British Airways » B747-400 Mid J » User reviews
Seatplan rating 7.4
- Boarding 7.4
- Seat for sitting 7.7
- Seat for sleeping 6.8
- Service 7.7
- Entertainment 5.9
- Food & drink 6.5
- Punctuality 8.6
- Baggage 7.9
- 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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TominScotland flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (21/09/2013 07:16)
I flew into Bangkok from Yangon and spent a pleasent time in the BA Lounge. Its small but quiet and the service is all Thai smiles so a shower and a few snacks later, I headed to the Gate. Boarding was called for premium passengers but there were no checks so people boarded at will. I was among the first and soon found my seat, 13G. I deliberately did not choose a front row in this old version of PE, having been very uncomfortable in my seat a few weeks ago. This second row seat gives good leg room and the recline of the seat in front is not really a problem when leaving your seat. The cabin was full so not room to spread out.
The aircraft pushed back on time ahead of an 11' 25" flight. A long taxi and we were off. Service commenced quite quickly - drinks followed by a choice of beef or Thgai style fish. I picked at the beef which was over cooked and, therefore, not very palatable. Then it was sleep which was fine for me on this trip. My complain was that the IFE at my seat was faulty - it flicked on when switched off and shut down when meant to be on. This was annoying at times during the night. Two attempts to re-set failed to make a difference. Cabin crew were fine thoughout but did not go much beyond the call of duty.
Breakfast was served some 1' 40" out from Heathrow but I declined in favour of a lounge repast while waiting for my Glasgow connection. The coffee was good, however.
We landed a few minutes late after a couple of circuits over North London. The T3 gate was a long way out so a goodly walk took me to the bus transfer to T5 where the driver was seeking to emulate Japanese train 'fillers' and pack as many folk into his vehicle as pssible. Once at T5, I headed through Immigration and security and on to the First Lounge.
Given my travel patterns to Indo-China and Myanmar, the revised timing of the BKK flight will work well and the 777 (if it carries new PE) will be a great improvement on the venerable 747.
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.
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!!
michaelpeters flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (09/08/2013 14:09)
Since I was going on a 9 hour+ flight, Phoenix to London, I decided to upgrade to Premium Economy. British Airways needs to retire these 747's or do some refurbishment if they intend to keep flying them. I had the most uncomfortable seat I have ever had on a plane. I had to fold 2 blankets and sit on those so I could endure the seat bottom.
Yes, you do get more leg room and having only your travel companion to deal with next to you does help. The food was OK and the service was OK. The video screen was so small and scratched up I did not want to even attempt a movie on it.
For what BA charges for this upgrade in advance I am not sure it is worth it, maybe half the upgrade cost would be justified. I would take your chances and wait to get an upgrade at the airport. On the return flight I did just that and moved to Club Class, what a difference. A much better experience and worth the money.
TominScotland flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (28/07/2013 13:23)
I had arrived in Singapore earlier that day for a couple of meetings and used the MRT from the city, collected my suitcase from Left Luggage and headed early to T1 where BA is located.
There were no queues at check-in and my case was checked hrough to Glasgow and Priority-tagged. I went through Immigration and to the BA Lounge (joint Business and First) and my first visit there since the divorce from Qantas. Its a really good space, with comfortable seating but uninspiring food choices. Still it is a good place to catch up on work.
I went to the gate in good time (close to the Lounge) and was able to board immediately. My seat was 12B in the front row of PE which gives excellent leg room. However, compared to the new BA PE seat (and others in class) it is a disaster - really uncomfortable for both sitting and, particularly, sleeping.
Food was a compensation - a great fillet steak and a good morning breakfast choice as well.
Arrival was early so no complainst on that score.
VerkiTunteng flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (26/07/2013 18:34)
I need help understanding the value proposition of my World Traveller Plus (WT+) flight from Toronto (YYZ) to London (LHR), on a Boeing 747 - which cost double what I would ordinarily pay to fly Air Canada (AC) in economy class on the same route, paying an additional fee for a seat with additional legroom.
I was taking my wife on her first-ever trip to London to meet my family, and wanted to give her a special time. I booked BA (the first time I had ever flown them transatlantic) WT+, figuring she would get a taste of the UK right from the gate and very much looking forward to the experience. Also, I am something of an airplane buff, and the sight of BA's legendary Boeing 747s (B747) are among my most vivid childhood memories. This was to be my first-ever flight on a B747 - and a BA B747 at that - so the flight was going to be extremely meaningful for me.
I was somewhat surprised that there was no separate check-in for WT+ in either YYZ or LHR, but the process went smoothly enough. The departures gate at Terminal 3 at Toronto was a rather drab scene, but that of course is not BA's fault. Again, I was somewhat surprised that WT+ passengers don't get to board in advance; we were actually the very last to board! In the end, this was not a problem either; the WT+ cabin is quite small, in a good way, and there was never the issue that I face when flying in economy of getting to my seat only to realize I've got nowhere to place my hand luggage because someone else (very often sitting nowhere near my seat!) has already filled my overhead storage space with their things! The seat was adequate, with sufficient legroom (though not as much as I could have obtained flying in an economy class seat with extra legroom for half the price). Sadly, this is where my positive impression ends.
I was quite surprised at how drab the cabin looked - I understand the B747 fleet is going to be retired soon and has been in service for a while, but I did have higher expectations of what the cabin would look like considering the premium I had paid (twice the price of an economy seat). I was even more surprised to see how filthy the cabin was, with the area immediately above my seat (where the reading lights are located) being caked with dirt. I looked throughout the cabin and the dirt was throughout. During the flight, dust would fly about the cabin; I heard lots of people sneezing, and I'm sure the dust had something to do with it.
Truly, given how iconic the BA B747 is in the history of aviation, seeing the aircraft cabin in this state was heartbreaking. The aircraft deserves better.
