Review of British Airways flight Manchester London in Economy

Airline British Airways
Flight BA1395
Class Economy
Seat 32F
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 00:36
Take-off 03 Dec 17, 12:33
Arrival at 03 Dec 17, 13:09
BA   #38 out of 67 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 834 reviews
thejetflyer
By SILVER 1141
Published on 17th December 2017
I had been wanting to visit Jordan for over 20 years ; the combination of historic sightseeing and reasonably short flying time were the main factors in my decision to finally visit in 2017 !

As my flight from the UK to Amman was on Royal Jordanian,I would have needed to fly from my nearest station served by Royal Jordanian ( London Heathrow ).
I got such a great flight deal via Skyscanner, an Edinburgh based airfare search engine that I decided I could fly from Manchester to London Heathrow instead of a train journey ! Flying is always better and wins every time. Especially when you can easily connect with your onwards flight and not have to lug your baggage around on public transport !

British Airways has the monopoly on almost all UK regional flights into London Heathrow which has led to the airline being called London Airways as it services no international routes from the UK regions. with the exception to BA’s monopoly on UK domestic routes is that flybe which has four flights from Edinburgh on weekdays, and three from Aberdeen, which started on 26th March 2017. I can almost guarantee that flybe will fill the void left by British Midland and Virgin Atlantic’s shortlived Little Red operation.

flyBe - the next British Midland ? Or will it too be boughtout by British Airways ?
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British Airways fly 7 times a day between Manchester and London Heathrow with reduced service on weekends. Early morning , mid afternoon and late evening flights are timed to connect business travellers to/from Heathrow. On the back of the London Airways tag, BA introduced, in summer 2017, a small number of leisure flights from Manchester,Birmingham and Bristol to European leisure destinations - the first time it had flown internationally from the UK regions in over a decade.

Aircrafts used on the busy Manchester to Heathrow route are a mix of A319,A321/A320 but mainly the A320/A321.

British Airways aircrafts in it's legacy days with the prestigious Landor and other liveries



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The Super Shuttle 757s shown here were via an artist's impression were used for the renown Shuttle service . The Super Shuttle was the brand name at that the time for the UK domestic service to/from Heathrow and prior to British Midland's 1982 arrival to challenge BA on these lucrative routes, BA had a monopoly. The Shuttle concept ( think of badminton) was like the shuttlecock going back and forth,which is what happened all day everyday to/from London Heathrow and the UK regions.
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Who would believe that the prestigious British Airways would one day start charging for snacks/drinks in Economy Class on UK Domestic and European flights ?

So my routing would be Manchester-Heathrow-Amman. Skyscanner quoted their prices from the Omega Travel website meaning I had 3 different booking references ; one each for Omega,BA and Royal Jordanian !
I recall that by entering the Omega reference on ba.com. helped me find my BA reference which I needed to prebook my BA seats.

Notable changes to British Airways UK domestic and EuroTraveller (European Economy) since my last BA flights in 2008 are as follows,the bulk of which came into being after Mr Alex “Costcutter” Cruz became BA’s CEO



*Introduction of ClubEurope ( European Business Class ) on UK domestic services
*Introduction of hand baggage only fares
*Buy on Board catering in Eurotraveller on domestic and European routes in partnership with M&S ( Marks and Spencers for those not familiar ).
*Paid for seating allocation in Eurotraveller ( free if checking in from 24 hours before departure and at the airport ).

How long the Club Europe and Eurotraveller names will stay in operation remains to be seen considering the UK will leave Europe ( Brexit ).

Online Seat Allocation


From the 18th Oct 2017 I tried to prebook seats and failed a total of 7 times.

I complained to BA Customer Relations at least 3 times and to Mr Cruz twice. On one occassion a woman with a stern voice called on a Sunday morning to tell me that she has had no issue allocating seats and could take payment. I advised that the idea of escalating to the CEO was not to pay after 7 failed attempts.

BA's Facebook is utterly useless and simply a platform for #BAMagic ; people who can afford BA tickets but who give sob stories and get free BA tickets.

Customer Relations remained polite but were utterly useless reference helping me assign my seats of choice. A further email to Carolina Martinoli, head of BA Customer Experience was met with a "computer says no" attitude. Being ex airline staff, a log is kept of every time someone enters a booking. This seemed to be ignored during each interaction with Customer Relations. I then got emails asking me to rate the service provided by Customer Relations.

