the sockets. There was a real shortage of power sockets in the lounge and as it filled up, there was a lot of competition for them. The lounge does offer 12 Macs for use by passengers, which have internet access, and I think all but one of them was in use by the time I left.
I did end up leaving early because the lounge was just getting so crowded – unsurprising given that the BA flight and two Qantus flights were all due to leave around the same time and a JAL flight was leaving 90 minutes later.
There are information screens in the lounge and I’d noticed that my flight was showing as being delayed for 30 minutes as I was going but figured it would give me more time to work off all the cheese I’d eaten. Terminal B is currently undergoing a refurb with LAX planning to introduce more eateries, shops and new airline lounges. I’d be interested in knowing if BA or Qantus will get its/their own dedicated lounges because I don’t think the current situation can continue for much longer – especially with Malaysian and Qatar joining the One World Family. The refurb is definitely overdue because the only eateries I saw were vending machines and the only shop a tiny newsagent. Apparently the works will be completed by the end of the year so here’s hoping they really improve things.
I got to Gate B33 to find a lot of passengers already there. Interestingly, I noticed that down here the information screens were still showing the flight as being on-time, making me wonder if the business lounge screens were incorrect. However, given that the crew didn’t arrive until 9.10pm, it was obvious that there was going to be a delay. Nevertheless, the gate screens didn’t register this until 9.25pm (at which point they put the departure time back to 10pm and yet farcically described this as being on time rather than a delay) and nor were there any announcements from the ground crew (who seemed to me to be bustling around doing very little of practical use). I did think it very poor show that the CW and First class passengers got more accurate than the premium economy/economy passengers – especially as there was no need for it. Fortunately there were a lot of seats around the gate (despite the large numbers) and many of them had in-seat power as well.
At 9.30pm two passengers in wheelchairs were taken through the gate and along the airbridge ready to embark. I thought that there was going to be a mini riot by several of the passengers who started having a go at the ground crew about it and demanding to know why those passengers were getting special treatment. It was only at this point that the ground crew finally made an announcement that boarding would start shortly. Ordinarily, I’d be on the ground crew’s side on this but they handled this all so badly that I felt it was self-inflicted and could have been avoided.
In the end, boarding started at 9.35pm for First, Club World, BAEC gold, silver and bronze cardholders and One World emerald, sapphire and ruby cardholders. However, I didn’t see this policed at all and the person in front of me was a WT passenger with no status, making for another farcical situation. Boarding was via two airbridges – one for First and World Traveller Plus passengers and the second for Club World and World Traveller passengers. I was greeted at the door and directed to the upper deck but whereas the 3 upper deck passengers in front of me were all welcomed by name, I was not. Small thing but it rankled a little.
I’d preselected 64A having done some research on good seats in advance. It’s a window seat but with aisle access that doesn’t involve hurdling the aisle seat passenger. It’s a little more exposed than 64K, but it does have brilliant storage space with 3 good-sized side storage units in addition to the laptop drawer and overhead locker. The seat was clean and in good condition and a quilt, pillow and headphones had been left out for me. Once I’d settled in, a member of cabin crew offered me a choice of champagne, orange juice or water and I decided to partake of the champers. Menus were then brought around afterwards, which offered the following:
- Salmon pinwheel with balsamic glazed fig and quinoa salad; or
- Piquillo pepper and gorgonzola cheese.
A fresh seasonal salad served with vinagrette.
- Parmesan rosemary fillet of beef with fingerling potatoes, white asparagus and Chianti sauce;
- Jumbo lump crab with broccolini, celery root and rustic choptle sauce;
- Provencale vegetable lasagne with basil ricotta and creamy yellow tomato sauce.
- Dulce de leche; or
- Morbier and Camembert cheese with wet walnuts;
- A selection of fruit.
White wines were:
- Sancerre 2012, Chateau de Thauvenay, Loire Valley, France; or
- Esser Chardonnay 2011, Monteray, California, USA.
Red wines were:
- Chateau Croix du Rival 2009, Lussac-Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, France;
- Carmel Road Pinot Noir 2011, Monterary, California, USA.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what the food was like because I’d already decided I was going to try and get to sleep after take off.
We finally got a captain’s announcement after 10pm where we were told that the delay to departure was caused by the incoming flight being delayed as a result of security concerns. He was hoping to make up time on route however with a flight time of 9 hours, 15 minutes. We eventually pushed back at 10.05pm and there was a security video and crew demonstration. We were airborne by 10.30pm.
As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I made up my bed to get some sleep. Unfortunately the chair wouldn’t go entirely flat for some inexplicable reason, but the angle wasn’t too bad and I eventually nodded off. It was incredibly cold in the cabin though, which didn’t change at all during the flight despite asking for the heating to be turned up. It wasn’t a great sleep because I kept waking up during the night, mainly because of the sound of people thumping up and down the gangway, but it was a hell of a lot better than what I’d get in a WT+ or WT seat and a good reminder of why I pay for it.
I ended up waking up just as we were crossing the west coast of Ireland. I’d missed the breakfast service, which consisted of the following:
- Chilled fruit juice;
- Pomegranate and mixed berry smoothie;
- Fresh seasonal fruit;
- Birchermuesli with apples and coconut;
- Warm bacon roll with ketchup;
- Breakfast pastries.
However the crew had left out a tray of fruit juice and water bottles, so I was able to help myself and I did venture into the kitchen to see if there was anything to eat. The crew were very helpful and gave me a few croissants, which kept the hunger pangs at bay.
We got a warning 20 minutes before landing and there was the usual stampede to freshen up in the toilets (which were kept in a clean and orderly condition). We landed at 4.10pm UK time but there was a delay letting people off the plane. We’d disembarked at the B gates, which meant taking the transport train over to the A gates for baggage reclaim and immigration. Immigration ended up being a doddle – short queues at the desks but I decided to use the egates, which were in operation, with the result that I was at baggage reclaim by 4.35pm. There was a 15 minute wait for the baggage to come out but miraculously, my suitcase was one of the first out, meaning I was able to head out through customs and out of the airport by 4.50pm.
All in all, the only sour note of the flight was the poor performance by the LAX gate crew. However, I think that the CW fare I paid was worth it for the chance for getting some sleep and the lounge was okay although I’d be interested in knowing whether BA will eventually get improved facilities once the LAX refurb is completed.
This review considers the BA A380 Aircraft as part of its induction into full service by way of short haul service to European destinations, in this case Frankfurt. The on board service was a normal Club Europe catering offering so this review will only consider the “Hard” product. Also some of the inflight experience associated with a long haul product such as IFE was not switched on. However a crew of 23 cabin crew did provide the service [to 150 passengers].
This A380 departed from LHR T5 Gate C63. On boarding, we were given a letter explaining the use of the unusually large aircraft on this route. We had made the journey especially to LHR and onto FRA, just to sample the plane on its 1st day of operational service.
We entered via the main middle door on the lower deck and immediately into the Club World main cabin. First and the Upper Deck were sealed off but we got a tour later in the flight.
My initial impression of the main cabin was of being noticeably more spacious compared to the 747/777 CW cabin. The Club World seat had overhead bins over both middle and aisle. In the F cabin, only side overhead bins were in place which opened up the F cabin more significantly.
Everything in the cabin was gleaming although I could not really detect any change in the CW seat.
Take off was the usual quiet affaire as is customary on A380. [I have been on 15 sectors with EK and 1 with Thai, in business and First]. During the flight, the purser brought a number of the BAEC Golds on a tour of F and the upper deck which was empty but for 3 to 4 personnel from Airbus who were performing some tests.
The F cabin is different from the current new F on 747/777. There have been a few changes which have made the seat more enclosed, namely the partitions are 2 to 3” higher and the contours are such that there seems to be quite a bit more privacy without having a closing door. Also probably a few extra inches in suite length but with the main essentials of the current “new F” still in place. The storage locker is indeed larger and better designed and could hold an overnight bag in addition to the hanging coat/jacket. The changes here are welcome if subtle.
There is a staircase at the front of F, up to the upper deck which the purser told us would not be in use, except by crew. We went up the stairs into the other J cabin. I could not really decide which J cabin I would prefer to be in. It is a 2-3-2 config as compared to the 2-4-2 lower down and you do benefit from not being sandwiched between F and Y. Up top, J is at the front followed immediately by WT+.
I also sat into the ‘coffin’ seat in J, i.e. the middle of the 3 seats in the middle. These did not seem to be too bad if you had both privacy screens up and on an overnight flight, many might like the privacy this gives and not having anyone climbing over you although some might indeed find it too claustrophobic.
The real surprise for me was the WT+ cabin upstairs. This was probably the largest improvement across the classes as facilitated by the A380. The new seats in this cabin seemed spacious and were in a 2-3-2 config. I have never flown in this cabin to date [just passed through] but thought that given its location on the plane and the new seat design, I’d certainly be happy to do a LHR to JFK in this seat on a day flight, especially if I was able to sit beside a family member or colleague on the 2 seat window side.
Overall impression with the faultless flight to FRA was that this BA A380 has made slight improvements in J and F, without having come up with something totally new. The WT+ Cabin seems to be the major improvement item.
Having been in in the Thai A380 in J, I felt that given a choice between Thai and BA [using a 747/777] on the same route, I’d have chosen the Thai offering in J. However, having seen the space and feel of the BA version, it would be a much closer call.
My BAEC perks would probably swing me towards choosing BA. Perhaps the decision makers at BA know this when deciding how far to innovate the hard product.
I flew my routine GLA - LHR route and enjoyed normal pre-flight service in the now-excellent BA Lounge at Glasgow. Boarding was standard and then the pleasent surprise for those of us who had selected (or were pre-selected) for front-of-bus seats. It was a long-haul 767 as opposed to the usual European configuration (which I encountered on the way back) and the seating was fully-flat, herring-bone lay out but in brown fabric rather than the usual blue.
This was certainly a treat as was the sight of (presumably) short haul crew battling with the challenges of the seat and TV monitors for the safety demonstration.
As a result of the seat, I slept from before take-off to just before landing so learned nothing about the service!!
We parked at the normal domestic gate so no bussing!! and were on outr way some 10 minutes early. The seat was a nice bonus for a hot Tuesday afternoon!!
I flew BA0087 from LHR to YVR on a 747-400.
I arrived at Departures at 8.15am, which was already very busy (unsurprising given it was the first Saturday of the school holidays). I headed for bag drop in the Business Class section where there were lines at every desk. After a five-minute wait (and thanks to my jumping between queues) I was called forward by a cheery agent who processed my bag quickly, put on a priority tag and confirmed that I knew about priority security and the Club World Lounge before despatching me with a pleasant smile and wishes for a pleasant journey.
I duly made for the priority security, where I was through the electronic gates very quickly and found myself standing behind movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and his two stressed-looking assistants. Security was poorly organised – a lot of staff milling around but very little direction. The only good news was that women were being called through the security gate between men and Harvey had to join the back of the waiting male queue. I made it through without incident after about 10 minutes and headed to the lounge (the walk made longer by the heaving crowds in the terminal).
I stopped off at the spa to see if there were any appointments available and the friendly receptionist offered me an 11.20am slot, which I accepted as gate closure for my flight wasn’t until 12.20pm, giving me ample time to have the treatment and stroll to my flight.
I went up to the lounge and was greeted by a severe dragon who softened under my charming personality. It was only 8.45am so the gate hadn’t been confirmed for my flight but she advised me to check the screens after 10.30am. The lounge itself was busy but not crowded and there was plenty of seating available. I picked a spot at one of the tables and availed myself of the breakfast still on offer. For me the breakfast offering is perfectly fine with an excellent range of items to suit every appetite. I ended up having porridge (which was hot and creamy) and a cranberry juice before availing myself of the pastries and bacon butties.
Less impressive are the biscuits in the jars and I’ve totally changed my mind about the wisdom of that. Despite the clear signs telling people to use the tongs, I saw far too many people dip their hands in. I ended up remonstrating with one guy whose fingers had been in his nose before they were in the biscuit jar. BA and Baxter-Storey need to rethink this because it’s clearly unhygienic and really doesn’t do justice to what are actually good products.
I ended up catching up on my reading as I waited for my spa appointment, helping myself to drinks and nibbles as my stomach demanded. Quick word on the ladies loos, where there were queues due to the high numbers using the lounge but the toilets themselves were clean and well presented.
At 11.15am I headed down to the spa where I got another friendly greeting from the receptionist, who handed me a medical questionnaire to complete while I waited for the therapist who was cheerful and professional. The Flying Feet treatment was excellent and I even enjoyed the 15 minute chair massage – either because I was more relaxed or it beat my spine into compliance. The therapist offered me some free samples and having done some research on Elemis products before hand, I asked for (and received) some shower gel, hand cream and foot cream.
I emerged at 11.40am to find that although the gate had been announced it wasn’t open so I went back up to the lounge. The gate eventually opened at noon and as I was leaving I saw that they’d put out the lunch offering so I paused to take a look. The cold offering looked quite appetising (a mix of sandwiches, salad and quiche) but the hot offering looked like a third rate school dinner. On offer was pasta with basil and tomato sauce, red Thai vegetarian curry, mustard chicken, chilli con carne and rice. None of them looked any good and the meat seemed to have walked through on stilts. The best thing on offer was the jacket potatoes, which came with cheese and baked beans. That’s really not good enough and BA and Baxter-Storey need to get their act together.
The flight was departing from B34, which meant taking the transit train. Heathrow advises allowing 10 minutes to get to those gates but I think you should allow 15 to 20 minutes because I had to wait several minutes for a train to arrive and there was a bit of a walk to the gate.
Boarding had started when I arrived at the gate. I joined the priority line and was greeted by name at the desk and directed to the air bridge. I was greeted again at the aircraft door by name and shown the stairs to the upper deck. I was flying on a 747 and being BAEC silver had preselected 64K, (having done my homework and found that the general advice was that it was the best CW seat on the plane). It’s a window seat with aisle access and comes with more storage room than those on the lower deck (specifically 3 good sized lockers at the side of the seat in addition to the laptop drawer and overhead locker (which is smaller than on the lower deck). It also offers a good sense of privacy as once the privacy screen is down you can’t easily be overlooked. The upper deck is arranged in rows of 2 by 2 organised in a ying/yang formation and there are only about 8 rows in total, making for a much more exclusive feel.
The seat itself was clean and well presented although the carpet was a little worn. Pillows, duvets, headphones and a menu had been left on the seat. I’d just sat down when a cheery crew member offered me a choice of orange juice, water or champagne. I went for the champagne and settled back as the other passengers boarded and the crew got ready for departure. At 12.35 the senior flight officer gave an announcement about the planned route and journey time, followed by an announcement from the cabin services director welcoming everyone on board. At 12.44 there was a further announcement that we’d been delayed due to an issue with the hold loading so the IFE was switched on (although, alas, only for WT+ and WT passengers).
We eventually pushed back at 1.10pm, with the safety video playing while we taxied. Cabin crew then collected the glasses and there was another announcement that there was a problem with the IFE on some seats so it would need to be rebooted.
We eventually took off at 1.30pm. Once the seat belt signs went off the crew brought around hot towels and amenity kits (standard Elemis fare). I then discovered that I’d stupidly put my conversion plug in my suitcase and so could not use the power socket in the seat. I asked a crew member if they carried any spare and she very kindly lent me her personal one (a kind gesture that I mentioned on the BA feedback website). We discovered that there was a problem with the power socket in my seat but after she rebooted it a couple of times it finally came on. Crew distributed Canadian customs cards with the advice that these had to be completed to get through Canadian passport control) and then came around to take orders for lunch. The choices were:
- Smoked Shetland salmon tartare with pickled cucumber and radish salad.
- Asparagus spears with quail eggs and Ceasar dressing.
Salad with vinaigrette.
- Seared fillet of British beef with barbeque sauce, spicy potato wedges and Mediterranean vegetables.
- Roasted corn-fed chicken with summer truffle and wild mushroom sauce, herb-mashed potatoes, baby fennel and carrots.
- Penne pasta with red pepper pesto, basil and chilli sauce, courgette and piquillo peppers.
- Chilled main course salad of tiger prawns, wild rice and quinoa with bitter orange dressing.
- Dark chocolate fondant with caramel centre and caramel sauce
- Barber’s Cheddar and Somerset Camembert cheese served with quince jelly and biscuits
- Vanilla and dulce de leche ice cream by The Ice Cream Union
- A selection of fruit and chocolates.
The white wines on offer were a Sancerre 2012, Chateau de Thauvenay or an Esser Chardonnay 2011. Red wines were a Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011 or a Truchard Vineyards Pinot Noir 2010. I can’t tell you about the quality because I decided not to have any more alcohol after the champagne.
Crew brought around drinks and I flicked through the IFE. Unusually, there wasn’t much that actually tempted me this time. The comedy section was dire (endless episodes of 30 Rock) and the drama and movie sections contained programmes I’d either seen or had no interest in. I ended up reading my book until lunch was served.
I went for the salmon tartar starter as the best of two poor options for me (I loathe asparagus but equally hate cucumber and horse radish). I’d hoped to be able to pick out the salmon but it was too well mixed in with the horse radish so I gave it up as a bad job and just ate the bread roll (which was warm and tasty). I think the cabin crew took pity on me because they gave me another roll to make up for it. The chicken was better, if a little dry although the mashed potato was quite salty. However the chocolate fondant was excellent – not too sweet and very creamy.
BA seem to have replaced the Lily O’Brien chocolates I loved with new ones made by artisan du chocolat, which amounted to small chunks of plain and milk chocolate and left me underwhelmed. I washed it down with a coffee (which has really improved on BA flights so it’s quite drinkable).
The crew came to take away the trays and handed out water bottles and I settled down to read some more and basically take it easy. I did wander down to the Club World Kitchen at one point but there wasn’t a lot there to tempt me. Annoyingly there were pots of ice cream but they had all melted. Again, something that BA needs to sort out.
We got an announcement 40 minutes from YVR to let us know that we had 20 more minutes to enjoy the IFE and use the toilets before the seat belt signs went on and the IFE was switched off. Have to say that there were 2 toilets on the upper deck and both were spotless and kept that way by the crew. The approach into YVR is stunning as you come in over the mountains and the landing was smooth and uneventful. There was a bit of a delay on the ground as we had to wait for another plane to leave our gate but we were soon able to disembark (First and CW first) with more cheery farewells from the crew.
YVR airport is impressively organised and well sign-posted and although around 3 flights had arrived at the same time, there was barely any queue at immigration and I was quickly through to baggage reclaim. There was a 10 minute wait for the baggage to be offloaded (I suspect because several planes had arrived at once) but the priority baggage system worked well and my suitcase was one of the first ones off. All in all I was out of YVR within 30 minutes of disembarking the plane.
In summary, I thought this was a perfectly decent flight and worth the money I’d paid for it. If you’re on CW on a 747 then I’d definitely recommend upper deck over lower deck because of the space and more exclusive feel to it.
A good flight in Club World, without being outstanding in any respect.
Everything was done professionally and worked well.
Good value for money.
Connecting flight from QF23 from Sydney so after an old A330 Qantas flight was looking forward to my BA flight. We had a 6 hour wait in lounge which was tired and old qantas clearly need to redevelop their Bangkok lounge in line with their Singapore offering. Boarding was on time with premium passengers called first and with premium jetty meaning exclusive boarding.
We had 60j and k our preferred seats upstairs which as usual were comfortable the service upstairs was exemplary as normal with drinks being topped up and wine choice remembered. The food choice was an incredible Thai prawn salad with a Thai fish curry as main, I was asleep before desert was served though!
A great seat with great service and food for once I put ba ahead of qantas - something I have not said in years.
Note that this review is for regular Club World but there were issues with the dropdown menu so CW London City was the only suitable option available!!
I had checked in for this flight using my IPhone app. I was booked in World Traveller+ but, on going to check in, received a nice message telling me that, due to my loyalty etc etc, I was being upgraded to Club World with downstairs seating in 13B. I have just requalified for Gold Status (without any tickets purchased above WT+) and wondered whether this might have triggered the upgrade?
On arriving in T5 from Glasgow, I headed into the main concourse and, as the gate was not showing, checked with BA Customer Service whether it would be a B or C gate. B it was so I headed over to the Lounge there, which was very quiet, with an excellent choice of hot and cold food offerings (this was around 18.00).
The flight soon posted a 30 minute delay (19.45 rather than 19.15) but boarding started in good time. The Premium boarding line had virtually no queue by the time I arrived so I was soo aboard, greeted by name and directed to my seat. I settled myself in - the seat is comfortable but there is a general lack of convenient storage and places to leave things that you might need during the night, necessitating a fair amount of up and downing...
The Captain came on to explain the delay - trouble with a cargo hold door which had been resolved. He still predicted arrival into Singapore within about 10 or 15 minutes of schedule. We pushed back and were airborne after a short taxi.
Drinks service commenced immediately - as I am not a drinker when travelling, I cannot comment on wines etc - and was followed by orders for dinner. I was called by name throughout. The menu look good and the food did not disappoint.
Starters were Crayfish and avocado timbale with pesto dressing or Fivemiletown goat's cheese (in honour of the G8 although wrong county???) on a salad. I chose the latter which was fresh, piquanted and tasty. There was also a side salad of greens.
Mains were seared beef Shetland salmon, Tagiatele or maincourse salad with roasted chicken. I had the salad which came with really large and succulent chicken breast.
Deserts looked good although i did not partake - white chocolate mouse, cheese and biscuits, vanilla and green tea ice cream and fruit, together with tea and coffee.
IFE choices are OK but a disappointment after the likes of Emirates. I was watching a movie during dinner - the Paul Raymond film - which was a bit of a struggle on the small screen and very dark settings for many of the scenes - hardly surprising given that they were night clubs!! Film is thoroughly recommended, especially if you remember the 1970s (or before!!)
I slept reasonably well but am not a great fan of lie-flat beds so always choose a half way house between sitting and lying. My aisle seat was fine and there was no traffic to disturb me during the night.
I finally woke about 3 hours out of Singapore, had a juice and coffee and settled down to read until breakfast. Choice here was fresh fruit or granola (I had the former) followed by Full English or Spanish omelette - I had the latter and it was rather watery and tasteless.
We landed just 10 minutes late and, after a short taxi, deplanned quickly via the front door. Queues for Immigration were very long for Changi (a first for me) so it was close to 30 minutes before i was able to collect my luggage, already out and circulating. I did have a connecting flight with MH but, for a reason never made clear to me, I could not throughticket. Still, it was an easy job to head over to T2 and re-check-in.
It was great to be upgraded but there is little doubt that the CW product is getting tired and is in need of a revamp. Given the good experience I have had with WT+ recently, I am not sure I would opt to pay for the difference were in my own hard earned £££. That said, service was attentive and pleasent throughout th flight.
BA085 London - Vancouver in Club World.
I arrived at the airport very late, proceeded straight to check in which was conducted by a very friendly agent and was heading through south security in no time. I was amazed to find security was empty and from car to airside only took me 10mins!
As I was very late to the airport by the time I had got airside the gate was already showing on the screens so I headed down to B Gates on the transit. By the time I reached the gate there was already a heft queue at the gate for both fast track and general boarding lines, so I headed off to grab a quick coffee from the lounge before coming back.
When I got back to the gate it was absolute chaos, I think the whole flight was queuing! I headed to the back of the fast track line only to be very annoyed to see a family of 7, yes 7 whack all there passports and boarding passes down together at the front of the fast track queue. Peering through the masses I saw they had seat numbers down in the 40 somethings. There was absolutely no control on the fast track queue. Ok they could be silvers or golds but I very much doubt this. This is something BA really need to start enforcing, I pay business class for the perks not just for the seat and at 3 grand a ticket its annoying when these are missed.
Was welcomed back by name by the CSD and went to my seat 17F. Jacket promptly hung and pre-takeoff bubbles washed down the sour taste from the gate farse.
Take off smooth and settled in to watch a film. Crew seemed very slow off the mark, landing cards, wash-bags etc took far too long and it was around 45mins since airborne that the bar on wheels reached row 17.
Dinner order was taken, I went for the salmon to start followed by the fillet of beef in pepper corn sauce with potato wedges. Don't usually go for beef on flights as find it to be dry and tough but as it was now close to 7pm and I hadn't eaten all day I really fancied some stodge and meat. I do have to say however the beef was probably one of the best airline beefs I've ever had! Was not overcooked (for once) and very filling, all washed down with a few glasses of a very nice Californian pinot noir.
After dinner I went fully flat and managed to get around 2hrs kip, however I abruptly woke up in (im sorry for the graphic nature of this...) a pool of my own sweat, the cabin was stiflingly hot, the lady next to me was fanning herself with her menu, I asked her how long it had been like this and she said about 1.5hrs and shed asked the crew twise to turn the temperature down.
I dont understand what crews obsession is with making the cabin unbarably hot inbetween the meals... dont get me wrong everyone likes to be cosy when they sleep but its far too often too hot on aircraft. I had a word with the CSD in the galley and the temperature did drop a little after this but still too warm and I couldn't get back to sleep.
Afternoon tea... what a joke, wont dwell on this as we all know it is, all I got was a tray with 3 tiny sandwiches on, no cutlery, no scone, no jam, no clotted creme.
Landing was on time and disembarkation, immigration and bag retrieval was all very quick.
Overall, I do love BA and club world but there are consistency issues, fast track boarding, afternoon tea, sometimes with a scone sometimes without. The crew on this flight were very friendly whilst serving me but still got the impression it was bare minimum and off to the bunks please. That said the main meal was probably one of the best I've had at BA.
