Hello and welcome to the fourth and final review in this series of flights.
After a quick trip to Iceland over the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, this time it's off to warmer latitudes over the Fourth of July Holiday. After my first trip to Greece last November, I absolutely fell in love with the country and wanted to return for the summer season to experience the beautiful beaches of the Aegean sea.
As a oneworld flyer living in Washington, DC, British Airways from Dulles (IAD) is often the most practical one-stop option for European destinations. During the high season, BA fly non-stop from Heathrow to several of the Greek isles, including Mykonos, our destination for this trip. Add to that the fact that BA operate two daily 744s to Dulles, bringing an attractive #AvGeek factor, and British Airways was a clear choice.
This report will cover the second return leg of the trip in Club World on the upper deck of the Queen of the Skies.
With our inbound flight from Mykonos arriving almost an hour late, it was going to be a tight connection–just a little over half an hour to make the next flight. Luckily, as the flight from Mykonos parked at the main T5A building, we were not far from the transit security checkpoint. This saves a good amount of time as opposed to arriving at the T5B or T5C satellite concourses which entail a train ride to T5A to go through transit security, and then another train ride back out to T5B/C.
We did experience a slight delay at the entrance to transit security as my boarding pass wouldn't scan to open the gate. Gotta love automation…
I ended up having to speak to a BA agent who initially could not figure out what was wrong with my boarding pass. A red X would come up on her screen each time she attempted to scan my BP. I was getting nervous at this point as we had very little time to make our next flight due to the delay from Mykonos. After a quick phone call, the agent was able to print a new BP which scanned successfully. I asked her if she knew what the issue was–she replied that she wasn't sure, the system had flagged something about baggage, but there were no details. Oh no, "is my bag lost or damaged?" I replied. Again, she said she couldn't tell as there were no remarks in my file, but told me to run to make my flight, which I did, of course. But now I was worried something had happened to my bag ?
Luckily, there was practically no queue through the Fast Track security lane and we were through to the train in just a few minutes–phew, looks like we're going to make it!
We caught the train out to the B concourse and headed straight to our gate. It seems that each time I fly out of T5B I have a tight connection, so once again there is no time to visit the T5B BA Galleries lounge.
Though I was in a rush to get to the gate, the AvGeek in me had to stop to take a photo of this beauty
As we arrived at the boarding gate, the boarding process was almost complete–we had made it just in time! There were a few passengers in the Economy queue, but no one in the Fast Track queue so we boarded immediately.
Hello beautiful! Always a pleasure to fly the Queen of the Skies ✈️
We were greeted by two very friendly smiling cabin crew at the top of the stairs.
I then made my way to the upper deck exit row in the middle of the cabin.
As we were storing our cabin baggage, one of the cabin crew heard us speaking French and spoke to us in perfect accent-less French. It turned out that both of the cabin crew working the upper deck, who both had perfect British accents, were actually originally from France. What a small world–other people with whom we can speak our unusual brand of expatriate Franglais and who will understand perfectly. Seriously an amazing crew–they were awesome throughout the flight!
My backwards-facing exit row window seat.
The legroom is always excellent in Club World.
Window seats in exit rows, along with bulkhead window seats, have the added bonus of offering direct-aisle-access.
A BA Dreamliner at the next gate
Shortly after settling in, pre-departure drinks were served. It was the usual choice between champagne and water.
Menus and amenity kits were distributed shortly thereafter.
The most obvious difference between the newer generation of Club World seats on the Super-High J 744s and this older model is the older IFE and lack of USB ports.
The IFE is really bulky and ancient.
The resolution is pretty bad
And that air show…
…it's straight out of the 90's.
It reminds me of the many flights I took as a kid shuttling between France and the U.S.
The content is decent, however.
After all that running to get to the gate in time, our flight ended up being delayed twice–once for a passport or visa issue with one of the passengers and then for ATC congestion.
In the end, we pushed back over an hour late.
There's always good planespotting at Heathrow for #AvGeeks
A BA A380 and Iberia A340-600 at T5C as we push back
Safety video during taxi
More BA tails during taxi
BA A380 rotating
China Southern Dreamliner parked at a remote stand
We were about 10th in line for take off, which prolonged the delay further, but allowed for some more planespotting of activity on the runway as we sat in the conga line for departure.
Royal Brunei B787-8
LATAM Brasil B767-300ER
British Airways A320
Flybe Dash 8 Q400
Aer Lingus A320
Flybe Q400 in purple livery
LOT Polish B737-8 MAX
Finally it was our turn for departure
Speeding by the other terminals on takeoff roll
Views of Terminal 5 on takeoff
About a 20 minutes into the flight, the apéritif service began. I had a Castelneau Rosé champagne accompanied by some mixed nuts and salty snacks. Although the nuts are not warmed like on many other carriers, the presentation in a ramekin is a clear improvement over the packet that was previously served.
Leaving Europe behind as we reach the west coast of Ireland and begin our Atlantic crossing.
Our lovely cabin crew offered refills on the apéritifs–how could I say no.
Shortly after, the lunch service began. British Airways have made some major improvements to the soft product in Club World over the last few months, and this is most apparent in the catering.
On day flights, several courses are served and presented from an attractive trolley covered in white linen. This new style of service certainly feels more premium.
The starter was creative and delicious. The presentation of the tray and dish itself were definitely an improvement.
