Review of British Airways flight Geneva London in Economy

Airline British Airways
Flight BA 725
Class Economy
Seat 18F
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 01:55
Take-off 30 Jan 17, 10:35
Arrival at 30 Jan 17, 11:30
BA   #50 out of 75 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 888 reviews
NGO85
By SILVER 1891
Published on 7th February 2017
Background:

This series covers a recent trip out to Geneva for the weekend. See Part 1 for the full background. As a reminder, the routing was:

Part 1 – LAX-LHR [AA 108, Boeing B777-300ER, Main Cabin Extra] – Here
Part 2 – LHR-GVA [LX 355, Airbus A320, Economy] – Here
Part 3 – GVA-LHR [BA 725, Airbus A319, Euro Traveller] – You are here
Part 4 – LHR-LAX [BA 269, Airbus A380-800, World Traveller] – Here

This report will cover the flight from GVA to LHR aboard an A319.



Pre-flight:

Seat selection through AA or BA is of course an impossible task, so I went over to the QF website to pick my seats for this flight. The flight didn't look too crowded 72 hours before departure. I just picked an aisle/window combination hoping for an empty middle seat.

photo 79

Weighing up breakfast at the hotel or breakfast in the BA Galleries Lounge at GVA, we opted to just eat breakfast at the hotel and skip the lounge at GVA. I think most of the hotels in Geneva offer free transit passes during your stay, so I’m not sure what the fare is for the 6-minute train ride from Gare Cornavin to GVA. The trains are frequent (>5/hour) and drop you off at the airport. We head towards the check-in area.

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Lots of construction at GVA. Based on the age of the airport and the overflow of passengers inside, I would say a lot of work is needed to expand/modernize the airport.

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Inside, we check the FIDS to find out where the BA check-in counters are.

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Despite having flights to LGW and LHR, there were few passengers at the counters. An agent approached us as we entered the line and tagged our cabin luggage before letting us proceed to an agent. The agent was slow since she had to replace the paper on the boarding pass printer. She did thorough document checks and handed us our 2 boarding passes. She also told us that there was no priority screening today since they didn’t have any more of the slips? I don’t really know what that meant.

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Upstairs, security was a mess. The line was wrapped around at least 4x. It took us about 20-25 minutes to clear security.

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Through the duty free zone.

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Our flight is already listed so we didn’t bother going to the lounge and went straight towards the B Gates to clear immigration.

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That was probably a mistake since there was absolutely nothing in the B Gates. There was a single shop and the bathrooms were located back downstairs in the hallway. There wasn’t even a water fountain in the terminal.

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There was also a lack of seating in this area, we eventually found some seats in the corner by the placard graveyard.

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Despite being a circle with floor to ceiling windows, spotting was difficult since you couldn’t get close enough to the windows.

U2 A320.

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EI A320 in retro livery.

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Our plane arrived on time from LHR, but we suddenly were alerted that due to a maintenance issue, we would be delayed until 10:50.

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————————-

British Airways, BA 725
Equipment: Airbus A319 [G-EUPK, delivered May 2000]
Departure: 10:35 (ATD: 11:41)
Arrival: 11:30 (ATA: 12:10)
Flight time: 1:29


The announced departure time of 10:50 passed and masses were hoarding around the gate. No other announcement of a delay was announced, but on my phone I saw that BA had delayed it further to 11:05. The ground staff made no effort to convey that information on to us. When boarding was finally called, there was a mess in front of the gate and we couldn’t tell what group was boarding. I went to board once I heard OW Sapphire called. I scanned in, but Ms. NGO85 was stopped and told to wait since they don’t allow guests to board with status holders. This is the first time I have seen priority not transferred to all passengers on the same PNR.

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A view of our plane heading into the jetbridge.

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Entering the cabin, some good mornings are offered by the FAs.

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GVA is definitely a premium route; there were 10 rows of J on this little A319 (stretched past the exit row^^). A look back at the Y-portion of the plane.