BA2167: London Gatwick to Tampa
I checked in for this flight online 24 hours before departure, having already pre-selected my seat at the time of booking. I have never had the opportunity to travel in First, so as this was a three class 777, I decided to sit as far forward as possible in an aisle seat, and was therefore in 2B.
I arrived at London Gatwick and made my way to Check In Zone A. At the far end is a cordoned area for Club World and First passengers. In truth it was not particularly well organised though the right intentions were there as one lady was welcoming passengers to the priority area, checking the hand luggage and then directing them to a desk. However, as she was on her own, other passengers bypassed her and went straight to the check-in desk much to the consternation of some passengers!
I was seen quickly by a very friendly gentleman who offered directions to both the Lounge and Fastrak Security.
I then made my way the short distance to the Fastrak Security area, which has moved since I last had the privilege of using it. It is completely separate from the main security area. The advantage of this is that the staff don't suddenly send economy passengers when it is busy elsewhere. However on the converses there is only one lane, I had the unfortunate position of being behind a family including 3 very young children. It therefore took nearly 15 minutes to get through security. I had plenty of time so it did not matter to me but I imagine it can get quite stressful at busy times.
I then went straight to the BA Terraces Lounge. BA has a First and Terraces Lounges, both on the 4th Floor. They are reached by using a lift or stairs from the 3rd floor. Every time I have used this Lounge, it is always busy but there seemed to be plenty of staff on hand to clear away cups and plates to enable new visitors to take available seats.
At this time, around 9am, the food offering was clearly geared up to breakfast as you would expect. It was of the continental variety, with offerings including various cereals, fruit, yoghurts, porridge, danish pastries, cheeses and toast. I was a bit disappointed that there were no bacon rolls, but perhaps I've got used to the high standards of LHR T5!
I did ask for and receive a lovely glass of champagne which more than made up and set me up for the flight.
As no announcements are made in the Lounge, I went down to the Gate when instructed to do so on the screen. It became confusing at the gate as a narrow corridor lead to two gates, the Tampa flight I was on and a BA flight to Amsterdam. It was not clear that the Tampa passengers did not need to be in this queue until we reached the end of the corridor. A design flaw I think!
We then had to go through two checks before entering the departure area. Thirty minutes before the scheduled departure, boarding commenced for Club World travellers and Gold Executive members.
Club World on this plane is split into two with Rows 1-8 in the forward cabin and Rows 9-11 in the second cabin, and before World Traveller Plus. As there is no First Class Cabin, it is definitely better to be in the forward cabin, and I was very pleased with my seat selection, 2B, as it meant that I did not have anyone stepping over my legs as well as being served quickly.
Although the flight was pretty full, the crew were very efficient at getting everyone organised and we pushed back a few minutes early. After the Seat Belt sign was extinguished, the crew handed out hot towels, the menus and amenity kits.
The Lunch Menu was as follows:
Starters: Crayfish and beetroot smoked salmon salad with chive creme fraiche, or
Blue cheese and caramelised walnut salad with creamy Parmesan dressing.
Salad: Fresh seasonal salad served with vinaigrette.
Main: Roasted breast of chicken wrapped in prosciutto with celeriac mashed potatoes and shallow jus. Or
Seared fillet steak with salsa verde, thyme-roasted cocotte potatoes and creamed leeks. Or
Prawn masala with coriander rice. Or
Chilled main course salad of new potato, rocket and blood orange with with shanklish goat's cheese balls and Parmesan dressing.
Dessert: Chocolate hazelnut tart. Or
Butler's Secret Cheddar and Shropshire Blue cheese with plum and ginger chutney. Or
A selection of fruits.
Lunch was served with the following wines:
White: Chablis 2011, Domaine Sainte Claire, Burgundy, France
Tiki Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand.
Red: Barbera d'Asti Superiore 2009, DOCG, "La Luna e l Falo". Piedmont, Italy.
Wakefield 'Jarman' Shiraz 2009, Clare Valley / McLaren Valley, South Australia.
The champagnes that were on offer were:
>Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne
> Champagne de Castelnau Brut Rose NV
> Champagne Boizel Grand Vintage 2004
I selected the Crayfish as the starter and the fillet steak as the main course and I was not disappointed. The service was personal and efficient, but not rushed.
I watched a couple of films throughout the flight, had a brief sleep and did some reading, as well as visiting the Club Kitchen for some water and fruit. It was well stocked with wraps and crisps available along with various drinks.
Afternoon Tea was served about 90 minutes before arrival. This comprised of
> An individual selection of sandwiches featuring smoked salmon with lemon creme fraiche and roast beef with horseradish mayonnaise.
> Plain or fruit scones served warm with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
We arrived about 30 minutes early, and as Tampa is not a busy International Airport, I was through immigration and had collected my bags within 20 minutes.
I was staying overnight at the Marriott Hotel, which is actually accessed directly within the terminal building. This is a superb hotel and one I would stay at again if I needed to overnight whilst in transit.
Overall an excellent flight. Ruth marshalled her crew really well which made for an enjoyable flight.
Check in at LAX was quick and polite, using the First desk. Security was busy but moving, the process taking about 15 minutes.
Arrived at the Oneworld lounge and directed to the First lounge. The lounge is decorated mainly in grey and there is no natural light. Ample computers available for use and wifi good. Food offering a little limited, although the garlic and tomato soup was tasty. There were two other dishes available a chicken dish and a vegetarian option along with rice and a few vegetables. There was nothing much in the way of “snack” food.
Boarding was called 45 minutes before departure and it was a 10 minute walk to the gate. Getting through the gate was quick as fast track was being dealt with first. We were welcomed on board by name and directed to our seats on the upper deck where we were warmly greeted by the two stewardesses.
Drinks were offered and we pushed back was on time. Once in the air, hot towels were offered, menus and amenity kits. Menu was a bit disappointing in that there was no chicken dish other than salad. I opted for the beef which was tender and tasty. The mash potato was a bit runny. I took the desert and the cheese board which were fine.
Breakfast was served an hour and three quarters before landing, hot towels were offered. The choice was fruit or bircher muesli, I wanted the muesli but had to wait for a few minutes whilst one was sourced from down stairs. It was worth waiting for. The smoothie was good but the bacon roll was not that good.
Arrival was 20 minutes early and disembarking was swift at B terminal with no real wait for a shuttle. Immigration was very quick and for the first time in a long time the priority labels worked as our baggage was within the first 20 bags, also marked priority.
We made our way to the arrivals lounge for a shower and refreshment. The lounge was quiet but the food offering was limited.
A most pleasant flight with an excellent crew who made us feel welcome and nothing too much trouble.
I flew from Newark to Heathrow on the 21.25 departure on a Saturday evening. Upon arrivals, the dopey taxi driver dropped me on level 3 despite me telling him to go to level 1. Thankfully ground staff helped me with my bags to the check-in counter. Check-in was fast and staff were very friendly.
There was a fast-track lane at security, but as only one lane was open the queue was long and the wait even longer. This looks set to continue in the future due to the US budget cuts impacting airports. The queue was made no longer by a young teenager who had already passed through security and while looking for the toilets had managed to walk back to the public departure hall. This caused a security incident and some angry officials and parents. I thought the teenager did very well in showing the holes in US Customs and Border Control, but I kept this to myself.
Once through security, I made my way to the lounge via the elevator. A note to those who don't like elevators - these are slow and take a while to open, but do work. Upon arrival at the lounge, I was told that my flight was a sleeper flight so I was shown to the area where I could have dinner. The buffet was not as extensive as JFK, but it was very good and staff couldn't do enough. After dinner, I headed to the gate and noted that the BA plane was beside the Virgin flight flying the same route. The Virgin flight was an hour late, but thankfully our flight was on time!
Boarding started early and premium passengers boarded after those with children or who need help wit boarding. The first thing I noticed was the bad mood of the cabin crew on my side of the business class cabin. Neither of this could raise a smile and were downright rude to the 2 American couples who were traveling to London for the first time. I was embarrassed and told them all Brits are not as moody as the crew and we had a good laugh.
I didn't try the entertainment for two reasons - I wanted to sleep and the AVOD has not been upgraded so is painful to manage. This plane gets upgraded in May. I slept for just over 5 hours and had no breakfast as I prefer the arrivals lounge.
We landed ahead of time and bags were on the carousel when I arrived. All in all a good flight with great on the ground staff, but staff on the flight let BA down
Arrived at First check in just after 0900, there was no queue and we were directed to an available clerk. The check in process was quick, although the clerk did take a phone call whilst checking in which I found annoying but he did apologise.
Fast track security was quiet, but there was the slowing down of the male taking the tray with shoes whilst the female searched a female and vice versa.
After a bit of shopping headed for the First lounge, entry was swift and with a smile. It was busy but not bustling. Standard breakfast fayre was available. I had a couple of rolls with bacon and sausage which were quite nice.
We left the lounge at 1115 to head for B gates. A shuttle was just disembarking passengers as we arrived and boarding was prompt. We headed to the gate which had just started to board premium cabins and certain World Traveller rows. The process was quick with no wait other than the people who were in front of us.
Greeted at the door by the CSD and another crew member, were not welcomed by name but the greeting was pleasant and welcoming. We were seating the upper deck and made our way upstairs where we were greeted by the male and female crew for the cabin.
The usual drinks of champagne, orange juice or water were offered. Push back was slightly delayed due to missing passengers. The cabin was showing signs of age, but didn’t detract from the comfort of the journey.
Once airborne hot towels were offered followed by amenity kits and menus. The CSD came around and introduced himself and shook hands and asked if everything was in order. Drinks were served shortly afterwards, I had the Pinot Noir which was very nice.
For lunch I chose the cream cheese panna cotta for starters which was good. There was also Cajun prawns. The usual salad was provided which was fine although a couple of leaves looked a bit tired. A variety of breads were also offered.
For the main I chose the Cod with chick pea and feta casserole and rice which the fish was nice and moist, the whole dish was tasty. There was also the choice of beef, vegetable korma curry and a ploughman’s.
For dessert I chose the lemon and amarti tart which was nice and light. There was also cheese and ice cream. All washed down with a nice mug of tea.
The IFE was a bit disappointing in that the audio seemed to have far less choice of CD’s. However I settled down to watching Skyfall, Miranda and Coldplay and a couple of hours sleep. Visited the Club Kitchen and there was a good selection of items from Waitrose of fresh fruit, wraps and sandwiches. I partook in a yoghurt.
Afternoon tea was served about an hour and a half before landing. There were three finger sandwiches, one cheese, one chicken and one salmon. They were served in a package but they were fresh and the bread moist. Scones were offered and I chose a fruit scone which was warm and nice. There were three petit fours which were a little sugary for my taste.
Whilst the flight arrived early at 1500, there was an issue with the airbridge which delayed our disembarking until 1520. Immigration was painfully slow and eventually getting to the landside at 1700.
All in all a pleasant flight with an attentive and friendly crew.
Quite late to check in for the 13.15 departure from Mumbai back to London, due to the heavier than usual traffic and the taxi driver surprisingly getting a little lost at one point !!
Nobody waiting at any desk so check in very swift and was allocated an aisle seat in the last row on the main deck. Security was the usual painfully slow affair at Mumbai and by the time i was through and arrived at the gate, pre-boards were just being called. This was a completely packed flight in all cabins and boarding took a little longer than usual and baggage overflow from economy was being bought forward and stored in the business cabin.
Once airborne the menu's were handed out and I smiled to myself thinking as i'm in last row I have no hope of getting my first choices. Sure enough when the crew came to take my order neither the starter or main choice I requested were available, and then to add insult to injury, when it came to dessert they had also got none of what I wanted. I know this not at all the crew's fault so took no objection with them. The meal itself was okay at best, however the salad accompanying the main meal was truly an embarrassment. Flying out of India this does seem to be the norm so again no quibble raised with the crew.
Flight continued without incident, IFE worked faultlessly and was on demand, cabin crew attentive and the refreshment before landing was quite tasty and despite leaving a little late, arrived in T5 on time.
All in all, as ever a reliable safe service, food a disappointment - which sadly I kind of expect these days, but super crew, friendly and chatty, and on time !
BA193 LHR DFW 9 hours 20 minutes
Arrived from Malta and took flight connections from T4 to T5, security was slow, not helped by the ridiculous way the security agents were working, if someone set off the archway, the man or woman (depending on the sex of the passenger) would search them, but the other would stop and hold a tray ready for their shoes, for up to 30 seconds, then walk across slowly and put them through the x-ray machine - just ridiculous as it stops anyone going through the arch in the meantime.
Went to Plane Food and bought a picnic, noticed that the gate was advertised in the B satellite, so took the shuttle (after waiting several minutes for a staff member to check the cars at a languid pace. I know it is Saturday, but found it quite frustrating that people were working at half speed.
Had a quick drink in the B lounge and then went to gate, even though the lounge FIDS said only the gate number and found premium boarding underway and well policed - I've scored it 10/10 in the review numbers, well done BA.
The 747 was in tidy condition and 64K was as accommodating as usual, although the IFE screen had apparent dried liquid on the inside of the glass which reduced the already poor resolution and basically made it unusable for watching movies, fortunately this wasn't on my agenda.
The two crew on the upper deck, one female and one male, were very good and did enough to deliver an effective service, without overdoing it, very good crew and pleasant dispositions to boot. I will criticize airlines for poor cabin crew, but also give praise where due and it was.
A big thanks to Woburn man for recommending the Ploughman's salad, which was great, really tasty and filling.
A poor guy across the aisle ordered the 'seared steak' and I heard him say it was overdone, to which the crew member replied it was difficult to do steak well in electric ovens; his riposte, which I thought was hilarious, was to say with a straight face that these ovens shared their technology with the electric chair and achieved the same outcome.
Less welcome was the 'afternoon tea', which had three sandwiches that reminded me of the size/type served at parties for 3 year olds and wrapped in ghastly cellophane and a scone that looked suitable for testing the integrity of an airliner windshield - compared to the salad I had on LH last month as the second meal (MUC-EWR), it was disappointing, but my neighbour benefitted from mine, as I demolised Gordon's finest picnic, which was excellent.
Our two crew members took turns coming around with trays of juice and topping up my champagne glass and the hours passed relatively quickly, before arrival and a 1 hour 15 minute wait for immigration followed by a taxi to a local motel. Tomorrow, it's back to DFW to collect a drop top Mustang and drive down to Austin, for a weeks client work.
All in all, a good flight with BA and it is so frustrating that they cannot deliver this level of performance every time.
LHR - LAX
I was upgraded from WTP to Business at check-in due to a full flight in back, so I should be more grateful... but... I was given an aisle in the middle section on the lower deck, with two children next to me. In the row ahead was a man with a baby. It was the beginning of Easter holidays. I started to guess why they had given me the upgrade, as business was full of children.
Fortunately, I spotted an empty window seat and asked the flight attendant, who remembered my request and after boarding was finished came and told me I could move. Even better, it was the last row of business which offered a clear way to aisle. Of course this inconvenienced the woman sitting opposite me in my new seat, as we now became neighbours, facing each other for the 11 hour flight.
Take off was a bit late, but we had a quick taxi.
The food service started, and lasted what seemed like half the flight. They had my first choice (a welcome surprise since I was a "last minute" addition), but it was a tough steak. Service was fine, if not spectacular, but painfully slow. I am still surprised that BA does not offer any after dinner wines or port. I was told "not in this class of service". Anyway, I noticed that the crew was running around constantly, so I can only chalk up the very slow service to a reduced number. Shame, as I think the crew would have been much better if they had a chance to breathe once in a while.
The slow service would not be such an issue if it weren't for the let down of the IFE. I was disappointed the last time I flew BA in Club, noticing that the quality of the screen is quite poor, especially in day light. This was true on this day flight as well, even though the blinds were down. No matter how you adjust the contrast, the screen is difficult to view. I haven't noticed this to be such a problem on other airlines; maybe it is the type of screen BA is using. This would not be so terrible, but they had to re-set the IFE 3 separate times on the flight, which of course was annoying. It took me 5 hours to finish a film, by which time the meal service had just ended.
I dosed a bit in the middle of the flight, and this is where the CW seat comes into its own, allowing you to fully recline.
The second meal was high tea, but I was offered either sandwiches or scones (but not both). The scones seemed freshly baked, and were the highlight of the flight in my view. Otherwise, it was a rather meagre second offering.
Landing was slightly behind schedule, but quick through immigration and customs and on my way into the LA night.
Verdict: A bonus being upgraded certainly, but the thought of paying full whack for CW is inconceivable. I'll probably be saving CW for upgrades on Avios in the future. Not that there were any great flaws in the flight or service, just that there was nothing special worthy of paying 2 or 3 times the ticket for a seat in the back, imho.
Recently flew from Heathrow to Amman in Club World on this A321 former BMI aircraft. Connected from Glasgow and transferred from T5 to T1 where we underwent security screening once more.
We made our way to the BA international lounge in T1 which I found to be very impressive- good range of food and drinks on offer, uncrowded at 1730 that evening, clean and tidy and with good views out to the apron.
Boarding was from gate 74 which was only a short walk from the lounge. The boarding process itself was rather chaotic with the cramped conditions at the gate itself meaning that it was not possible to have a priority queue for Club passengers or those with a Gold or Silver card. All passengers board from door one; this making it very difficult for cabin crew to offer a pre-departure drinks service to CW passengers before all passengers were on board and had made their way to their seats.
The seats themselves are all forward facing in this single aisle aeroplane and arranged 1:2, 2:1 respectively. I actually prefer this arrangement to the ying/yang in CW on the 777 and 747. The seat was very comfortable (wider than the traditional CW seat) with a good-sized IFE screen in front. The CW cabin has 23 flat-bed seats therein compared with the 31 cradle seats that BMI previously had installed on this type of aircraft. The one disadvantage of this new arrangement is that there is now only 1 toilet, rather than 2, in Club (it's worse in WT though with up to 131 passengers sharing only 2 toilets).
Once we took off the inflight service began- albeit rather slowly. This flight is operated by BA's short haul cabin crew and on our outbound flight they struggled somewhat with the CW service, appearing always to be rushing around and almost panicky.
BA now offer a Rose Champagne from de Castelnau as well as a Champagne Boizel Grand Vintage 2004 in CW in addition to the Tattinger Brut Reserve NV, but on the outbound flight only the Tattinger was available (the Rose was available on the return flight but I'm not sure whether the vintage champagne was).
The dinner was tasty, if perhaps the beef was rather overdone.
After a flight time of 4 hours 20 minutes we landed at the newly opened international terminal at Queen Alia Airport where we were quickly through passport control (there is now a visa desk next to each of the passport lanes in the new terminal which means it is very easy to purchase a visa on arrival : cost 20 Jordanian Dinars).
On our return flight there were only 8 passengers in CW as opposed to the full cabin we had on our outward journey. The cabin service was very organised and this was not only I think due to their being less passengers, but also the Purser having operated on the A321 CW service on a number of previous occasions- he was particularly organised and efficient. Rather surprisingly we were served lunch- I had expected a brunch- as the flight departed at 0900 and landed at 1215 local time some 5 and a bit hours later. I wasn't quite ready for chicken and potatoes before 10am, but nonetheless the Rose Champagne aided my enjoyment of this.
All in all two excellent flights in CW on the ex BMI A321. I much prefer this particular CW seat and would implore BA to retro-fit them on all existing 777 and 747 aircraft!
BA124 BAH LHR
Due to a very late change of plans, I found myself taking BA instead of GF and paid £2,500 for a last minute one way ticket in Club World.
Check in - check in was in the premium area of BAH airport and was smooth and painless, as was security clearance.
BA uses the Dilmun lounge, which is nicely furnished, with a good selection of drinks, but poor food, with sandwiches and snacks; this was disappointing for a sleeper service. Fortunately, I had eaten in my hotel executive lounge (The excellent Regency Intercontinental.)
Boarding was handled well, with the gate being located close to the lounge and premium pax being called quite late, meaning the queue was small.
The greeting at the door was neither warm nor cold and efficient. However, the aircraft, G-ZZZC was very clean and tidy, even old first looked in very good condition, as I passed through it.
Having been restricted to a choice of E or F seats due to the last minute booking, I had asked the check in agent if their was a completely free pair, but on boarding the seat next t me was occupied by a guy who had plugged in a laptop and looked as if he was going to be active. So given I wanted to sleep, I found the CSD and arranged to move to another pair where I would have no neighbour.
I don't know what happened in terms of communication breakdown between the crew, but I never received a menu and no-one came to ask my what I'd like to eat (which would have been nothing.) I didn't get a bottle of water, either.
The captain made the usual announcements and said it would be a bit bumpy after departure, which it was for about 45 mins, so I cranked my seat back and went to sleep.
Waking up in time for breakfast, there was the usual mountaineering challenge to get into the aisle, for a quick freshen up, followed by asking a crew member if they were going to serve a breakfast, as we were only just over 80 mins out of London and there was no sign of movement.
To cut a long story short, the woman was astonished I didn't have a menu and gave me one; it must be said that the lady in question was not the member looking after 'my side' of the aircraft.
When the crew member came to take my order, it was a bit hard going; I asked for a smoothie and the continental breakfast. She then insisted on going through the menu like a checklist, would you like Orange juice or fruit? No thank you, I would like a smoothie and the continental breakfast. Would you like cereal? I would like a smoothie and the continental breakfast. Would you like the bread basket?
When the smoothie and continental breakfast arrived, it was okay - I still got the cereal, which I just left and she looked most put out when I declined the bread basket. Bl**dy hell, I began to wonder how larger her IQ was than her shoe size and then it clicked - now I understand why I didn't get a menu, bottle of water etc.
As the aircraft started to descend into London, I retrieved my wallet and stuff form the small drawer built into the seat and saw that one of the plugs on the headphones provided (still in the cellophane wrap) was twisted at a strange angle, so I thought I'd inform a crew member, so he could report it and someone could go back up the supply chain and take corrective action, as a plug twisted like this one could have broken off in the socket, causing a problem. I stressed that it had not affected my flight, as I used my own set with my iPod.
The next thing I knew, I had a visit from the CSD, who seemed to have got the wrong end of the stick and was quite defensive, saying if I had reported this at the start of the flight, they would have changed the set. I found this a little irritating, as it seemed to me that I was being blamed for a lack of QC in their system, but I restricted myself to commenting that I had informed her colleague that I had only just noticed, as I was using my own set and despite travelling in business class, was quite capable of reaching across to the F seat and taking the headset from the other (empty) seat. This seem to mollify the lady and off she went, to thank the cabin crew for all their hard work (which obviously did not include delivering my menu and water, but I could not deny that getting the breakfast was hard work for me, so it probably was for the FA, too), before asking them to sit down. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.... this is one of the things I most hate about travelling BA.
We arrived at London 15 mins ahead of schedule, into the C pier and as we were one of the first arrivals, progress through T5 was stress free and rapid.
My bag came out within the first 20 and all were priority tagged, so that was good.
On balance, very clean/tidy aircraft, don't know what the dinner was like or the F&B, inattentive cabin crew, good experience at T5. I'd rate this flight was a 3* experience, tops.
19/02/13 IST to LHR. It was to my surprise to find that a long haul 767 was on this sector, so really nice to have a flat bed and wide choice of films to watch. Crew a little confused as not used to this con fig. Food ok but after flying this route so often for last couple of years am bored with the same old choice of meals. Crew seemed to disappear after the meal service, i found them sitting in the galleys eating, talking and ignoring passengers, they did respond when asked but made no effort before being spoken too to engage. Landed 25 minutes early, but arriving at a C gate (which i hate) means you loose the time made up walking for miles and waiting for the shuttle. IRIS was working which was a nice treat.
LHR – MIA
Pre-flight: I was in transit from a flight from TLS into T1, so had the usual bus trip from T1 to T5. No problem except for the tiresome requirement to go through security again even though one has not been landside. The South lounge is good both for food and drink except for the awful requirement to ask a waiter if you want champagne. “Another??!!”
The flight departed from Satellite C, two quick stops on the train from the main T5. Boarding was painless and a glass of champagne was on offer before take-off.
On board: one either loves or hates the clumsy fore-and-aft facing seats in BA business class. I personally hate them, but have learned to cope with the twin possibilities of being either rude (by shutting your sliding window at the earliest opportunity) or bored by having to chat (if you don’t).
I also find it difficult to be forced to face rearwards if I want a window seat to starboard. The other disadvantage of these seats is the lack of storage space. The seats themselves are actually physically unpleasant – narrow, hard, with rigid arm rests and with ‘wings’ (as in wing chairs) of solid, bruising plastic. A disastrous design which ignores every principle of ergonomics.
How very old-fashioned it is to receive a little toilet bag containing socks, eye masks, a tooth brush, ear plugs and four useless Elemis products. One wishes they would not bother.
The F & B was average. The NV Taittinger was bog standard: cocktails were never mentioned except in the handout: a 2011 Chablis is simply poor and the American Sauvignon blanc little better. An Italian red (Barbera d’Asti 2009) was drinkable. I did not try the Sonoma pinot noir. The main course choice was steak (which BA always ruins) and cod which was dry and tasteless. A risotto or a cold collation were also on offer.
Late in the flight, “afternoon tea” came round. A sandwich and a scone were correct, but the sandwich was “served” still in its cardboard & plastic wrapping! This is sheer idleness on the part of the crew.
Some four hours into the flight (and then only having asked) I was told that the IFE had broken down. You could not watch a movie and could only join a tv program in mid-stream. Nothing was available a la carte. “Just like the old days” a steward told me laughing heartily. On a 9+ hour flight this is not amusing or acceptable. Some six hours into the flight, we had heard nothing from the flight deck: no destination weather, no arrival time, no apology for the IFE breakdown.