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To be fair, I would be lucky as BA is soon to start yet another ludicrous scheme ; "boarding dependant on the ticket price paid".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-42052743

Meaning that other passengers will know if you have paid a premium price or have booked the lowest of the cheap fares. This gives a whole new meaning to the class system both financially and onboard an aircraft.

And here is the Boarding Process - not as bad it first sounded ! Although by boarding last you may as well wear a sign saying " I paid peanuts but won't be served any on this flight unless I pay for them ! "

When trying to access your booking via a mobile phone, you are asked for your surname and PNR ( passenger name record).

You then need to enter your flight number, date, flying from and to details. So much for ease and convenience.

And then this ; if only cutting free catering and seat assignment actually lowered the price of UK domestic flights…

https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2017/12/08/british-airways-ceo-low-fares-not-happen-magic/

I also fail to see the point of having Avios Airmiles if they can't be used to assign seats.


Codeshares and Alliances explained



Airlines use Alliances and Codesshares to expand their reach without placing additional aircraft in the sky. Passengers benefit from alliances and codeshares via baggage handling agreements between airlines, particularly on International routes – enabling them to through check their luggage at their initial departure point and getting them automatically to their final destination - even if changing terminals & carriers in various countries along the way. They also benefit by being able to accrue and redeem miles on partner carriers.

An Alliance refers to the business agreement between two or more carriers sharing the same flight for example ; if your ticket states Finnair operated by JAL you would be on a JAL aircraft – in which case Finnair is the marketing carrier selling seats & promoting routes under its own name. There are three major Global Airline Alliances at present ; StarAlliance, Oneworld and Skyteam.

Online Checkin 2nd December 2017 ( the day before departure )



I was working in the office the day before the flight and was very very busy. I went on ba.com just minutes before online checkin would open. I had been studying the seatmap for months and noted not many seats had been assigned.

There is a very helpful timer on the BA website which tells you exactly when online checkin will start.

As soon as online checkin opened ( hurrah ! ) I had been assigned 30E, a middle seat but was able to change to 35F FREE OF CHARGE !!! At the time of checkin the whole row of 3 seats was only occupied by me. I have to say I was relieved to get my seat of choice and to save £7.00. My row was the last row and I had a window on the right side of the aircraft. So far so good !


BA1395 - Codeshare with Royal Jordanian RJ3016 - the day of departure and my first time flying BA in 9 years !



Suitcase ready !
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Currency ready !
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In case I was unsure where I was heading later today, a local Arabic sweet shop soon reminded me !
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I got the Bus to Manchester Airport and the female bus driver smiled at me and wished me a nice day. A great start to the day !

Due to the Sunday bus schedule being somewhat reduced,it seemed I would have a very short time to clear check in and security. Note to self - leave home much earlier if getting a Sunday morning bus !

I had technically checked in the day before when I assigned my seat and confirmed my intention to fly.

Upon arriving at the Manchester Airport airport Bus Station, I thought I would be a good ciitizen and ask if anyone wanted a free day ticket ( no use for me beyond my arrival today into MAN). One gentleman politely declined saying he had a free ticket as he was over 65 and I laughed and said he didn't look it ! Luckily another lady who was about to take Bus 43 back towards Manchester Piccadilly accepted the free ticket ! My good deed done, I headed via the moving walkway to the BA checkin area in Terminal 3.

Saudia 787 having a rest before flying back to Jeddah
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Manchester Airport Aviation shop in Terminal 1 arrivals ( shortcut to Terminal 3 is behind this area for those in the know ! )
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Manchester Terminal 3
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The so called Express Checkin Kiosk was like a Windows 95 era PC - I could have probably flown to London and back in the time it would have done anything !
It is a joke that this kiosk talks about speedy checkin.

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I alerted a BA staff member stood nearby, a male of Chinese origin. I specifically mention his nationality as Manchester Airport has a huge Chinese investment and after the much sought Beijing and Hong Kong routes began in the last 3 years, routes to Shanghai and Guangzhou are in the pipeline with Air China and Hainan respectively.