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Our row. We had picked D and F to hope for an empty middle seat, but were met with the stereotypical business traveller who first just tried to crawl over Ms. NGO85 before she just offered to slide into the middle seat. He then proceeded to work on his laptop on the tray table during taxi and landing until FAs forced him to close it both times with the fake “Oh, I’m sorry!”

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View down our row.

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Seat pitch is really tight, the fingernail of space I had disappeared when the person in front of me reclined.

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The view from my seat in Row 18.

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Seatback contents.

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It’s here!!!! The new BA BOB service has arrived effective January 11. I find the prices high, even with the collapse of the GBP.



LH A320 rolling out.

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The captain comes on and apologizes for the delay saying that there was some issues in cabin maintenance that needed to be addressed prior to boarding. He anticipated a 12:00 arrival into LHR. The safety video played as we began our roll out.

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OS ERJ-195 in *A special livery leaving next to us.

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SN A320 in a René Magritte-inspired livery.

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SK A320 and KL B737.

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GVA terminal with a little AF A318 in front.

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AC A330.

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CA A330 with engine cowlings open.

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F7 Saab 2000.

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ASL Airlines Switzerland ATR-72 (still has the Farnair Switzerland livery).

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ASL Airlines Belgium B734 (still has the TNT Airways livery).

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GVA Fire Brigade Training B732, a true veteran. Love those ancient JT8D engines. This plane was first delivered to UA in 1968^^

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Numero_2’s personal A319 stored at GVA.

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A bunch of construction going on to expand the airport.

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Some prime housing for avid spotters, like this guy sitting on his lawn chair watching the planes taxi by.

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There was a string of arrivals that we had to wait for before we aligned onto the runway for take off.

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We lift up to the south away from the lake, which gives some glimpses of the suburbs of Geneva before we disappear into the clouds.



The overhead monitors played the moving map.

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With no complimentary service, I just napped until we began our descent into LHR. I knew we were going to have a very tight connection and was weighing up trying to rush to T3 to catch our AA flight or just asking to get rebooked on the BA flight since we didn’t meet the minimum connection time.

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The captain came on and said that we would need to be in a holding pattern for 20 minutes before landing into LHR. We did some loops SE of the city center.

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We finally left the holding pattern to land into LHR from the west on a cloudy day.



We touch down just past T5 and come to a smooth stop before making a U-turn to return to T5.

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Turning on my phone, I get this message from AA. AA clearly acted quickly in rebooking us on the later BA flight. This was bittersweet in that I preferred the extra legroom of MCE on AA, but was interested to see what BA offered on this route. With no stress of rushing to T3, we could comfortably take advantage of a 3h layover in T5.

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KL ERJ-190 arriving.

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BA B772 landing.

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BA A319.

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We pull into a gate at T5, A pier. The cargo is quickly unloaded.

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We deplane and head towards the transfer desk to get new boarding passes.

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There were plenty of counters open and we had a very friendly BA agent. She first called the gate to confirm that they wouldn’t hold the plane for us. Then she pulled up our booking and showed me the seat map on the screen. The plane was equally as empty as our AA flight. I asked about the upper deck and she promptly pulled it up. The mini Y cabins upper deck were <25% load. I picked a pair of seats along the window for us. She handed us our boarding passes telling me we were leaving from the C pier and that the BA Galleries South was the closest lounge.

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We use the Fast Track lane and are quickly back upstairs to clear security at LHR to re-enter T5.

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I’ll leave off this series here as we begin our layover in LHR.





***Geneva Tourism Bonus***

Waterfront at dusk.

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John Calvin’s Cathédrale Saint Pierre.

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Promenade de la Treille.

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Reformation Wall.

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United Nations and the Broken Chair.

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Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, which was quite tastefully done.



Musée Ariana.

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Jet d'Eau and Lac Léman.

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Verdict

British Airways

4.5/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi4.0
Meal/catering5.0

Geneva - GVA

8.0/10
Efficiency6.5
Access10.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness8.5

London - LHR

8.1/10
Efficiency8.5
Access6.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

The new BA leaves a lot to be desired. The crews remain good, but the quality of their product has rapidly eroded into LCC. For simple intra-European flights, can't see any reason to pick them over U2 these days.