I feel driven to ask how long this dysfunctional, amateurish operation can continue. With the more professional KLM and Lufthansa available a short hop away, BA must change or die. The jargon phrase is “unfit for purpose”: with these aging aircraft and 1960s service values, the phrase fits.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this flight was the behavior and attitude of some of the cabin staff. They were either cold and remote or overly “matey”. The service of meals, admittedly hampered by the dreadful seat lay-out, was more corner café than quality restaurant.
Coats were not taken on boarding. Toilets were uncleaned. The small courtesies were ignored. We never saw the CSD who probably never emerged from the first class cabin. Either the training or the recruiting criteria need a thorough overhaul: perhaps both.
Flight BA 269 LHR TO LAX Upgraded at Boarding Gate from WTP - Club World
Booking my flight via a friend l was able to gain from the BA hotline service. I booked as always WTP. This flight was for the 1500 departure from London Heathrow on Christmas Eve for Los Angeles. This flight was in conjunction with a BA flight down from Aberdeen. For what its worth I saved just over £200.
Checking in on line l was greeted with the message "Sorry we cannot check you in online for this flight as we are unable to offer you a choice of seat at present" this was showing for both flights. I had pre paid for both seats. A quick email to my friend who booked the seat resulted in the information being gleaned that there was only 1 seat in First, 2 in Club and none in WTP or Economy. But there were some 15 staff on standby. The advice l was given on how to proceed was "Bother them but be gentle if you find that you don't have your booked seats, but let them know your aware the flight is overbooked".
I checked the following day at the BA terminal in Aberdeen and mentioned to the service air member of staff the fact l couldn't check in online. I did say that if this flight to London was full l would be happy to take a later flight to London. He told me that wasn't where the problem is but rather its my next flight. I told him l was aware its overbooked, No response other than check in as normal at the desk in T 5.
Check in for real. It was Christmas Eve. The terminal did seem rather quiet. I noticed a BA customer service rep hovering round the check in desks. My flight wasn't open for check in yet but what the heck the charm offensive starts now! l approached the lady and asked her what time the desk would open for check in for the Flight to LA., she scanned the sheets and l uttered the immortal words "I'm only concerned as my flight is overbooked & 15 of those are staff." She told me the time and pointed out which desks l should go to, and asked how did l know my flight was overbooked. I regaled my tale of how l booked the flights via a friend in BA using the friends and family discount. Then when l went to checkin online the system told me they were unable to offer me a choice of seat. Even though l had paid her whole manner became more more friendlier (not that she wasn't friendly before) but she re scanned the sheets and said Oh don't worry Sir we will get you onboard. But yes your flight is showing as full, however use that checkin desk over there.
With that l went and waited for the desks to open up, they did shortly afterwards and off l went to check in. I went to the desk the agent pointed at and handed over the passport and engaged in conversation. I regaled yet again my story of how l couldn't check in online and that the flight was overbooked and l did so much hope that the staff can get on this flight, She asked me oh how did l know it was overbooked, I told the other part of my story about how l had booked via a friend in BA and she had told me about the staff being on standby. She said "oh lets take a look at your ticket" and she looked into the booking on her screen in more detail. I did say that l do hope the staff can get their seats on this Christmas Eve flight as l think to be flying away today is just so exciting, in fact any more excitement and lm liable to burst!" Which l guess is not what they expect a 43 year old man to say, but the camp chat caused her to laugh.
I produced a box of Christmas chocolates and said to her My dear these are for you, its Christmas and May l wish you a very merry Christmas. She was l felt quite stunned by this little act of Christmas spirit and said that in all her years she had never been given such a thing by a passenger, we bantered some more about the USA as she types away on her keyboard and out then came the magical boarding pass. Boarding at B 36 Gate l was still in my same pre booked seat in WTP seat 31 A, Always a good seat and one that l always pay for, no one behind you, and the view is ok in that you can watch the flaps and speed brakes etc on take off.
The 2 suitcases were safely on their way and the agent wished me a very pleasant journey and a Merry Christmas. I thanked her and went on my way re leaved l had a seat. I have flown this route now 4 times return and assumed that oh well no upgrade but it was fun the interaction.
I did have an Amex fast track pass which l had purchased via ebay for 99p so already what small lines there were at security were even less on the fast track side, only one in front. My only minor comment with T 5 is when you go through security you are right away into the pathway of the masses and by the time you collect your various containers there really is no where to put yourself back together without being rushed, and l hate being rushed.
Enjoyed a nice all day breakfast at the Giraffe cafe and a browse through duty free and before long the flight was showing on the departure screen. Took the transit train to B gates (on previous flights it was always C gates) There really isn't much to do at B gates other than chat to fellow passengers.
The boarding process was soon underway and starting with WT the 747 aircraft was filled from the rear. Boarding then for passengers in WTP commenced and l joined the line, handed over the passport and boarding card which was scanned and out spewed a new boarding card, not realising what had happened the agent said Mr ##### British Airways are pleased to upgrade you to Club World, your seat is 19 A have a pleasant flight and Merry Christmas.
For a moment l was stunned and lost for words, it didn't last long. "Thank you so very much British Airways, l really do appreciate this and a Merry Christmas to you indeed" as l went down the steps l punched the air with glee and couldn't believe it. A quick call to those that mattered to share the news and l boarded. An upgrade from Premium to Business.
Showing the new boarding pass to the cabin crew at the door l was welcomed to Club World and directed to my seat 19 A, all the other passengers were already settled. It took a moment to realise that my seat was facing backwards and the whole set up looked strange. Other than passing by on previous flights l hadn't given much notice to club world. The 2 bags were placed in the locker, plenty of space, the steward returned to offer a glass of champagne, naturally l accepted.
19 A is a window seat which is my chosen requirement. But l must say it was strange to be seated facing someone else, the divider was down and l wasn't sure if l liked it. Anyway we took off slightly later. A another drink was offered as l studied how the seat was going to work and limited conversation with the passenger opposite, it was like pulling teeth. Then the divider was raised by the steward, l had no objection and neither did the other passenger, and there l was in my own little world.
The menu came round with a little card advising of the festive nature the menu would reflect this.
A varied choice menu Starters: Grilled tiger prawns or Five mile goats cheese, Salad: Fresh Seasonal salad with vinagrette. Main Course was Seared Angus Beef or Seared Sea Bream, Vietnamese Curry or a chilled main course salad. Dessert was Toffee apple crisp, Cheese and grapes , or a selection of fruit and Chocolates. The festive additions were the Roast Turkey and mince pies..The steward came back to take my order l mentioned that i wasn't keen on the starters but some fruit would be nice, the salad, Turkey and mince pies with Tea. As l work in a hotel there was no need to reel of the whole description the basics is all we need.
It wasn't long before as it happens the Purser appeared with a (chilled) plate of sliced apple and pomegranate seeds, beautiful presentation and he hoped l enjoyed it, I did! the salad was well just a salad but the Roast Turkey again lovely presentation, and didn't look as though it had been turned out onto a plate. Dessert was again very nice and a refreshing mug of tea, i joked that he can leave the tea pot and l can help myself, he noted this as tea refills were very frequent. Along with a frequent top up of drinks its was a delightful dinner service.
The wines were White Le G de Chateau Guiraud 2011/ Reata Chardonnay 2010 and RED Chateauneuf Du Pape 2010 and Byron Pinot Noir 2010 Santa Barbara.
Champagne Taittinger Brut Reserve
The menu told me about the club kitchen, which is in effect a mini chilled fridge with various little snacks, shortbread, chocolates, ice cream, pastries, yogurts, and sandwiches and its a space to stretch your legs. I made a few trips there during the flight and enjoyed the camp chat with the crew, mainly the purser and regaled again the story of my booking etc. I asked did all the staff get on that were on standby, they did! and l joked that probably the best party now was in steerage, which he found highly amusing.
Thanked him personally for the great onboard service and how much l appreciated the upgrade, he seemed pleased that someone was appreciative of his and the crew services, and working in the hotel industry i am more aware of the understanding of just how it all works.
Back at my seat the larger in flight entertainment screen was a bonus, and they were playing Christmas tunes, it would have been nicer if they had some festive films showing, but hey life isn't perfect, even in Club World.
A chance to try out the flat bed, and yes it was very comfortable and a nice thick blanket, l did nod off for half an hour or so but what with the moving map and music l was happy to stay wide awake and enjoy this upgrade. High above the clouds this Christmas Eve, a free upgrade, champagne in one hand, Christmas tunes playing in the headphones and the most amazing view out the window, life really doesn't get much better.
Never noticed the duty free going round, but then they are very quick and blink and you miss them.
The Afternoon tea service again was of a high standard, the menu as far as l was concerned only showed that there was one sandwich l would like and that was the Chicken and Basil, Prawn cocktail and cheese and chutney l really didn't care for, l mentioned to the purser that l was only keen on the chicken one, he explained that they are all pre wrapped but to leave it with him, he duly appeared and gave me 3 packs and said oh just leave what you don't like and the comment extra tea again is it, its these small things in customer service that l feel make all the difference and the fact he left me one of each scone (warm!) with cream and strawberry jam just added to it, even though the menu worded it as a choice..again a very regular tea top up.
The purser came round with a questionnaire and asked would l object to completing the survey for this flight. Naturally l didn't mind. They were all given top marks as truthfully the service reflected this. l added some extra comments in view of the crew and customer service and handed it back into the galley, with it opened so that they could see exactly what I had written, well it was only fair that they should see what praise l had heaped upon them. The purser returned shortly afterwards to thank me very much for the very kind comments. As it happened BA followed up the survey 2 weeks later.
I remembered that l had a spare box of chocolates in my bag so l dug these out and as the call had gone out we would be landing shortly l took out a $50 and went to the galley to express my sincere thanks to the Purser and the crew for all they had done to make this flight just so enjoyable and not only that but the upgrade was an magic way to start my holidays. He thanked me very much and expressed that there was no need for such gifts but the crew were going out for Xmas day brunch tomorrow he would ensure that all the onboard crew knew that Mr ***** in 19 A had left them $50 towards the drinks tab. The impression l got was one of sincere gratitude.
The flight into LAX was a beautiful night time landing & we disembarked quickly, one point l did notice the purser extended a handshake and used my name and the comments enjoy the Holidays. One of the younger crew members right at the edge winked and thanked me for buying the drinks..all in all the holiday spirit was in the air, l was nearly sad to be disembarking.
The arrivals and immigration appeared to be understaffed and in no time the officials were swamped with customers as well as another flight that had just landed. A lady immigration official roped and un roped various sections for us to pass through, the couple in front of me took great delight in announcing in a posh voice for all to hear that they were in First Class and where was their section, only to be shot down in flames with the comments "This Sir is the USA , Your not onboard the aircraft any more." Looking around there were a few gentle smiles among the rest of us.
It took half an hour to clear US immigration and a further 20 minutes wait for the luggage to appear and with what seemed like two very longs at Customs it took me only 5 min's to get through.
Christmas Eve in the USA was about to get under way.
A further note I was at the Queen Mary for Christmas Day brunch and who did l bump into at the buffet but the Purser and the very same flight crew from the night before..It is indeed a very small world.
As is the case it seems if you get a great crew the service is outstanding, as l felt it was on this flight.
Thanks BA You now have this customer for life!
I flew British Airways Club World from JFK to LHR.
Thanks to the cancellation of a late afternoon meeting, I arrived at JFK’s Terminal 7 at 3.45pm for a 9.40pm flight. Club World and First have their own check-in area in the Terminal (including electronic check-in kiosks), which are clearly sign-posted.
There was no queue but the check-in crew were more interested in chatting with each other than in signalling for me to come forward so it took a couple of moments before I was seen. I’d checked in on-line the night before and was worried that I was too early to drop off my bags (owing to extensive retail therapy, I was using my full 3 piece check-in allowance and didn’t fancy having to keep them near me in the Terminal) but in the event, this wasn’t a problem.
I was asked about one of my pieces of luggage (which was a very strange shape) but my explanation seemed to satisfy. I was also asked to provide my BAEC card because the computer had flagged up an issue, which turned out to be that I’d gone from BAEC Bronze to BAEC Silver during my trip and the check-in lady wanted to let me know that a new card had been sent out to me. She also explained how to find the Galleries lounge and said that as I was on the sleeper service, I’d be able to have a meal when the service opened.
I was directed to a priority security line where, again, there was no queue and the TSA staff were actually rather cheery, which was a first for me in the US. I followed the check-in lady’s instructions towards the Galleries Lounge, but to be honest I found it clearly sign-posted. The airside part of the Terminal had an okay mix of eateries and stores – mostly tourist-orientated and I was disappointed by the lack of bookstores on offer as I could have done with buying a decent novel.
At the Galleries Lounge I was given a very warm welcome by a male lounge dragon who explained that the spa had opened at 4pm and I could book an appointment and who also explained that the sleeper service would be opening at 4.30pm and I could eat there at any time prior to my flight. Having flown out to the USA from LGW,
I was determined to get the most out of BA by having a spa treatment so immediately went to the spa area where I got an appointment for 4.20pm. Because I was one of the first people there I was given the choice from the full range of treatments and opted for a facial on the basis of positive reviews elsewhere.
I wandered around the lounge while waiting for my appointment slot. JFK’s Galleries Lounge appears to be a flagship for BA and it shows in the layout. I was impressed with the amount of space available and the range of seating options but the view was nothing to write home about (little more than concrete walls and the monorail). The spa takes up the area next to the kids’ zone (a dedicated room with a large TV and some toys) and the sleeper service dining area is in another dedicated room.
There are 3 bars – one dedicated to snacks and soft drinks (juice, sodas, tea and coffee together with finger sandwiches, cookies, packaged biscuits, fresh fruit and crisps), a second with a range of beers and juice (grapefruit, orange, apple and cranberry) and a third main alcohol bar with a good range of premium liquor, wines and beers together with pretzels and trail mix. There was also a TV screen switched to CNN.
I went to my spa appointment, which was with a male therapist. The massage chair was a little too firm for my tastes (I ended up with bruises at the base of my spine) but I liked the fact that it also kneads your feet. The facial itself was okay – I liked the fact that the therapist talked through each product he was using but I did find afterwards that he’d failed to clear off all the scrub so I needed to wash my face again. There was no offer of free samples, but I’m not a massive fan of Elemis products so it wasn’t a big issue.
By the time I came out of the spa the lounge staff had put out fresh finger sandwiches. I helped myself to some egg salad and bacon mayonnaise on rye bread but there was also chicken with mango chutney and tomato and avocado wraps and smoked salmon and cucumber. I noticed that the staff were constantly refreshing the sandwiches so they didn’t have a chance to dry out or run out but the staff were a little slower at clearing plates away from tables. I also had a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of Riesling, which was well chilled and absolutely delicious.
I found a chair and table to perch at while I ate and read a copy of The Times. The range of newspapers wasn’t that great (Times, Independent or Daily Mail plus the Wall Street Journal and some Chinese language papers) but I just wanted something that would feature non-US focused news.
The lounge did begin to fill up (partly because the 18:50 services to LCY and LHR were cancelled, meaning that there were people moved onto the later flights) and although there was still plenty of room to sit, there was a lot of competition for plug sockets and I found the room to get uncomfortably warm. I used the complementary wireless, which I found to give a good connection.
At about 6pm I went through to the sleeper service restaurant where my boarding pass was checked before I was invited to help myself. The restaurant is a buffet service and I thought that it had a good range of food: cold cuts and salads, a vegetable soup with bread rolls and a range of hot winter food (rice dishes, a casserole and mashed sweet potatoes).
I was particularly taken by the dumpling bar, which was offered as a performance service – it gave you the choice of dumplings (pork, shrimp, vegetable or duck), a choice of broth and a choice of extra ingredients. I went with shrimp and shitake mushrooms in a miso broth, which was hot, tasty and filling.
I followed it up with some of the winter vegetable soup, which was a little salty for me but perfectly edible. Desert offered a choice of cheeses or a chocolate cheesecake and there was also fruit for the more health conscious. There was also a choice of wines and beers and I helped myself to some more of the excellent Riesling.
A boarding call went out at 8.45pm, followed by a second call at 8.55pm so I made my way to Gate 7. As I was leaving the lounge I overheard another passenger ask why boarding was beginning so early for the 9.40pm flight and was told that they were hoping to leave early so they could de-ice the plane.
It only took a couple of minutes to walk from the lounge to the gate and there wasn’t a queue. The gate crew member tore my boarding pass in half and waved my through, which I found a little odd – as did the flight attendant who greeted me at the end of the air bridge who told me that the gate crew shouldn’t do that because she needed to check the flight details. She pointed me towards my seat where I found that Club World was almost completely full already.
I’d pre-selected 10F as it was the only aisle seat left but I found that the overhead bins were already pretty full with other people’s luggage and I had to squeeze my things past a BAEC Gold’s tagged bags. There was no offer to take my coat, so I shoved that in the overhead bin too.
The plane was very warm on boarding. Another passenger raised this with a flight attendant who told him that the plane would cool down once it was airborne (although a second flight attendant did later put on the cool air while we were still on the ground following more complaints). A flight attendant offered me a newspaper while I was still getting myself sorted out, which was a little irritating. There was a blanket and headset already on the seat, which was clean except for a dried in mark on the chair but I noticed that someone had put a seat user guide for a WT+ seat in the magazine rack instead of a user guide for a CW seat.
As soon as I sat down I was offered a choice of champagne, water or orange juice and went for the champagne. Amenity packs were brought around followed by menus. Because it was a sleeper service, the choice of food was limited as the idea is you eat before boarding. The options were:
Grilled swordfish brochette with carpaccio of marinated figs, balsamic-infused lentils and glazed goat’s cheese.
Artisan herb and mascarpone tortellini with Parmesan cream sauce and green asparagus.
Caramelised passion-fruit and lime delice.
Wine choices were:
Chablis 2011 Pomaine Sainte Claire, Burgundy, France
Lockwood Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Monterey County, California, USA
Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2009 DOCG, ‘La Luna e Falo’, Piedmont, Italy
Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir 2010, Sonoma Coast, California, USA.
The captain made an announcement explaining that early boarding was to enable the plane to de-ice and still keep to schedule. We pushed back at 9.30pm and proceeded to de-ice. The flight attendants took food orders while we were still on the ground. Neither of the food options really appealed to me, so instead I accepted the alternative offer of hot chocolate with warm artisan macadamia nut and chocolate ginger cookies. I couldn’t get my nightlight to work and found it difficult to flag down an attendant to help (practically having to rugby tackle one) although she was able to fix it easily.
As I said, seat 10F was the only aisle seat available when I went to use my BAEC Silver benefit of advance seat selection (note that this right kicks in about 24 hours after you gain that status on the system). The advantage of the seat is that you don’t have to worry about anyone climbing over you during the night and you get a little extra space between 10G and the bulkhead to store belongings.
The disadvantage is that it’s next to the toilet and the galley so you get a lot of people gathering there plus the chatter from the flight crew. Given the number of Gold and Silver BAECs on the flight and its clear popularity I think this is one of those things that infrequent travellers have to put up with unless you want to pay for the privilege of a better seat selection early on.
The BA safety video played while we were still de-icing, but we were finally airborne by 10.20pm. Water bottles were brought around, swiftly followed by food. The hot chocolate was excellent but the cookies weren’t particularly warm and I wasn’t struck by the macadamia ones, which were a little bland.
Because I’d over-indulged at the sleeper service, I wasn’t able to get to sleep immediately so I watched the AVOD instead, which had another good selection of older movies and new releases. The flight attendants seemed to work hard during the flight answering calls. The temperature crept up during the flight, which made it very uncomfortable to try and sleep although I did manage to doze off for an hour or so. The flat bed was okay to sleep on – long enough for me to stretch out on but I was directly beneath a blast of hot air, which wasn’t great and made the duvet redundant.
Breakfast was offered but it seemed meagre (Welsh rarebit, the normal pastries, fruit juice, fruit smoothie or Greek yoghurt with honey) and I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t bother checking out the Club Kitchen.
We landed 30 minutes early thanks to tail winds across the Atlantic and I was quickly off the plane. There were queues at immigration but I was able to use the electronic passport gates, which meant I was through in 5 minutes. Baggage was already out on the carousel by the time I got there. My bags were actually among the first ones off, which was a surprise because I discovered that the check-in staff hadn’t put priority labels on them. All in all I was out of LHR about 15 minutes after landing. Owing to commitments, I didn't bother using the BA Arrivals Lounge (although I have used it in the past and think it's good for those looking for something more substantial to eat).
All in all, night flights aren’t my favourite thing in the world and to be honest I didn’t find this one particularly great or particularly bad. Club World is worth the money for me because the flat bed is the only chance I’ve got of getting any sleep but in future I won’t be such a glutton in the Sleeper Service kitchen!
I flew Club World from LGW to MCO on a three-class 777.
Having stayed overnight at the Hilton the night before my flight, I took the monorail to the North Terminal and easily found the BA section in Area A. I’d pre-selected my seat the week before (one of the few privileges of being BAEC bronze) and used the online check in the night before to print out my boarding pass so I went straight to the bag-drop area. Club World and First have their own bag-drop area at the far end of Zone A which is segregated with temporary barriers that I guess are intended to give it an exclusive feel but left me confused as to where I was supposed to queue. Ended up lining up at a CW bag-drop desk just outside the area. There were a number of free check-in staff but they were more interested in chatting to their colleagues than inviting people to come up to them. I ended up waiting several minutes until a member of staff became free. He took my suitcase but didn’t ask me if I knew where the CW Lounge was or inform me about any priority line for the security check.
Assuming that priority security check wasn’t available, I headed over to the security line. Was stopped en route by another member of BA ground staff who put a tag around my hand baggage. When I asked why they said that it was because they’d had problems with excessive hand baggage being taken onto the plane. It would have been better to do that at bag drop because that way they catch all the passengers rather than have staff hang around security asking if people are on a BA flight and it later became apparent that no one at the gate was actually checking the tags, making a bit of a mockery of the whole thing.
Was through security in 20 minutes. The general departures lounge was busy but not heaving and there were plenty of screens up with flight information. I easily found the signs pointing to the BA lounge and wandered over there.
The Terraces Lounge is a good sized area and I got a friendly welcome from the lounge dragons. The lounge was busy but there were still plenty of seats available and I easily found a table with a good view of the apron. Unlike Heathrow, there’s no spa at Gatwick, which I think is a shame given that the spa is part of BA’s Club World offering and there are a large enough number of long-haul flights leaving Gatwick to justify the expense (at least as many as JFK, which does have a spa). There are showers, a TV area and free wireless and a decent selection of newspapers. There was also a selection of food, although I was disappointed that the only hot option was porridge (which was very good). There was a good choice of fruit, yoghurt, cheeses and cereal together with toast (white and wholewheat), pastries and cereals. The bar was also well stocked with a choice of red and white wines, beer and spirits on offer, but no champagne. The selection of soft drinks was equally good, including fruit juices, coffee and tea.
The gate details for my flight flashed up at 10.30am but gate closure wasn’t until 11.25am so I opted to have a couple more glasses of fruit juice before moseying along. It took about 15 minutes to walk down to Gate 57J where extra security measures were in place. Firstly there was a passport check where I got asked how long I was staying in the US and whether I had a return ticket. 10 feet after that was a second check where I had to hand over my boarding pass. People were also being taken out of line to have their hand baggage searched. When I finally got down to the gate at about 11am (where my boarding pass was checked for a second time) it was obvious that they hadn’t started boarding so I grabbed one of the rapidly depleting seats at the gate to wait it out. Boarding finally started at 11.15am, starting with Club World passengers and gold and silver BAEC card holders. Was welcomed on board with a smile and directed to my seat.
I’d chosen seat 4K in the front part of the CW cabin - it’s a window seat but has its own aisle access so you don’t have to worry about stepping over the passenger next to you and has a small overhead bin above it so if you get there first you can claim for your private use (which I did). The seat area was relatively clean, although the cleaning crew had missed a swizzle stick and old tissue behind the footrest and an old menu down the side of the chair. The seat itself had a dried-in stain on it but was otherwise clean and free of crumbs. There was a clean pillow, blanket and head set on the seat.
I got myself settled in and cabin crew came around with a choice of water, orange juice and champagne. I selected a glass of champagne and watched my fellow passengers board. One of the passengers had a broken seat but the cabin crew seemed to fix it quickly with apologies.
The plane pushed back promptly at 11.46am and we were treated to a tour of Gatwick en route to the runway before getting airborne at 12.05pm. In the interim we had an announcement and introductions from the captain and a video safety briefing.
As soon as we were airborne the cabin crew came around with hot towels, which I used to clean the AVOD screen. Menus were brought around promptly, followed by a drinks round. I enjoyed a ginger ale while reading the menu, which gave the following options:
Lemon poached prawns with mango and coriander dressing.
Vegetable sushi with soy sauce and wasabi paste.
Fresh seasonal salad served with vinaigrette.
Seared fillet steak with rustic roasted carrots, roasted new potatoes and peppercorn sauce.
Seared salmon and haddock fish cakes with creamed fennel sauce and asparagus celery medley.
Paneer and sweetcorn masala with shallot and cashew nut rice.
Chilled main course salad of lemon pepper chicken with balsamic dressing.
Bitter chocolate and cinder toffee torte.
Butler’s Secret and Blacksticks Blue cheese.
A selection of fruit.
Cabin crew then came around to take orders. I opted for the prawn starter and fishcakes and a few minutes later the cabin crew did a second drinks round followed by distribution of the amenity packs (which had the usual mix of Elemis hand lotion, eye cream, face cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask and socks).
