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Route Overview ( LON-WAS )
London - Washington is one of the popular Europe-USA routes as British Airways, Primera Air, United, Virgin Atlantic operates daily flights from the London area to the Washington area. British Airways serves 3 daily flights between these areas. 2 of these flights is from Heathrow to Dulles and the other one is from Heathrow to Baltimore. It's my second time that I flew this route ( LON-WAS ), the last time I flew with an United 757-200 from Heathrow to Dulles after missing my BA connection at Heathrow. This flight that I would now report is the only flight from London to Baltimore which is operated daily with a 3 class Boeing 787-8 aircraft.
Pax for this flight:
Club World: %75-80 World Traveller Plus: No idea World Traveller: No idea
LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT - LHR
As I arrived from my previous flight from Istanbul, I had followed the purple signs for "Flight Connections"
I was able to use the Fast Track Lane as I was seated in Club World
All fast track passengers are directed to the North security checkpoint, but passengers from the regular transfer line are directed to the South security checkpoint. The North Checkpoint had 3/5 figures in the crowd display monitors as it took 15 minutes to pass the x-ray, and another 15 minutes to wait the security search my bag. Due to the amount of bags subject to hand search in the x-ray I've put my bag, another security guard took some of the trays, asked their owners to come with her as she was searching those bags at an empty lane.
After security, I went to the BA Customer service desk, in order to know my concourse, so I would make a decision going to one of the A lounges, or the B lounge. The employee told me that there was no information and I should wait at the main building until my concourse is announced. So I headed to the South Galleries Lounge.
BRITISH AIRWAYS GALLERIES LOUNGE TERMINAL 5A SOUTH
The ratings below indicate the experience at this lounge, at the summary section both Terminal 5A South and Terminal 5B lounges are reviewed separately.
As I've entered the lounge, the lounge was crowded and I could only find a seat near the kid zone which is in the southern part of the lounge.
Also the breakfast menu was still there, but it would be collected in minutes as it was almost time for lunch. Some pastries
Soups offered today
Cold drink selection
Chips were offered as well
Daily newspapers and magazines
At 12:05-12:10 that day, the counters had new food, some lunch dishes which were offered
The same chips were put in a different basket
Mini sandwich selection
Before heading to the tea-coffee counter most of the crowd left the lounge because of their flights and I was able to have a better seat which was behind the alcoholic beverages counter in the southern part of the lounge.
Tea selection for the day
Alcoholic beverages offered that day
Later on at 13:00, I asked the lounge staff that I would like to have a massage while waiting for my flight and he directed me to the Elemis Spa which was one floor below the Business Lounge. While going to the lower level, the horse an a A380 model was visible
At the spa reception, the employee told me that the first available spot is at 16:20 which was 30 minutes later than my flight departs so I asked her if I can make an appointment for the spa at Terminal 5B. She looked at the schedule and created an appointment for me at 14:20 which was 1 hours 30 minutes before my flight.
So I took the people mover to Terminal 5B. Emirates ad was present at Terminal 5.
Also, there was more advertisements at the platform
BRITISH AIRWAYS GALLERIES LOUNGE TERMINAL 5B
I have arrived here 1 hour before my massage appointment, so I also had time to explore at this lounge.
The same food and drinks as the Terminal 5A South was offered today but the furniture was a bit oldish compared to those ones in the main building.
But, there were more magazines at this lounge
BRITISH AIRWAYS GALLERIES LOUNGE TERMINAL 5B ELEMIS SPA
30 minutes before my massage appointment, I've decided to have a shower. The shower was recently cleaned, had clean towels and Elemis branded amenities for hand wash and shower.
After my shower I was asked to fill a form because of my massage appointment. The form asked if I have any personal issues such as allergies and illness.
After I filled my form I was invited to the massage room which I relaxed for 15 minutes. I have chosen to have a back massage. A hot towel was provided just after I had started my massage. Also the massage assistant asked me about personal needs and gave me samples of Elemis products.
After the massage, I had some coffee which was served with crunches and shortbreads.
At that time the same foods were still available.
GATE AREA & BOARDING
After the lounge, shower and massage experience, it was time to head to concourse C for my flight. This time I walked from Concourse B to Concourse C.
C concourse did have just a few flights for the day.
Today's gate was C66 and the aircraft was visible from the gate
G-XLEG was parked at Terminal 5C, getting ready for his flight to ORD.
G-YMMN had arrived from Delhi and was taxiing to his parking position
45-50 minutes before scheduled departure, boarding started with the group number process. There were some smart people which were seated at World Traveller and tried to board with Group 1 and succeeded. As the ground staff realized the situation, an employee checked group numbers before the boarding pass scan process and some of these smart people was gently sent to the queue for their own boarding group. I was the first one to board within the passengers assigned to Group 2.
Free newspapers were offered at the gate
Our aircraft from the gate
BA 229 LONDON-LHR to BALTIMORE
I was welcomed by the cabin supervisor and the crew which would serve my seat during the flight. I was asked if I had water or champagne. This time I went for water.