Cabin comfort: The BA narrow-bodies have always had a tight-pitch so this was no surprise. The seats are comfortable for sitting, but the overall comfort suffers from the proximity of a seatback to your face.

Crew: The BA crews are routinely cheery. With the new BOB, the crew didn't seem fully in-sync and were doing the cabin service very slowly as they tried to handle payments. I don't think they finished the cabin by the time we started the descent.

Meal and catering: It's BOB now, so 0 is the score by default.

Entertainment: No newspapers offered (contrary to normal BA protocol at LHR). Standard seatback content. The overhead monitors had some programs and then switched to the moving map.

Information on the route Geneva (GVA) London (LHR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 21 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Geneva (GVA) → London (LHR).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is SWISS with 7.8/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 44 minutes.

  More information

13 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 384814 by
    Numero_2 TEAM BRONZE 10303 Comments

    Thanks Michael. ^^

    You're a GVA newbie to have expected much from the B gates. :P
    A visit to the lounge is always appreciated in this tiny terminal...

    I think the only difference flying BA vs Easyjet is now the lounge access and avios earning.

    • Comment 384895 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      Bonjour Clement^^

      You're a GVA newbie to have expected much from the B gates. :P"
      - If I knew the flight was going to be delayed, I would have gone to the lounge, but I was expecting an on-time flight since the plane arrived early from LHR.

      "I think the only difference flying BA vs Easyjet is now the lounge access and avios earning." <= But how many Avios can you really earn on a discounted Y ticket on a flight this short? Not enough to buy a cup of coffee^^

      • Comment 385056 by
        pititom GOLD 11331 Comments

        Actually, that's the thing. You can buy on board using Avios, not miles from other companies, so it means it's targeted to BAEC members.

        And the cost of a drink is slightly below the earning of the flight (BAEC members receive a flat 500 even in discounted Y).

        So even if the introduction of BoB is pitiful, BA gives a choice. When LH decided to transfer their short hauls to Germanwings, they cut the service and left only the miles (for Miles & More members). When AF introduced MiNi, they kept the service but cut the miles (for Flying Blue members). BA offers here a choice between miles and service : you keep the miles, you get no service. You want service, you spend your earnings.

        Still, this is just one cut too many...BA has totally slashed its European product over the last two years, in both Y and J....

        • Comment 385156 by
          NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

          Bonjour Thomas, merci pour ton commentaire et clarification^^

          "And the cost of a drink is slightly below the earning of the flight" <== Depends on the drink, beer is 500 Avios and liquor/wine is 575 Avios. I was not aware that BA had a minimum earning of 500 Avios even on discount Y tickets, this is more generous than a lot of FFPs. I think the most startling thing is that this initiative has now placed an exact monetary value on Avios (~130 Avios are worth 1GBP). Better not target any flights that cost more than 0.07GBP/mile^^

          The comparison to Germanwings is valid, but M&S BOB is only on LHR/LGW routes. What is situation with LCY/STN BA routes operated by CityFlyer? I think the model that NH follows is a little more interesting where they have higher grade products (7G) and lower grade products (JW) that allow the consumer to pick the carrier within the NH Group that fits their needs.

          "BA has totally slashed its European product over the last two years, in both Y and J...." <== As you say. This was an inevitable move from BA. I am sure they were carefully monitoring how BOB was working on IB and decided to implement it themselves. And from BA's perspective, if all their OW partners in Europe (AB, AY, EI, IB) all use BOB, then there is no reason for them not to follow suit and reap the profits.

  • Comment 384838 by
    JW19 120 Comments

    Absolutely rubbish from BA....hopefully the rest of Europe avoids this. There should always be clear differentiation between full fledge and no frills. Anyway another airline to avoid in Y.

    • Comment 384894 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting JW19!