Surprisingly, there was no power outlet or USB slot for me to plug in a personal entertainment device or laptop computer. In AC economy I typically have one if not both. Using the aircraft's in-flight entertainment system was "challenging", to put it mildly. The screen was not significantly larger than my smartphone, and when tried to use the moving map, the program would always shut itself down after a few minutes. Of course, both on the outbound and return flight, the IFE had to be shutdown and re-started because certain passengers had difficulty getting their system to work - but that does happen often and I won't fault BA for that.
Presenting the dinner menu on a printed card was a nice touch; the dinner was fine in terms of quality, arguably slightly better than what I would have had in economy and definitely more quantity. I was shocked that all they served for "breakfast" in advance of landing was a rather disgusting and greasy-looking muffin! Yikes! Definitely inferior to the breakfast I have in economy.
The flight crew were extremely professional, clearly knew their job and inspired confidence. Not the friendliest bunch, but I do respect their professionalism.
I arrived at LHR feeling rather puzzled at why I had paid such a premium for a flight that, on the whole, offered an experience comparable to flying economy class and paying extra to sit in a row with extra legroom. I figured that I must have "missed something". I was even more puzzled after I completed my return flight, which offered a broadly similar experience (at least they offered a consistent level of service!) - so much so that I wrote to BA customer service after my flight, making a detailed comparison between my WT+ experience and my usual flights in economy class, and asking where exactly BA saw the value. I was not angry, just genuinely puzzled.
The response I got largely ignored my economy-WT+ comparison and mentioned all of the various factors that go into determining the price of a ticket, including taxes, airport fees, landing charges etc. I have no idea what the point of any of this was, but they did little to answer my question.
I'd like to fly BA in a premium class again, but I certainly won't be paying to fly WT+ again unless there were some kind of special offer. Having paid double the price of economy class for effectively an economy class flight, my experience has left me feeling rather dumb and taken advantage of.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
I joined BA10 to London from a Bangkok Airways connection and enjoyed a few hours of peace in the BA/Qantas First Lounge (functional but quiet), including a welcome shower, before heading to the gate.
I was booked in Economy as per the rules of the donor agency for whom I am working and had found out, a couple of weeks ago, that the ticket purchased was not upgradeable with Avios. So some trepidation although i had booked 29A which is the row behind the two blcok emergency exit seats and has clear blue water in front of it, giving full access without disturbing neighbours.
Priority boarding was painess and I was in my seat, settled and comfortable before the majority of passengers boarded. We pushed back on time and I was asleep before take off. Therefore, I missed dinner (intended) and managed to sleep, with a couple of brief interuptions, for close to 9.5 hours - absolutely wonderful and more than I have often managed to lie-flay/ fully-flat C seats. I woke up about 2 hours out of London and enjoyed a very satisfactory cooked breakfast before we landed about 15 minutes early into a sleety and dismal looking Heathrow.
A short taxi took us to T3 where I was soon off the plane and heading for T5. Overall, service was professional and seemed to be quick and efficient.
In T5, I was waiting to be called a 'Twit' but the security folk were too busy talking among themselves to bother with passengers!!
Headed to the BA First Lounge, hoping the snow in Glasgow would moderate......
I connected from T5 for this flight to Bangkok and, although running late, made it to Gate 32 in plenty of time, arriving at 21.30 for my 22.05 flight, being assured that my transfer baggage was en route from T5 and had already been checked at T3. Priority boarding swas me as on of the first passengers aboard and I made my way to 12J, the second row of WT+. I had only just settled in when the CC member in charge of the cabin came over and invited me to move to the back row of the small four row cabin as the middle block was entirely free. This I did and was able to spread out and enjoy the (relatively) spacious legroom etc.
Push back was at 22.15 and I was alseep before take-off - having completed a house move that morning, I was feeling somewhat tired!! I woke up for the service and enjoyed an excellent chicken curry as compsensation for missing the T3 BA Lounge. I then fell back to sleep and rested well unto about 2.5 hours out - the seat, reclined, was very comfortable and suited me fine, as I rarely use the full recline/ flat position even when available in Business.
A good, cooked breakfast (I had Spanish omlette) was served an hour before arrival into BKK and we landed some 35 minute early before taxiing to the gate. Service was fine nd professional throughout. The mid-J WT+ cabin gets a great deal on disembarkation and can mingle with passengers leading the line from both F and J so I was on my long hike to Immigration quickly. The plan was to collect my bag and re-check it upstairs - no problems with that as a theory!
The immigration queues at BKK appear to have disapprared and the system has been pleasently revamped into an efficient facility. So, I was through quickly and at the carousel, waiting and waiting and then the frustraion of realising that you (and about 20 others) were bagless. This was really unacceptable, even with a T5 to T3 transfer, because 1'20" should be plenty to achieve this and, given my information at boarding, had already been 75% completed 35 minutes before scheduled departure. In fairness, forms had been filled in prior to arrival and processing was quick - in my case, accompanied by a whispered briefing on the immediate compo I was to receive upstairs in departures - a BA visa card with £50 credit on it. I was also promised that my bag would transfer on to my final destination of Phnom Penh the next day - will await this in breathless mode.
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.
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.
Check in at LHR Terminal 5 was efficient, yet smart looking check in area on the outside, hides a very ordinary check in desk behind it, which was quite scruffy. Unlike with some airports you could not proceed directly through to immigration and security check in, but had to exit to go through the Fast Track queue, which to be fair was not bad. An opportunity wasted here by BAA and BA in the design of the terminal.
Concorde lounge was comfortable, though could do with a help yourself option, similar to the BA First Class lounge. This is especially useful when traveling with kids.
Check-in was drawn out and a number of passengers were complaining at the time it took.
On board it was the old first class, which is now very tired and ordinary. Amenity kits wear very average at best. worst of all my seat failed to move from the upright position and despite all the best efforts from the crew, would not budge an inch, necessitating a nine hour flight with no sleep. No other flat bed seats were available in business class or first class to move me to. BA have offered compensation which is inadequate at best.