Anyway,the BA staff member asked if I had an onward connection - I advised I did and he told me I can only checkin at the checkin desk.

Nice one BA for letting me know and helping me waste time on an antique Kiosk ( owned by MAN but exclusively for BA use ).

BA Baggage Allowance Guide
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I then go to the Checkin desk where a girl is helping a colleague on the next desk,then turns to me to apologise then continues assisting her colleague. Eventually it's my turn to get attention and she asks if I would like my onward boarding pass just now ? I advise yes.

I am checked in by 1115am and head to security. Definately the most choresome part of any trip but a necessity all the same. A bald securityman was walking around telling everyone to separate gels,liquids etc but was also making jokes,crazy ones like take your jacket,belt and shoes off - but we will let you keep some clothes on. He then made quips about Brits,tanning creams etc etc. If I hadn't been so focused on getting to my gate, I would have laughed !

Some passengers flying with American Airlines seemed annoyed at having to do "all this security".

Tip ; put all liquids,gels and creams in clear plastic bags available at the airport or bring your own,removed shoes,belts and jackets. Laptops/tablets must be taken out of their case. I was waved through the body scanner however my hand luggage was selected for extra searching ? Eventually I was told by a nice lady that the bag is fine and doesn't need a physical search. It was put through a scanner again and I retried it along with my jacket.

Having eventually cleared security, I was making my way towards the gates when I saw my inbound A321 braking on runway 2 !

The specific aircraft operating my BA1395 today would be GMEDL which operated from/to Heathrow and Newcastle,Manchester ( my flight),Dusseldorf,Milan Malpensa, Dublin,Manchester,Edinburgh,Glasgow…basically a very very busy bus !

A story about G-MEDL, an ex British Mediterranean aircraft and it's colourful history ;

British Mediterranean Airways was an airline which began service from London Heathrow in 1994 and during it's existence flew to ;

Armenia - Yerevan
Azerbaijan - Baku
Ethiopia - Addis Ababa
Egypt - Alexandria
Georgia - Tbilisi
Iran - Tehran
Jordan - Amman
Kazakhstan - Almaty
Kyrgyzstan - Bishkek
Lebanon - Beirut
Russia - Ekaterinburg
Senegal - Dakar
Sierra Leone - Freetown
Sudan - Khartoum
Syria - Aleppo, Damascus
Turkey - Ankara
Turkmenistan - Ashgabat
Uzbekistan - Tashkent

British Mediterranean Airways was established as a limited company in 1994 by a group of private investors led by Lord Hesketh

In March 1997 the airline reached an agreement with British Airways, with BA withdrawing its competing services to Beirut, Damascus and Amman, leaving British Mediterranean as the sole operator on a BA franchise basis. Under this agreement the airline traded as British Airways, with all flights operated under BA flight codes. Aircraft were painted in full British Airways livery, with the same cabin interior and class product as the BA main fleet and staff wore the BA uniform. Flights were booked through British Airways and the airline participated in BA's Executive Club and BA Miles programme.
British Mediterranean Airways rebranded as BMED in November 2004, stating that the shorter name and revamped logo would help strengthen the airline's image.
On 5 April 2007, A321 registration G-MEDL was used to return 15 British Navy personnel captured by Iranian forces from Tehran to London Heathrow.

Following a period of losses, the airline was bought by BMI for £30 million in February 2007. The acquisition marked a change in strategy for BMI by focusing on more medium to long-haul routes. BMED's route network complemented BMI's existing routes.

The British Airways franchise ended on 27 October 2007, when the airline was fully absorbed into bmi. Aircraft were gradually repainted in the bmi livery and flights received BMI's flight codes. As part of the acquisition, BMI sold BMED's Heathrow slots to British Airways for £30 million, to be transferred in late 2008.

So now that you know a little about G-MEDL, it was delivered in BA livery with small BMED stickers near the cockpit
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it was then in a hybrid BA/bmi livery
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and eventually the full bmi livery
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then a hybrid bmi/BA livery
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It is now back to it's original BA livery ! Talk about coming full circle !
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Furthermore,G-MEDL operated the last ever Amman-London Heathrow service in 2012 before BA bought bmi - BA,bmi,BMED….3B !
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Flight Information
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After clearing security, I then went to Travelex to pickup my pre ordered Dirhams and by this time I could see my aircraft docked on gate 143. I was about to go through security when the lovely lady pointed out that the inbound flight had only just arrived and that there are no facilities at the gate. I then went to WH Smiths ( UK newsstand) and bougt an Apple Tango for the ripoff price of £1.99 but what can you do ? The same drink is only a pound in Manchester city centre !