I flicked through the AVOD options while waiting for lunch. I generally like the Club World hard product, but on this flight I found the table to be very rickety while my AVOD screen was loose and kept trying to turn back into its recess (although I was able to jiggle it into a fixed position). I do like the range of entertainment on BA’s AVOD but the in-flight map didn’t work at all.
The cabin crew served lunch at 1pm, starting from the front of the Club World cabin. The prawn starter was okay – the 3 prawns were a decent size (albeit stone cold) and firm and the dressing was tasty. It also came with half a quail’s egg, rocket leaves and a dried vine tomato. I opted to wash it down with a glass of Pouilly-Fume 2011. I didn’t touch the salad because I don’t eat salad generally but it looked okay.
The fishcakes were a bit more disappointing – a fair size, hot and moist but there was too much mashed potato, which meant that they were lacking in flavour and I had to add salt. The vegetables were a little sparse – a couple of small carrot batons, some asparagus heads and celery but they were well cooked and tasty. I do wonder if BA are reducing their portion sizes for Club World because although the main course was filling there didn’t seem to be as much of it as I’ve had on previous BA long-haul flights.
Cabin crew then came around with desert and I went for the chocolate torte, which was very good – sweet without being sickly and very filling. I washed it down with a cup of builder’s tea and enjoyed two Lily-O’Brien chocolates, which are seriously good (hazelnut truffle and lemon truffle – I’m looking up the brand when I get home so I can get another hit).
Contrary to my experience on previous BA flights, the crew seemed to have sufficient quantities of each food option for other Club World passengers.
After a while I got a bit peckish and checked out the Club World Kitchen. I found the selection a bit disappointing – fruit cake, cookie bars, crisps, soup and pre-packed sandwiches with a couple of bananas thrown in for good measure. I ended up getting a couple of cans of coke but the contents of the kitchen changed as the journey went on and later on there were more chocolate items for people to pick from.
Was a bit irritated to find that when I plugged in my laptop it gave me feedback through my headphones when using the AVOD. I managed to position my laptop to minimise it so I could continue working while using the AVOD but it seems to me to be a bit of a design flaw.
The crew did two further orange juice/water runs and a second hot towel run prior to serving high tea, which consisted of beef and horse radish on white bread and prawn with lemon mayonnaise on granary bread and a choice of plain or fruit scone. Although the sandwiches were pre-packaged and obviously refrigerated, they tasted very fresh and were a welcome snack. The scones were warm, doughy and came with cream and jam.
BA cabin crew in general were professional and courteous and it felt like the purser ran a very tight ship. One member of staff did stand out though – genuinely friendly and made me feel like nothing was too much trouble – I was so impressed that I used BA’s feedback site to send positive feedback on her work because, for me, she epitomised the touted ‘to fly, to serve’ mentality.
About an hour before we were due to land the captain announced that Gatwick had failed to load enough customs and immigration forms onto the plane so although we’d be landing 40 minutes ahead of schedule, we would have to wait for MCO staff to deliver the cards, which we would then have to fill out before being allowed to get off the plane. This provoked understandable grumbles and although the cabin crew spoke to passengers and apologised for something that clearly wasn’t in their control, they also miscounted the number of passengers who needed a I-94 owing to the purser giving a confusing announcement on who needed it.
When we landed it took about 30 minutes to get the cards on and distributed. I filled out my customs card very quickly and was actually one of the first off the plane, but only after showing it to a US official at the plane door.
MCO immigration was clear when I got there and I was through in 2 minutes. Bonus kudos to the immigration staff because I later discovered that a vaccination certificate had dropped out of my bag while I was dashing through and had written it off as a permanent loss. Fortunately someone at MCO not only found it but also sent it onto my hotel free of charge – unexpected and very kind. I know immigration/airport bods can be pains in the neck sometime but this really stood out for me and I sent an email to the airport to convey my appreciation.
There was a bit of a delay for baggage but the priority tags worked and I was out of the airport within 30 minutes.
Arrived at LCY at 8:30 for the 9:50 departure, as I am only 20 minutes away by DLR I left the house less than 2 hours before take off!
Went to the Club Europe line of 4, but quickly a BA employee came and asked me where I was flying to and, when told New York, pulled me out the line, went to a nearby desk and rapidly returned with my printed boarding pass - really can't complain about that service! I use LCY all the time, so rapidly through Security and off to Gate 24 - the dedicated gate for BA001
PRE-BOARDING AND BOARDING
The lounge at Gate 24 has 33 seats for 32 people (apologies if my counting was out!), there were 6 people when I arrived. It is by no means equivalent to T5 but with the minimal amount of space and as you are not meant to be there for more than a short period, more than acceptable. Full range of soft drinks, snacks, croissants, cheeses and cold meats, there was alcohol (including a bottle of Taittinger) but no one took any at this time of day
Only one more person came to joint the flight so 8 of us boarded across the tarmac to the aeroplane and, with 32 seats on board, it gave us a row each.
LCY TO SHANNON (SNN) FLIGHT
No pre-take off drinks on board but as the point is to board and immediately leave, it really wasn't necessary (and we had all been in the lounge 30 seconds before!)
We took off within 10 minutes and they came around with the drinks service (OK so I DID have a glass of Taittinger onboard). The idea is that you have your starter between LCY and Shannon, and I was looking forward to a Confit of Goose (the alternative choice was a Beetroot Carpaccio with Goat's Cheese)....but they weren't loaded so they handed around a plate of cheese and cold meats and a groveling apology. A bit disappointing but the apology more than made up for it. As there were only 8 of us, the service was extremely attentive with the Gatwick-based crew looking for things to do (champagne top ups were very regular!)
SHANNON STOP OVER
We landed in Shannon after about 75 minutes into thick fog. Once we got to the Gate we had to take all of our hand luggage, coats etc off with us (apparently US customs go through the plane and confiscate items not taken off). I didn't have luggage in the hold, but it looks like you have to wait for approval that it has been checked in the terminal before you go through US immigration in Shannon. For those of us without hold luggage, you go immediately to security where they X-ray your shoes and bag, but there are no metal detectors for your person. With 4 US immigration officials for 8 people we sped through (in fact they were desperate for a chat, must seem a long day for them!)
Went back to the Gate for 15 minutes, there was wi-fi available and Shannon airport does have a very retro feel to it (i.e. doesn't appear to have been updated since 1988) and was empty. Re-boarded, but spent an additional 20 minutes on the 'plane to due refueling delays, so were a few minutes late taking off again
SNN TO JFK
Another round of drinks on take off and the iPads handed out for films on the trans-continental piece, the choice was a lot more limited than on a 747/777 but still managed 'The Thick of It' and 'Anna Karenina'....and talking to the Steward and Stewardess at the back, they were keen for diversions and exceptionally bored with no one to talk to!
A salad came first, then I had the Guinea Fowl (they take the order between LCY and SNN) that was very nice..the alternatives were beef (which I usually find BA are not that good at cooking), poached turbot, vegetarian haggis and coconut-crusted chicken. Enjoyed it with a glass of Bordeaux (well, refilled multiple times). Finished with a Bakewell Cheese Tart (it tastes far better than it sounds), a coffee and a Glenlivet 15 year-old malt. Somehow needed a quick sleep so had a chance to find out the seat is very comfortable as a bed too
No Duty Free was offered, either I was asleep or it could not be served to SNN as it is an intra-EU flight and could not between SNN and JFK as it is technically a domestic flight.
Arrived on time in JFK, as I had no bags it was less than 10 minutes from arriving at the gate to being in a cab - the time saving of going LCY-SNN-JFK by saving the trip to LHR and US immigration is a definite benefit for me.
An excellent journey, highly recommended, the service was excellent (OK, I can only comment on a flight with 8 people on!), the food and drink very good and arriving in JFK as a domestic flight is a huge benefit - not sure I would be as keen on the later LCY service that lands internationally.
Friendly and efficient check-in at Vancouver, with Kindle left by one of the kids on the outward flight returned to us and luggage checked all the way through to Malta even though BA has no code share with Air Malta. As the Browns don't travel light, this was a major godsend. Lounge was crowded , but staff very helpful and brought cold water without asking to us. Boarding was prompt, though it is hard to relax as a couple of hundred economy passengers troop past you trying to get to their seats. Once this was done service was excellent, entertainment and dinner pretty good. Breakfast was the usual affair of a bacon roll, some of the most disgusting coffee ever tasted and a fresh fruit salad which whilst good, was served as if it had come straight from ones local supermarket. BAs hot towels are somewhat sad little numbers too.
The crew on the flight were great, but the girls looked uncomfortable in their outfits and could have been better served by more relaxed and casual attire.
A much better flight than three weeks previously on BA First, but still lacking some of the niceties that you would find on the top tier Middle Eastern and Asian airlines.
Upgraded from World Traveller to Club World.
This was a new experience for me as it was a daytime flight from North America to London with a scheduled departure time of 08:00.
Christmas Eve at 05.30 and Boston Airport Terminal E was very quiet.
Security was thorough but I was shortly airside.
I finally located the Terraces lounge in the bowels of Logan. As it was Christmas Eve I poured myself a G&T.
Take-off shortly after 08:30.
Breakfast was too rushed. After my starter of Special K and salmon, I could have done with a breather before my English breakfast.
I was in 11J (forward-facing, aisle seat). I found it very comfortable for sitting and stretching. On a longer flight when sleep is necessary, it is perhaps too narrow.
IFE very good, and I actually managed to relax enough to enjoy Sir Kenneth Branagh in Wallander and Dame Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. Highlight of the flight.
Pre-landing G&T and, I think, stale sandwiches.
Eventually we parked at what must be the most remote stand at T5B.
Flying time 5 hours 45 minutes.
Upgraded from World Traveller to Club World.
This was a new experience for me as it was a daytime flight from North America to London with a scheduled departure time of 08:00.
Christmas Eve at 05.30 and Boston Airport Terminal E was very quiet.
Security was thorough but I was shortly airside.
I finally located the Terraces lounge in the bowels of Logan. As it was Christmas Eve I poured myself a G&T.
Take-off shortly after 08:30.
Breakfast was too rushed. After my starter of Special K and salmon, I could have done with a breather before my English breakfast.
I was in 11J (forward-facing, aisle seat). I found it very comfortable for sitting and stretching. On a longer flight when sleep is necessary, it is perhaps too narrow.
IFE very good, and I actually managed to relax enough to enjoy Sir Kenneth Branagh in Wallander and Dame Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey.
Pre-landing G&T and, I think, stale sandwiches.
Eventually we parked at what must be the most remote stand at T5B.
Flying time 5 hours 45 minutes.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS I checked in on-line for this flight via the BA website 24 hours before the scheduled departure and selected the window seat 12A in Club World. As I did not have access to a printer the boarding pass was sent to my iPhone.
I had one bag to check in when I arrived at Toronto Terminal 3 at 18.30 on this Saturday evening in preparation for the flight back to the UK at 21.35.
There was one First Class desk and two Club World desks open but all were occupied. It became clear though that they were not premium passengers and a BA staff member appeared to check the tickets in the queue. After he had completed his work, I was the only person left waiting and was checked in in a matter of seconds.
At check-in the lady asked me whether I was aware that I would be flying on the BA Sleeper Service to the UK. Although I had discovered this when surfing the BA website, the details are rather sparse so I did not know what it entailed. As a tip to BA, I do think that they need to provide more details. The check-in lady advised that a meal would be served in the restaurant in the BA Lounge thus enabling me to maximise the sleep time.
I then proceeded to the Security Channel and removed my laptop from my bag. I did not notice a fastrak channel, but in truth it was not needed as it was very quiet at this time of day. I proceeded to the BA Lounge which is by Gate C32 and requires you to take the lift up one storey. There are other Lounges here, including the Sky Team.
THE LOUNGE Upon arrival, I was greeted by a very friendly lady who asked me whether I had used the Lounge before. As I had not, she personally took me through and showed me the actual lounge area and the restaurant which was self-service. As I had plenty of time, I had a glass of wine before moving across to the restaurant. The menu was as follows:
OF THE SEASON
Local Mesculn Greens, English Cucumbers,
Grape Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives
Spiced Chickpeas, Spinach, Garam Masala
Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
Lemon Herb Grilled Chicken
Cajun Seared Tuna
OUT OF THE OVEN
Turkey Pot Pie, Cheddar Biscuits
Thai Chilli Spiced Salmon, Cucumber, Diakon Relish
Five Bean, Butternut Squash Chilli
Maple Glazed Turnips, Carrots,
Sautéed Zucchini, Olive Oil
Steamed Jasmine Rice
Chipotle Spiced Shrimp
Chilli Rubbed Pulled Chicken
Caramelized Onions, Peppers,
Aroz de Gandules,
Roasted Tomato Salsa, Guacamole, Pico De Gallo
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, Vanilla Sea Salt
Double Chocolate Brownie
It was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the Lounge and the tables were regularly cleared, giving a very positive view.
BOARDING We were advised that the flight would be delayed by 10 minutes, and on time the announcement was made to advise that the flight was boarding. We just had to take the lift down to Gate C33 and were quickly processed via the priority lane.
THE SEAT Once on board everyone took their seats quickly. BA used the Boeing 777-200ER (Aircraft Number G-YMMP) on this route which has the 4 classes. I was offered a choice of champagne, water or orange juice at this time.
The plane pushed back slightly late at 22.00 local time and was airborne within 10 minutes. Before we departed, the crew handed out menus, head phones and wash bags.
As this as post 1st December 2012, the new rules that meant that all of those passengers without foldaway screens could watch the IVOD system immediately but they had to see the BA supplied headphones.
In terms of the seat, BA offers the front facing and rear facing combination which could be awkward when travelling alone as another person is sat almost opposite you. I was in seat 12A and fortunately the chap in 12B was ready to sleep. I was pleased with the choice of seat as it meant that once the divider screen went up, it was very private. It did though mean that when I got up from my seat, I had to step over the passenger in 13B.
Once the seatbelt signs were extinguished, the crew came around to see what we wanted from the menu which was as follows.
MENU The menu offered the following:
Main: Maple and pecan-crusted free-range breast of chicken on a salad of romaine lettuce, sun dried cherries and Gala apples served with maple vinaigrette.
Artisan ravioli filled with Woolwich goat’s cheese and asparagus in a wild mushroom cream sauce and vine-ripened tomato confit.
Desert: Chocolate cake; Chocolates.
Alternatively may we suggest hot chocolate with warm chocolate chip cookies.
Wine and Champagne: Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne.
Le G de Chateau Guiraud 2011, Bordeaux Blanc Sec
Reata Chardonnay 2010, Carneros, California
Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010, Domaine Font de Michelle
Byron Pinot Noir 2010 Santa Barbara County
Having eaten in the Lounge, I just had a glass of champagne and then reclined the seat and went to sleep. I do like the Club seat with the space offered and the compartments to store personal items. However, it is only 6 feet long, and as I am 6’4”, it did get a little uncomfortable at times. However, I did sleep quite well and came around when the lights came on about 90 minutes before the scheduled landing.
Breakfast was served before landing and comprised of:
Chilled fruit juice. A morning boost drink of orange juice, carrot and ginger root. Fruit yoghurt. Warm bacon roll served with tomato ketchup. A selection of assorted breakfast pastries.
This was an excellent flight, with a friendly crew. Unlike the outbound flight, the entertainment system was on demand and I watched an Olympic documentary before we landed.
ARRIVAL The flight arrived about 20 minutes late, and we were then parked at a remote stand near to 5C. It took a little time for the stairs to arrive but eventually we disembarked and boarded a bus to take us to Terminal 5.
There was then a short walk from the aircraft to Passport Control. I used the self-service desk and there was no queue. By the time I cleared immigration, my suitcase had already appeared on the baggage carousel. An excellent service by Terminal 5.
VERDICT A very functional, friendly and very professional service by BA. I will definitely use the Sleeper Service again.
The Class is for some reason listed as Club World London City - it is not - this is a 747 with a large Club World Section.
These seats are OK, but not as good as the pods in Air Canada. Not long enough to lie flat on for a 6'1" person. Could not lie on my stomach without banging into the ends. Seats are also extremely low and awkward to get in and out of when flat if you are tall. Not particularly comfortable for sitting either. Service was rather indifferent, food not bad, did feel like I was part of an (expensive) assembly line.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS I checked in on-line for this flight via the BA website 24 hours before the scheduled departure and selected the aisle seat 13J in Club World and printed out my boarding pass.
I had one bag to check in when I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 at lunchtime on this Friday, and there were several Club desks open so was checked in in a matter of seconds. I then proceeded to the Fast-Track Security Channel and removed my laptop from my bag.
Along with several other bags, mine was selected to be searched. Apparently it was a random selection but it took nearly 45 minutes before I was able to proceed to the Lounge. Fortunately, I had left plenty of time, but this is surely an unacceptable amount of time. I did feed this back at the time using the cards available. Some other passengers who were rushing for their flights were much more vocal!
THE LOUNGE I then made my way to the BA Galleries South Lounge. This is one of my favourite lounges with plenty of space, great food offerings and a superb selection of drinks. I requested a glass of champagne and sipped this with a salad. Free Wi-Fi is available with the password displayed on the departure screens.
With about an hour before the scheduled departure, I noticed on the afore-mentioned screen that the flight to Toronto would be departing from Gate B46. I therefore made my way down to the Transit which provided a very fast means of transporting to Terminal 5B. When I arrived, the screens displayed ‘Please Wait’ so I went to the Galleries Lounge here and was offered another glass of champagne before the flight changed status to ‘Boarding’.
BOARDING No announcements are made in the lounge but there are plenty of screens to keep you updated. At 16.00 the screen advised to go to Gate 46 which was a few minutes’ walk down from the Lounge.
There was a separate section for First and Club World passengers and I went down the escalator to be greeted by another search of my bag. Fortunately this was much quicker than the first check and I then made my way on board. There was a separate entrance for First Class passengers so I made my way to the other entrance for the remaining passengers. I was warmly greeted by the CSD who was very friendly throughout the flight.
THE SEAT Once on board everyone took their seats quickly. BA used the Boeing 777-200ER (Aircraft Number G-VIIN) on this route which has the 4 classes. I was offered a choice of champagne, water or orange juice at this time.
The plane pushed back on time at 16.30 and was airborne within 20 minutes which I thought was really good for a Friday afternoon. Before the seat-belt signs were extinguished, the crew handed out menus and wash bags. They then served drinks with a bag of mixed nuts and took the dinner orders. It seemed that everyone received their first choices.
In terms of the seat, BA offers the front facing and rear facing combination which could be awkward when travelling alone as another person is sat almost opposite you. I was in seat 13J and fortunately the chap in 13K was quite normal and chatty. I hope he felt the same of me! I was pleased with the choice of seat, especially as 12K was vacant so I did not have anyone stepping over me to reach the aisle. I do like the Club seat though with the space offered and the compartments to store personal items.
MENU The menu offered the following:
• Crayfish, fennel and lime tian with roasted pepper dressing, or
• Halloumi cheese and pomegranate with little gem and rocket served with lemon crème fraiche dressing.
• Fresh seasonal salad served with vinaigrette.
• Fillet of Charolais beef with parsley and Parmesan topping, potato rissoles, sautéed peppers, broad beans and carrots; or
• Seabass with lemon butter sauce, saffron turned potatoes, mint pea puree and roasted cherry tomatoe on the vine; or
• Potato gnocchi with sage sauce and butternut squash with ricotta; or
• Chilled main course salad of roasted corn-fed Cajun chicken with beetroot, char-grilled mango and sesame seeds with lemon vinaigrette.
• Bartlett pear tart with mascarpone cream; or
• Shropshire Blue and Normandy Camembert cheese served with fig compote and biscuits; or
• A selection of fruit; and
Afternoon Tea was served about 90 minutes before landing and comprised of:
• An individual selection of sandwiches featuring prawn mayonnaise, chicken with rocket and Double Gloucester cheese with slow-roasted tomatoes.
• Plain or fruit scones served warm with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.
Wine and Champagne
• Taittinger Brut Reserve NV Champagne
• Pouilly-Fume 2011, Domaine
• Aquinas Chardonnay 2010, Napa Valley
• Chateau Sigognac 2009, Medoc, Bordeaux
• Byron Pinot Noir 2010 Santa Barbara County
This was an excellent flight, with a superb crew. The only disappointment was that the entertainment system was on a loop rather than on demand which meant I did not use it. Even the map kept on breaking up with the screen going blank. Fortunately, I had my own iPAD so this did not spoil the enjoyment of the flight.
ARRIVAL The flight arrived about 30 minutes early, though there was a medical emergency which meant that a lady was moved off the plane in a wheel chair by the paramedics before we could disembark. However, this was all managed very calmly and we arrived early it had little impact.
There was a long walk from the aircraft to Passport Control and a further wait of around 20 minutes to be seen. By the time I cleared immigration, my suitcase had already appeared on the baggage carousel.
VERDICT A punctual, and very professional, friendly service by BA. I will definitely use them again.
Needing to get to Jeddah, from Scandinavia, the only route available that offered a full day's work was Via LHR T5.5C and the departure was from the next gate, but this necessitated clearing security in T5B, which is not as joined up as it could be.
The T5C pier reminds me of the Ryanair pier at STN, being perfectly functional, but quite basic. Refreshments were available via the coffee shop, by showing boarding pass, but did not meet my expectations of what travelling on an expensive premium ticket should provide, since there was not enough time to go to the T5B lounge and get settled, but the 25 minutes in a basic environment was not very pleasant.
On boarding, I noticed the 767 had not yet been refurbished in Club World, but in contrast to some recent flights with BA, the aircraft was in very good internal condition and the only sign of wear was some chafing on the divider fan between the pair of seats and this was not noticeable.
For some reason, the cabin crew forgot about me (possibly because I was in 4K, a great private seat) and I was not offered a drink or an amenity pack and when I eventually caught the eye of a crew member, the response was a little chilly; there is an old saying that one should not hang one's hat, until the strength of the hook is tested and the female FA failed this test initially and then over compensated with profuse apologies for what was not really a big deal, that could be fixed in 30 seconds.
Jeddah is a difficult overnight flight, as it is not particularly long and if one has to work the next day (as I did), then it is important to sleep as much as possible, so I did not eat or drink and managed to get nearly 5 hours on the original 'dusk' bed, which is still a competitive product and much better than the contemporary offers from LH or OS. I appreciated that the crew respected my request to be awoken at the last minute.
For that reason, I can't comment on the overall service or F&B.
People complain (me included) about crew 'elephant walking' on BA flights, but I was either so fast asleep that it did not disturb me or this crew was light footed.
In conclusion, this flight achieved was I needed it to achieve, i.e. it got me to destination safely and on time, with a decent sleep.
I flew BA73 Club to Abu Dhabi on 16th November.
I am lucky enough to be able to use the Gold Lounge at Terminal 5 which continues to provide a comforting environment. Whilst not as glitzy and overstated as the Virgin Club House the selection of drinks and buffet style food is excellent and of high quality. They use top of the range spirits and very nice white and pink vintage champagnes.
On boarding the flight I was greeted by name and this was used throughout the service process I think this is an important touch for the regular traveller.
The lunch menu demonstrates their 'new' experience. It delivered what was on the tin, simple but carefully prepared food which is close to reasonable restaurant food. The main course sea bass with al dente full colour vegetables was a delight. Either they have got the design right for 39,000 feet or someone has at last taught the cabin attendants how to use convector ovens. A minor gripe if you over chill a seafood starter it will have a blandish taste. The vanilla and raspberry desert was a minor triumph. BA is now sensible in reducing its wine menu but giving ample choice - no longer the past where at least 1/3 of the offer was in fact not on offer.
Afternoon tea is a bit of a waste of space rather poor sandwiches pre packed. For the price of Club either don't bother or present something that at least looks better than yesterdays offer in M&S
I think they have a new entertainment system - very easy to negotiate with all current functionality and a good selection
As always the service in BA is courteous and professional - engaging if you want it to be reserved if thats your preference. They are the best team in the sky. On this occasion they did unload the Priority Bags first something that is still hit and miss
I flew to NYC in August with Virgin Upper, the first time for 6 years as I have always preferred British Airways. The experience confirmed my preference. The Club House, interior design of the planes and 'brand' of the cabin crew may appeal to those with little colour in their life but quite frankly: average food, poorly manufactured seats and staff who imagine they are in that churlish advert are not for me.
My wife and I were traveling from Rome FCO to London Heathrow LHR to Chicago ORD traveling with British Airways. Our flight out of FCO was very good except for a very young baby traveling in Club Europe. The Baby was one seat over and one row behind us, but the baby crying filled the whole cabin. I did feel sorry for the parents as they did try to appease the baby, but it was not a pleasant flight experience. The in-flight service was very good.
Our connecting flight from LHR to ORD was only one hour + so we had a short experience at the BA lounge. It was very busy at 2 pm-14:00 hrs. Our flight out of LHR required a bus trip to the aircraft. No special consideration for Club World. When we boarded the aircraft we were offered a welcome beverage, we both accepted the champagne. The boarding went well and soon we took off.
Our seats were 11E and 11F in the middle section of Club World. We found the in flight service to be adequate, but not up to other airlines we have flown in business or first class. We were offered a menu and shortly thereafter an amenity kit.
The first offer of a beverage was well into the flight. Trying to get a refill was difficult. I am not sure if it was the location of our seats or the indifference of the flight attendants on this flight. I requested the signature beef as my main meal. Was I ever disappointed as the beef was very well done and had no flavor! During the meal we did not have an offer refill our wine selection. Other airlines we have flown have always offered another glass of wine for the meal service.