Food was fine, though not exceptional, but entertainment very sub standard for first class, with screens being smaller than the current J class screens and of a lesser quality. Furthermore they did not work for the first two hours of the flight.
The one exception was the crew who generally seemed to care and were very apologetic for the seat mishap.
Overall a very sub-standard experience for what is supposed to be a premium product.
OllaRoberts flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (02/01/2013 16:42)
BA0015 and BA0016
I traveled to Sydney return on 1 November 2012 thinking being British, BA should be one of the best airlines (not).
The inside of the plane was old and urgent need of updating. The seats were not very comfortable and the monitor was so small, i am pleased I downloaded films onto my iPad to watch with its 10in screen, I could at least watch my films with out eye strain.
Premium Economy was lodged inbetween First Class and Business Class which was awkward because BA staff were not very good at coming round with water during the flight, so i decided to stretch my legs and go and ask for water, in the service station I could see there were bottles
Saturday lunchtime departure to Dubai from T5. 1st check in deserted with all staff congregated around a single counter in deep discussion. Swift checkin process and through security and into the CCR. Generally feels relaxing and I would normally use a cabana, although on this occasion the booking had not been made. The CCR felt very crowded as did the terrace with many passengers.
A late breakfast was enjoyable but service was so slow and disorganised. But in a way this did not matter as we had so much to chat about. A little shopping in the terminal and then a return to the CCR for tea prior to boarding.
Boarding occurred via a packed bus journey with standing room only. Thankfully once up the stairs I was escorted to my seat 1A. Despite the cabin wardrobe being very close, once it had been used there was no further disturbance other than by myself. A very close proximity to 1K allows chatting easy without disturbing other passengers. This was new first and the seat was clean and comfortable, I do appreciate the individual wardrobe both for my bag and jacket. The only aspect I dislike is the lack of the independent foot rest control.
Crew and service were excellent and lunch good. After changing had a very good 2 hours sleep to be woken for tea prior to landing.
Overall a very good flight and intuitive service from a well established crew. Well done BA. But I do think that I prefer the original 1st as somehow the cabin feels and looks more spacious.
Rating this fairly is really hard because i was already annoyed at having to take an 8 minute bus in stifling heat to get to the C gates for T5, only to board an old heap of junk. Two things i loathe about this aircraft - Mid J with WT+ constantly coming through the curtain and old First which is knackered (i'd post photos if i could - it was torn/bashed up)
Despite all of that, the crew turned this misery around. They could not have been more helpful, the food was excquisite, and for all its age, the seat was still actually fairly comfortable. The lack of power meant nothing able to be charged though and the IFE was so bad, i wanted to go back to Club. Instead i just watched movies on my ipad
We landed on time, luggae was not given priority (this is LAX though so we expect that).
Overall, the crew, as usual, made this flight great. BA really need to pull their finger out with these tired old planes and get them refurbished. One CSD told me each one takes 3 months to change 1 cabin!? seriously!!!
Bit of Background
I take 1 or 2 short duration, long haul golf breaks a year, with the flight making up part of the enjoyment. I’m definitely looking to make the most of the whole experience and this time was keen to sample BA’s New First product for the first time.
Choice of flights to Miami
I’d changed from the later 777 flight which was 80% New First to the earliest flight as on www.ftdashboard.net it appeared that this had now become a NF flight as 12 of the previous 15 flights had been NF.
Alas, as excellent as the website is it doesn’t predict the future and we were in an Old First 747 albeit with excellent seats in 1A and 1K.
Check in and security
Having travelled the day before into London from Northern Europe I’d left my golf clubs in left luggage before heading into town. On collecting the clubs it’s a bit of a schlep up to the departures level and the First check in at the far end of the terminal. Saw some of the new porters helping other guests who had arrived kerb side.
The First check in experience is no different to any of the other kiosks. You then are dispatched to deposit your golf bag at the nearby oversize luggage counter. Next time I’ll just use the nearest kiosk I come across in departures. Overall poor compared with other airlines as the clubs are used to a bit of pampering when they check in!
Usual debacle of Fast Track having a queue, in this case about 20 people and nearby normal lanes empty. Escaped the pen and walked 4 machines down to where there was no queue.
I’m quite tall so can possibly see this more clearly than other passengers but it does amaze me that people would rather wait in ‘fast track’ rather than join the 'plebs' in enjoying the ‘no queue track’.
Lounge and boarding.
Joined my golfing buddy already ensconed in the Concorde Room for breakfast. On every trip to US I look forward to Eggs Benedict stateside so thought I'd try them early doors - should've waited. Ordered some Grand Siècle at the bar which was kindly brought to us on the spacious and airy terrace with soothing views over the airport.
With the Wembley Stadium arch recognisable off to the left and planes taking off and landing, it is a great space to spend some time relaxing prior to boarding. As we were departing from a B gate we were up and at it 30 mins before scheduled departure.
Priority boarding was observed at the gate with a rushing group ahead sent back to join the other queue. There was only 1 jetway onto the aircraft so 20 or people ahead before I boarded and was escorted by a crew member ‘sans hat’ to 1A where I was surprised by the quality appearance of the seat ( last flew BA First 3 years ago and on that occasion the seat was particularly worn). The cabin was also very clean. A huge glass of champagne then arrived from the excellent host - think she had spotted I was not intending to work on the flight!
The CSD then introduced herself, offered menus, explained the ‘a la carte service’ and apologized as she was working in Club.
There was a 40 minute delay before departure with passengers ‘stuck in security' (probably fast track) then ‘sitting in the wrong seats’. No refill of champagne although I was asked what I would like to drink after take off.
During the flight some of the rougher edges of the old cabin became apparent but apart from TV screens and Avod it was not a problem. Finally departed 1 hour late after a long taxi to runway.
