Review of British Airways flight London Los Angeles in Economy

Airline British Airways
Flight BA 269
Class Economy
Seat 74J
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 11:15
Take-off 30 Jan 17, 15:15
Arrival at 30 Jan 17, 18:30
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 11510
Published on 8th 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] – Here
Part 4 – LHR-LAX [BA 269, Airbus A380-800, World Traveller] – You are here

This report will cover the flight from LHR to LAX aboard an A380. This flight will be a good comparison to what BA has done since jetsetpanda flew BA from SFO-LHR just 2 months ago (Here)



Pre-flight:

Since we were rebooked by AA on BA, my new BP obtained from the customer service counter before clearing security. Even though the FIDS at LHR claimed my flight’s gate was unknown, we had C56 printed on our BPs.

photo 1

We went to the BA Galleries South, which to no surprise was overrun and crowded. We could only find 2 free seats next to each other in the very back corner by the windows that over look the terminal.

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Since no food was offered on the previous flight, we took a survey of the lunch offerings in the lounge. The quality of the food is well below what I found in the LH Lounge in Part 2. Either way, some subsistence was needed to make it through the next flight. The pasta and curry were both under seasoned and greasy. The tomato and cheese quiche was actually pretty good.

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The view of the terminal from our seats in the lounge.

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About an hour before departure, we got up and started the trek to the C gates.

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Leaving the lounge.

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The FIDS as we head to the train, our flight is listed as “go to gate” now.

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New advertisements at LHR.

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As we reach Pier C, a BA B772 is pushing back.

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Our BA A380 is waiting outside.

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The gate area seems very empty, which is consistent with the empty seat map we just saw.

photo 14



————————-

British Airways, BA 269
Equipment: Airbus A380-800 [G-XLEI, delivered February 2015]
Departure: 15:15 (ATD: 15:55)
Arrival: 18:30 (ATA: 18:13)
Flight time: 10:18


Boarding started on time with a call for F and OW Emerald passengers. Then J and OW Sapphire were called to board. We joined the queue. Unlike the previous GVA-LHR flight, Ms. NGO85 was allowed to board with me despite not holding status.

Newspapers at the entrance to the jetbridge.

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We took the jetbridge to the upper deck. Entering the plane, 2 FAs were standing there and greeted us and showed us through the galley.

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The J cabin in 2-3-2 configuration.

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The W cabin also in 2-3-2 configuration^^

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The Y cabin in 2-4-2 configuration.

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A look down the row and some seat details.

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The seat pitch is decent on BA for Y, much better than what most TATL carriers offer.

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The downfall of the window seats is 2 boxes under the seat that make foot room extremely poor.

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Pre-placed on the seat were pillow, blanket, and headphones.



And some trash that was underneath my pillow/blanket^^ BA’s cleaning at their hub is substandard.

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As jetsetpanda mentioned, the overhead bins above the window seats can’t hold cabin luggage, they have to go above the middle seats.

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The bonus of the window seats is the presence of the side compartments that fill in the space lost by the extreme curvature of the upper deck on the A380 that impedes your headroom as well (true in J as well).

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The IFE is decent in size and quality. There is a USB port and remote below the touchscreen. The content was pretty good, about the same as what you’d see on a US carrier plus all the random British TV shows they throw on there.

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AC power ports were below the seat.

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The bifolding tray table.

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The headphone jack is in the armrest so it impedes your personal space.

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While I was taking pictures of the seat, a gentleman from BA approached me decked out in a suit: "Are you Mr. NGO85?" I was a little confused and responded affirmatively not knowing why he was there. Then he asked: "Are you missing any personal property?" I was really confused and started thinking and just replied, "am I?" He then asked if I had lost a Kindle. I quickly checked my carry-on and it wasn't inside. He told me that they tracked me down based on a name they found on it and asked me where it was left to confirm it was mine. I told him it was probably left in the lounge, and he smiled saying he had just come from there. Pretty impressive for BA to have found it in the seat in the lounge and immediately hunt down a passenger to return it. Much better than some other experiences with items left in the lounge which had grown legs and walked off…

The seatback contents.

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Safety card for this A380.

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View from my seat.

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BA B788 rolling out.

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BA B789 and LY B772 in the distance.