If you chose not to be disturbed during your flight I can highly recommend British Airways Club World. If you would like good in flight service I would suggest you try another carrier as my experience was not very good for this carrier. As an example my sport coat was not delivered to me until a minute before leaving the aircraft. It was like I was forgotten. In all fairness to the staff we did have a full cabin. We have had full cabins on American Airlines on this route in business and the in-flight service was better.
We have flown BA many times mostly in Europe and the service has been outstanding. The overseas service was OK, but not great as I was expecting. I hope my next flight on BA is better.
Having access to the First Lounge at T5 was a privilege even though we have really 'earned' the status by sticking to BA and its OW partners over many years. The Champagne Bar was a joy to behold and to savour. Vintage champagne and top brand rose; what more does one desire? The Elemis Spa was an added bonus in the hustle and bustle of the poor pax down below. Boarding was painless although having to take the train to B terminal was a bit of a detour after a relaxing time in the lounge.
The Upper Deck was always the more desired section of Club, but beware, check your SeatPlan and book ahead. We chose 62J+K which offer the better access for both pax. E.g. my partner didn't have to climb over anyone to get in and out of his seat. The bed needs to be upgraded soon. It is not cushy enough for one's back and the flimsy blanket has to be updated since Virgin has upped the game, so to speak, with a real duvet!
Food was the worst part of the journey. As usual the Angus filet was cooked to death, and became chewy. This despite my asking for it to be left as uncooked as possible, knowing that the steak was already pre-grilled on the ground. No. It was just a piece of cardboard to be left alone - uneaten. The accompanying veggies were also too well done. The starter of gin and tonic cured salmon was superb! Champagne (Taittinger) was a good wash down with the poor meal. Overall the staff were very professional and attentive.
When I asked for a glossy she promptly went to the First Class to fetch me a House & Garden. The flight was a bit too hot for sleeping, so I woke up with a sweat in the middle of the night. I suppose it was in anticipation of the 'wintry' climate in Cape Town.
Disembarking was the usual nightmare, since we had to wait for F to go first, then Club on the main deck, then, horror horror, the WT+ people, BEFORE we could get off! BA must do something about this unfair procedure. Baggage arrived very promptly although as usual the African continent does not seem to recognise the Priority tags on luggage. Most pieces came out randomly. Still, no theft or breakage. A miracle.
Sixth leg in a seven-sector trip. This time, BA 139 from London to Mumbai in a B777 in Club World.
CHECK-IN, IMMIGRATION & SECURITY
I was dropped off in the middle of the T5 departure hall, but as all the check-in desks had queues, and since I wanted to check in rather a lot of luggage and to have it checked through to Hong Kong despite a very long layover (24.5 hours), I headed for the First check-in since I thought they would be more helpful and sympathetic. So it proved, although the attendant had to fight the system a bit to do the through-check for the bags. As one of them was a set of golf clubs, she directed me to the oversize baggage drop-off desk, where I had to wait for a few minutes but was served without an inordinate delay.
Fast-track immigration and security was pretty much par for the course, with morons waiting until they were right at the front and blocking access to the belts before removing jackets, belts, laptops, liquids and so forth, and repacking their bags. I know it isn't really the airport's fault that its customers are stupid, but perhaps the signs could be a bit better.
My bag had to be rescanned because I had a box full of chargers, adapters, cables and so on. Annoying, but then I was carrying even more than usual.
Thence the unnecessarily long trudge to the South lounges where I used my oneworld emerald privileges to go to the First lounge, and headed for the Champagne Bar partly because I fancied some and partly because it is always one of the quietest parts of the lounge (I didn't have time to book a soa treatment). As noted by another forum poster, however - no champagne! Apparently it hadn't been delivered, but was available from the bar at the other end of the lounge, where they had Taittinger Millesime and Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle (apologies to purists for the lack f accents, I haven't worked out how to do that on the iPad yet). Normally I would have gone for the Taitty, but today my taste buds told me I wanted the LP. I had already breakfasted so skipped the food. BA still haven't worked out how to cook bacon so I didn't see this as too much of a loss.
Another advantage of the Champagne bar is that is is close to the customer service desk (who were most helpful about the champagne shortage issue). I realised I was leaving for the dreaded C gates so asked what time I should leave the lounge, and rechecked near the time I had been told to leave. Normally their estimates are slight conservative (and rightly so) but this time they proved wildly conservative and it took me less than half the time to get there than I was told, so I followed up on a top tip given by our resident BA fan, VintageKrug, and headed to Starbucks to get some champagne.
They didn't have any. However, in compensation they offered me two quarter bottles of white wine. Lest anyone think I am a total lush, I should mention that I had these earmarked for my brief stay in Mumbai, not for immediate consumption! I am finishing this report off in my hotel room in Mumbai, where my onward flight leaves in a little under four hours, and I still have one of them!
BOARDING & TAKE-OFF
Shortly afterwards, the gate opened, and I boarded swiftly through the premium lane. Although I had tried to obtain one of the extra-legroom window seats I had been unsuccessful, so I was glad to see the cabin was half empty and was able to move to one of the last row rearward-facing centre seats. Normally I would avoid these like the plague when travelling alone but with no passenger on either side I was very happy. I could spread out onto the neighbouring rearward-facing seat, I didn't have to worry about disturbing an aisle-side neighbour when being served, and I still had the extra legroom. However, the crew did have an annoying habit of cutting through here to switch aisles and several times I was disturbed by them knocking my feet on the way through.
Pre-flight drinks were served and refills were offered by a very smiley and friendly crew.
Drinks were offered soon after take-off, and orders taken for dinner. Being at the back of the cabin, mine was one of the last orders to be taken. Rather to my astonishment, two of the crew stood right in front of me (in the area where they cut across the aisles) and discussed who should be given the bad news that they did not have enough of the requested dishes. With a certain inevitability, I was told that my starter choice was not available. I was somewhat irritated by this, but kept my cool and (while I am sure my irritation showed) asked how the decision was made (knowing full well, since they had had the conversation in my earshot).
I was told first that it was completely random, and then that of course although it was random Gold card holders got priority as did other frequent fliers, and at this point interjected that as an emerald oneworld member I considered myself part of that group. Not quite a DYKWIA moment, but I did know I was being fobbed off. Fortunately (for my temper) the FA was extremely sympathetic, asked me to write in and complain and explained that this situation - loading insufficient selections - was extremely common and that it put the crew in a very difficult position. We had a very interesting chat on the subject and formed quite a rapport.
I politely asked if there was anything available from the First cabin (knowing this was unlikely because First passengers can dine on demand and so they need to hold options back). A few minutes later she returned to say another passenger had agreed to swap starters with me. I would have felt bad about this, normally, but it happened so quickly that I am fairly sure that the "passenger" involved was in fact another crew member. Also, since nearly all the options included cheese (which in some forms can make me really rather ill) I really wanted to have something I knew I could eat with safety! The rest of the meal was very good, and washed down with a very nice Chablis.
At this point I decided to delve into the IFE.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
VintageKrug, whose C-gates top tip I mention above, bangs on constantly about the consistency of the BA hard product. Imagine my disappointment, then, to discover that on a 9-hour flight in business class on a premium airline, there was no video on demand. This really is not, to my mind, acceptable in this day and age. In fairness, I have subsequently checked the BA site and they do say that this is being progressively fitted to their 777 fleet, but it was an unpleasant surprise. I also cannot imagine why this has not already been done. Black mark for BA here.
These issues aside, the flight was very pleasant. The crew, after these initial hiccoughs, were unfailingly pleasant and helpful.
My heart sank when, shortly before landing, one of the FAs asked me to contact their ground crew. This is never good. Disembarkation was orderly so I soon found the ground crew who told me that because my layover was more than 24 hours (it was precisely 24.5) my bags could not be transferred and I would have to collect them.
This was a blow as it meant I had to drag them around Mumbai. Apparently it was because CX, my onward carrier, refused to accept them due to the security risk of staying in Mumbai for an extra half an hour. I called Marco Polo Club who were not able to assist. Black mark for CX. The ground crew also asked to see my visa since they didn't believe I was transiting (which I wasn't, I simply wanted my bags checked through).
All this delayed my heading off for immigration, so I finally set off with a sense of resignation and expecting an enormous queue. However, the fast track lane for premium passengers was very short and I cleared immigration (without a word being spoken by the surly immigration officer despite my polite greetings) quite quickly. My bags came through reasonably quickly without so much of the bunfight I am used to in Mumbai, and the other security and customs checks were quick. Perhaps my karma was balancing out.
Next stop home to Hong Kong on CX, the final leg! I can't wait.
Several disappointments but none of them really major bar one (my luggage not being transferred onto my connecting flight) which wasn't really BA's fault. However, several very avoidable niggles, a couple of which (champagne at the bar and shortage of food selections on board) smacked a little of cost-cutting.
These were offset by an unusually good crew, by and large, although the way they occupied my foot space - particularly when they were talking about who to refuse first choice food to and selecting me - was both irritating and unnecessary. Given that status was clearly a factor, it would have been nice if my alliance status had been acknowledged as it had been on AA where I was given complimentary drinks on a domestic economy flight because of my oneworld status.
Would like to talk about the service of BA! First of all they have the most unprofessional staff onboard I have ever seen, even worse then KLM and all American airlines and to be honest this does not help to give a positive feedback. Staff does not care about passengers that pay a lot of money for tickets and miss the true passion to work in a business class.
Something they cannot help is the most terrible food and wines BA is serving trying to safe money ! The issue is British people never complain so they can do anything they like. Had 6 flights with BA the last two months all in business and never ever seen so lousy tasteless food onboard a plane. Tried beef and pasta two times and returned the food immediately! Staff was honest to admit they also thought it was terrible and once even staff told me they hesitated to serve pasta to me......this is business class !!!
BA has good fares but avoid it when you expect service and good food!
I joined this flight from Narita to Heathrow after transiting froma previous international flight. The JAL First Lounge, closest to the departure gate of all oneworld lounges, is fine but not spectacular. Indeed, the food choice, Japanese and Western, is limited and uninteresting for breakfast.
The flight was called in the lounge and I went downstairs to gate 72, about 5 minutes away. I was ticketed in World Traveller+ but was pleased to receive an upgrade to 12G when I boarded via the Premium line. I found my seat and settled into my centre block, aisle seat, with plenty of privacy. Storage is not great for things you might need on th flight and the overall feel is quite tight but the 777-300 looked bright and new.
We pushed back on time but had a very lone taxi before take off. Service began soon after we were airborne, a decent choice for lunch with drinks. Packet nuts are a bit tacky for this class of service. The beef was tender and well presented.
Western cabin crew were somewhat forced jocular and Japanese staff very polite and helpful. After lunch, I settled into some work and then watched a couple of movies before sleeping. The second meal service commenced somehwere over northern Norway and, again, was tasy and well presented.
We landed ahead of schedule and were off the plane after a bit of a delay. There were no queues at Immigration as I made my way upstairs for my final flight.
Having arrived into T5 from Brussels, the fast track immigration channel was working well but the security line was a disaster (as usual) and it took around 20 minutes to clear the fast track.
I went to the lounge, which is very nice at T5 with a great selection of food and drinks available. I stayed for around half an hour and then headed down to the C pier (where there is no lounge - why?) to wait for boarding.
Boarding: both Fast Track and the normal channel were boarded at the same time. This seemed to irk one of my fellow passengers but I was happy with the boarding process, which was speedy. My seat was at the window on the upper deck, however, I agreed to swap to the front left aisle seat to allow a couple to sit together. The purser informed me that the front washroom was out of service, which made it quiet. A shame he didn't tell the rest of the cabin!
Departure: Was around an hour late because of a problem with the APU. We were kept well informed (other than that they had switched on the IFE system!). Drinks were served throughout the delay and we departed swiftly when the fault was fixed. There was also a problem with water leaking from the a/c and I had to insist that one of the crew make an effort to dry it, which eventually it did.
Seat/Cabin: Club World is comfortable and spacious and unusually for a BA747 - clean!
Flight: I had the salmon and beef fillet and watched a film whilst dining. The food was tasty and well presented. The crew continued to top up my sparkling water without being prompted, which was a nice touch. After dinner, adjusted my seat to flat and settled down for the night. I always find the CW seats very comfortable for sleeping and had around 5-6 hours of good quality sleep. Breakfast was served and this was fruit salad and a delicious full english.
Arrival: Unfortunately, we had to go around due to an earlier flight not exiting the runway in time but we did manage to make up some time. Immigration was slow, with no fast track for premium passengers. Baggage was reasonably quick for a full 747 and even though my bags were not tagged as priority (thanks Brussels check in who had 'run out'), it didn't make much difference in the end anyway.
I flew Club World from ATL to LHR. It's another bit of a long review, but hopefully there will be points of use to people who (like me) don't fly CW a lot and wanted to know more about it.
BA's been moved to new concourse building F at Terminal 1 in Atlanta airport. Most of the concourse belongs to Delta (who've got 3 of the check in aisles), but it's easy to find BA on the furthest left hand side in aisle 5 (they're next to Air Canada, Trans Air and Lufthansa).
Because a friend of mine had to cancel a planned lunch, I arrived at the airport very early at around 2.30pm for a 9.20pm flight. The BA staff didn't arrive on the desks until about 3pm, which was a little frustrating because I'd checked in on-line the night before the flight through BA's website but had opted to pick up my boarding pass at the airport because my hotel charged for printing. Unfortunately there was no sign of any self-check in booths near the BA desks that would have at least enabled me to pick up the pass and then just wait to check in my suitcase and there doesn't look to be any plans to install any soon either.
It took the BA ground staff about 15 minutes to get the desks ready to start checking in passengers, by which time there were 3 passengers in line (including me). None of the staff attempted to explain to those of us in line how long it would take to finish the set up, which I found a little rude given that they could see us waiting and it would have taken nothing to just tell us how long it would be.
Saying that, they were a lot better with two passengers who were looking to purchase tickets for that night's flight - I didn't overhear the whole conversation but evidently the passengers had been given incorrect information, which the staff were doing their best to resolve.
I was the only person waiting to check into CW, which meant I was seen first. Notwithstanding what I said above, check in itself was really simple, the ground crew member was very helpful and friendly and put 2 priority labels on my suitcase. She also explained that the CW lounge in Concourse F was still being constructed, so I needed to go to concourse E to the current CW lounge. Apparently the new lounge isn't due to be completed until December 2012/January 2013, which is a shame although she was very enthusiastic about how it was coming together. She gave me a map showing the way to the existing lounge, explained how long it would probably take to get from there to the gate and also said that the lounge wouldn't open until 4.30pm.
By the time I cleared the TSA security checks I had about an hour to kill before the CW lounge opened. Concourse B's got an interesting mix of shops, including a decent duty free outlet with a good range of perfume and booze, a MAC make-up store (where I found the assistants to be really good - happy to let you try without pressuring you to buy), and a Mount Blanc store.
There was a food court with a Starbucks in Concourse F but I didn't really see anything there to tempt me and because the new BA CW lounge seems to be housed up there, there was some construction noise. Consequently I headed over to the E concourse, which had a wider range of food shops. Access to Concourse E is via either a mono-rail-type train (which takes 2 minutes) or you can walk it in about 7 minutes. I opted to walk because I needed the exercise. I ended up buying a diet coke from one of the small vendors and had a stroll around.
The CW lounge was open when I arrived just after 4.30pm and there were already a couple of other passengers there. The BA receptionist was very warm, very friendly and very welcoming. She gave me the wireless password for the lounge and encouraged me to help myself to the food and drink (something that was echoed by all of the staff members there).
The lounge itself was okay - the furniture was a little worn but there were plenty of chairs, a television pumping out CNN and a decent view of the airside part of the terminal (which is probably for me the best bit because you see all planes going in and out and getting ready for their flights). There were also a couple of computer terminals for anyone who didn't want to use their own laptops. To be honest, I got the feeling that it's all being maintained prior to the new look lounge being opened, but it was all fine for me.
There were plenty of drinks on offer, including bottles of white wine that was in an ice bucket, red wine, champagne, a range of beers (including some low alcohol beer) and a range of soft drinks, tea and coffee.
The snacks were fine if a little uninspiring - pre-packed cheddar and monterey jack cheese plus 3 types of cracker, water biscuits, fruit and packets of raisins. At about 6pm though the staff started to bring out trays of freshly made sandwiches and sliced up pitta bread with a dip. Given that I was planning on eating on the plane anyway, it was all okay and I just helped myself to pitta bread and cheese but if you don't want to eat on the flight, then my recommendation would be to check out the Concourse E food court and have your meal there.
At about 8.15pm I decided to head on over to the gate. This time I took the train and the total time from CW lounge to gate F27 was about 6 minutes (including the walking). There were a lot of passengers at the gate although there were still a lot of seats available.
A crowd had already begun to gather at the entrance to the gate (including some passengers with obvious mobility issues) but boarding didn't start for another 5 minutes. Priority was given to First and CW passengers plus BAEC Gold card holders. Unfortunately the crowd at the gate showed no signs of moving back from the gate entrance, despite repeated polite requests from the ground crew that they should do so. I don't think that the crew could have done more than they did, but I was a bit self-conscious about having to push past an old lady in a wheelchair in order to board the plane.
I'd pre-selected seat 10J, which is in the front row of the cabin. It's close to the toilets but there's no diagonal window seat (which means no risk of anyone trying and failing to climb over my legs while I'm asleep), there's enough of a gap to the cabin kitchen for the noise not to bother me and you actually get a little bit of extra space to store your stuff during the night as there's a gap between the bulk head and the window seat 10K.
The downside of the seat is that it's right next to the engines, so you need to use ear plugs if you're a light sleeper and there is always a risk of someone knocking against you when they're on their way to the toilet or kitchen. I was prepared to take that risk because in my experience, most people just sleep on the flight but it's something to bear in mind.
I was one of the first passengers on board so was able to watch everyone else. The cabin crew were quick to offer me a choice of champagne, buck's fizz or water and I went for the champagne, which was very drinkable. Boarding was pretty swift. Economy and Premium Economy didn't seem to me to be full, but CW didn't have a lot of seats left.
We pushed back from the gate at about 9pm and were in the air by 9.20pm. The pilot gave some information on the estimated flight time and warned that it might be bumpy over the Atlantic. The cabin lights were then switched off, meaning that if you wanted to read etc, then you had to switch on your reading light. The cabin crew then came around with menus amenity bags (which contained the normal socks, blindfold, ear plugs, toothbrush, toothpaste, Elemis face cream, eye cream, lip gloss and a facial wipe) and did another drinks run before taking orders.
The AVOD was turned on pretty promptly. The AVOD on this flight wasn't as sophisticated as the AVOD on my flight out to LAX and there wasn't nearly as much choice. Given that this was a night flight, it wasn't much of a bother but if you've had the better/newer one then you do notice the creaks more. In particular, on this flight control was through a touch screen interface, which I found slow to react to commands and often needed to be stabbed repeatedly to work. You can forward wind, pause and rewind but it was all more irritating than it needed to be. I ended up watching The Avengers for the umpteenth time (gotta love the Hulk), some episodes of The Big Bang Theory and an episode of CSI.
I chose as my starter the pork rilette with pickled vegetables and grilled toast. I thought this was a great dish actually, the pork wasn't greasy and had a good smoky flavour - if I was being picky then I could have done with more of the toast. As the alternative you could have tomato tartare with mozzarella pearlini and there was also fresh seasonal salad with vinagrette.
For the main meal, I went for the black truffle tortellini with chestnut sauce and roasted morel mushrooms. Having been disappointed with my meal on the flight out to LAX (which I've written about in a different review), I found this one to be a surprisingly good meal - a lot of flavour and filling without leaving you too full and although some of the pasta was very slightly burnt, for me it didn't detract from the whole. Dinner came with a choice of bread rolls, which weren't warm but were fine. Alternative main meal choices were:
- seared fillet of beef with balsamic and red piquillo pepper reduction, roasted fingerling potato mash, green beans and baby carrots; or
- breast of guinea hen with pommes dauphinoise and broccolini; or
- chilled main course salad of spice-crusted salmon on watercress with tangerines, baby fennel an toasted pecans.
I didn't pay any attention to who had the other options so don't know if they were any good or not.
I didn't have desert because neither option (lemon meringue pie or blue stilton and coulommiers cheeses with Crema de Membrillo) appealed. I was offered ice cream as an alternative but was too full for it so instead I finished off my kir royale.
I got so far as plugging in my laptop to do some work (power sockets can only be used if you've got a US/Continental plug adapter so don't put it in your suitcase) before deciding to get some sleep instead. The seat was really easy to convert into a bed (basically lower the footstool and press the horizontal position on the chair seat options - but there are instructions in the seat pocket if you want to check it out). I found the temperature in the cabin to be on the warm side so didn't use the blanket provided and had to peel off a couple of layers before settling down.
I'm 5' 4" so the length and width of the bed was fine for me. If you're over 6' I would imagine it's a bit more of a squeeze but I have to say that I didn't see anyone around me having problems and personally, I think it's a hell of a lot better than an economy seat. You'll need to put your seat belt on as you sleep so make sure that the belt's not so tight that you can't turn around.
I managed to get about 3 hours sleep, which is good for me but I'd have had more if the passenger in the window seat hadn't chosen to open their blind. I didn't have breakfast (which was a bacon roll that looked a bit too greasy for me or a selection of pastries) because I'd already decided to have a bigger breakfast at the BA arrivals lounge. Service was very swift though and was done and cleared away in about 30 minutes.
By this time the first officer came on to say that we'd started the descent into LHR and had about 40 minutes to go. He whittered on a bit about the weather, local time and sights out of the window. I know some people love that but it drives me barmy because the entertainment system is unavailable while he's speaking and I'd rather have finished my programme. As it happened, we had about 15 minutes before the AVOD was turned off and headsets collected.
The landing itself was incredibly smooth (my ears didn't pop once and I'm normally really sensitive) and we got to the gate really quickly. Thanks to my seat choice I was one of the first off the plane, straight after the first class passengers so was quickly through to passport control, which was busy but almost all of the booths were staffed and although a number of flights had landed at the same time, I was through in 5 minutes.
Baggage reclaim was likewise smooth and my suitcase was one of the first off. As a result I was done and out into the BA arrivals lounge within 30 minutes of disembarking. It was my first time there and I was fairly impressed. There was a good choice of breakfast foods (including a fry-up, toast and pastries and fruit) and there was juice, tea and coffee too. The staff were keeping the items stocked up quite efficiently and I was able to eat while reading a newspaper (of which there was a selection of British broadsheets and tabloids).
I would have been interested in trying a treatment at the Elemis spa but from the moment I walked in until the moment I left there was a notice up saying that the therapist was doing treatments so it wasn't possible to book one. I think that this is something that BA might want to look at with Elemis because it's clearly a popular facility but if there's no one there to manage bookings then people who want to take advantage of it can't. I wasn't too disappointed at the end of the day because I'd had a good treatment on the way out *but* it is advertised as part of the BA CW package and it's a simple thing to sort out.
All in all, I found this a good flight. I slept better than I do when in economy/premium economy and the food was good. I'm generally a fairly happy BA customer anyway as I think it's a reliable product and BA flies where I want to go.
Hope that's all of use.
I flew LHR to LAX in Club World. Apologies for the length of this review, but I thought it might be useful for anyone who, like me, travels Club World for leisure and so may not be familiar with everything on offer.
I'd printed out my boarding pass before arriving at the airport via the on-line check-in. It was my first time using that facility and it's very straight-forward and has a little instruction video that tells you how to do it in plain English. Check-in was very smooth. There was one person in front of me at the CW bag drop desks but a member of the ground staff team opened a new desk to take my suitcase and wrapped 2 priority tags around the handle.
CW passengers have an express lane through the security check but due to the early hour (I arrived around 6.30am for a 9.40am flight) there was quite a queue of people - many of whom were business travellers - and it was at least as busy (and IMO maybe a little bit busier) than the non-express line. Even so, I went through quite smoothly and was at the duty free shops by 6.45am.
I spent about 20 minutes shopping in Duty Free (which was not particularly crowded). Thanks to Business Traveller's forums, I had a voucher for 5 quid off a 75 quid spend and I picked up some new sunglasses, make-up and perfume. However when I got to the till I was told that I was actually entitled to a 10 pound discount. This seemed to surprise the till girl as much as it surprised me and she did check it with a colleague before confirming it. No idea if this was because of my total spend or something else, but it was nonetheless very welcome.
I then made my way up to the BA Galleries Lounge via the Elemis Spa Treatment Centre. I'd wanted to book a foot massage treatment but was told that this wouldn't be available until after 10am (i.e. after my flight had departed). No idea if this was due to it being booked up until then or because they wouldn't have a therapist in until then, but it's worth bearing in mind if there's a specific treatment you want to have. I was instead offered the choice of a facial or a shoulder/scalp massage, both of which were available within the next 5 minutes.
I plumped for the scalp/massage which came with a full body massage bonus courtesy of an electronic massage chair. I thought that the treatment was superb - very relaxing and although the chair was a bit strange at first, it was a pretty awesome experience and definitely got some of the kinks out of my back. The treatment lasted about 15/20 minutes and you have to fill in a therapy card before hand to confirm your medical history.
After the treatment finished, I was given some complementary samples, which were very welcome - I opted for some free shower gel and body lotion but if you do some research on Elemis products before hand, you could probably put in a request as the staff there were really helpful.
I then went up to the Galleries lounge. I'd thought that this would be packed out but it wasn't that busy at all. There was a mix of business and leisure travellers, including some families. I know that unruly children are a big source of complaint among some travellers but I have to say that all the kids in the lounge when I was there were very well behaved and although they were pretty excited they were not at all boisterous.