The cabin was full in first and hot (actually tepid) towels came round 15 mins after lift off with drinks 5 mins later with Row 1 served last.
A couple of glasses of the white wine set up an excellent start to the lunch with a rather good quality soufflésque soufflé. Unfortunately the beef that followed was well, very well done. It had arrived fairly quickly after finishing the starter. The potentially beautiful accompanying side dishes were also overcooked to make for a truly miserable effort.
As they served passengers from the back of the cabin on this flight I was worried I'd get the same poor main course experience as my last flight in the back row of First when they served from the front and unfortunately that proved to be the case.
We had a great crew who I felt were trying very hard but the menu is either too ambitious or the crew need more training. Could they maybe need more crew?
My first choice of dessert was said to have been not loaded however a super chocolate pud from Club was offered and again the crew made an effort by serving a small portion of the other First menu dessert when I joked about not having a clue what it was or how to pronounce its name.
The cheese board was splendid and the wines available and served throughout all courses were top notch
Lunch menu was:
Smoked breast of Gressingham duck on a celeriac salad with apple jelly and blackberry dressing
Twice baked Parmesan and Gruyere soufflé and Caesar dressing
Leek and potato soup with smoked salmon and chives
Fresh seasonal salad with your choice of dressings
Herefordshire fillet of beef with truffle and Madeira sauce, British wild mushrooms and roasted baby root vegetables
Roasted loin of lamb marinated in Moroccan spices and apricot and raisin couscous, roasted vegetables and mint tomato sauce
Nicoise salad with roasted breast of chicken and lemon basil dressing
Cep Mushroom ravioli with spinach and sun dried tomatoes with garlic and thyme cream sauce
Grilled minute steak sandwich with horseradish relish on Manoucher bread served with vegetable crisps
Selection of biscuits
Selection of cheese and fruit
White chocolate and passion-fruit cremeaux with mango foam
Apple Tarte Tatin with caramel sauce
Ice cream sundae
Coastal Cheddar, Fourme D’Ambert, Cornish Blue, Isle of Avalon
Champagne – Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle, France
Saint-Aubin 1er Cru La Chateniere 2010, Burgundy, France
Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi Doc 2009, Stefano Antonucci, Santa Barbera, Italy
St.Supery Dollarhide Ranch Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Napa Valley, California, USA
Chateau De Fieuzal 2006, Grand Cru Classe Pesasc-Leognan, Bordeuax, France
Siduri Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir 2010, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Novy Syrah 2010, Sonoma County, California, USA
Dessert Wine - Chateau De Myrat 2002.2eme Grand Cru Classe Sauternes, Borsac, Bordeaux, France
Port – Warre’s 1992 Colheita Tawny Port
For some reason a lovely nap followed lunch from which I was slowly roused by the clinking of the serving of afternoon tea.
The clotted cream transfusion refreshed the parts the snooze hadn't and it was soon 45 mins to landing and a questionnaire to fill in.
We landed approx. 1 hour late and with departure through the door between Economy Plus and Club we were always going to have a bit of a wait in the immigration hall. This was made painful by the large queue already in place when we got there after the considerable walk.
BA arrivals staff were wondering around making sure the date was on customs forms when 3 immigration desks with staff (there were 6 operating) at the far end weren’t being sent passengers and gave the impression they weren’t unduly aroused by the size of the queue. Words cannot describe the incompetence of the American queue marshalls who made a family of 5 (3 young children) wait extra long for a desk to become available.
I collected my lonely golf bag and made haste to the hotel.
Guilty on a couple of counts. For the meal service would it not be wiser to offer items that are not so time sensitive e.g. beef short ribs instead of fillet. Many of their competitors have specially trained food preparation crew on their flights. On arrival of a delayed flight, could/should more be done for premium passengers. Heh, I’m prepared to wait my turn but also where possible, I’m willing to do what it takes to avoid hanging around, hence purchasing a ‘premium’ ticket.
I’m an easy to please passenger (full glass, full stomach) and the crew were excellent, the seat very comfortable and up until arrival, my ego was indeed nicely massaged. Was the differentiation with Business Class worth the extra cost? I think the jury is still out on that.
LHR to DXB on the 747 in WT. Check in and security easy and fast, boarding efficent from an empty 5B gate. Got a bulk row seat which had good leg room. Flight delayed 30 mins. IFE switched on and I had no AVOD yet other passengers had AVOD.
Therefore moved to the back of the cabin, row 55 next to the door and had 2 seats to myself. After moving the cc reset the system and it worked fine for the rest of the flight. Plenty of room to stretch out. Drinks served, went for a London Pride.
The meal was actually quite tasty with a drinkable Spanish white but there was no starter. Coffee served in a decent sized cup for once. Went to the gallay for some more wine a few times and the cc did a water and juice walk through.
A snackbox was served with a very nice chicken wrap, a small smoothie and choc plus tea and coffee.
Landed only 5 mins late into Dubai, then immigration at DXB was very slow waited 45 to get through. My suitcase had been removed from the belt and was by the side with a load of other cases.
Overall a fine flight, meal was lacking a starter but this was made up by the snackbox latter on. Much better flying on the old big bird (747) than an A330 or A340 in economy.
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.
Hello, I just recently flew British Airways First Class on a 747 with OneWorld miles. I had seen a few youtube videos of the new First Class and was very excited to fly it.
I visited the lounge in SFO and I had a bad experience. The room was very small and there were big windows showing the tarmac, which made it very uncomfortably warm inside. As I was sitting in the lounge, I noticed that our plane had the old first class. (I could tell by the window orientation.) I was very dissapointed because British had told me that I have the new first class.
I boarded (the first class boarding was very easy as I could board via the lounge) the plane and everything was EXTREMELY old and dirty. The pillow looked like it hadn't been washed in a couple months. Some of the flight attendants were very friendly, and some very rude.