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As soon as boarding was complete, our cabin was less than 20% full. Almost all of the middle seats were empty (more than 6 complete rows of 4 seats). I slid over to one of the middle sections after asking the FA. My newly acquired row of seats, which I had hoped to turn into an EconomyFirst seat.

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That was a failed plan and no flatbed seat for me since the armrests on BA don’t fully fold up. They stop at a 30-degree angle.

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The captain came on and said that we were in line for takeoff, but due to congestion landing, we were going to sit at the gate for 15 minutes to save fuel. The safety video played while we waited to push back.

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We taxi out and immediately take off. The captain didn’t lie about our estimate and I can’t blame BA for waiting at the gate to save fuel with the gas-guzzling A380.

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We took off and headed due north towards Scotland.

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I went back to my original seat for meal service, offering a glimpse out the window of cloudy England.

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In-flight service started as we reached Carlisle.

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No snacks are given with the aperitif, we were only offered drinks. I took a beer and water. Ms. NGO85 asked for wine and was promptly handed 2 bottles. The crew was very liberal with the booze.

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After the aperitif service, the crew came back through offering meals. The option was chicken or pasta. We both went for the chicken option and I had wine with the meal. The tray as received.

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The tarragon chicken main was very good and the size was about the same size as the AA meal was. The difference in taste was night and day between AA and BA.

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Instead of giving a boring industrial salad, BA offered this kale salad.

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Dessert is small in size, but was a good tasting chocolate salted caramel ganache.

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Super small bottle of water (3 fl. oz.). Why even put this on the tray?

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The plastic cutlery and condiments.

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After the meal, coffee/tea service was done. The coffee was terrible and was lighter in color than the tea. The guy behind me complained about the coffee to the FA and she offered to make another pot.

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Meal service ended here.

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After the meal I went back to my row of seats and slept. I awoke as we were crossing into the Hudson Bay.

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You can see the northern parts of the Hudson Bay are completely frozen.

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The FAs came through every 45 minutes or so offering water, orange juice, and apple juice from trays. I also went to the rear galley and the FAs were open to offer any other drink that you wanted. As jetsetpanda reported, there are still no snacks in sight midflight in the galley.

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Instead of snacks in the galley, the FAs come through about halfway through the flight with a snackbox, which contained potato chips, popcorn, and chocolates.

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Crossing into Canada.

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A view at the recline offered in these seats.

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Cabin shot midflight.

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The lavatories are nice on the A380.

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Crossing over the Rockies.



As we crossed over Salt Lake City, the crew came out and handed out the pre-arrival “meal”.

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We were asked if we wanted a mozzarella or chicken wrap. Why is chicken offered for both meals? The tray as received.

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Seeing me take the picture, the FA joked and said that I needed to wait for the drink. He handed me my coffee (much better than what was offered after the first meal service) with a smile and told me to take another picture now.

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The pesto and mozzarella wrap.

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The bite-size chocolate brownie.

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The captain came on and announced our expected arrival time and told us to look out the window to the right to see Las Vegas. The Strip is clearly visible although the glare from cabin makes it hard to get good photos.

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We approached LAX from the east, which is normal for eastbound arrivals.

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Downtown LA as we coast into LAX.

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We had a pretty smooth landing ahead of schedule and began our taxi to TBIT. The overall route we took.

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We pulled into a gate next to a DL B772 and CZ A380.

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The CZ A380 arrived right before us, so there were long lines at TBIT (only compounded by the recent executive orders that were issued a couple of days before that put CBP under increased pressure). We eventually cleared immigration and customs and were on our way home.

That concludes this series and I bid you all farewell.
See more

Verdict

British Airways

8.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering6.5

British Airways (South) Galleries Club - 5A

7.1/10
Comfort5.0
Meal/catering6.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services8.5

London - LHR

8.4/10
Efficiency8.5
Access6.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness9.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.5/10
Efficiency6.0
Access6.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

The new BA has not only cut back on regional catering, but also on long-haul catering. Other than that, BA offers a pretty-good long haul Y hard product with comfortable seats with decent pitch. The crews on BA are their real asset and seem consistently strong. With the drop off in their regional product in Europe, long-haul BA will lose some of its luster as people avoid them when needing connections (same reason why AC is not a viable option for people living in the southern US).