There was a continental breakfast bar service being run in the lounge and I helped myself to some bacon rolls. They also had a selection of pastries (including croissants and pain au chocolat), yoghurt and some cereals as well. There were self-service tea and coffee machines but for those determined to start the day as they meant to continue, you could also opt for red and white wine and champagne. Only criticism I would make about the breakfast service was that the staff weren't great at re-filling the condiments - the ketchup sachets kept running out and it would take a while for them to be replaced.
I ate breakfast while reading a complementary copy of The Times. They had a good range of newspapers, including broadsheets and tabloids plus some foreign language ones for international travellers (I saw a La Monde and a Spiegel - apologies for the misspelling). The lounge also had free internet access, which I used to catch up on my final emails before deciding to make my way to the gate.
The flight was leaving from the C block, which meant taking the mono-rail-type train service from the 'A' block. I just missed one train, which meant a 5 minute wait for the next one. The gate was about a 10 minute walk from the train platform so you should allow for that extra time when using the lounge.
The flight had already begun boarding when I arrived. As a result, although I was able to use the CW/F desk for the final check of my boarding pass and passport, there was still a bit of a queue to actually get on board the plane. (Not that this was a big issue but I figured it was worth mentioning in case you think that the separate desk means you get separate entrance onto the plane).
Boarding was smooth and although CW was full for the flight, there was plenty of space in the overhead lockers. I'd pre-selected aisle seat 11J on the basis that it was handy for the CW kitchen if I wanted a snack and closer to the door once we landed. If you fly BA CW than you should be aware that they have a configuration so that whoever has the window seat next to you will be facing you.
There is a privacy screen, which you can use but the 2 main disadvantages are (1) if the person in that window seat needs the loo, they have to step over you to get out, which is only really a problem if you've made up the seat to sleep but is something to be aware of and (2) when it comes to the meal service, the cabin crew have to reach over you to serve the other person. Neither of these things really bother me, but I mention them because the guy in the seat behind me had a mini-eppy every time.
The crew members came around with a pre-take-off choice of water, orange juice or champagne - I selected the champagne on the basis that I was on holiday so what the hell. I'm not normally a champers person but I found it very drinkable and had a second glass when the crew member did another pass of the cabin.
The flight took off 30 minutes late. No reason was given but given the length of time we were taxi-ing I suspect it was just backlog of departures. Once we were airborne the pilot said that he expected the flight to be around 45 minutes faster than billed, which I figured would cancel out the delayed departure.
After take-off the crew did another drinks run, a hot towel run and handed out the amenity bags. Crew were very efficient, polite and friendly and one cabin crew member helped me with my amenity bag, which had a dodgy zip. BA amenity bags for CW come with Elemis moisturiser, lip balm and eye cream plus a tooth brush, toothpaste, socks and an eye mask and a voucher for Elemis products.
After about 30 minutes the entertainment system was switched on. My flight had the new AVOD system, which is basically an on-demand entertainment system that lets you stop, pause, forward and rewind movies and music as you would at home. It was my first time using it and honestly, I was wondering where it had been all my travelling life.
There was a really good range of movies, radio shows, music and video games and I honestly believe that you'd have been hard-pressed not to find something that you would like on it. I ended up watching 3 episodes of Family Guy, Avengers Assemble, Mission Impossible 4 and a couple of episodes of 2012 before toobing around with the music (which saw me find some hitherto unknown to me James Brown songs).
The crew brought around menus for the lunch service, which began at about 11.45am (BST time). This is where I come to the only real bum note of the flight.
The choice of food was pretty good - starters were a choice of smoked salmon or a goat's cheese/beetroot salad from BA's Olympic themed menu. The main course was a choice of beef with garlic mashed potato, an Olympic-menu themed fish pie or a vegetarian risotto with haloumi cheese. Desert was a choice of lemon cheese cake, a cheese board or ice cream.
I opted for the smoked salmon starter, which came with capers and a side salad. The salmon was actually the best part of the lunch for me, very flavourful and well presented. Unfortunately I also opted for the fish pie and it was a massive disappointment - basically a chunk of smoked fish in a yellow sauce dotted with peas and a tasteless mashed potato top. It was the kind of thing that brought to mind school dinners at a really bad comprehensive school.
The guy next to me had the beef and I have to say that it didn't look much better. In fact, having had a look around I think that the vegetarian option looked the best and certainly those who'd plumped for it had good things to say about it. I did eat all of my pie but I had to fill up with bread rolls (which were served warm and quite tasty).
I finished with the cheese board, which was a chunk of double Gloucester and a chunk of stilton. I've never been one for mouldy cheese but the double Gloucester was very pleasant, although the biscuits it came with tasted like cardboard.
I was a bit cheeky and asked if I could also have some ice cream. The cabin crew said that wouldn't be a problem and offered me the choice of strawberry or dulce de leche (which I went for and which was very nice). The crew did 2 drinks runs during the lunch service and were prompt at taking away plates.
After lunch they did another drinks run plus a duty free run as well and encouraged CW passengers to help themself to the CW kitchen for snacks. I did make a run at the CW kitchen a couple of times and although it was well-stocked on drinks, I wasn't that impressed with the selection of food available - mainly chocolate, crisps and ice cream.
There was an afternoon tea service in the afternoon, which comprised 3 finger sandwiches (prawn mayonaise, cheese and tomato and chicken and rocket all on brown bread), mini-pastries (including a mini chocolate eclair) and scones with jam and clotted cream. I really enjoyed this and found it perfectly filling but again, the guy behind me was kvetching that he'd wanted another a hot meal prior to arrival in LAX.
The pilot gave us about 40 minutes notice before starting the descent, which saw the cabin crew take in the headsets. Landing was smooth and we arrived 40 minutes ahead of schedule but there was a bit of a strange situation before we could get off.
The plane had come to a complete stop and the fasten-seatbelt sign been switched off so everyone stood up and began gathering their stuff and queuing to disembark. After a couple of minutes, the pilot suddenly announced that we hadn't taxied all the way up to the stand so he told us to go back to our seats, put our luggage back in the overhead bins, and fasten the seatbelts again until we had the final tow. There was a lot of grumbling about this from passengers.
When we did finally get to disembark, we found ourselves on the outer reaches of the LAX airfield so we had to be bussed into the terminal. Buses were laid on but the system was pretty chaotic and there was no information on what was happening. I don't think this was BA's fault as it was all LAX employees, but I do know that a couple of the F passengers were mightily hacked off to find themselves sharing buses with the hoi polloi.
LAX was shambolic, for which BA cannot be blamed. However I will say that the poor organisation made a mockery of the priority baggage luggage tags because by the time I'd cleared immigration (90 minutes of sheer hell) so much luggage had come down the carousel that people were just hauling off bags and leaving them in the middle of the reclaim hall, making it a scramble to try and find what had happened to my suitcase. Again, I'm not convinced that this was BA's fault as it seemed to be LAX employees and other passengers taking it upon themselves but it did make for a ridiculously stressful situation when I'm not convinced that it needed to be.
Notwithstanding all that, I did on the whole enjoy the flight and the CW experience. If you're doing long-haul travel from the UK I think it's worth seeing about paying the extra because at least UK-side, you do get a more pleasant and relaxing experience.
As I was flying CW to Toronto I made sure I flew on the upper deck of a 747. Worth paying the extra 80 pounds for making sure I had a seat on the upper deck. If one waits 24 hrs before flight departure, there is a high risk all seats on the upper deck are taken.
I arrived at the Heathrow T5 well in advance of my 16:20 scheduled flight BA099 to Toronto to be able to enjoy lounge and airport amenities. As I had checked in on my mobile, I went straight to the empty bag drop off desk, and then onto the security fast track. That took a surprising 10 minutes only considering it was peak hours on a Friday.
Once airside, I directed myself towards the Olympic gift shop to pick up a little Olympic souvenir, and then off to the Galleries south lounge.
After having strolled past numerous shops and up and down a number of escalators I had reached a very busy galleries lounge, but beforehand I directed myself to the Elemis front desk to book a massage appointment and a shower slot. Lucky to have to wait only an hour until my appointment, it left me with enough time to deal with my grumbling stomach.
The lounge can easily accommodate high number of passenger numbers at peak times, by offering them a wide variety of drinks at the beverages bar, vast different types of food, with different types of seating areas.
Office amenities are also catered such as Wi-Fi, computers, printers and fax machines.
After a comfortable hour, I directed myself towards the elemis showers. Once in my assigned shower room, I unfortunately realized the well presented towels on the rack were dirty on the inside. Once I pointed that out, the apologetic staff rerouted me to a different shower room. Apart from the small incident, the shower rooms are well conceived.
Having booked my massage appointment right after my shower, the SPA staff directed me to a secluded massage chair where I was given a back and head massage for a quarter of an hour.
Following the treatment, I slowly directed myself to gate B43 stopping by some shops on the way. An efficient fast shuttle service to terminal 5B led me waiting starring at the 747-400 at gate B43, realizing the plane had not been fitted with the new First class product. Once boarding commenced, I was gracefully welcomed onboard and directed to my seat 63K on the upper deck.
I had chosen a window seat to maximize storage space and privacy. The seat can adjust to several different seating positions as well as a total flat 6ft (180cm) bed. A 10" VOD screen is available with a varied selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries, and games. The seat comes with decent table for working and in-seat power.
Which seat to choose?
When flying club world on a 747, the best place to be is on the upper deck where a 2-2 seat set up is available. This CW section is isolated from the rest of the other cabins and is further away from the engines, so you really gain an advantage in terms of noise and privacy. If flying solo, the best seat to take is the window seat next to the emergency exit, so you don’t disturb the other passenger when accessing the aisle. It also is in the middle of the cabin, away from the restrooms and galley.
Having been offered a selection of champagne, water, or orange juice, and a selection of newspapers the plane took off on time shortly after.
Once airborne, the crew came around with beverages and the menu, where one had the selection 3 different starters and main course each. I opted for the salmon tartar as an entrée and the beef sirloin with summer vegetables and baby potatoes, finishing it off with a lemon custard tart. The way the meal was presented and served was a pleasure, especially being 30,000 feet up in the air with a beautiful view of the horizon above the clouds. The meal itself was delicious; nonetheless the main course was a bit of a disappointment as the beef was quite overcooked.
After the meal, I decided to charge my phone but for some reason my in-seat power port was not functioning, no big loss. I wanted to get ready for bed, adjusted my seat to the lie flat position, tuned on my PTV to choose a movie to doze off to, browsed through a vast selection of old, recent, and movies, and chose to go along with Mission impossible 4 (Only reason is because I wanted to see Tom Cruise on top of the tallest building of the world :p).
Unfortunately, I was able to watch the first 20 min before my sleep caught up to me. Nevertheless, I woke up after an hour or two with a certain urge of filling up this small void in my stomach. Directed myself towards the Club kitchen downstairs, where a selection of beverages, cookies, chips, fruit salads, wraps, and cake were available. I was definitely impressed by the selection they had. The purser kindly asked if I wanted the wrap I had chosen to be heated.
The wrap did the trick to let me sleep right through until 30 min before landing when I was woken up, I had slept through breakfast, but no big worries as I was still full.
The plane arrived on time at Terminal 3 in Toronto. Fortunately, the upper deck was let off first. Eventually, it made no big difference as the immigration queue was very long due to the KLM and Lufthansa flight that had arrived just before us.
The flight attendants are very friendly and efficient on board. Food is considerably tasty, apart from one or two issues. Club world on the upper deck is a great pleasure. Heathrow T5 is well equipped with the right amenities for executive club members before travelling.
The plane flown for this trip was a Boeing 777-200. This plane has not yet been refurbished with the new First product, or VOD in Club. Three types of Boeing's are used on this London – Toronto route; the 767, 777, and 747.
As I arrived at Pearson Int' airport terminal 3, the Club and First check-in desks were empty, so I was on my way through security in no time. After a relatively short wait at security I directed myself straight for the BA lounge.
The BA lounge in terminal 3 is relatively new. At the front desk I was asked if I had been here previously, as it was not the case, I was given a small tour of the lounge.
My flight left at 20:50, therefore the 'sleeper service' was in action, and was given a dinner coupon to use at the buffet.
The buffet consisted of a wide variety of different types of foods, main course consisted of a selection of spinach lasagna, curry stew with rice lentils, and Asian dumpling soup. The chef asks you if you have any allergies before preparing your dish.
A wide variety of wines and beverages is at your selection.
Overall, the lounge is relatively small but is well equipped with the usual lounge amenities, and a friendly staff.
When the flight was ready for boarding it was announced in the lounge. I left promptly and directed myself towards gate C31 which was directly opposite the lounge. As I was one of the first one's to leave the lounge, I was sitting in my seat in no time.
Which seat to choose?:
The Boeing 777-200 Club world configuration consists of 5 rows of 2-4-2 seating arrangement. I assigned myself to 13A, a window seat half way through the club world cabin. I chose this seat as I wanted to be far away from lavatories on one side and the world traveler plus cabin on the other.
Seat 13A is a window seat, therefore, privacy is maximized. The seat converts to fully lie flat bed of 6ft (180cm). All aspects of the seat functioned well, unfortunately this flight did not have video on demand, therefore had to rely on multiple channels showing different types of TV shows, movies, and documentaries.
A few minutes after having sat down, a selection of orange juice, water or champagne was served with newspapers of your choice.
The flight departed on time, nevertheless, it took a while to reach cruising altitude because the plane had a fly around a sever thunderstorm, it was definitely beautiful to watch!
As this was a 'sleeper service' flight a light meal was an option which I took. One could select from either a prawn salad or fresh tomato basil pasta salad. I chose to go with the prawn salad which was very tasty, beverages were served after the food, this was a first.
The passengers next to me were completely forgotten, their meals were served 30 minutes later than mine.
After having finished with my light meal, I positioned the seat in its lie flat mode, put on my eye mask and ear plugs given to us in our amenities bag, and went to sleep. The flight attendant woke me up 30 minutes before landing.
The flight arrived on time, we disembarked the plane relatively fast. Luggage arrived within 10 minutes.
After having collected my luggage, I oriented myself towards the arrivals lounge, where a variety of English and continental breakfast was served. Nevertheless, I directed myself towards the showers. Clean and spotless are the best terms to describe the showers.
The BA lounge in Toronto is very impressive with their wide selection of foods and amenities. Once on board, service was shaky, unfortunately the cabin crew lacked the desire to please the passengers. Flight on time, arrivals lounge very remarkable and to be recommended!
As always departing from Cape Town compared to T5 is chalk and cheese. CT does not have a first class lounge, so we were shoved in small and crowded lounge without much thought or design. Never bother asking for champagne because there ain't any in Africa! Too mean or just plain dull?
Boarding is OK but you need to fight to the right hand side of the queue reserved for Premium class pax. Once on board it is a huge difference.
Champagne as a welcome drink and some decent international magazines. But, act quick because there is only one of each glossy - and a poor selection.
Again the catering in CT leaves much to be desired because the cooking and the ingredients are just not good enough. The meat is overcooked and the salad was well tired.
I always look forward to departing from the UK where the food is so much better. The seats are good but I am not sure if we had the updated Club seats or not. Anyone can enlighten me?
I Washington trading to fly form Rome to New York via London as I normally do rather often.
The 767 is always a problem for people in Business class because the side seats (the central ones are ok) are more or less like the ones in economy. I tried to tell BA that this is not correct but it appears that business is always the priority and contrary to most European airlines (I am talking about the serious ones LH KLM ecc that block the second seat so that you have nobody next to you) they fill up the space to the limit in order to get more passengers in. If I could I would boycott 767 business class...
But the real problem on this flight was not the seat (knowing the issue I had asked to block the seat next to mine) but the way BA behaved inn front of an unexpected issue with one of the cargo doors that was not closing properly.
We boarded the flight on time but until 11 am (3 hours) we kept on the plane waiting for the engineers to find out that the issue "could not be resolved". Of course we were disembarked with the crew telling us that ground staff would take care of us all and that arrangements had been made for our flight...
Well, that was the last time we saw someone from BA. Around 150/60 people stranded in the Rome airport trying to understand what they should do. Only the bravest were able to understand that they should stop waiting for help and go upstairs, at departure at the BA desk.
Most of the people just waited for theirs bags and were able to reach the desk only after 1 hour. The desk is really 2 people who had to take care of 150 passengers. You can imagine what happened. The staff was overwhelmed as we're the passengers.... In my case, being roman and a frequent traveler, was able to understand that either I run or I drown. I was able to get in the line 4th and had my flight rebooked on another airline.
However by being rebooked on AZ I lost my executive points for the flight and now for no more that 10 points I am not able to get an upgrade for 2 that you get when you reach 2500 exec points....well a rather expensive trip.
LHR - JFK 03/June/2012
BA-179 Club World (Business)
Checked in on line, so just the luggage to drop at the airport. The automated check in agent printed the boarding passes and referred us onto the baggage agent.
From the check in area the Fast Track security channel is on the south side of the terminal. The Concorde lounge is immediately to the right (or south) of security. We headed to the north Terraces lounge, with a view of the arriving planes.
The lounge, despite the rainy day was bright spacious and divided into a number distinct areas.
Buffet had a very good selection of red and white wines. In a sentence there was half a dozen of red and white, that covered all the classic regions. I opted for a Rully and wasn't disappointed.
Food was a choice of cold salads - beef ham or chicken, additionally sandwiches and deserts were available.
Round the lounge the tvs were showing the Jubilee river pagent. I was amused to hear the CNN commentary team struggling to identify London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
I didn't look at the hot buffet but could see baked potatoes and what looked like soup.
The departure gate was allocated 35 mins before the scheduled departure time,
Train from T5 to T5c terminal, it take about 10 minutes total journey time from lounge to gate.
We didn't get a chance to check out the lounge in T5c, as boarding was called as soon as we arrived.
We all boarded down the same airbridge. I like other airlines that board premium passengers on a separate bridge, it's not practical on 777s as the premium cabins goes back over the wing.
Apparently BA's newest 777, the cabin still smells new.
CW seat is fantastic, pre booked backwards facing centre pair.
I have to mention the power socket, this has been a source of irritation over the years, on the BA 747, the socket doesn't take UK plugs. On this 777 UK plugs are accepted - brilliant! In flight the aircraft was comfortable and quieter than the 747.
The amenity kits were distributed personally rather than pre positioned on the seats. Nice to see BA includes earplugs in the amenity kit, I've been caught out in the past by some airlines that don't. The cotton quilted blankets are almost as good as Thai's faux silk ones.
Tattinger champagne was free flowing prior to take off and as an apperitive.
The meal, choice of two options on each course, was truely the best of british. Starters - Poached salmon (boiled in water I assume, not lifted out of the laird's burn) or gilled summer veg. The champagne was a good match with the salmon.
Main was fillet of Aberdeen Angus, I choose the Elk Cove, Oregon Pinot Noir, a full bodied version to accompany the beef. The wine selection on board was well selected. Other airlines offer a broader choice, if not as well selected. The PN was a good match with the beef. Alternatives to the beef were Severn and Wye cod, Thai Green Veg curry or Chicken salad.
The other wines on offer were:
Domaine St Claire Chablis
Cline Cellars Viognier
Ch Ferrande Bordeaux
Dessert was a selection of cheese or a chocolate strawberry concoction, I couldn't pass on the mouse trap, the cheddar and the goat's cheese were good and a generous port was provided to wash it down. I toasted the queen on her diamond jubilee.
The IFE had a much greater selection of available media than on earlier models of plane, also the picture quality was better. Off to bed, after watching Tintin - I just missed it at the cinema, so good to catch up on the plane.
Club World still cuts the mustard, lie flat seats, in the two centre berths with the screens up it's pretty close to the SIA suites (less the rose petals - do they really do that?).
The cabin crew deserve a mention - efficient, keen and eager to assist. A couple of for instances:
I got up to take a picture of my partner in her seat, she'd never flow 'up front' before. A steward was straight on the ball 'let me take a picture of you both together'. He took half a dozen pictures, it was clearly his pleasure to do something for us, to make our BA experience the more memorable.
Later on I asked for a change of wine to go with the cheese, and was offered a port instead.
In summary if CW isn't as good as it get's it's damn close.
Arrival at JFK was held up once on the runway, following a thunderstorm, the airport was effectively gridlocked. Once hooked up to the terminal disembarquation was swift and smooth.
If you've completed your ESTA online and filled out a customs declaration(on paper) immigration is straight forward and took less than ten minutes, I glanced behind me a large queue had formed, another benefit of travelling near the front of the plane. The luggage arrived on the carousel within 5 minutes and we were out the front of the terminal shortly afterwards.
Once docked the speed of transit through the terminal left me very much minded of the efficiency of Singapore airport.
Taxis to mid town Manhattan are 'Prix Fixe' at $45, a refreshing change from Heathrow, where a shorter 12 mile journey costs £70.
The lounge in Barbados is fairly basic and the AC wasn't working. Boarding was reasonable given the facilities at BGI. I've done many CW flights on BA. I think their seat is good for sleeping but a bit like a coffin by day.
The food and drink were good. On boarding there was a hint that my screen was broken and after take-off it became clear that it was bust. I asked the crew to re-set it which they clearly did (since all the neighbouring screens coughed) but mine was no better. They didn't return to enquire if it was working.
Later in the flight with the lights down a stewardess passed my seat, picked up my half full water and half empty wine and took them away, without asking me. Since the seat belt sign was on I used the call bell; nothing. I tried again; nothing. Then the crew appeared further up the galley and served Champagne to a couple on their honeymoon with great ceremony. I tried my bell again; nothing. On my next attempt the same stewardess walked into the cabin, looked all around the far end of the cabin, shrugged her shoulders and returned to the galley.
Thinking that maybe my call bell had gone the same way of my screen I streteched over the aisle to another seat and tried again. This time she walked down to the empty seat, shrugged her shoulders and returned to the galley. Eventually I physically blocked the path of the CSM.
Admittedly he then offered me the use of an iPad from First but by this time about 5 hours had passed by. He gave me a rather unconvincing story about a sleeping passenger who kept tripping the call bell. A likely story.
Check in At Cancun was quick and easy. However at check in we were informed that there were no lounge facilities at the airport, we were given a voucher each to use at 'TGI Friday's' which was awful as it was noisy and not condusive to a relaxing start to a flight.
Boarding was orgniased and fairly quick with a seperate fast track lane for club and golds/silvers. We were ignored on boarding,no preflight drinks were offered, nobody offered to hang our jacket so we fended for ourselves. I did ask if we could have a drink and this was then promptly offered. The crew spent a remarkable amount of time in the galley chatting. We left a few minutes late.
Food orders were taken by a crew member who seemed as if she was in the midst of a family bereavement as she did not smile. We were never addressed by name at any point. The food was the worst I have ever experienced.
I chose the beef which was tough, fatty and was swimming in grease. There was a chocolate pudding that was so hard I could not cut it with a knife so I sent it back and it was replaced with cheese which was edible. The CSD came round to 'offer' her apologies and I was asked to fill in a comment form.
The seat is one of the high points and the entertainment was good as it was AVOD. 'Bacon Rolls' were offered for breakfast and again I could not eat mine, it was not bacon and a roll it was not as it was rock solid.
We landed a few minutes late and as we were leaving the aircraft the CSD was standing there yawing which spoke volumes.
Bags arrived promptly in Gatwick and we were on our way home quickly. All in all one of the worst flights I have ever experienced with BA simply because of the terrible food and very jaded crew. Only the seat and entertainment were worth the premium we paid for this flight.
My flight outbound to the West Coast was generally fine - the food has definitely improved with the 'Height Cusine' innovations, but the service was not what I would call customer-centric.
As I usually sit in 62K on the Upper Deck, one faces the 2 cabin crew seats for take off and landing. This literally forces you to listen to the 'chat' for quite a period. On the way out, as I watched the female CC bite her nails and cough without covering her mouth non-stop before take off, as well as complain about routing and rostering (this happens literally every time), I thought it couldn't be worse on the homeward leg. Unfortunately not.
The two very young crew were again chatting and laughing endlessly - but took up the usual moaning about rostering etc. "Here we go again" I thought. Then there was talk of the new BA motto "to fly, to serve" - which got related in a clown voice and peals of laughter - the message was simple: what fools we are to believe such nonsense.
If this was a one-off incident, fine. We'll all survive. But it's an extension of what I have seen on 10 long hauls in the past few months. No understanding that once you are wearing a uniform, act professionally, and make the customer feel special, feel wanted, feel even somewhat unique.
Once the crew are on board and in uniform, the management must make it clear you park your gripes and make this a great flight for everyone on board - especially in premium classes where the opportunities for this are greater.
Predictably enough, the service that followed was pretty awful. No refilling of drinks except when using the call bell - no offer of tea or coffee after dinner - no 2nd helping of bread. All the little things that really make a difference.
The crew didn't bother to close any of the open window blinds either - even at the window right beside their own seats - so I had to get up in the middle of the night and close a few, as the bright morning sun poured in.
Finally, a the end of the flight, coats were not returned, but were literally flung at us as we exited the plane; it was almost comical as passengers tried to exit and put on coats at the same time.
Apart from this, the seat was just filthy - the area underneath the dividing window, when raised, was like something out of Alien - full of dirt and crumbs and god knows what. The seat plastic itself, had either lipstick or red crayon marks all over it. Come on!
If there's one thing that really stands out to me over the past 10 flights in 3 months, it's the really poor level of service - why do I feel this is just a job for them. Treat us the way you would want to be treated. I can think of at least 3 other airlines where this kind of service is almost unheard of.
Am considering my options for the future. For all the money that one spends, there must be a better was to fly. Pity...the seat is great and the food is definitely improving.