      "There should always be clear differentiation between full fledge and no frills."
      - The US carriers take flak for having BOB, but at least they still offer free non-alcoholic drinks with service. Charging for water is really extreme.

      "Anyway another airline to avoid in Y."
      - It also hurts them for international passengers. I would not pick BA over some competitors on the basis that the connecting flight in Europe would have crappy service.

  • Comment 384890 by
    757Fan 616 Comments

    Nice report, Michael! When did BA start their new BOB offerings? Wow. I wonder how successful it will be - they charge for everything not just snacks? Sounds like Spirit! :)

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Comment 384893 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks for stopping by!

      "When did BA start their new BOB offerings?" <== This went into effect January 11, 2017.

      "they charge for everything not just snacks? Sounds like Spirit! :)" <== Yes, they don't even offer water. You'd have to buy a bottle.

  • Comment 384898 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Hi Michael and thanks for sharing this FR with the "enhanced" BA service and fantastic bonus of GVA.

    "That was probably a mistake since there was absolutely nothing in the B Gates. There was a single shop and the bathrooms were located back downstairs in the hallway."
    - What a stark contrast compared to ZRH. I wasn't impressed with GVA airport.

    "Seat pitch is really tight,"
    - It's a tight squeeze.

    "Numero_2’s personal A319 stored at GVA"
    - I thought he only liked big planes. :P

    "With no complimentary service, I just napped until we began our descent into LHR. "
    - How disgraceful! Even SK offers free coffee or tea in Y. Good thing that I have some leftover Avios that will come handy for paying my meals if I ever fly BA intra-Europe again.

    -

    • Comment 385157 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      "What a stark contrast compared to ZRH. I wasn't impressed with GVA airport."
      - There is a lot of construction at GVA so there is probably an initiative to revitalize the airport. The amount of ski traffic at the airport was astonishing.

      "I thought he only liked big planes. :P" <== He's equally opportunity, no ERJ135 or A346 will disappoint him.

      "Even SK offers free coffee or tea in Y. Good thing that I have some leftover Avios that will come handy for paying my meals if I ever fly BA intra-Europe again."
      - Charging for alcohol is one thing, but taking it this extreme is very disappointing.

      Thanks for stopping by Adan!

  • Comment 385127 by
    Rl 777 806 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Damn that was a long queue at security.

    Beautiful spotting shots at GVA! Great catch of that classic 732.

    The seat pitch looks worse than what I remembered.

    I never thought I would say this but I would probably choose SK over BA if I flew to LON again. Especially when BA is at least 25-30 bucks more expensive than SAS, then there is cheaper DY that at least offers Wi-Fi.

    Beautiful aerial shots throughout the flight.

    Good to see AA immediately re-booked you to another flight.

    Wonderful bonus, thanks for sharing!

    Have a good one, see you later!

    • Comment 385158 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      "Damn that was a long queue at security."
      - The number of people at GVA both on arrival and departure was astonishing given the fact there is almost no one in the city itself. It's just a transport hub to the Alps for skiing^^

      "Great catch of that classic 732." <== Not every day you see a 50-year old plane^^

      "The seat pitch looks worse than what I remembered." <== The B767s have better pitch if I remember correctly. This 29" pitch is in the range of LCCs (pretty sure that is what AK has in their A320s).

      "I never thought I would say this but I would probably choose SK over BA if I flew to LON again. Especially when BA is at least 25-30 bucks more expensive than SAS, then there is cheaper DY that at least offers Wi-Fi."
      - That's exactly my point, people that are not slaves to alliances will quickly leave BA for short flights and SK/DY probably are better value based on airfares. BA is a lot more expensive than its competitors (for example, GVA-LHR is ~$20 cheaper on LX, which is far superior).

      "Good to see AA immediately re-booked you to another flight." <== I was glad they did it automatically and didn't make us go through the hassle of going all the way to T3 only to get rebooked on a flight leaving from T5. Couldn't think of taking the T3-T5 connection twice in a row^^

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • Comment 386408 by
    Chibcha SILVER 493 Comments

    What a shame what BA has become....thanks for sharing!

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