I had the tomato soup which was delicious, the fish and mashed potatoes which were ok, and the sundae for dessert with the ice cream very tough and hard to eat.
After my meal I had a chance to use the entertainment system. It was very hard to use and before each movie I was forced to watch a 5 minute intro about BA. The flight attendant also had to use a knife to get the remote out of its holder.
I decided to get ready for bed and put my pajamas on in the lavatory. The lavatory was nice, but very small so i
I had trouble changing in it. The amenity kit was very nice as it offered a wide selection including mouthwash, eye drops, and various lotions. The flight attendant made my bed which included a duvet. I slept like a baby as the bed was very comfortable and long for tall people.
I was sleeping well until the cabin crew turned on bright lights out of nowhere. They served us breakfast and I started with a refreshing cup of juice and a pot of classic British tea. I had the British breakfast as my main course, which was absolutely disguisting. The eggs tasted like rubber and the mushrooms tasted like they had come out of a can- which I have never heard of before.
We then landed in Heathrow and the boarding was efficent for first class. It wasn't my first time traveling into T5 at Heathrow so I already new how wonderfully new and efficent it was. I don't know about baggage in Heathrow because I checked my luggage all the way through to Rome, but I can say the baggage in Rome was a horrific mess because everybody was coming from the crowded customs.
I don't have a British Airways experience on the way back because I flew Virgin Atlantic flight 19 on Upper Class. I hoped the reader has learned much from my experience!
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.
frequentflyer1969 flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (13/04/2012 11:46)
Recently flew from LHR to San Francisco on a British Airways 747.
We were originally booked to travel in World Traveller (Economy) but having made some enquires at Heathrow we found it was possible to upgrade from Economy to World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) for only £185 each. This was a bargain in comparison to the charge that we would have had to pay to travel in this cabin when the tickets were originally booked.
Its always worth asking at the airport if the have any 'special offers' on upgrades if non are being handed out. Its a bit of pot luck of whether anything is available on the day but can work to your advantage if there is availability.
As I have been a regular traveller on BA before I carry a Silver Executive Club card which gave us access to the lounge at Heathrow which was a nice treat for my wife. We relaxed in comfort and enjoyed some food and drink before boarding our flight. Boarding was via the B gates satelite at Heathrow which involved us catching the train from A gates. As a result by the time we reached the gate - the flight was nearly already boarded and we had no wait.
Being the revised layout of the 747 - Premium Economy sits in a 2-4-2 configuration at the front of the aircarft between First and Club World in rows 11-16. We were seated in 13G and 13H which wer in the middle but we had nobody sat next to us.
This part of the aircraft is really nice as it is quiet due to its distance from the engines and also has virtually no passing traffic as First is roped off and people in Club dont come forwards. The small cabin has a total of 36 seats with its own toilet and one member of the crew dedicated to serve.
Having travelled in this class many times before, the seat was nothing new and the IFE standard for the BA long haul fleet. One thing that was evident though is the big improvement in catering for PE passengers. On previous flights PE was nothing more than Economy with extra legroom as all aspects of the service were as Economy. This is no longer the case which is very pleasing. BA seem to now be putting the Plus into the service.
Despite the smaller quite cabing we were given noise cancelling headphones, amentiy pack, fleece blankets and food which cones from the Club World kitchen. The food which previously was served from foil trays with plastic cutlery is now served on pottery with metal utensiles!! In addition to this - every hour during the flight a crew member would bring round a tray of juices and water to offer to the passengers.
When we arrived in San Francisco - we didnt feel tired and with the cabin being positioned in the aircraft as it is - you are one of the first to disembark. Overall a fabulous service and worthy of the money we paid for the upgrade.
Well done BA - nice to see comments from passengers have made a difference and the World Traveller Plus service is now worthy of its Plus title. My one little gripe is stop using plastic glasses for the drinks!!
sph1977 flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (16/03/2012 01:39)
A short notice trip to Houston came up, so I redeemed some on-business points for an economy return as we didn't quite have enough for any of the premium cabins.
At Edinburgh airport, I enquired if I might upgrade and was told that there was availability in WTP for £179, which I was delighted to hear! The upgrade was done quickly and smoothly by the Servisair staff and I was allocated seat 11K. 11J was left free as the flight was rather quiet.
As a silver card holder, I used the main lounge in Terminal 5, where the selection of food and drinks was excellent as always. I took the short shuttle journey over to 5A and used the lounge there for a few minutes too before the flight went to boarding.
I used the fast track to board - there were no queues and the rather empty plane pushed back on time. I believe there were more passengers in Club World than World Traveller on this flight!
A meal was served soon after departure - there was a choice between beef fillet or chicken tikka and I opted for the beef. It was quite a small portion (times are tight!) but pleasent. The desert was tasty but served in a carton.
Sandwiches and a muffin were served about an hour before landing and a box of snacks was available in the galley.
The crew were pleasent and friendly. I asked about plugging my laptop in but nobody seemed to know what was required to operate the rather oddly shaped socket. I had no adaptor for it either. The stewardess kindly offered to take my laptop into club and charge it but I declined, opting instead for another glass of wine and an extra couple of films!
The main point of note was just how tired the cabin decor was. The toilet (there is only one in WTP) was falling to pieces and the cabin and seats just looked like they could use a really good clean. Actually, the seats looked like they could just have done with being replaced. I suppose BA aren't investing much in the 747s since they're pretty much end of life.
The flight arrived on time. I was second off and cleared the airport in less than half an hour. A pretty good outcome and regardless of my comments on the state of the cabin, £179 well spent. Having said that, I was glad I hadn't paid the full fare!
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!
I'm reviewing both outward and inbound flights together as pretty much everything was the same.
Boarding was good, but not perfect. On both occassions I asked to pre board. Outward they didn't say and by the time we got there, all lines were open. On return they did remember but we boarded 30 seconds before everyone else.