Cabin comfort: The BA A380 is comfortable, I found the seats to be better than what LH offers, but not as comfortable as OZ. The ridiculous 2 under seat entertainment boxes for the window seats is terrible design. A380s have their drawbacks (curvature, bad windows for photos, etc.), but are very quiet (especially upper deck).

Crew: The BA crews are routinely cheery. They were cracking jokes with passengers and made regular rounds with drinks mid-flight. They had an easy job with an empty cabin. I really can't fault the way they handled the lost personal item in the lounge either, so top marks for BA.

Meal and catering: The dinner tray is a little lacking in quantity. The main is decent in size and taste, but the salad and dessert both are on the small size. The little cup of water is almost like a space filler on the tray. The snack box mid-flight was unexpected and is similar to what DL offers on west-bound TATLs. The pre-arrival meal is not as expansive as what jetsetpanda saw SFO-LHR, but is similar to the hot snack that I had seen MAD-ATL on DL in December, so the point of reference is not too far off what the better US carriers offer.

Entertainment: Newspapers offered on the jetbridge. Standard seatback content. The IFE is average in size for the industry with above average content.

Information on the route London (LHR) Los Angeles (LAX)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 22 reviews of 4 airlines on the route London (LHR) → Los Angeles (LAX).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Air New Zealand with 7.8/10.

The average flight time is 11 hours and 13 minutes.

  More information

12 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 384904 by
    Razza_Pr 216 Comments

    Hi, Michael, and thanks for sharing this FR!

    Not too bad for your last flight spent on AA miles, I suppose. I'm a bit surprised, however, that BA serves only one hot meal during the entire course of a 10+hr flight. Given the very light load, do you think it would've been possible to order the pasta from the previous course for the second meal?

    Top marks indeed for the BA lounge staff. Hope they won't be affected by BA's cost-cutting measures in the future.

    2 under seat entertainment boxes.. Does that apply to all starboard-side window seats?

    Don't quite understand the 30 degree angle with the armrests. Personal space issues need addressing, perhaps?

    Also, what's with the DL 777-200 at TBIT gates? According to Wikipedia, they only use terminals 5 & 6.. Wonder if the passengers were bussed there?

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Comment 385159 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      Hi Razza, thanks for stopping by!

      "Not too bad for your last flight spent on AA miles" <== Especially because I didn't have to pay $200+ in BA imposed fuel surcharges to try it^^

      "I'm a bit surprised, however, that BA serves only one hot meal during the entire course of a 10+hr flight."
      - This is the standard catering for west-bound TATLs, it's just what everyone serves so there is no incentive for anyone to offer anything better.

      "Given the very light load, do you think it would've been possible to order the pasta from the previous course for the second meal?"
      - There was a ton of leftover meals on the cart so I am sure you could have had seconds of both meals without any problem.

      "Hope they won't be affected by BA's cost-cutting measures in the future." <== The cost cutting is paying their salaries ;)

      "Does that apply to all starboard-side window seats?" <== All window seats in Y (both decks). In the middle section, there was only a single box under the aisle seats.

      "Also, what's with the DL 777-200 at TBIT gates? According to Wikipedia, they only use terminals 5 & 6.. Wonder if the passengers were bussed there?"
      - It was probably the plane from PVG. I think DL probably just dumps international passengers at TBIT for immigration/customs. I don't think DL has departures from TBIT so the plane was probably towed back to T5 for its next departure. CM/UA/AA also do the same thing to facilitate arrivals. Why DL needs to do this, I don't know, since they have their own immigration/customs at T5.

  • Comment 384925 by
    eminere™ 272 Comments

    Wow amazing service by BA lounge staff AND cabin crew! You were BLESSED lol

  • Comment 385023 by
    757Fan 616 Comments

    Thanks for sharing, Michael! Looks like you had a good flight with BA. Food looks decent for Y. I did not realize you could not store bags in the overhead bins over the window sides of the plane ... only in the center ceiling bins? Why is this? I did not know was not possible.

    Looking forward to your next report!

    • Comment 385161 by
      NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

      "Food looks decent for Y." <== Not fantastic, but on par with DL, which is a good benchmark for comparing service.

