This series covers a two-week vacation to Europe that will feature stops in SOF, BEG, TIV, LIS, ARN, and ATH. For background and planning, please refer back to Part 1. As a reminder, the routing for this series is:
Part 1 – IAH-IAD [UA 373, Boeing B767-300ER, Economy] – Here Part 2 – IAD-MUC [UA 106, Boeing B767-400ER, Economy] – Here Part 3 – MUC-SOF [LH 1702, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here Part 4 – SOF-BEG [JU 123, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-200, Economy] – Here Part 5 – BEG-TIV [YM 201, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here Part 6 – TIV-BEG [YM 202, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here Part 7 – BEG-LHR [JU 380, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 8 – LHR-MAD [IB 3167, Airbus A330-300, Business] – Here Part 9 – MAD-LIS [IB 3118, Airbus A321, Business] – Here Part 10 – LIS-LHR [BA 499, Airbus A320, Business] – You are here Part 11 – LHR-ARN [BA 780, Boeing B767-300ER, Business] – Here Part 12 – ARN-BEG [JU 411, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 13 – BEG-ATH [JU 512, Airbus A319, Business] – Here Part 14 – ATH-IST [TK 1850, Boeing B737-900ER, Economy] – Here Part 15 – IST-ATH [TK 1843, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here Part 16 – ATH-FRA [A3 830, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here Part 17 – FRA-IAH [UA 47, Boeing B787-900, EconomyPlus] – Here
Sofia – Part 4 Kotor – Part 6 Belgrade – Part 7 Lisbon – Part 9 Sintra – Part 10 Stockholm – Part 12 Athens – Part 16
This report will cover the flight from LIS to LHR on BA. This was part of a BA award ticket that covered LIS-LHR-ARN.
Since I needed to get to LIS before the metro started running, I took a taxi from my hotel to the airport. Since LIS is close to the city center, it was only €8.50 so not that much more than public transportation and a lot quicker. Entering LIS, I’m met with long lines at the BA check-in counters.
An agent checks my credentials, and then waves me down into the Club Europe line. There was an angry American being checked in before me. He and his wife were travelling on an AA award ticket and BA couldn’t access the reservation and check them in. Another fun experience with AA’s crappy IT. The husband was on the phone with AA and the BA agent kept telling them the ticket doesn’t exist. After 15 minutes of me waiting behind them, the wife finally let me cut in front of them. The BA agent ran into the same problem with my ticket since it was also an AA award ticket, but she was able to override the system and issue my BPs. She told the other couple that she would then try again with their reservation. I didn’t see them on the plane, so my guess is that they got screwed over by AA/BA.
Reaching BP control.
I scan my BP and am released into the duty free maze like a mouse.
I finally found my cheese.
FIDS at LIS. Even though my boarding pass already says that I’m leaving from Gate 47, LIS claims the gate won’t be announced until 5:40, go figure…
Back to the neon concourse.
BA uses the Blue Lounge.
After being released by the front desk and issued a WiFi password, I head to the right. The entire buffet offerings (Nescafe machine to my right).
The meager food offerings.
The rather blue furniture.
I sip some coffee while I wait. My BP for this flight.
At 6:20, I head off to my gate. The passport control. There were no agents working any of the lines for non-EU passports. There was already a queue of angry people wondering WTF ahead of me. Eventually, one of the agents started waving people over to the EU passport lines.
I’m finally released and do some spotting as I walk down to my gate.
Super exotic TS A310 arriving from YUL. I can’t even remember the last time I saw an A310.
The gate areas in the non-Schengen zone.
My A320 waiting outside.
British Airways, BA 499 Equipment: Airbus A320 [G-EUUT, delivered December 2007] Departure: 7:15 (ATD: 7:46) Arrival: 10:15 (ATA: 10:07) Flight time: 2:21
Right on time, boarding is started with special assistance and then Club Europe. Down the jetbridge we go.
A back-up entering the plane due to wheel chairs.
I’m greeted by a male and female FA in the galley. The J cabin, it will be 4 rows.
The cabin looks new and modern, but if you look closer, the cleaning standards on BA aren’t too good. This plane sat overnight at LIS.