My heart sank upon boarding. Both planes were OLD First. After 18 month BA you really need to pull your finger out with this. This rollout has been glacial in speed!. That said, I cannot fault much else. The crew were brilliant both ways. Engaging, interested in the passengers (and both flights were packed).
AVOD has had it. Its a disnosaur now. The quality of the entertainment on those tiny blue screens (Even NCW have larger screens!) was awful as was the sound. However at least it worked and the choice of entertainment and films was great.
The food was faultless. Even on the return journey when the crew were not happy with the quality of the food that was loaded, I saw no problem with it. It all tasted great. The wines were good, as were the champagnes.
Both flights were early, and baggae arrived off first (for once). I was even amazed that a box of wine made it to the carousel undamaged.
BA's fantatsic reputation really is based on its crew. I guess i'll have to start saving and hope than in another 18 months, New First might have reached the whole fleet.
I checked in at Durban for what is a regular trip back from JNB to LHR.
After an uneventful but slightly (30m) late BA Comair flight my connection was down to 80m but since last year's World Cup, immigration and security at J'burg, even on a busy Friday night, are efficient.
I decided to bypass the BA Lounge and walk directly to the gate to board before the rush. However this did not work as boarding was totally disorganised with no attempt to segregate priority boarding even though both jet ways were connected. A wait of around 15 minutes was followed a further 15 minutes standing on a crowded jetway before boarding actually progressed. This seems to be a frequent occurrence boarding BA flights in J'burg and is poor compared to my experience with Emirates, Etihad and even Air France this year.
Once on board however, everything quickly improved. I was in my sleeper suit with a glass of Laurent-Perrier, wash bag, menu and newspaper within 10 minutes. The crew were efficient and really helpful which was to continue throughout the flight. Departure was spot on time and after a short taxi we were on our way.
This flight departs at 21:35 and recognising that many passengers (myself included) wanted to eat quickly and get to sleep, the service of drinks and dinner was rapid (without being rushed). The smoked salmon starter and roast chicken were beautifully presented but bland and dissapointing (food quality out of J'burg often seems to be relatively poor on BA).
The wine however was a joy. Pheasant's Run Sauvignon Blanc was full flavoured in the style of Cloudy Bay and the 2004 Chateau Lafitte which followed was stunning. Both these wines maintained bouquet and taste really well at altitude. This aircraft was still configured in the old First Class configuaration, and the IFE was limited to a small screen although on this occasion it worked flawlessly (not all that common).
The seat though was extremely comfortable and with a relatively smooth flight over the equatorial region and Sahara I slept really well. I was offered a cup of tea within minutes of waking up (a really nice touch) and enjoyed a small breakfast of juice, yoghurt and fruit which was fine.
With favourable winds we commenced our approach into the London area 30 minutes early only to be held orbiting around SE London for the same amout of time! Arrival at C Gates was exactly on time, disembarking within 5 minutes followed by the train to the main T5 Building. I used the lifts to and from the shuttle train, which always saves at least 5 minutes over the escalators.
Immigration was busy but running well and I was in the baggage hall 15 minutes after arriving at the gate. Although the bags started appearing almost immediately, mine did not. After 45 minutes of frustration it was found to have been sent to the transfer section and eventually, 60 minutes after arrival at the gate, returned to me (this has also happened before).
The T5 Arrivals lounge is a supurb facility and I was able to enjoy a relaxed shower and a great breakfast in a very quiet Concord Room before making the short walk to collect my car from valet parking.
Even with the tardy boarding, mediocre food and irritating baggage handling, this flight still just about compared favourably in overall terms to F-Class experience via DXB, AUH or ZRH. The main reasons being the avoidance of an en route connection, the BA crew who were excellent, the cabin comfort and ambience which is good and T5 with it's supurb arrival lounge facility.
However, BA really do need to sort out their ground handling and food supply in J'burg and baggage handling in London if this passenger is not going to experiment further with alternative carriers.
LHR to JFK, nice flight, on time, a bit disappointed by the old seats and entertainment system, the food is always the same: pastas or chicken, which is pretty good and enough for 6h30 of flight.
As always, cabin crew is very nice and always giving to you a smile.
When you push the call button they are here in the minute.
However, boarding in LHR is always a mess.
British Airways can appear such a curate's egg at the moment. A flight out to CPT in First (excellent) was followed by a disastrous return to LHR in J class, where the only thing going for the airline was the barely indifferent food. Although the 'new' Club, the seat area was uncleaned (papers stuffed down the side from the outward leg), the plane's heating was haywire, the entertainment system kept breaking down, and in one part of the cabin the crew were unable to dim the lights for the entire flight. The plane had spent 10 hours on the ground in CPT - why was nothing done to address matters, which had been known about ex-LHR?
Having briefly mentioned the food, the 'Club Kitchen' downstairs was non-existent, and the local bread and croissants would have been more at home in a paper or cardboard factory than on a plate. Only the charm and professionalism rescued this flight - BA is lucky to have them, even if they disguise their disillusionment with management only scarcely!
BA10 SYD to BKK We checked-in online and managed to get seats at the front (bulkhead) of the rear economy section giving us a little more space for the 9hr+ flight.
Crew were efficient in their duties but not overly forthcoming in the smile department. As always BA is generous with their drinks but the cost cutting has meant that there were no nuts or snacks offered with the drinks. Dinner was basic but uninspiring compared to QF or SQ. Perhaps the cost cutting has hit all parts of the F&B dept.
For the first time in my experience on BA the entertainment system did not need resetting, so that was a plus. However BA still doesn't "get" the concept of offering several episodes of sitcoms. You are allocated one episode and that's it! Too bad if you enjoyed it wanted to see another.
Seat recline and comfort it not designed for sleeping.