Not sure why airport prices for everyday items are inflated but it is wrong. Worse than this, I glanced at my boarding pass for Amman and saw my seat had been changed from 8A ( the seat since July 2017 ) to……..33C !!!!!!!

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Who..when…why…where…what !!! I spoke to the BA rep near the gate and she said she would get back to me as the inbound flight had just arrived.

My ride to London Heathrow
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Complimentary newspapers
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I then decided I would go to sit at the congested and narrow gate area. I could see the inbound passengers coming off the aircraft and eventually saw the crew leave meaning we would have a crew change and travel with a fresh Cabin Crew down to London Heathrow.

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The BA rep came back to me and asked me to come to her computer. She showed me the seatplan and advised that whilst she couldn't tell me why I had been changed,she could advise that she can move me.

I was moved to 31A and the middle seat would be free. La la la…everything's great……or is it ?!! Read the RJ112 report to find out !

A queue then started building and I got up to join it. Whilst in the queue I am certain I saw an ex colleague whom I have only very recently reconnected with,standing much further in the queue. I then looked at her companion and could swear he was her husband ! I called her mobile 3 times and there was no answer. I thought I would surprise her onboard.

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Boarding commenced at 1200pm for Club Europe passengers as well as the Upper levels of oneworld etc. At 1205pm I boarded and was welcome onboard by a pleasant young Steward.



The Club Europe cabin was in the standard 2 x 2 configuration with the middle seat free as is the norm in Europe. The cabin smelt immaculately fresh. I got a few stares as I boarded from Club Europe passengers. Really ? Come on, you haven't seen a good looking Asian male on your flight before ?!

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Anyway, just behind the Club Europe Curtain was a very happy Airhostess called Evie who welcome me onboard and I said thanks.

I then passed my ex colleague who was talking to her husband and I leant over and said Good Afternoon. Her husband looked up at me and smiled and my colleague was overjoyed to see me ! We had a quick chat and I said I would revisit them after take off ! Of all the people on all the flights !

I took my window seat at 35F and saw the crew continue to welcome passengers onboard. The Crew were all young-ish and very well groomed and spoke very proper English - I am suspecting the accents were from Nottingham and wherever else the Queen's English is spoken ! Seat 35D was occupied. I didn't feel the legroom was great.

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I love the leather seats with the embossed BA speedmarque on the headrest area
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I saw Club Europe passengers being given refresher towels - hot or cold I don't know but what a perk !

The cabin was nice and tidy however my seat had stains that had been wiped but had clearly imprinted on the leather. Announcements were regularly made during boarding to advise this was a codeshare flight with American and Qatar. No mention at all of Iberia,whose ex executive is now the BA boss and the airline which forms the IAG group with BA and American ( what was wrong with IAB ?! and who is G of these 3 airlines ?!).

As this wasn't a busy service,doors were closes at around 1215pm and we pushed back at 1220pm. As soon as we pushed back, a woman in a Texas accent says loudly " Ok,I'm on the plane and we are taking off now". It made me chuckle ! 32DEF was free and I had asked before pushback if I can change and was allowed to have 3 seats to myself. The feeling of space was amazing !

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There was a manual safety demonstration and after the cabin secure check the engines were starting up.

Take Off



At 1233pm, off we jetted away from a cold yet sunny Manchester runway 1 enroute to London Heathrow. There was an instant announcement regarding onboard sales. Not many people ordered anything and all payments I saw were being done via card readers as you can only pay with a card or Avios points. The Customer Service Manager also advised she would advised useful information about our arrival into Heathrow,later in the flight.

We have lift off !

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Inflight Seatpocket Contents



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The BA and M&S Menu Guide



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The Buy Onboard Range refreshed in Oct 17
https://www.businesstraveller.com/business-travel/2017/10/19/british-airways-makes-changes-ms-buy-board-menu/

My response to BA's buy on board - Bring Your Own !
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The Club Europe curtains were kept open all flight ; I was to later understand the divider is broken/faulty.