      "I did not realize you could not store bags in the overhead bins over the window sides of the plane ... only in the center ceiling bins? Why is this? I did not know was not possible."
      - The overhead bins on the upper deck are super small due to the curvature of the plane. You would be lucky to fit anything larger than a jacket in them (in other words, nothing that is larger than what can fit in the underseat storage space). The larger overhead bins are over the middle sections, which can accommodate all sized carry-ons.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Matthew!

  • Comment 385024 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Hi there Michael.

    "This flight will be a good comparison to what BA has done since jetsetpanda flew BA from SFO-LHR just 2 months ago."
    - Thanks for using my FR as a reference. It's fun to compare notes between avgeeks. ;)

    "Since we were rebooked by AA on BA, my new BP obtained from the customer service counter before clearing security."
    - They say things happen for the better and you got to try BA's A380.

    "We went to the BA Galleries South, which to no surprise was overrun and crowded."
    - How premium is that!

    "The pasta and curry were both under seasoned and greasy. "
    - i'm sure the beer helped make things more "tolerable". :P

    "Unlike the previous GVA-LHR flight, Ms. NGO85 was allowed to board with me despite not holding status."
    - This is a consistency issue.

    "The downfall of the window seats is 2 boxes under the seat that make foot room extremely poor."
    - Sucks! By the way nice carry-on that matches with your shoes. :P

    "BA’s cleaning at their hub is substandard."
    - Yikes! That is why i always carry disinfectant spray, alcohol swabs and antibacterial lotion. i might consider adding hydrogen peroxide. ;)

    "The bonus of the window seats is the presence of the side compartments that fill in the space lost by the extreme curvature of the upper deck on the A380 that impedes your headroom as well (true in J as well)."
    - I believe that the side compartments of the 744 are better.

    "Pretty impressive for BA to have found it in the seat in the lounge and immediately hunt down a passenger to return it."
    - Impressive!

    ".. our cabin was less than 20% full."
    - You are so lucky! All my transatlantic flights have been overbooked and no upgrade surprises.

    "That was a failed plan and no flatbed seat for me since the armrests on BA don’t fully fold up."
    - I wonder why they do that. Perhaps a sadist designs these seats. :P

    "The tarragon chicken main was very good and the size was about the same size as the AA meal was. The difference in taste was night and day between AA and BA."
    - I agree. Meals on BA are a step above AA. At least the appetizer and dessert are better quality.

    "The guy behind me complained about the coffee to the FA and she offered to make another pot."
    - I wonder how an AA/UA/DL FA would respond to that.

    "Instead of snacks in the galley, the FAs come through about halfway through the flight with a snackbox, which contained potato chips, popcorn, and chocolates. "
    - At least you got something. No such luck for my SFO-LHR. Then again, I think the fact that it was a night flight had something to do with it.

    "We were asked if we wanted a mozzarella or chicken wrap."
    - They got rid of the traditional tea service? I think that the sandwich and scone with clotted cream were such a distinctive touch.

    Thanks Michael for sharing this comprehensive FR with great pics as usual. Now you can scratch BA off your list. :P

  • Comment 385162 by
    NGO85 SILVER AUTHOR 1755 Comments

    Thanks for stopping by Adan!

    "Thanks for using my FR as a reference. It's fun to compare notes between avgeeks. ;)" <== Especially when you win^^ :P

    "They say things happen for the better and you got to try BA's A380." <== I would have picked this flight at the time of booking (the arrival time means you miss LA rush hour), but didn't think the BA fuel surcharges were worth picking it over the AA flights.

    "i'm sure the beer helped make things more "tolerable". :P" <== Booze is what the BA Lounge's do right^^ The food isn't great, but I guess something is always better than nothing.

    "This is a consistency issue." <== GVA is the only place I've run into this issue, makes no sense to force two people traveling together to board at different times....

    "By the way nice carry-on that matches with your shoes. :P" <== Have to dress up to fit in with the haughty GVA crowd ;)

    "i might consider adding hydrogen peroxide. ;)" <== That's probably not recommended since peroxides are one of the things TSA is looking for. It's what was used in the 2005 London attack.