The seats were usual Club World seats which were pretty good for a 7 hour flight and had enormous legroom. The only negative point about the seat is that the seat width is shorter than some airlines regional Business Class service. As I was seated in 1A, I was lucky that the passenger in 1C moved to row 3 which her daughter was assigned to so I wasn't looking at anyone face to face during takeoff and landing
A sleeping kit from White Company and headsets was there waiting at my seat, and a bottle of water and a White Company personal amenity kit was handed by the cabin crew.
The content inside the kit
This aircraft was equipped with Thales Entertainment system.
The remote was not the newest touch screen installed ones but looked quite new.
A reading light was also installed at the seat
Route and flight information for the day
G-YMMG was next door, waiting for his flight to Newark
As we pushed back, another 777 was visible, this time BA 113 to JFK
The safety video was shown
The second time that G-YMMN was seen today, which would serve BA 179 to JFK
BA super jumbo which would fly to Hong Kong today as BA 31
Another BA 388, G-XLEC which would head to Los Angeles this afternoon
G-RAES was still parked there as I saw him that morning at the same spot, he would operate BA 207 to Dubai which was delayed.
British A320 at the runway departing for Aberdeen
Virgin Atlantic 787, VS 9 to New York-JFK
A7-BER which would serve QR 8 to Doha today
An AC 77W, serving AC 865 to Montreal
G-EUPM getting ready for his short flight to Manchester
Another VS 787, G-VBEL, this time to Boston as VS11
Last view of the runway queue
Here we go
Apron between Terminals 3&5
Terminal 5 B&C
Terminal 5 A&B
Some photos after takeoff
After the seatbelt signs had been turned off, hot towels and menu cards were distributed.
Welcome on board message
Alcoholic Beverages offered today
Menu for the afternoon tea meal
Shortly after the distribution of the menus the crew verified my meal preference that I have made online and asked my drink for the aperitif service. I opted for a cranberry juice which was served with nuts.
Before lunch, I head to check the lavatories which were clean.
LUNCH - BA 229 LONDON-LHR to BALTIMORE
The table was set after I have returned from the lavatory. I was asked if I prefer still or sparkling water.
Bread and butter was already at the tray.
Later on the entrée cart had arrived so I opted both for the smoked salmon and soup the sweetcorn soup. The cabin crew was happy to serve me both these two starter dishes.
The sweetcorn soup was served with an additional bread.
For the main course, I have chosen the pasta option which was asparagus tortellini and it was delicious. By the way, water runs were made by the cabin crew.
Later on the dessert trolley appeared, and the cabin crew asked me what I wanted. I asked for the warm raspberry and almond frangipane tart. While my dessert was heated, the crew offered me some pineapples. For this flight, pineapples where loaded instead of strawberries.
After a while, my dessert arrived but unfortunately there were no clean forks or spoons on my table so I pressed the crew button but due to the meal service they could only came after serving all the passengers in the front Club World cabin.
Later on, I have asked for a peppermint tea which was served to me with the fork and the spoon.
After the meal service, a problem with the IFE occurred and the cabin supervisor announced that he would do a short reset to fix the issue.
Ten minutes later, the IFE at my seat rebooted and I was able to provide the route information, but 5 minutes after I took these photos, the cabin supervisor announced that the issue on the IFE system was solved on half of the seats so he rebooted the whole system, which took 20-25 minutes, to solve the problem.
IFE & INFLIGHT BAR - BA 229 LONDON-LHR to BALTIMORE
Few minutes later I've slept for a while and then woke up 2 hours 30 minutes before landing. I have helped myself from the bar and reslept after enjoying some of the snacks. The glass and trash was collected by the crew while I was sleeping.
As I mentioned before, this aircraft had the Thales IFE system which is better than those that some 747's have. The IFE system included a wide selection of movies, TV shows and music albums but there was less selection than those IFE systems which Middle Eastern carriers utilize. There was no problem with the IFE except the two mandatory resets during the flight.
There was no wi-fi onboard but there were power sources and USB plugs available under the PTV. Also another USB port was available near the remote.
The safety card
The content in the seat pocket
Both of the crews who served my zone was absolutely perfect and cared about customers, they always asked if they can do more to serve me. The only problem was that I couldn't receive an immigration card from them so I had to fill one at the airport and 20-25 people was able to get in front of me because they had a filled immigration form with them. Probably I was sleeping when they distributed these forms, and as not everyone is required to fill one, they expected me to ask them for one.
I wasn't able to have this meal as I was sleeping and as I had the divider up, they didn't want to disturb me. The menu of this service can be found at the menu section of this report.
Before landing, I was woken up here and asked to prepare for landing
Some photos before landing
Some United aircraft
WowAir & Swift Air aircraft parked at Concourse E. By the way, it was my first time that I have seen something called "Swift Air".
We were going to park at gate E1.
BALTIMORE THURGOOD MARSHALL AIRPORT - BWI
As we landed I headed directly to the immigration line and I was one of the first ones to enter the line but then I have realized that I don't have an immigration form so I left the line and filled one, so now I was one of the last ones to clear immigration. The whole process took about 25-30 minutes. I was lucky that we were the only international arrival at that time.