Thanks to overbooking and a cancelled flight the day before, my husband and I were lucky enough to be upgraded to Club World on our flight back from London.
Having flown World Traveler on the inbound flight this was a HUGE upgrade! This was brilliant on their part because now we will never fly anything other than business class again.
Thee wonderful BA crew never made us feel out of place, despite our upgraded status. We were seated in the adjoining seats in the center aisle. This provided a wonderful little cocoon for us during our flight.
I am normally a very nervous flyer, but the added space and attention of the crew put me completely at ease. The seat was comfortable for sitting and easily converted to a fantastic seating space.
Food was outstanding. Salmon for dinner and finger sandwiches and scones for tea. Overall a truly comfortable and fantastic experience- we'll never fly Economy again!
I had the misfortune to be on the BA LHR to DFW flight on March 29. We boarded on time and were informed by the Captain we would be slightly delayed while a hydraulic issue was fixed. To cut a long story short after numerous "extensions' to the delay we finally left LHR seven hours later. What was even more remarkable was that this aircraft had just returned from Cardiff after major maintenance! Makes you wonder about the quality of this work.
Credit however must go the crew (both flight deck and cabin) who tried to keep everyone reasonably well informed on the delay to the best of their knowledge. They appeared even more frustrated than the passengers. The Captain in particular in one announcement was highly critical of "the Company" and BA Engineering staff for not being entirely transparent about the nature of the problem and the expected length of the delay.
My only criticism of the service was while there were ample drinks rounds, there was no sign of any food until some sandwiches made a belated arrival after around 5 hours!
After a complete cabin crew change and adding an extra flight deck crew member we finally left. Flight to DFW was good - quality of main meal, wine and IFE generally better than recent Club World experiences. However the second offering pre arrival really needs to be revamped - a couple of sandwiches and scones not really that appealing.
Flight crew managed to make up 1.5 hours on the scheduled flight time due to favourable winds and increased speed but we still arrived around 6 hours late.
Crew performance justified my faith in BA as a superior operator but no comments about their Engineering colleagues!
I really like British Airways; staff is always very helpful and cabins are relatively well maintained.
However, whoever invented the current Business class seats (lay-flat) should travel more often. The seat is long but really lacks the width especially when lying down (arms do not fit in the craddle). Also the table is not stable and bends downwards too much and the electric outlet (floor level) is simply too low to access without actually getting up or folding the table.
Dear seat inventors ... please actually try them on long haul flights!
Flew LHR-HKG-LHR in Club World.
Check-in was quick and the staff was helpful. Fast track security was good and I went to the Galleries lounge. I checked for a spa appointment and received the last appointment of the day. I then went to relax in the lounge before my spa treatment. The food selection is always the same though which was dissapointing. There are many seats available to relax on. The spa treatment was good but did feel a bit rushed.
We boarded at T5C and took the train there. Very efficient. There is nothing though in T5C except for a Boots and WHSmith, so do not go too early. BA have rostered the new 777-300ER on this route with the new cabin layout and updated IFE.
The Club World seat is the same as on other BA planes. Boarding was on time and due to many parents with children, even the priority lane was slow. Once on board I was in my seat 11E. I was traveling with my partner so we chose the seats in the middle as they are like a mini-suite on board with lots of privacy once the screens are up.
Boarding was completed on time and the menu, amenity kit and newspapers where handed out. Pre-takeoff drinks followed and the staff was very polite and efficient. Once airborne dinner was served.
The starter was a venison paté with salad and the main course was a beef dish. The food was average and did not leave me impressed. Cheese was ok but I have seen better food in business class. Water bottles were handed out and the cabin light was switched off.
I slept almost all the way to HKG and woke up for breakfast. The seat is very comfortable to sleep on but I do feel it is a bit short if you are tall. For me it was just right though. Breakfast was your typical affair and was soso again. The cabin was prepared for landing and the cabin crew secured the cabin.
As many planes were arriving at the same time we were delayed for around 20 minutes but it was not a big deal for me. Luggage was awaiting us when we arrived, so that was good.
The return flight started at the transfer desk in HKG as we were coming off another flight. We were given our boarding passes and the lounge invitation for the Qantas lounge. The lounge is great and I felt had a much better choice than the T5 lounge at LHR. Lot's of food available and also noodle soups freshly made for you etc. Showers were great and had nice toiletries. Amenity kits were handed out which was very useful.
Boarding was on time and quite quick and we were in our seats in row 13 in no time. Again staff was helpful and polite even though it was nearing midnight. After departure I chose the cold dish which was a chicken salad that was nice and light. I then slept through till breakfast but again it was only soso. The approach was quite windy that day but we still managed to arrive on time. After landing we went to the arrival lounge for a shower and breakfast.
The showers have a weird concept though. You cannot leave anything on the floor as the whole floor is soaking wet when you shower. They have a warning though but still I feel this must be some kind of construction error. Also the shower seems to be falling apart as the wall covers are coming loose. Breakfast is great though with a wide selection of items and the atmosphere is very relaxing. I felt the lounge was again better than the Galleries lounge.
To sum it up, BA offered a good product in general but there are ways to improve and to become a 5 star airline, which is indeed possible if they would work on the details.
The ground staff needs some training but the cabin crew were all good, professional, caring and efficient. The food needs a lot of attention though as the food served is not what one would expect in Business class. Lounges are ok but could do with different food choices from time to time. I feel the website of BA is userfriendly and efficient. All in all I would recommend BA !
This was our first long haul flight with BA - previously we have always flown Virgin, usually Premium Economy, but we feel the service in P.E., which used to be very good, has become rather mundane.
So, when we found a good deal with BA for their Club Class flight to Jamaica, we thought we'd give it a try.
Have to say it was absolutely excellent! Aside from the fact the dinner they served on the return journey was not particularly good, I have nothing but praise for the way we were treated.
The seat/ bed arrangement is cleverly thought out with the partition for privacy if required. The service from the cabin crew was courteous, friendly and efficient. The in-flight entertainment was very comprehensive and the food generally, though as I said, not as good on the return leg which we were told had been prepared in Jamaica, was excellent.
In many ways it's almost as good as Virgin Upper Class, though I guess V.U/C has the upper hand in luxury. Obviously haven't tried BA First (and, sadly, never likely to be able to) but, bearing in mind the attached costs, of BA v Virgin U/C, we would choose BA Club every time.
It's a great alternative to U/Class and about two thirds the price.
Sadly, we read that BA will not be flying in to Montego Bay after March, only to Kingston which doesn't suit us for the hotel we prefer in Jamaica.
So, to sum up, great and punctual flight, great service, good level of comfort, great entertainment and very generous luggage allowance - only wish we could afford to do it every time!
I was in seat 10D for the flight from Doha to London (via Bahrain). The seat was the first row of the cabin but close to the toilet.
When I had checked in online the service had been advertised as a sleeper service and invited me to dine in the lounge. I knew with the stop it would not quite be a sleeper service but was therefore expecting food in the lounge in line with the pre-dining BA promised.
BA shares the Oryx lounge with all non Qatar Airways passengers. There is a limited supply of food, a couple of sandwiches, biscuits, pasta salad, humous, soup but nothing that would qualify for pre-dining as you get on the New York sleeper service.
Boarding took place efficiently and on time. The Cabin was quiet and with just a few passengers for the first leg of the trip. I had my jacket taken from me and was offered a drink. No newspaper was offered. During the short hop to Bahrain the crew did not offer a drink and were not really present in the cabin.
Whilst on the ground in Bahrain I was given my bottle of water for the night and I asked for a newspaper. I was offered a copy of the Times that had been clearly been read before and was the only person in the cabin to be lucky enough to get a newspaper at all.
As I wanted to sleep as soon as I could I reclined my bed and pulled my quilt over me. I slept well and woke up at the end of the breakfast service. I was ignored by the staff and was surprised not even to be offered a juice.
Good seat, poor service.
BA has significantly improved the quality of food in Club World with its new menus. Fillet steak, fish etc are all beautifully cooked and tasty. The presentation is good no longer a foil tray inverted on a china plate it actually looks like its been served fresh. They have also trimmed the wine list so all are now available.
Combined with the professional and intuitive service of the cabin crew I would recommend BA above the others.
First Impressions: Arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare airport on a domestic American flight from Minneapolis, the AA stewardess rattled off a string of domestic departure gates, ending by saying that British Airways customers would be met at the gate as we left the aircraft.
We were escorted through the terminal to Gate K20 to a minibus then across the apron to Terminal 5 and dropped a short walk from BA gate M12 and adjacent lounge, bypassing security. A great start to the BA experience!
Check In: I had already checked in at Minneapolis through to London as a World Traveller Plus customer. The Chicago BA Lounge representative was helpful and efficient, politely declining a cheeky request to use the lounge but offered me a $400 upgrade to club class!
I immediately booked two for my travelling companion and myself, the transaction efficiently managed at the lounge desk on my credit card.
The Lounge: The Lounge at O’Hare is an extensive facility for a destination with only two BA flights a day. Spacious, modern and well equipped it provides a welcome haven from one of the world’s most hectic airports.
A dedicated dining area provides a full buffet dinner for those customers using the sleeper service on the late evening London flight. The choice of food included a fantastic beef casserole, tuna cooked rare in the centre and a fantastically fresh salad along with a selection of fresh fruit and cheeses.
There were plenty of internet connected PCs and a selection of lounge and desk seating with US and UK reading material.
Boarding: I had been advised the flight would be called at 2100 and so it was precisely this time when the lounge announcement was made. I didn’t rush out, finishing my drink, packing my laptop and visiting the facilities meant I was last out and I found the economy passengers had been given access to the First and Club lane!
I eventually got on board after a queue on the air-bridge. The Club World cabin was full and the crew struggled to simultaneously seat customers, allow economy passengers to pass, stow jackets and bags and serve a welcome drink!
The Seat: The flight was operated by one of BA’s oldest 777s. As new 777-300s enter traffic, BA is going to have to think how it can accelerate the refurbishment of these aircraft which appear worn and past their sell by date.
Club World on the BA 777 is spread across six rows and is in the now familiar alternating forward and reverse formation. My travelling companion and I were seated in backward facing seats 13E/F in the centre of the cabin.
Annoyingly the metal frame of my seat was loose and rattled and the fold out TV screen had to be assisted from its frame as the eject mechanism was worn.
The flight: After a quick push, we took off at 21:45 – not bad for a 21:35 scheduled departure. Although lounge staff had told us to eat in the lounge as the sleeper flight served no food, soon after take off crew came round taking orders for food followed by a drinks service. The crew then mislaid my order although once I pointed out I had no food, they quickly rectified this.
Supper was a choice of Seared Prawns on a bed of greens with roast beets or fillet of beef with vegetables and fondant potato. My order of prawns was tasty and had a just cooked consistency.
The entertainment system was an old style ‘loop’ system which worked adequately but is just not what customers can experience on many other airlines!
I ignored the entertainment and, after dinner, settled down for the night and was able to sleep well. I woke just before breakfast, freshened up and then enjoyed a selection of fresh fruit and a bacon roll!
Arrival: We touched down at Heathrow at 09.50. Having arrived 25 minutes early, we parked at a remote stand, unable to disembark for 10 minutes or so until dedicated transfer buses arrived to shuttle us to the terminal. Terminal 5 is great in many ways but bussing premium passengers to the terminal is not a world class travel experience!
The E-immigration line was shut so had to queue for passport control. Made my way to BA Arrivals Lounge which, at 10.30, was rather quiet but is a great facility which a fantastic choice of breakfast. I was able to shower, change and refresh before heading to Central London on Heathrow Express.
Overall Verdict: A great value upgrade from World Traveller Plus but the old Club World cabins look increasingly tired against new aircraft.
Excellent night of sleep across the Atlantic and BA provided good quality food. Great arrivals facilities at Terminal 5 somewhat spoilt by remote parking of the aircraft and lack of buses.
I attmpted to fly to Mumbai on BA 199 on the 27th September.
Everything seemed fine until we were about to leave and the Captain advised us that we had a small technical problem. After 4 hours (now 2.00am) we were told that the fight was cancelled, we should deplane, and collect our baggage.
All BA were prepared to advise us was that we could have a hotel voucher and that after 5.30 am we could try and rebook either by phone (I do not live in the UK and roaming calls are expensive) or on the internet or we could come back to T5 and the BA desks would be open. The BA "management" just wanted us to get out of the airport and not be an inconvenience to them. We were given no news about future flight options and it was very clear to the 300 or so passengers that we were a problem to BA and should just go away (they even called the police as people started to get angry).
I chose to go to the BA Desks in T5 and wait through the night, I figured it was not worth trying to get to a hotel and I needed to know what was going to happen as I had clients in Mumbai waiting for me.
Fortunately the Airport Night Manager was not a BA Manager and he showed sympathy for the 150 or so of us camping on the floor in T5 and he tried to help and supplied us with some refreshments, he even tried to contact BA but he had no joy either.
During the night the line became longer as people returned from hotels that were full and so by 5.15 or so the Airport manager was trying to brief the BA Managers.
They were clearly annoyed that so many passengers were waiting for them. Finally he and his team set up lines as the BA managers were clearly not intetested in helping us. Eventually we were able to get to the BA desk where the staff (clearly not BA managers) did their best to help.
Moral of the story:
Do not expect BA to help if there is a problem when it is inconvenient for them (i.e at night). Many people wondered why BA could not find another plane or another crew or someone who could work their booking system at night; and we were at Heathrow!! They just wanted to get rid of us.
I will try not to be a inconvenience to BA in the future, whenever possible I'll choose another airline, much better for BA managers. I have been a BA Gold Card holder for 25 years and it's sad.
I hope other business travelers can benefit from my unfortunate experience.
I flew from LHR to LAX on the 747 High J, and I was seated in the upstairs cabin (Club World).
I must say I was quite surprised with the quality of the product. I have heard so many negative comments about the BA Club World, but I really enjoyed it, and actually did not want to leave the plane when we arrived in LA.. 11 hours just flew by in no time at all..
I connected to this flight from OSL, and the transfer was quick and easy in the Fast Lane.
The lounge was huge, and because of this not very pleasant. The VS lounge is just so much better!
My onboard experience was excellent, ecxept for one thing. I was sitting in the last row upstairs, so I was the last one to choose my meal. And they did not have what I wanted.. And this was the case for all meal servings.. This was very disappointing.
The cabin crew were excellent! Very service minded.
The upstairs cabin is very private and quiet, and this makes the experience so much better than the downstairs cabin.
Arrived LA on time, and I really didn't want to leave my "mini suite"! Immigration in the US took 2 hours! So not a very good end of a great flight..
I flew on BA001 on Thurs 22nd Sept 2011 from LCY to JFK. The lounge at City is quite small, but is restricetd to BA001 passengers only. There was champagne, wine, soft drinks, tea, coffee and a small selection of warm canapes and buscuits.
Boarding was very smooth and the interior cabin was clean and bright. The cabin crew on the flight were wonderful. They were friendly and helpful. The food was among the best I've had in the air. I would normally avoid steak on a flight, but seeing as the contract for the supply of catering is with Roast I gave it a try. I was not dissapointed.
The seat is much wider than the regular CW seat and I think it is also a lot more comfortable. The controls are easy to reach and operate and there are plenty of options to choose from to get comfy. The seat folds down to a completely flat bed.
The IFE system was an iPad. I had read some iffy reviews of teh previous system and the cabin crew confirmed that the old system was not up to scratch. The iPad was pre-loaded with lots of films, TV shows and a couple of games. I was perfectly happy.
The short stop at Shannon was fine and we were back on the plane in no time. There was no queue in the immigration hall and for the first time I saw a US immigration officer smile!
The flight over to JFK was smooth and went by too quickly. The high tea that was offered before landing could probably be improved on. The scones were nice, but I didn't like any oif the sandwiches. The alternative salad was very small. However, as we were not in New York for business we were not too bothered as we knew we'd be going out for food in the city.
Disebmarkment was hampered by a fault with the airbridge, but once the ground staff had finally rememembered how to work the thing we were off and skipped past the 100's of people queuing in the immigration hall, as we had already pre-cleared immigration.
All in all I would definately recommend this flight. I did worry before hand in case it was too forcussed towards business passengers, but I needn't have worried. The crew tailored their service accordingly.
I am saving for my next trip!!
This is BA's new direct 245/244 LHR-EZE service, replacing the old 246/247 service which stopped at Sao Paulo.
At 13 hours, it's the longest single flight on BA's route and is flown by a Boeing 777 rather than a 747. The aircraft is only configured for World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World classes - no first.
Cabin crew told me that BA is evaluating the oute to see if it's worth adding First. Friends in Latin America said that the customers for First tend to be Brazilians as the Argentines don't have the money (!) and so they will stick with the 245/246 flights. We shall see.
It has to be said the 777 is much quieter than the 747: that's three decades of technology for you.
Club world service was as ever - attentive, friendly, good food, comfort. It may be time for BA to review its flat beds, though: the seat+folding footstool configuration is starting to look dated. I'd recommend this flight for anyone heading for Argentina or (as I was) Chile, as the alternatives are scanty: Iberia or Aerolineas Argentinas from Madrid, Alitalia (I think) from Rome and Lufthansa from Frankfurt (for Buenos Aires) or Iberia and LAN (again via Madrid) plus (I think) Alitalia from Rome for Santiago.
Nobody flies direct London-Santiago, and for this route BA is way in front of any alternatives.
My wife and I were travelling with an infant on this flight from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to San Francisco. BA therefore let us choose the seats that would accommodate a bassinet some time in advance.
I also entered my advance passenger info and purchased an ESTA some time in advance. Despite this, and despite showing that the information had been entered, the 'manage my booking' info on BA.com still showed that I had to nter some more information. This worried me and I called BA.com. Apparently BA.com had overwritten the advance passenger information that I had given it with the other passport number that they held in my Exec club profile. This, I felt, was bad functionality. I know that I am not the only British frequent traveller to have more than one UK passport (the UK passport office will give a second passport to anyone who gets a supporting letter from their employer) so it is not good that BA.com does not support this.
My actual check in was a a lot less fraught. I printed my boarding card online. On arrival at the airport I walked straight up to a bag drop (terminal 5 does not have premium bag drops presumably because the queue is rarely more that one in front for any class). The bag drop assistant was very pleasant and we were on our way through fast track security very quickly.
The BA Terminal 5 Southern side lounge is probably my favourite lounge of any I have been to at any airport in the world. It has most things I would ever want: wi-fi, good selection of newspapers, business traveller magazine, showers, good selection of food and drink (including London Pride beer), good coffee (decaf & regular), snacks to take away (albeit not strictly allowed). The only things missing for me are: bottles of water to take away, good access from the security (it is a bit of a trek to get there). My only other quibble is that you are not told which gate you will leave from until very just before the flight is boarding so you can't select a lounge near to your gate.
We boarded from a B gate which is a train ride away from the main hub. On arrival at B island we made a quick pitstop at the B island BA lounge to grab a quick coffee. As we had a young child we were invited to pre-broad the plane. However, even as club world passengers we would have had some priority boarding. Boarding was, therefore very pleasant and stress free. The cabin crew / ground staff also offered to stow our buggy in the plane (rather than the hold) which was a very welcome gesture (much better than having to carry a baby to the baggage carousel at the end of a long flight). On boarding we realised that the seats we had been allocated were not the optimum for attending to the baby bassinet space. They were either side of a divider and the second half of the middle double seat was allocated to a stranger. Fortunately the stranger was travelling on his own and was as keen as us to swap (rather than sit with a baby for 10 hours).
The plane was extremely hot on boarding. We found out later that this was because the aux power unit was not working. The captain had decided to make us suffer from the heat rather than making us a suffer an extended delay whilst they found another plane. I supported his decision. Because of these problems (I think) we were a few minutes late in departing.
The second generation of BA flat bed is my favourite business class seat. I find it comfortable to sit in, to eat in and to sleep in. This is especially true if, as we did on this ocassion, I manage to get one of the seats without a barrier at the end of the footrest thus allowing a little extra legroom whilst sleeping. The double seat that we ended up sitting in also provided us with a little cocoon where we could keep our baby entertained without disturbing other passengers. My only gripe with the seat is the lack of a proper reading light.
BA also provides infants (uniquely I believe) with a choice of a bassinet cot or a seat in all classes. Other airlines tend to provide only a bassinet cot which is usually too small for babies > 6 months so babies tend to have to sit on your lap for the whole flight. As it turned out, our toddler refused to sit in her own seat preferring to share with mum and dad.
The screen in Club World is very large and can be viewed well in any sitting or lying position. Noise reducing headsets are supplied, however, my headset and that of our neighbour, did not work properly. I was glad that I had my own quality noise reducing headphones brought from home.. There was an excellent selection of films and TV AVOD. I watched the Kings Speech.
BA cabin crew were at the time in dispute with BA. I guess certain crews were more supportive of the current greivances than others. I got the feeling that our crew were not as dedicated to the airline as others I had seen. One of the crew members allocated to us was not at all attentive. She didn't bring us a baby seat until we asked. She forgot to bring my wife scones with afternoon tea. She didn't tell us that there was a spare seat that we could use rather than have a baby on our lap for 10 hours. Neither of the call bells on our seats worked. It would not have surprised me if this was because the cabin service director had turned them off!
Dinner was good but not excellent. I had a chicken terrine on celariac with raspberry coulis to start. This was very good. I had a beef pie as a main course. This was nothing special and no mustard was offered (luckily I had brought my own from the lounge). Desert was a low quality treacle tart. Cheese was on the menu but was not offered to us. Coffee was really bad. The red wine I chose was good. Prior to landing we were served a sandwich (which was like the cheap sandwiches you sometimes get in euro traveller) with scones and clotted cream (for me but not my wife - see above). The tea served was cold and not at all pleasant.
We landed 15 - 30 minutes late. We disembarked quickly to beat US immigration queues. However World Traveller Plus are allowed off before Club as they are seated forward of the lower deck club section on this 747 configuration. As it turned out, Californian immigration staff were more helpful than those we were used to, they singled us out as we had a young child and we made it through very quickly. Our bags arrived soon after and we were on our way about 30 minutes after arrival.
We did not choose our airline for this trip. We were using up a BA Exec Club AmEx companion voucher so we actually chose our destination to maximise the value of the voucher. Given a free choice on this route between Virgin, United and BA who fly direct, I would always choose BA over United. I have never flown Virgin in business class and, given a free choice, would consider choosing Virgin. The BA seat is very good but is let down by poor food and less attentive service.
Flew CW on the short overnight hop from LHR to DXB the other month. Don't understand why the BA109 doesn't offer a "Goodnight" Service (or whatever the Sleeper Service is called these days), instead it was a full dinner service, which started late due to turbulence over northern Europe - then breakfast was served about 4 hours later. Surely all short overnight services would benefit from being sleeper services? Other than that the flight was of the usual standard you can expect from BA - punctual, efficient and everso slightly British.
Flew BA ClubWorld class for the first time between Toronto and Milan, with a stopover in Heathrow. Can't say enough about the quality of service both on the ground and inflight. The best I've ever experienced. We weren't in First Class, but we all felts like Kings and Queens!
If I had to find any fault, it would be with the configuration of the seats on our B777-200 flight. For those of us on seats by the window or in the centre section of the plane , we found ourselves climbing over the foot rests of the seats beside us. That would be fine if the opposite seat was a family member or friend, but climbing over the feet of a stranger was a little disturbing, to say the least.
Long-haul flights begin in the lounge and the new tie-in between BA and Elemis, providing a free massage, is a nice innovation. The showers are immaculate too.
The main lounge(s) in T5A are huge; food is at the 'fast food' end of the spectrum and if you want to drink champagne, you have to ask personally for each and every glass. Other wines available are rather ordinary. This flight normally goes from T5B and the lounge there is less welcoming.
First impressions on boarding are that the main deck Club World section is crowded - not because of the number of people, but by the strangely contoured seat separators and the sardine-like head-to-toe stacking. Once in your seat, two other disadvantages appear: the lack of storage space for small, precious items like spectacles and hearing aids and the narrowness of the space enclosed by the separators.
The head-to-toe placement means that the face of the stranger next to you is only some two feet from your own and facing you. Eye contact is inevitable and it is a bore's paradise. There is a sliding, opaque window to block this contact, but stewards are forever opening it and leaving it and one feels rude to keep closing it.
The entertainment on offer has not improved for a decade: the screen is low definition and the controls an unhappy blend of touch-screen and remote. It is at mealtimes and in the service offered that the real problems appear.
The British crew were unsmiling, surly, avoided eye-contact and in one case verbally rude. Their body-language was all rush with no finesse or attempt to put the client at ease. Any request was greeted by a glare. The CSD was nowhere to be seen, presumably never emerging from First Class. I was made to feel like an intruder.
The food was even more off-putting. A main course of tasteless, over-cooked beef filet served on a small, round semi-bowl with gravy and vegetables dumped randomly on top and around. BA served better food in cattle class in the '80s ......and served it with style. Breakfast revealed another weird practice (which was repeated on my return flight). Fruit juice and warm bead is presented some 20 minutes before one's choice of main dish, so you have to commit the (apparently unforgivable) sin of asking for more bread if you want it with your bacon and cardboard scrambled egg.
Mealtimes highlight the 3 main interacting problems facing this airline - cheap, poorly cooked food + expensive, poorly-trained and disaffected cabin crews + old style aircraft tarted up to make them look modern.