    "I believe that the side compartments of the 744 are better."
    - I agree 100%, the upperdeck on the B747 is more roomy on the window seats. The A380 has way too much cabin curvature that makes me feel claustrophobic. The only problem is that you won't find many Y cabins on B747 upperdecks ;)

    "You are so lucky! All my transatlantic flights have been overbooked and no upgrade surprises."
    - This is my normal experience too, not sure why this two set of flights had such poor load factors. You saw the cabin shot of J, there was no one in there, so it was a general problem on this BA flight.

    "Meals on BA are a step above AA. At least the appetizer and dessert are better quality."
    - Just like UA, they also offer better quality starters and desserts than AA.

    "I wonder how an AA/UA/DL FA would respond to that." <== Spit in your coffee^^

    "At least you got something. No such luck for my SFO-LHR. Then again, I think the fact that it was a night flight had something to do with it." <== The trade off is mid-flight snack for hot entree for the second meal service. I'd rather have a hot entree for the second meal than to get a box of chips and popcorn. Either way, this is probably better than what AA would offer.

    "They got rid of the traditional tea service? I think that the sandwich and scone with clotted cream were such a distinctive touch." <== Instead they offer blood clots thanks to reduced seat pitch ;) j/k The pitch on BA was pretty good for Y standards as I'm sure you agree.

    "Now you can scratch BA off your list. :P" <== Now to scratch WW off my list since I'm glutton for punishment^^

  • Comment 385242 by
    Rl 777 806 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    “Even though the FIDS at LHR claimed my flight’s gate was unknown, we had C56 printed on our BPs.”
    - The BP gave you insider information, how nice! Probably appreciated at an airport like LHR T5 where they only give out gate info 50 minutes before departure.

    Great spotting shots at LHR!

    The Y cabin looks good in terms of appearance IMO. BA should have chosen an IFE solution where there are no irritating boxes below the seat like QR did. BA did get their first 380 a year before QR but they could have installed the newer system in their six latest 380s. It would have created a slight inconsistency in their 380 fleet but at the same time it would been easier to refurbish six A380s instead of 12 A380s in the future.

    Nice to have the added side compartment.

    It's a shame the armrests don't fully fold up but I guess you still made it to an EconomyBusiness seat (instead of Yfirst).

    Good job of BA to hand out more interesting salads in Y.

    “The FAs came through every 45 minutes or so offering water, orange juice, and apple juice from trays.”
    - Not bad at all. Great to hear you had such a good crew on this flight.

    Absolutely fantastic aerial shots throughout the flight!

    “Crossing over the Rockies.”
    - Breathtaking, especially with the sunset.

    Beautiful shot of LA.

    There could have been more to the pre-arrival meal considering this flight is scheduled at 11h 15 min but we probably won't see anything like that with BA in upcoming months/years.

    Thanks for sharing this series with us!

    Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 385292 by
    aussenrist 225 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this flight report Michael! Sorry for late reply lol My crazy airside working for CNY was finally over lol Nice plane spotting and aerial shots!

    “Almost all of the middle seats were empty (more than 6 complete rows of 4 seats).”
    - Wow. It is 200% impossible in HKG for BA. Everyday their flights are oversold.

    The upper Y seats looks spacious (if not consider the legroom) on this BA A380. IMO the OZ seat looks fresher. It is weird that the armrests cannot be fully fold up. The crew and agents are very nice and professional. I am truly surprised by how they recovered you kindle.

    "The guy behind me complained about the coffee to the FA and she offered to make another pot."
    - I imagine the UA crew would immediately split on his face lol

    “Why is chicken offered for both meals?”
    - Because this is the year of rooster^^ BTW the main dish looks tastier than those served on the HKG-LHR route where it must be chicken and rice (just like UA omelet).

    The food on BA looks much better than your AA. The BA cost cutting is more obvious on TATL than T-Eurasia. I expect there is a 2nd meal for flights to West Coast just like jetsetpanda did but it comes out splitting into 2 snacks. On the other hand, maybe HKG is a premium market to BA, in-flight services do not deviate much on HKG-LHR route base on my observation.

    Look backwards to your DL series to Spain!

  • Comment 386415 by
    Chibcha SILVER 493 Comments

    Great series, thanks for sharing!

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