Then I had went to carousel 17 to pick up my luggages which were already there but one of my luggages was dented at that time. Luckily, I found a British Airways agent at the baggage claim area so I have explained the situation so I was asked to fill a form about my luggage and then he took a picture of my luggage and filled a complaint form and told me that he would call after the return flight to LHR has departed. This process took 30-40 minutes due to some other customers whose bags didn't arrive.
After that, I have headed to the exit and this time the officer who controlled my document had asked me to take a seat and wait. When an immigration officer came to me, I have provided the documents and she told me that there wasn't any problem at them. The reason that I was asked to take a seat was that the stamp on the immigration form hadn't have much ink to be clearly visible. Later on, I was told that I could leave the area.
The tiring BWI experience was coming to an end, I checked my dented luggage if there was anything damaged as my laptop and personal electronic devices was in there because of the electronic ban which was applied for the IST-LHR sector, luckily the only thing damaged was the suitcase itself. So I have left the airport and the flight experience came to an end.
BAGGAGE ISSUE - HOW WAS IT SOLVED
At 21:30 that evening, the same agent who helped filling my baggage damage complaint form called me and asked me to note my case number so I could reach customer services. The following day, I called the baggage department but they were always busy and the PA voice asked to fill a form on ba.com . I wasn't able to reach them until someone left me a voicemail regarding my complaint. I called the number who voicemailed me and the agent told me that they were going to send me a brand new Andare Collection suitcase which much more was expensive than my dented one. 3-4 days after this call, I received the suitcase by mail and the issue was solved.
Thanks for reading.
British Airways (South) Galleries Club - 5A
London - LHR
Baltimore - BWI
LHR: (+) Well air conditioned and fresh terminal (+) Enough seating areas near the gate ( for gate C66 ) (-) Security process takes too long BA T5A South Lounge: (+) The variety of beverages offered at the lounge (+) Breakfast selection (+) Comfortable seats (+-) Lunch selection ( was OK but it can be improved ) (-) Too crowded at that time (-) Difficult to find a clean table BA T5B Lounge: (+) Wide magazine selection (+) Easily found an empty seat (-) Older furniture than the T5A lounge (-) Some of the power plugs were not working Elemis Spa T5B (+) Shower rooms were big enough and clean (+) Massage service which was offered (+) The staff who was in charge of my massage was helpful (-) Difficult to adjust water heat at the shower BA 229 (+) Seats were better than expected (+) Professional and caring crew members (+) The option to choose the main meal online (+) The taste of meals which were absolutely perfect (+-) Options served at the bar for midflight can be improved (-) Entertainment system issues (-) Cost-cutting on a transatlantic flight for the second meal service (-) An immigration card was not handed to me. BWI (+) The BA staff was there to solve my issue (-) The slowness of the BA staff at the baggage services counter. (-) One immigration officer was looking for passengers with visas. ( After all other passengers cleared immigration, the other officers accepted passengers from the visa lane )
The overall flight experience had more positive points than negative points. Even though my flight experience started with a bad security experience at Heathrow, the lounge was a comfortable place to relax before the flight. At the time I've entered the lounge, it was packed and I could have only found a seat next to the kid zone which was a bit noisy, but then I found a better seat after some passengers left the lounge. The breakfast selection was nice and almost contained everything from a continental breakfast. The lunch selection was good but I believe that British Airways can provide better food if they want. As the lounge was packed, the spa was also packed to so I had to go the B lounge to have a shower and have my massage appointment. The B lounge contained the same food and beverages but the seats were less comfortable and most of the plugs within the seating area didn't work. The showers and the massage experience was really good and I hope that British Airways doesn't cost-cut for their spa service. Boarding was organized and the flight departed on time. Even though, it was one of the last days of Gategourmet serving BA, the lunch service onboard was amazing and proved that BA is one of the best carriers which serves good and quality dishes onboard. ( Doesn't include the M&S onboard menu ). Some little issues with the IFE system was OK and the seat was comfortable so I had a wonderful sleep onboard. In addition, the crew was really amazing. No Wi-Fi for this flight can be acceptable for the price that I've paid. But, British Airways can improve their onboard service by putting more selections to their onboard bar ( Cold sandwiches were also available but I didn't have one). Even though I was sleeping, a heated sandwich for dinner, which they call "afternoon tea" for cost cutting, is not OK for this kind of flight. I remember SQ serving two main dishes on a SIN-MEL flight and EK serving two main dishes on a DXB-KUL flight ( probably not any more ) which were both in Business and have almost the same distance with this flight. At least, British Airways could provide an Express Option tray with a small hot dish for their Club World customers for the second service on short transatlantic flights. My experience at BWI wasn't that good but if you have Global Entry and have no problems with your baggage, you would clear immigration and pick your bag within 10 minutes. As a Oneworld Sapphire customer, I would continue to prefer British Airways on my transatlantic journeys but I hope that they would be better in the future.
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