BA is rapidly becoming the world's LEAST favourite airline and it makes me sad.
what a great service BA is offering from LCY to JFK, love the gate lounge at LCY, easy to board, and then a short 1 hr hop to Shannon, where US Border Protection formalities were completed within 30 minutes, and then off to JFK. Staff were friendly, service was good, and plane only 2/3rds full, disembarking at JFK as a domestic flight was just a breeze.Top marks BA for running this service.
Although the plane was fitted with the "new" club class seats they felt very tired and worn. Compared to many business class seats they have very little storage space. The footrest and table were less than reliable, the footrest collapsed and I had to keep the table level with my legs. Unfortunately the seat kept sticking during recline and would not come fully into the upright postiion when it was time to land. Boarding the plane was hampered by the gate being at ground level with passenger having to undergo additional security checks before boarding via a bus and steps onto the plane. Felt a bit like we had gone back to the 1960s.
great friendly crew and service, with the added bonus of the aircraft being one of 2 747's with the new First cabin, which I was able to sample on the short hop between Bahrain and Doha, 10/10 to BA for creating a really classy product, stylish, comfortable, and no gimmicks, this is BA at its best.
Recently flew LHR-JFK. As this flight was during the strike period for BA, so we were delayed by 1 hour. We were lucky to even fly, let alone get upgraded from WTP to CW. When we entered the plane, the cabin looked extremely spacious, and very comfy! The seats were luxurious, the legroom was fantastic, and it was a joy!
Pre-flight drinks were offered, but we were told that no hot meals were available, this being down to the reason that BA were on strike at the time! The only downside to the experience was that the B777 has not been fitted with AVOD yet, therefore, the entertainment was continuous, and you could not pause it!
Service was excellent; I believe that BA drafted in volunteers for the flight, and were struggling to find a crew, hence a delay of 1 hour. However, the crew were just excellent, they attended to your needs at every moment, and were great! The meal consisted of a Salad, which was very nice!
Overall, an unforgettable experience flying Club World with BA, an experience I will never forget!
This 777 4 class config is now used on a lot of the LHR-YYZ route. The one major problem with this plane is that it uses the old entertainment programming and not video on demand - even though the club world has been fitted with the new seats. Even BA's older 767's with the original club world blue seat layout has VOD. Its v annoying! When are BA going to retro-fit these planes with the new entertainment system?
Shameful. Access to Terminal 5 lounge via a range of escalators. Lounge "welcome staff" dismissive and disinterested, and in fact a customer on leaving turned and said "god help us if we were to interrupt their conversation. Seat was great for sleeping, if very narrow for Business Class. Food was disgusting. Crew had obviously taken short-cuts in preparation and it showed. i sent my meal back on two flights, as did several other passengers. I was offered one drink en route, and to obtain further drinks myself had to interrrupt the cabin crew who were permanently deep in personal conversations.
One of my most worst experiences..!
Due to Ash cloud problem, my wife's flight was cancelled and I had to book her on Singapore Airlines. It was not pleasant to travel to same desination on different flights, we wanted to sit together before boarding. BA did not even allow us into lounge on T3 heathrow saying that my wife is carrying Singapore Airlines boarding pass - I know that it is not allowed but it is because you couldnt re-book her on BA and cancelled the flight..!
Anyway, I boarded the flight and came to know that they "forgot" to get the meal I requested. As if this was not yet enough, entertainment system was not working. It took 2 hours to bring back 2 channels ..!!! I just slept and wished that I wake up only after 12 hrs in Singapore.
BA - I am not flying with you ever..!
My new wife and I flew the BA001 on Wednesday 12th May 2010. I was very impressed with the overall product . It really is like flying in a business the jet- a most unique experience helped by the fact we were only with 8 other passengers . The design of cabin was excellent - more space than normal club world and lots of privacy from any else around. The new aircraft was calm, tranquil, clean, contemporary, slick and stylish. I suppose like flying used to be. That's the summary now a bit more detail.
London City experience - this was my first flight through there. No waiting at check-in, no waiting at security and straight to the lounge with plenty of beverages available. This was already open when we got there (11:15 for a 12:50 flight). Read previous review saying the lounge only opened at 11:30 so BA have addressed this. Very prompt boarding, personal welcome from the captain (we were in row one!) and with minimal taxi and a very sporty take-off.
Seating: We were seat 1j and 1k. They were fine - no lack of space due to bulk heads. I would say all other seats were fine but make the comment that seat 1b is next to a toilet and is a bit exposed into the aisle. Rows two and three have a missing window position (out of the three windows at each seat) which is a slight problem in row three especially if you want a relaxed view out of the window. I didn't notice any difference in noise between the front and back.
Service: All very good. No pre-flight drink in LCY (but you get one in JFK). However, you don't have time for one due to near immediate taxi and go. Within minutes the excellent cabin crew start their excellent service starts. Fine wines and champagne with a starter en-route to Shannon. Main course and dessert follows departure out of Shannon with (if you're still hungry) an excellent afternoon tea about 1.5 hours of JFK. Read a previous review saying sandwiches ere plastic wrapped - ours weren't. This tea competes with some classy London hotels so enjoy. Having 3 cabin crew for the 10 passengers on our flight made for the best possible service. The portable entertainment system offers the same range of films/tv/music at the larger fleet but you don't get flights maps. The On-Air - text/email service wasn't working for our flight.
Seats: I'm not a regular business traveller but have done BA (Pre Econ and Club World) and Virgin PE recently. I would rate the Club_world London City seats at the best airline seats I've ever been in. Bit wider than I'd expected - excellent support and adjustment. They advertise the seats with a fully flat 6ft bed - I'm 6'3" and didn't feel constrained. They also have extra buttons next to your head when reclined to make it easy to return to the up right position - nice touch.
Shannon stop: Within a hour you're landing here. The stop was barely noticeable. Touch down to take off in just under an hour. You have to take your hand baggage off and then go through a queue-less US immigration. Within 10 minutes we were back on-board. Same cabin crew but they change the Captain/First Officer due to restrictions on their overall daily operating hours. So we were personally welcomed by our second Captain (a very amiable Cpt Hart) and off we went.
The flight: Thought a smaller aircraft might be a bit bumpier. We had some dark clouds above LCY and SNN so a little turbulence on take-off but nothing different thereafter. I've experienced some severe turbulence in 747-400s so size doesn't matter on this one !! Flight time of 6hrs 40 mins SNN to JFK. We were at the JFK taxi rank within 15 minutes of engine stop even allowing for checked baggage so take all of that onto account when doing you're sums on time difference with LHR flights.
I am an aircraft enthusiast and wanted to experience this flight and living in east London it was a no brainer for me. But even for others the ease of transit to LCY and rapid check-in- security and intimacy of the airport surely make for a winning product for anyone wanting to get to JFK in what is a near First class cabin at Club-Class prices.
Well done BA.
Club World is fantastic. Calm, comfortable and quite. The service was amazing. I slept all night. This is the only way to travel from the lounge to boarding to leaving the experience is excellent
Flying from New York's JFK to London City on British Airways' Airbus A318 non-stop service is the best option for travel to London, in my opinion. I travelled on BA004, departing JFK Terminal 7 at 22:00, and scheduled to land in London at 10:15 the following morning.
Check-in at dedicated desks at T7 took less than one minute, and the dedicated fast track security meant I was airside in under three minutes. Staff reminded me that there was a pre-flight dining option in the Terraces Lounge, and London City flights are now full-service flights offering a starter, three main courses and a "Goodnight Express" sandwich/salad combo plus dessert / cheese / cookies / fruit and chocolate. Because of heavy snow-fall in the NY area, I departed Manhattan well in advance, so had plenty of time in the lounge before departure.
Boarding was called 30 minutes prior to departure, and with an aircraft slightly more than half-full, the doors were closed at 21:44 and we pushed back three minutes later. We were airborne in five minutes, so slightly ahead of our scheduled departure time. It sure made a difference to the 1-hour plus taxi time I've had on a 747 at JFK! Our flying time was scheduled for seven hours exactly. Since my visit to New York had been brief, I was tired and reclind my seat back 15 minutes after take-off, and was soon enjoying a lovely slumber on a very comfortable 180-degree flat bed with a light cotton duvet to keep me warm. Luckily, the crew on this flight kept the cabin cool (and dark), ensuring customers could maximise their rest. The next thing I knew, I was awoken with the wonderful "30 minutes to landing, sir" and "here is your cup of morning tea." Crew also handed out a variety of breakfast options to customers (smoothies, fruit, muesli, pastries and warm bacon rolls), though a few opted to take the "City Breakfast" option off the plane with them (juice, fruit and pastries).
It was interesting flying over North London on approach to London City, and watching many larger aircraft in the stack waiting for clearance to land at London Heathrow. We just zipped along and made the steep angled approach into London City for a perfect landing, touching down nearly 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Immigration was fast (with a very pleasant officer who welcomed us with a hearty "good morning"), and bags were on the belt six minutes from the aircraft door opening. I declined the offer to shower at the nearby Marriott West India Quay since I live nearby, but timed my arrival home (via cab) at 33 minutes from aircraft door to my front door.
Arriving in London does not get any easier than at London City - it is a very efficient use of time, and the BA Club World London City service offers a maximum opportunity to rest in preparation for a long day at the office in London. A winning service. And are there any negatives to this flight, you may ask? I'd prefer to have something to change into on the overnight return flight (I often use hand-luggage, so bringing extra PJs isn't always an option), and a larger pillow would be nice. The "bing-bong" of the on-air system registering between satellites can be annoying, and there is a bright green light by the power port (taking both US & UK plugs) which can be annoying if you aren't wearing eyeshades. Otherwise, everything else works very well!
Evening BA003 service from LCY to JFK. I departed my office at Canary Wharf at 14:20 for a 16:00 departure to New York, and the DLR took 14 minutes to reach London City Airport. Check-in took less than one minute, and with dedicated fast-track security only for this JFK flight, I was through in three minutes. I made my way to the Gate 24 lounge, only used by British Airways for the two, dedicated LCY-JFK flights. There were 26 customers on this flight (out of a total of 32 seats).
Boarding was simple and leisurely, and we were warmly greeted by the crew. We departed ten minutes ahead of schedule, and we were airborne four minutes after pushback. Our journey time to Shannon was one-hour and five minutes, in which time the crew served an appetizer and offered a full bar service.
In Shannon, we were quickly through the newly refurbished part of the terminal into the US Immigration and Customs hall. Bags go through a scanner (laptops out, shoes off) and security staff performed a manual baggage inspection. We proceeded through US Immigration / Customs and then onward to a waiting area dedicated for Club World London City customers. The Irish duty-free is under renovation (removing the Stalinist-era shop of old). The crew re-boarded, and within five minutes passengers were back on board and we were under way - a full 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
Supper service commenced shortly after take-off with another round of drinks, followed by a salad, a choice of five main courses, cheese or dessert and after-dinner drinks. Apart from an average wine-list, there is no description of what is available from the bar, so you have to ask what they have, which slows service down a bit. Portable video units are used on this service, with a fairly decent amount of programming with recent films. BA's new association with BAFTA may up the level of content on these units. Most passengers either caught up with work (esp. when the OnAir Connectivitiy was available for blackberry connections - note TMobile users still are not able to connect), or slept or watched a film. The Captain came through the cabin and spoke to every customer that so wished - a nice touch.
The seats, in pairs, are contemporary, sleek and very comfortable. In bed mode, I find them more comfortable than regular Club World on 747 & 777 aircraft. The Cabin ambiance (thanks to mood lighting) is pleasant and serene.
A la carte "afternoon tea" was available upon request from 90 minutes prior to landing (but after a good supper catered by London's Roast restaurant, there were not too many takers) - note only basic tea or herbal tea is offered, no Earl Grey / Darjeeling, etc. which would be a nice addition to this premium flight. We landed at a snowy JFK nearly 40 minutes ahead of schedule (there had been massive cancellations in NY due to the snow, so approach was direct and fast), with a record two minutes from runway to gate 9 (not the normal arrival gate at JFK T7). From Gate 9, it took three minutes from the door of the aircraft to getting into a cab, and a further 30 minutes to reach my hotel overlooking Central Park (hardly any traffic). Arrival was so quick, in fact, I managed a light supper with friends after landing - and this is after the later of the two daily flights from LCY-JFK.
Overall, this flight is a truly winning proposition from British Airways. It takes so much of the hassle and wasted time of current travel out of the equation, that customers are happy to pay the premium charged for this boutique and special service. The added perquisites of being able to connect onboard, and landing as a domestic customer at JFK really make this an optimum choice.
BA139 LHR--> BOM 1/26/10, Club seat 17J;
Prior to departure used club in T5B, which was less chaotic that anything in T5A, lots of space to sit and walk around without the commotion. Prefer 5B club for fast access/use of showers on connections. Flight to Mumbai mid-week was uneventful CW only 25% occupied very few upgrades. Staff very friendly and attentive, given the number of passengers was almost ideal, no noise, no disturbances, no delay on getting any request taken care of.
Although the equipment is starting to show some wear, everything functioned well and was clean… and seat went flat and I was able to get seven plus very much needed hours of sleep. Food was disappointing but anyone used to the flights will likely agree the food quality is going downhill, beverage service while being drawn back a bit on selection is still good.
BA138 BOM->LHR 2/7/10; I am always a fan of the lay flat seat in Club World., once again on this 3am departure sleep was a must and without issue was able to get in a CW seat. Food as others have pointed out is going the wrong direction, but unless you are up for the meal service on this flight only two in upper deck partook this wasn't really an option. The Indian buffet in the lounge pre-flight was a much better option. Service was good, but not overly friendly/warn, but no issues to report either. The cabin equipment is starting to look a bit beat up on some airframes, but all in all,m I will take over any other airline servicing the route.
Fantastic! The flat bed onboard wasGREAT! The cabin was quite dry and it was quite noisy because there were alot of children onboard.
I have been flying BA almost exclusively for many years now from both LHR and GATWICK to Newark, JFK, Orlando and Miami. I am a Gold Card holder and mainly travel in Business Class, occasionally in First. Here is my view as of Jan 2010:
They are basically a good service but increasing problems don't bode well for the future.
1. Terminal 5 and Lounges are great. 2. Business class flat beds are very good 3. Staff usually, but not always, very good 4. Used to travel Premium Economy and found that to be a very good service if you don't want to pay Business rates and don't have to sleep on the flight
1. T5 brand new and they are still busing you to planes. Incredible. Could they not have made T5 slightly bigger and eliminated busing?
2. Business Class food going from bad to worse. (I just eat some of the great food at T5 before I get on.)
3. Baggage. BA lost my bags twice this year - once to Newark and once to Miami. In both cases, I was travelling with my Gold Card, had Gold Card labels on my bag, Had those orange BA "Priority" tags on my bag, was travelling in Business Class, checked in at the First Class counter. How do they lose that type of bag?
Again, T5 brand new - what about the baggage system?
Customer Service followup on lost bags is terrible. Really terrible. (Why not move everyone out of this department and move them into a new department that ensures that bags are not lost in the first place? Just an idea.)
Losing a bag is a big problem. If its happened to you, you will know what I mean. If it hasn't yet, stop and think about it for a moment. My wife and I thinking about a moratorium on BA this year just on the baggage issue. Shame because they have their good points.
4. Recent Holiday Strike Threat. So behind the smiles the Cabin Crew couldn't care less about us. It may be true on other airlines too, but that was a hell of a public admission. That could take a long time to live down. (I wouldn't want to walk the aisles in a confined space with everyone knowing that.)
I travelled from Hong Kong to london on business class, the food was just terrible compared to other airlines for business class, it was just economy class food put i n to a glass bowl. The seat was great but still not fully flat. The amenities was so cheap and the toilet was discusting,
I think this was the configuration with 2 areas for club class and no 1st class. It appeared that way anyway.
Excellent flight and very pleasant and helpful crew. Service was faultless. Good food and drinks choices, well served and presented. Slight quibble -if you are in a middle seat of 4 it can be more awkward to get out of your seat if the person next to you and the one in the next row both use their footrests all the time as you have to climb over as it causes an "overlapping effect". Rather odd I thought.
New screens much better and although there were a couple of blips with the AVOD system on the whole it was fine. The decent headphones supplied do make a difference. We were 40 minutes late departing but that was no fault of BA, just the increased security. Found the whole flight pretty relaxing due to the comfort.
Our flight from Miami to Heathrow
Audio on demand was not working, food terrible, choice not available. Try to get seats on the upper deck, other one is noisy and when you have the 747 with 70 WC seats your cabin is behind first and economy plus.
Very unfriendly crew.
I didn't understand it because our flight to Tampa from Gatwick, very good service, perfect and friendly crew.
I have just returned from a business trip to New York JFK, and rather than my usual returns from LHR, I decided to try the new Airbus A318 all-Club World service from London City. It was fantastic. I am now a convert, and have switched three future trips to this new and very comfortable service.
Bag-drop took less than a minute, LCY had dedicated security for the JFK flight (and took less than one minute), and two minutes later I was sitting in a brand new lounge at London City, uniquely used for this New York JFK service. Fantastic. I've never gone from check-in virtually to plane door in such little time, and with no hassle.
Boarding was swift, the plane is new and has a different seating layout to usual Club - seats in pairs both facing forward. The crew were very friendly, used my name a lot, and were very attentive. We took off (early, as it happens) and were on our way to Shannon. About 10 minutes after take-off, I was able to use my blackberry, meaning I was still in perfect touch with my working day. An hour later (and after a delicious appetiser and glass of wine) we touched down in Shannon. We were processed in a very bright and spacious US immigration and customs facility and through to yet another BA lounge in less than eight minutes. Within 20 we were back on board the plane, and within 30 minutes, we were en route to New York.
BA offered a full Club World lunch (though the quality seemed to be more upmarket that the LHR or LGW offerings of late). Once again, after 10 or 15 minutes, I could work. The flight (6 hrs 35) seems to pass by very quickly. Afternoon tea was offered (but after a copious lunch, I declined all but the tea and, sadly, the plastic wrapped sandwiches - the only let-down of this very glamorous service).
We landed at JFK early, and as we were already through US formalities, we meandered thru the domestic arrivals and I was in my car 5 minutes after exiting the plane. I didn't have 155 emails waiting for me, since I conquered them on board. There was no anxious rush to beat any queues, etc. Everyone was just relaxed and mellow. I made it into Manhattan quickly and was fit and able to enjoy a nice business dinner with colleagues. I felt no fatigue having flown across the pond. This is a hugely winning proposition. With max of 32 pax (we were about 24, I think), it is calm, tranquil, clean, contemporary, slick and stylish - like flying out to be. The lack of hordes of pax made for a super experience.
This was my first experience of the NGCW and I was impressed with the seat. An incremental improvement on the previous seat, but the wider seat, larger TV screen and privacy screen were all great.
64K was great, as usual, with extra space between the end of the foot stoll and the wall and the lockers at the side. It is also a very private seat, and the absence of anyone in 64J made it more so. The AVOD worked fine and there was a good selection of film, etc.
The journey had started well in the Gallery First (thanks to the Gold Card) where I had a good lunch which was accompanied by Bollinger Grande Annee 2000.
The packed bus to the 'plane was not good.
The food - including Liam Tomlin's roast chicken with bread sauce was moist and excellent and the champagne (Cattier) was good, if not up to the pre-flight Bolly. The red wine (2 of the 3 on the menu were available) - Chateau Beaumont 2004 - was also good.
The crew were technically fine, but lacked any warmth or personality. A smile would have been nice....
Baggage delivery at BLR was slow, with no obvious priority for First and Club passengers.
First time on Club World, and thought it was a good fully-flat product. Didn't have an issue with the forward-back layout as some travellers seem to, but i did think the table was very "bouncy" which made it hard to type on my laptop. Also didn't realise there is a button to make the privacy divider go up and down automatically, and spent a few minutes trying to pull it up manually before the passenger next to me pointed out the button.
BA247 LHR-GRU 2.9.09
I had the aisle seat nearest the toilets at the rear of the upstairs cabin. I'd have preferred a window seat, but the cabin was full. I managed a good six hours sleep on the 11-hour flight and the seat was very comfortable if, like me, you're not too tall or large.
Dining was excellent and the crew friendly. They made up for a delayed departure caused by some shifting freight by keeping everyone well informed.
Was sitting in 10D which is an aisle seat close to the galley, toilet and club kitchen! This was a night flight to India so as soon as I could I slept, waking up half way through the breakfast service. I chose not to have breakfast - just a smoothie and thought I would raid the club kitchen for a sandwich to eat in an hour or two. There weren't any. Eventually the crew found me one that had not been put out and I slid it into my bag for later - it tasted good. Overall a good flight which did what I wanted which was to allow me to sleep. The only bad thing was that although the plane had the new Club World product it had the old IFE system so you could not start or stop the films. This was not a problem on a night flight but would have been annoying during the day.
BA269/MAR09 LHRLAX - seat 64A. Best Club seat on this aircraft, impeccable privacy and plenty of space - and first down the stairs at landing.
The quality of the new CW seat is very decent. However - this was probably the least good CW experience ever for me - BA has gone more than a little downhill recently and I'm afraid to say that is affecting CW pretty badly.
Service very mediocre, so was the food. Only one modest main meal just doesn't cut it on a 10hr flight - nor does the 'club kitchen' - and the 'World' Favorite Airline' stamp is now well and truly gone for me.
Shame - I used to love 'upgrading to BA' but the 'above all others' status just isn't there any more. May have been a bad day for the crew but it was all it took for me - I'm going elsewhere next time. Definitely.
i flew in seat 17B heathrow->Bangalore
+ check in was speedy as i checked in online, so just used the fast bag drop...no queues at all.
- Cabin was clean but some panelling was badly worn, dirty and scratched. armrests were also ripped and loose (perhaps a design flaw as they are motorised)
- the seat isnt made for those of us over 6 foot at all(im 6'2")...in the lie flat position i couldnt fit into the seat properly and had to hang my legs over the side of the edge of the cot.
- IFE is not very good, its slow to respond to clicks and games can take ages to load..the screen isn't of very good quality either.
- the food, whilst markedly better than economy is not a scratch on other airlines club class food. main meal was served in a small bowl just handed to you..on other airlines you get a proper plate and they serve you from the trolley giving you more choice.
+ Staff were polite
- disapointed with club kitchen - no food apart from crisps was available there.
overall, a good seat let down by poor cabin maintenence/cleaning and sub standard food and a bad IFE (luckily i brought my psp loaded up with movies).
I flew Hong Kong - Heathrow - Hong Kong seated 62K outbound and 62A inbound on the upper deck. The seats are excellent for sitting with very good IFE. The flat beds are not the most comfortable as I thought they were rather uneven and the foot stools do not take any weight at all. A down/feather topping would have been great! On the flight out, there was a screaming baby on the upper deck which really spoiled the flight - especially as the background noise level is lower here. Outbound, the quality of food was poor - soggy, unappetising and service slow. Inbound, both dinner and breakfast were good and very attentive crew. Check-in in HK is always a non-event. Staff level of English was poor and impersonal. Terminal 5 is such a horrid to go thro. Don't expect any service or courtesy from checkin staff. Terminal was generally poorly run - longest and slowest security check I have ever come across. Overall the product is many times better than competition but many areas can be improved.
My return trip was in the same seats as my outward trip - row 15 center block great for travelling with kids. Service was superb, food indifferent. My only surprise/disappointment came with the IFE which was the old style twelve channel loop rather than the new AVOD system which should have been there as the plane was fitted with new style seats.
Travelling with young family. Preboarding was goodRow 15 DEFG best as extra legroom on seats EF in middle and space on ground for children to play. Club kitchen great for children's snacks. Staff service was the superb and they were very accomodating in getting the buggy on the plane which the ground crew would not. Top marks for this flight except for IFE which as often happens need to be rebooted to get it working at the start of the flight!
ATL - LGW. Great service and good menu - pity about the entertainment system
Night flight and found myself in 20A. This is probably one of the best seats on the lower deck. Its at the back of the cabin so quiet and is a window seat with its own access to aisle (no need to climb over anyone). Skipped dinner and french toast for breakfast was disappointing. Slept OK but cabin was cold even under duvet.
There is very little storage place. One drawer only. No place for a water bottle or eyeglasses.
Africa flights have old Club World seats, not worth the cost. Persons over 6 feet tall will not be very comfortable trying to sleep in this seat. Generally friendly service but breakfast choices were nil. Luggage did not arrive on flight and had to wait 3 days for it on another airline. Customer service was nil.Will try Air France on next trip
A great improvement on the old product...
Upper deck, outside seat (A,K) are best here. Plenty of storage space and you don't get disturbed.
10D. Good for aisle access but because its the first row and it sticks out from the bulkhead (toilet) so you can get knocked by passengers on their way to the loo, club kitchen or crew with the trolley. Especially now the arm on the bed goes down! Otherwise good service but usual average food.
A couple of points on what is still the only cost effective way to fly.
Why not provide a fitted sheet with elasticated ends to apply to the seat for sleeping. As it is if your head leaves the pillow you end up rubbing your face in the bacteria of a hundered previous users and their food spilages. I have looked at the seat and think it can be done in a non-jamming fashion. Simple cheap enhancement; are you listening BA?
I have often found the new seat will not go compeltely flat, especially in the front of the 747 top deck.
Inbound catering ex US is rubbish but it also is in First.
The seat is as comfortable as ever and all those frequent flyers who complain about it should try flying regularly with another airline's business class, then they'd appreciate the consistency of the CW product. That said, the new entertainment system is a disaster. The choice of movies isnt great, but more than that, the system never works, and even if your screen is working, halfway through the movie they have to reset the system because half of economy isn't working either. I can;t believe they are still installing this system on the 777 fleet - why not just give up, cancel the contract and hand out DVD players or something?