The rest of the flight was smooth and uneventful. Oh, it is worth mentioning the lovely Cabin Services Manager told me that I am fine to have a photo with crew after landing ( after everyone has disembarked of course !)

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There was an announcement for crew to take their seats at 1304pm.

Landing



Sadly we wouldn't be flying past the Houses of Parliament today and if we did fly past then cloud completely obscured any view.. Although close to landing I did note the Sri Guru Singh Saba Gurdwara, the Sikh Temple in Southall aka Little Punjab ! The area of London near Heathrow which is more a busy IndoPakistani village than an English suburb ! But I love Southall for Pakistani food and shopping !

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Sri Guru Singh Saba Gurdwara's Golden Domes visible !
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At 1309pm, we landed at Heathrow. It took quite a while to get an airbridge attached - whilst everyone was stood quueing,I could see my old colleague chatting with an Evie the Airhostess ( my old friend was in London to celebrate her 7th wedding anniversary )>

At 1322pm passengers began disembarking and an Evie was wishing them a nice day ( great sentiment considering how miserable it was outside ! ).

As I collected my handluggage, I spoke to one Airhostess and thanked her for a lovely flight. She said thanks and asked if I was travelling onwards.

I had a lovely crewphoto and although I was given permission to use it here, I will instead post it on my Instagram. I bid farewell to the crew and saw the Captain smiling at me from the cockpit and I said bye to him too.

Bye Bye BA !
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Two lovely gents from Heathrow Airport pointed me to towards flight connections.

Basically,upon landing at BA Heathrow Terminal 5,you follow the purple signs for flight conections. If you are transferring onto another BA flight you have a separate channel, if you are transferring to other terminals,then you just follow the sign,get an escalator downstairs and await your bus !

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In my bus and enroute to Terminal 3 I saw an Aeroflot A330 take off and then saw various American,Virgin,BA,Cathay and TAM aircraft.

Upon arriving airside at Terminal 3, yes that's right airside,meaning you have cleared security at your departure airport,you have to go through security all over again. Luckily mine was quick as I know what to have ready in which order ! The security officer even said well done for helping speed up the process.

I then sat down near the security area and suddenly there was a huge loud rumbling sound and I mean very loud ! I got up and looked out the window and saw this huge American 777 pushing back ! God that thunder class but exciting noise is still with me !
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See you on RJ112 !
See more

Verdict

British Airways

8.3/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering5.0

Manchester - MAN

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

London - LHR

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

After the hassle of the seat allocation policy,the poor Customer Relations and the ludicrous buy on board introduction,what would make me fly BA again ?
The leather seats ? No. The fare ? No. The choice of flights ? No.
It would be the high level of service provided by the fantastic Cabin Crew who ooze professionalism and care ! Well done BA on having Cabin Crew with high morale even though you are subjecting them to intense situations with the crazy policies above. Hats off to my amazing Cabin Crew and hope to fly with you again !
If flying British Airways is still a matter of pride,then being flown by this amazing team of high class professionals was an honour.
Outstanding and impeccable service on this 35 minute flight BA1395 from Manchester to Heathrow led by a truly amazing Cabin Service Manager.
I am of the belief that if the Cabin Services Manager really cares about passengers then the rest of the crew are empowered to do the same.

Information on the route Manchester (MAN) London (LHR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 12 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Manchester (MAN) → London (LHR).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is bmi with 7.5/10.

The average flight time is 0 hours and 57 minutes.

  More information

2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 423414 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5589 Comments

    I totally agree with you about BA cabin crew. I fly BA quite a bit and I almost always have very good cabin crew. It's a shame how much the BA product has gone downhill over the year--it really makes their jobs more difficult.

    BA are leaving money on the table by only serving London from other UK airports. VS and others seem to be able to make routes with good O&D traffic work from Manchester and other UK airports, but BA are just so London-centric. AF do the same in France (though they've tried at least European flights from the regions).

    Your report confirms that BA have begun offering Club Europe service withing the UK. I wasn't sure when that was starting.

    Awesome planespotting btw...love it!

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