Wild Rocket and courgette risotto summer vegetables, Amalfi lemon
I'm not usually one to go for the vegetarian option, but it was very tasty.
Here's a look at one of the other main dish options:
Seared fillet of British beef spring onion and cream mashed potato smoked garlic tenderstem broccoli, Madeira rosemary jus
Next came the dessert trolley
Normally on British Airways, the choice is between cheese or dessert; however, being that we're both French and both of the cabin crew are French, of course we were offered a cheese course before dessert.
Nicely presented cheese board consisting of:
Coastal Cheddar West Country Brie Shropshire Blue Walnuts, apricot chutney, biscuits
Warm chocolate and walnut brownie vanilla crème anglaise
The brownie was very rich, as one would expect, but I loved the crème anglaise, which balanced it out quite well.
After dessert we headed down to the main deck with our Cognac digestifs to chat with one of our friends who was travelling with us. The main Club World cabin was about 75% full.
The upper deck cabin mid-flight as we headed back to our seats after chatting with our friend and the cabin crew for a bit.
After a lovely meal it was time for a nap.
Seats in Club World lie fully flat. This is the seat across the aisle in bed mode.
Another recent product improvement in Club World has been the bedding. The new bedding is from British luxury brand, The White Company.
Whereas Club World passengers were previously provided with a simple pillow and blanket combination, the new bedding consists of a much larger pillow, mattress pad, thin blanket, and duvet. Having a thinner blanket in addition to a thicker cover is a nice option for those who are sensitive to warm temperatures while sleeping.
There were about 4.5 hours left in the flight when I put the seat in bed mode for a nap.
I slept well for a few hours and woke up as we reached North American shores.
Shortly after, the pre-arrival snack was served:
Tapas Plate Woodall's air-dried ham, Cumberland salami, harissa hummus, spinach and potato tortilla
Chocolate glaze cake
We started our descent over southern Pennsylvania
The sun was setting as we approached IAD
Crossing the Susquehanna River
We didn't make up much of the departure delay in the air and arrived at the gate about an hour late. The great thing about arriving at IAD this late is that there are very few other international arrivals, so customs/immigration was a breeze, especially with Global Entry.
Last view of the 747 upper deck cabin on deplaning
By the time we arrived at the baggage carousel, our checked bags were there, intact and undamaged. I'll never know what the issue was with my boarding pass and the mysterious baggage message.
Thank you for reading and feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.
London - LHR
Washington - IAD
While I covered some of the recent Club World product improvements in the outbound IAD-LHR review, the changes are most apparent on day flights like this one. After many years of cost-cutting, these product improvements are welcome and refreshing.
Being on the upper deck of the Queen of the Skies is always a special experience, which was made even more comfortable with a window seat in the exit row. Unlike the outbound IAD-LHR flight, this flight did not feature the newer generation of Club World seats--the main difference being the IFE system which is antiquated, but still has decent content.
Without being a chauvinistic Frenchmen, the cabin crew on this flight were absolute perfection and made this one of my most enjoyable flights in recent memory.
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What a great conclusion to your trip, Kevin. It looks like you had a great flight with BA in Club and the differences in the food service are impressive.
Thank you for sharing!
Thanks Matthew! Yes, it was a very nice ending to a great trip. Thanks for stopping by!
Great to see the much-needed BA service improvements!
Long overdue improvements, indeed. Thanks for your comments!
Great report ! Some visible improvements in this product ! Love the upper cabin and the Club World atmosphere !
Hi JeremyA380, thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the report! It's nice to finally see some positive improvements in the product--after these soft product changes, I'm looking forward to seeing the new Club World seats that will offer direct aisle-access for all seats.
Merci pour ce FR Kevin !
Un voyage à bord d'un B747 devient de plus en plus rare, il faut en profiter...
A bientôt !
Merci Hervé :-)
En effet, il faut profiter des 747 tant qu'ils sont encore là. Heureusement que BA gardera sa flotte quelques années encore.
How nice! You traveled in space AND time! That cabin looks so comfortable. I think older aircraft are more... what's the word for blandito? Softer? Better cushioned? And that map! It reminded me of the times when I used to play Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego!! Aahh... memories.
No Chilean wine on the menu? That's a new low. XD
All queens become bulky as they age. Show me one that hasn't. :D
Thanks for sharing. Glad to know you enjoyed your holidays!!
Thanks for your comments Nelson!
"You traveled in space AND time!"
- Haha, I sure did!
"I think older aircraft are more... what's the word for blandito? Softer? Better cushioned?"
- Yes, I agree that older cabins have more cushy seats normally, unless the seat cushions are long overdue for change in which case they can get really hard from being squishes by thousands of butts over the years, haha.
"All queens become bulky as they age. Show me one that hasn't. :D"
- Sad and true as I can personally attest :-P
Thanks, Merci !
Thanks to emphasize the catering improvements but the snack was a little bit too light for a flight of 8h.
Hope we will see the new CW seats soon :)
A bientôt, c'est toujours un plaisir de vous lire.
Hi AbyssinTeam, thanks so much for stopping by!
"Thanks to emphasize the catering improvements but the snack was a little bit too light for a flight of 8h."
- Agree it's a bit on the light side, but better in quality than the tiny dry sandwiches they used to call "Afternoon Tea" service on Westbound Transatlantic flights.
"Hope we will see the new CW seats soon :)"
Merci pour le compliment et à bientôt !
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