The seat pitch is standard for European J and tight.
The safety card for this A320.
European route map.
The captain comes on and announces that we are finished boarding and have completed all required paperwork, but are being held for a 1-hour ATC delay. Because of LHR? Nope, the captain says that ATC in Brest is understaffed and therefore can’t handle the traffic through NW France. He apologizes for the delay and will update when we are released. The rain is started to fall in Lisbon as we wait.
After 45 minutes of sitting there, the captain comes on and announces that Brest is now releasing us. The tail line-up as we taxi out. The TP A330 in *A livery is now there.
TP Portugalia Fokker100 lifting off.
TP A320 aligning on to the runway ahead of us.
We hold up to let the TP A320 in *A special livery land.
And we are off.
Exotic DT B77W at a remote stand.
Poking through the clouds, the in-flight service starts up.
Meal service starts here.
The first time I've seen this: a guy picking his nose. Actually, the first time I’ve seen a non-Asian carrier FA kneel to take meal orders. The FA kneeled and asked if we wanted an English breakfast or a continental breakfast.
I went for the English breakfast. The tray as delivered. She also placed down a jar of preserves and asked if I wanted coffee or tea.
I really like the coffee cups with UK panoramas on the sides.
Contents of the napkin.
The strawberry preserves. Bread was also offered, I took a croissant (no photo).
The main. It was a piece of bacon, cheese omelet, grilled tomato and mushrooms, and sausage. Not that much more than a Y breakfast on a long-haul flight.
The fruit on the bottom yogurt that is served.
It turns into vomit upon mixing.
A sweet was also on the tray. This was really sweet, too sweet for me.
Leaving northern Spain.
After trays were collected my coffee was refilled. Also, the FAs came through every 30 minutes offering juice from a tray.
No IFE on this flight, the moving map was shown on the overhead monitors though.
Some apple juice, why not…
Back to clouds as we turn into LHR.
UA B772 escaping across the Pond.
No surprise, a grey/rainy day in LHR.
Believe it or not, no ATC delays on arrival in LHR and we manage to touch down ahead of schedule despite the ATC delays on departure from Brest. A bunch of planes bound for the US.
VS remote stands.
BA A320 lifting off.
BA B744 in OW special livery.
We pull into our gate next to a wall of heavies. Deplaning.
Our next door neighbor is an AA A333.
And on the other side was an AA B777.
Oh the fun of a connection in LHR, I head towards the buses.
Bus transfer back to T5. The ride was one of the worst I’ve ever been on (this ride was soon usurped by a wild ride in IST in Part 15).
I’ll leave off this series here as I re-enter T5 for my layover before my flight to ARN.
Sintra Tourist Bonus
One of my three days in Lisboa was spent taking the train out to Sintra, which is an easy 1-hour train ride from the Estação de Caminhos de Ferro do Rossio.
Câmara Municipal de Sintra
Palácio Nacional de Sintra
A view of Sintra from the Palácio Nacional de Sintra
Castelo dos Mouros
A view of the Palácio Nacional de Sintra as you hike up to the Castelo dos Mouros
View from the Castelo dos Mouros
Palácio da Pena (aka, the Neuschwanstein of Portugal)
Hiking through the park leads out to the Cruz Alta
Cruz Alta and views of Palácio da Pena in the distance
Independent Blue Lounge - 1
Lisbon - LIS
London - LHR
My first time on BA metal in a long-time. The new cabins look really slick, but not that much better than what they had before. The BA crews are very attentive and "proper." The BA catering is average.
Cabin comfort: The new BA cabins are very easy on the eyes. Cabin cleanliness wasn't great and the seat pitch is tight for a 2.5-hour flight in J.
Crew: A very proper BA crew. Both the male and female FAs working the J cabin were very attentive and did an excellent job, but I wouldn't necessarily call them friendly. The kneeling for taking meal orders seals a 10 though. The only time I've ever seen this outside of Asia.
Meal and catering: A very solid breakfast offering. The quantity and quality was about the same as Y long-haul breakfast on a top carrier. Very attentive service with drink passes being made every 30 minutes post-service.
Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. The IFE played the moving map, which was good enough for me.
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