Welcome to a new series that took me on an "around the world" itinerary last Nov. I planned this trip with a combination of free award miles and purchased tickets from airlines across all the three major alliances. My schedule is as follows:
I arrived by 18:00 at SFO on a Thu. night and the BA counter looked deceptively empty. I was hoping for a flight with a light load, especially without a neighbor but as it turned out no such luck for today's flight which was overbooked.
As a Oneworld Emerald I checked in at the F line and an agent greeted me and issued my boarding passes quickly. She asked if I knew the location of the BA Galleries lounge and I replied that I have visited it before, so she wished me a good flight.
Next stop BA Terraces and upon entering I presented my credential to the receptionist. After a quick scan of the very crowded F section and the rest of the lounge I decided to leave and head to the CX counterpart. As a matter of fact, I've heard the receptionist refer a passenger to the CX lounge after I was checked due to the fullness of the lounge. It appears that the BA lounge in SFO is not capable of handling the volume of passengers for an A380.
BA Terraces. I did not attempt to take pictures of how crowded the lounge was.
On my way to the CX lounge.
Does QF have a lounge in SFO? Too bad it was closed but good to know.
I was checked in by an efficient agent and escorted to the showers right away after making my request. Over at the BA Terraces, I was asked to take a seat when I inquired about a shower because they wanted to make sure that someone was available to have the shower cleaned up and ready to use.
After I finished I returned the key to the receptionist and settled into one of the computer terminals.
There was a "F" section that was closed and off limits, so Oneworld Emerald members used the J section. The lounge never felt crowded.
I had a bowl of dan dan noodles and a few bites of sandwiches.
I left for the gate at about 45 min. before dept. and when I arrived it was a zoo. Boarding has already started and the gate agents announced that the flight was going to be full.
I boarded early thanks to my Oneworld elite status and the jetbridge that I used was connected directly to the upper deck where two friendly FA's greeted me upon entering. I purposely chose row 83 which was the last row in the upper deck in hopes of having a better chance of getting an empty seat next to me. Unfortunately that approach proved to be unsuccessful and I had a sour individual as my neighbor. Good thing that I had an aisle seat but this guy made continual visits to the WC throughout the flight which was annoying. Perhaps the poor fellow suffered from prostrate problems, which in that case will make him the recipient of my deepest sympathies.
Speaking of seats, the pair of bulkhead seats in row 80 seem pretty spacious at first, but be warned that there is no overhead bin or window (or a misaligned one at best). Upon boarding I settled quickly in my seat 83B and was able to find space for my bags in the center bins because the ones on the side of the upper deck are not big enough to hold an average rollerbag carry on easily.
An envelope for spare change and earplugs were at each seat. BA no longer provides toothbrush and eye shades. The cost cutting measures are quite aggressive and evident.
The two FA's assigned to my row were a joy to deal with. They were professional, friendly and smiling. After a quick take off the dinner service began with a choice of two dishes (chicken or pasta). Beverage service was offered first and it was a stand alone affair without any snacks or munchies.
I had the chicken with was delivered with the foil wrap intact.
Black Forest gateaux for dessert.
After the meal service I decided to take a walk downstairs. The door was locked but the FA told me to just unlock it and proceed down if I wanted to. This was so different from AF where the gate was opened all the time.
Lower deck with WC's in the back.
WC. I noticed that BA no longer provides disinfectant wipes inside their WC's. I guess this is another cost cutting measure.
Back upstairs and to the galley for some snacks. What snacks? The tuckbox with different candies has disappeared completely and only drinks were available. I never thought that I would say this, but even AA or UA would provide some nibbles along with the drinks. How the mighty have fallen.
I tried to watch something but did not find anything to my liking, so I read and stretched my legs in between. Soon the second service began and this time the breakfast was an improvement for a change. Out of the West Coast, BA has decided to serve a hot meal instead of a continental breakfast. There was a choice between omelette or English breakfast. I opted for the English breakfast which still had eggs, so I wonder how different was the omelette. Anyways I found that my choice was satisfying and hit the spot.
We arrived early at the gate and was thankful for the extra time to clear security and go to the lounge. Upon disembarking I thanked one of the crew in Spanish who I suspected was from Spain and he shook my hand with a smile.
Cathay Pacific Lounge
San Francisco - SFO
London - LHR
The BA lounge experience @ SFO was unfortunate and it was a shame that I couldn't enjoy it before my flight because it was insanely full. It's a good thing that they are able to send the overflow to the CX one. I guess the BA Terraces is not able to accommodate all premium passengers on a full A380.
The CX lounge was spacious and relaxing, especially after the renovation that it has gone through. The catering at the buffet was acceptable despite the lack of hot dishes, but at least the noodle station was available for those who wanted a heartier snack.
It was nice to fly another A380 and I just love the spaciousness of the airplane. The crew on this flight was great and that can make a difference on a long flight. Too bad that the plane was completely full. Catering was fine and it was nice to have a hot second meal. However, the cost cutting on BA is evident with the lack of a comfort pack containing eye mask and toothbrush. Also the lack of any snacks in between meals is disappointing.
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