The second meal before landing was and "all day Deli" box containing a cold ham roll and juice. Nothing to get excited about. You really notice the difference between BA and SQ, QF or EK these days. They have really dropped their standards.
Arrival at BKK was efficient as always. No wait at immigration and luggage was on carousel 5 mins later.
Overall, an OK experience for the $870 discount price and points, but I would choose another carrier next time.
LHR-MIA. Was travelling with my wife in seats 5E & 5F. These are probably the best in the cabin if you are travelling with your partner as you can keep the dividing screen down and talk easily during the flight.
Seat 4E & 4F are similar but as there is no seat in front don't have quite as much privacy. Onboard service was friendly and dare I say first class. Escorted to seat by purser on boarding.
My wifes IFE was not working so she changed seats. The crew persisted and got it started. They even set the movie to the one she was watching in the right place so she could move back to the seat without missing any or having to fast forward it herself.
An interesting selection of wines and the food whilst not amazing was amongst the best I have tasted onboard. The seat was confortable and was converted into a bed with cotton covered duvet and mattress cover by the staff.
The only frustration being the wait to get off the plane when the people in Premium Economy behind took ages to get off the plane.
camholgate flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (25/08/2010 20:34)
After experiencing the delights of CW on the outbound journey, WTP awaited us. Boarding was quick, and easy. I've flown many times on BA WTP, and have always been quite impressed with the service.
Seat was comfy, and I was glad to see that BA introduced new features like headphones to give you a different experience to economy. Although the service is the same as economy, it is always good! IFE was AVOD, and there is always a fantastic selection of movies onboard BA. It was interesting that we were allowed to disembark at the end before the CW passengers, which was a good thing as the queues were empty!
Also, we landed in LHR the day of the Ash cloud saga, and as we were the last plane to land in LHR before they shut the airport, it was nice to know that we got home safely!
Overall, another good flight with BA in WTP!
iloveONEWORLD flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (09/07/2010 19:49)
Although the seat of british airways is not as good as qantas, virgin atlantic or japan airlines, british airways is still one of my favourite airlines to fly for premium economy
frustratedflyer flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (13/06/2010 12:47)
Boarding efficient, took off on time and arrived early. Bags at carousel shortly after getting there. Did not eat for whole flight and slept relatively well. IFE was good.
Nice touch is the snack box in the galley although as the galley is shared with Club World - their larder is even better! Seat 12D is as good as any other of the front row aisle seats.
Miami/London On time,Good food and great service.Really comfortable sears
Heathrow to Washington Dulles. Started my journey in terminal 5, I really love the new terminal it's so much brighter and roomy than the old one. The first premium check-in area is great I turned up and I was the only one there which made a real difference. They checked my bags quickly and assured me that they would be first off the plane at Dulles. I was allocated seat 1k as I have a Gold executive card and also a concorde room card.
After check-in I proceeded to the Concorde Room which is fantastic, the dining booths are great, especially if you're planning on travelling at night as it allows you to maximise your sleep whilst onboard. The food was great, I had the fillet steak which I usually have, as always it was delicious. I had about an hour and a half to my flight was meant ot start boarding , so I treated myself to a relaxing massage at the travel spa, a really handy extra feature. After feeling new and rejuvinated and refreshed I proceeded to the sattelite to board my flight after a sneaky gin and tonic. Suprisingly in my past experience First passengers were allowed to board before the Club ones. Although this doesn't really bother me because you just end up sitting on the plane anyway.
Once onboard the FA introduced herself to me and offered me a glass of bubbly. She also brought me my pyjamas and slippers along which my amenity kit. After a short taxi we were airbourne quickly and after about 5 minutes the FA took my dinner order, I once again chose the Steak ( I am a bit of a steak junkie). The food as always on first was delicious and the little touches like the box of chocolates which I thik I might have taken my fair share of! Throughout the flight we were offered drinks and anything that we wanted. About 2 hours before landing we were given afternoon tea which was actually quite refreshing. The time from tea to landing let me think about how much I like the First product, yes the seat isn't the best compared with the likes of Emirates or Singapore but it's the little touches and the service is effcient and friendly. I would choose the BA First over Emirates anyday as from the moment you check-in you are made to feel extremley welcome and nothing is too much effort for the attentive crew. Landing was uneventful although we did have a long taxi to the gate. Once on stand we were actually allowed to disembark before the Club passengers which was a nice change As we were first off the plane passport control and immigration was quick and after about 15 minutes we'd collected our bags (which, as promised were first off the belt) and were curbside and in our limo to DC. So to conclude I would certainly reccomend BA's First to anyone who can afford the pice tag.
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.
Carpi34 flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (04/02/2010 11:48)
The only real benefit is a less cluttered cabin and a bit more leg room. You receive the same dead-pan, grumpy cabin crew and boring food. There are no special privileges and you have to travel to the back of the plane for the wc with the economy passengers. We even had to wait to board as the plane was loaded from back to front, so the 'Plus' passengers got on last! In my opinion this is a waste of money as I paid over £400 extra for this hopeless 'upgrade'. I will try Virgin next time and consider of these 'Premium' services are worth the money as based upon this BA experience it simply is not worth it. I'm extremely disappointed.
Fantastic! The flat bed onboard wasGREAT! The cabin was quite dry and it was quite noisy because there were alot of children onboard.
Being among the few which flew back over New Years on a leisure trip with my wife, seat 1A and 1K were the ones we selected for our flight back from LAX to LHR.
Check in was swift and curteous. Our luggage was taken care of right from the start so that we did not have to wait for it to be screened. There was no line at security. TSA had to make use of course of the "naketscanner". Gladly I was not selected to go through there but my wife was. Note, after the metal detector - again without shoes. The lounge in LAX, shared with Singapore and Qantas Airways is neat and kind of cool. The TV station can not ne adjusted in the privacy room because of the fact that for 6 months the battery is dead... Boarding was quick, however there was no separate entrance for First.
The seats are comfortable, even after 15 years in service. However they were not that clean.
This being a New Year's Eve flight we expected somewhat of a special dinner or so. None of the above. Because of only a few Bollinger on board. We were served, for immediate drinks before take-off a sparkling wine of no common source. Bollinger was served after take-off. Food was good for me, Steak in a Teriaky sauce and mashed truffeled potatoes. My wife had spagetti and she was not delighted with here choice. VOD was OK, i think that there should be more choice of movies. I also think that Emirates has too many on file.
I slept for about 5 hrs. even though the flight was quite bumpy. Breakfast is always good on BA in first. I helped myself to tea and toast with some jam.
After landing and getting to our stand - on the field, we were left waiting due to the fact that the stairs were not working. After 30 minutes a new truck arrived and we were able to disembark. I do hate the bus ride and am by now sick and tired of not always parking on a gate. Security in Heathrow was good, no real line and friendly staff. The Concorde Lounge is always a delight and I look forward to the next Supersonic Flight to avoid being 11 hrs on any airplane.
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,
camholgate flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (16/08/2009 09:44)
Flew to and from Miami. Very impressed with the Premium product. Checked in online and got front row seats which were very comfortable and recline nicely. Cabin crew were friendly and the service was quick and free. The in-flight entertainment was great and the food and drink was nice. The aircraft was clean but was the oldest B747 in Ba's fleet. We had this aircraft coming and going back. Overall a very good experience.
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).
BA31 LHR to HKG. Seat 3K After poor service in the Concorde lounge at T5 it was a pleasant suprise to have attentive FA's onboard. As I was last to arrive in the First cabin I was flooded with Champagne (Pol Roger 1999), macadamia nuts, pyjamas and menus before I had even sorted my bag and sat down. After take-off, orders were taken for dinner and served about an hour later. As it was a night flight some passengers were quickly in pyjamas and sleeping while I ate. The canapes, starter and main course were excellent. Interesting wine list.
As for the seating - this is showing it's age and there is NO STORAGE, except for the overhead locker. In theory there is some storage under the footrest, but with all the bedding, pillows, pyjamas, slippers and amenity kit piled at that end there is no room to put your own things. To highlight this, the pillows fell off on take-off. I suggested to the FA that they needed a closet for all this and he advised that the new seats coming next year will have this feature. Seems a bit poor for all the $$ or points paid for a First seat. Service was average to excellent depending on which FA was serving you.
IFE was really poor considering it has only recently been upgraded to AVOD. Very little to choose from compared to QF, SQ or EK. Overall I thing BA First needs an upgrade to compete with so many other airlines.
LHR to JFK, LAX, HKG – use online check in. Baggage drop at T5 is usually quick and staff are on hand to point out available desks. The security at T5 is slow and not as quick as advertised unless the airport is quiet.
The onboard food is OK. On long haul the offering is usually a breakfast/lunch, lunch/dinner or dinner/breakfast. I find the meals plentiful and as decent as you would expect.
The aircraft are old, the interiors are bright and ok. I find the service on long haul is a bit shabby.
The crew are lazy. They rarely come around with drinks other than the after take off and before landing service.
terminalfive flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (05/02/2009 22:33)
LHR - IAD. Impressed by Premium Economy product - confortable seats - decent food and good service. Especially worthwhile on US bound flights (day flights) when you are unlikely to get any sleep. Inflight entertainment excellent
My wife and I have just taken a First Class trip with BA to Cape Town. I regret to say that it is no longer real value for money when compared to the level of service which we experienced when we last travelled First Class in 1991. We expected that meals would be served from a trolley - alas no longer and everything on a plate just appeared from the galley. No pampering!
Also when disembarking at Cape Town we just had to take our place in the queue behind all the World Traveller Plus passengers and so ended up well down the line at Immigration.
Certainly no longer worth paying premium monies for First Class.
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.
A great improvement on the old product...
It's not that I don't know where my seat is, but it would be nice to be shown to the seat and offered that bubbly beverage without a wait. Similarly, whilst the seats are semi-private I don't really feel that there is any effort to ensure that my glass remains full. In First Class a half-full glass is most definately half-empty. I often wait and wait, press the bell, then walk back to the galley to find the crew chatting.
On quite a number of flights the champagne has "run out" and been replaced by that from Club. The same "run out" champagne is mysteriously seen in duty free bags given to friends of the crew (and later seen by them at the baggage belt). I once complained to customer services about this and strangely enough they totally ignored the point in their standard response in relation to my flight from London to Sidney (sic). For customer relations they deserve a 1 out of 10 and following the total lack of interest I returned my exec gold card to which not surprisingly they failed to respond and lost a loyal customer. BA now only receive my business when they are the cheapest airline on the route which they seem to be more and more often. That said, 1 in 5 flights has fabulous, attentive, chatty crew who make up for the rest leading to an overall good product with great seats.
Upper deck, outside seat (A,K) are best here. Plenty of storage space and you don't get disturbed.
BA's first class is great except for the inbound catering ex US which is simply appalling. Brits never complan and US customers are so amazed by the rest of the product/service that I doubt BA gets many negative comments on the inbound catering. BA doesn't upgrade so First is often almost empty.
Luckily sleep is the priority on these flights so its not a major problem.
Looking forward to the new product to be announced March next year. Internet access would be useful as I work solidly on daytime flights.
I proposed gilded sedan chairs to get past the high J desembarking issue.........
SURAJPRASAD flew British Airways World Traveller Plus (premium economy), on a B747-400 Mid J (17/09/2008 17:06)
LHR-HKG seat 12B. Good seat and as at front of cabin and nearest to first not too many people passing. Also the advantage of having the toilet on this side of the cabin but to the rear. Service was good, food average but the plane really cold - kept waking up and the thin blanket not good for warmth. A first as usually too hot!