Flight-Report

Review of British Airways flight Washington London in Economy

Airline British Airways
Flight BA216
Class Economy
Seat 42K
Aircraft Boeing 747-400
Flight time 07:05
Take-off 20 Nov 18, 18:25
Arrival at 21 Nov 18, 06:30
BA   #48 out of 126 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 652 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 2339
Published on 15th December 2018

Hello and welcome to this series which would include 4 flights with British Airways. This series would contain two long haul flights in the World Traveller cabin and two medium haul flights in the Euro Traveller Cabin. All of these flights would include lounge reviews of lounges that I have been reviewed before.

The first part of this series would include a short transatlantic flight from Washington Dulles to London Heathrow with the Queen of the Skies with a stop at the British Airways Galleries Lounge at IAD.

The routing for this serie would look like this; 



Route Overview ( LON-WAS )

Because that I have the overview for this route in another report I would only mention the differences between August 2018 and November 2018. British Airways had increased their IAD flights from 14 weekly to 16 weekly by adding the extra service on Thursdays and Saturdays with their 3 cabin 787-8 aircraft. The later evening BA flight (BA293/BA292) is now operated with a 787-9 aircraft instead of 747-400 aircraft. The 3 daily United and 1 daily Virgin Atlantic service from Heathrow to Dulles hasn't been changed. Also, the daily British Airways BWI flight remains the same.


Pax for this flight

First: No idea
Club World ( Business ): %70-75
World Traveller Plus ( Premium Economy ): %100
World Traveller ( Economy ): %90-95 


ONLINE CHECK-IN


I have completed online check-in for both of my upcoming flights online at ba.com 24 hours before scheduled departure.


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The seat maps for both flights were like this


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I wasn't able to get 39K for this flight even though there was no infant onboard. Last year when I didn't have status, I was able to book 39K for free on a flight from Boston to Heathrow. 42K was my pre-reserved seat.


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Row 12 is the best row for British Airways A320 aircraft. I was able to reserve 12A, several days before the flight as it was occupied when I booked the ticket.


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Even though I was able to use a mobile boarding pass for this flight, a paper one was issued at the check-in counter.


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OLCI confirmation


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The morning of my flight I have spotted the incoming flight via flightradar24. G-CIVH is one of the 747-400's, which has the refurbished cabin and which is equipped with Wi-Fi


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Hours before the flight I have used the metro to reach Rosslyn where I would board the bus 5A, direct service to Dulles Airport


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A view from the bus stop at Rosslyn, VA


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This AA 738 which took of from DCA appeared while I was waiting the bus.


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And, here comes our bus


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WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT - IAD


I have arrived to IAD, 2 hours 15 minutes before my flight. Due to the holiday season the airport was crowded.


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Check-in

No one was in front of me at the Business class line and I was directly served by one of the BA employees. She checked my baggages all the way through Istanbul and asked me if I wish to upgrade my journey to Club World for $639 ( only for the IAD-LHR leg of my journey ). I kindly rejected the offer as I have upgraded a similar journey for $300 in the past. I have also asked if there was available seats at row 39 ( bulkhead row ), but they were all taken.


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After finishing my check-in process my boarding passes were handed and I have proceeded to the south security checkpoint.


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Photos of the apron from the main Saarinen building


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I was the only passenger in the Priority Lane for document inspection but I have waited 15-20 minutes to clear security which was reasonable when we consider the holiday season.


FIDS after clearing security


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Today, I have decided to take the tunnel from the main building to the concourse.


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The winglet of the South African Airlines A330 was visible when I arrived to concourses A/B.


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Before heading to the lounge, I have spotted the Queen of the Skies that would take me to London


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British Airways GALLERIES LOUNGE - WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT


Due to my Oneworld status, I was able to access the British Airways lounge at the airport. While checking-in at the lounge, the lounge attendant offered me, the paid upgrade to Club World and I rejected again like I did at the check-in counter.


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Even though, the lounge is above average for a lounge in the US; hot dishes and main meals are only reserved for Club World & First class passengers. All other passengers could use the main buffet and the coffee station. The front area of the lounge was crowded as usual but I had the chance to find a table near the bar.


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The bar area has a great view of the apron


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Today's food selections


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Soup of the day: Broccoli and cheddar


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Coffee & tea selection


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Magazine selection


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Alaska A320 which would head to San Fransisco in couple of minutes


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Few hours before the flight, I decided to have a shower to refreshen myself. The showers were above US standards and the shower rooms were spacious as there was space to put belongings.


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GATE AREA & BOARDING


I have left the lounge 50-55 minutes before the scheduled departure time. The first two photos represent the gate area around 2 hours before scheduled departure time.


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Boarding lanes were clearly indicated


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The gate area was a bit packed as IAD doesn't have enough seating areas around gates. Boarding was a bit delayed so the queues were stretched to the main walkway.


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BA 216 - WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT to LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT


I was welcomed by the crew as I have boarded the aircraft.

Seat

The seats were great and comfortable & pretty good for a 7 hour flight. Pillows and blankets were also provided.


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The legroom is much more wider than BA's short haul fleet.


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Earphones were provided at each seat.


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As this aircraft was recently refurbished, it was equipped with Panasonic ex3 inflight screens which is a huge improvement for BA after those screens which evoked TV's from the 1990's.


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Overhead panel


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Our neighbor was another bird flying to Heathrow. It was an A333 of Virgin Atlantic.


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Route map before takeoff


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As we pushed back the safety video was shown from personal screens


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C-GLQJ which would head to Toronto-Billy Bishop Airport as PD728


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United A320


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United Express which had just arrived from Avoca-AVP


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Another United Express aircraft, this time heading to the runway for its flight to Rochester


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N223UA, this UA 772 would also head to Heathrow like us, in a few hours


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TK 7 from Istanbul had arrived at that time.


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United 787 parked at C gates


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After the Cathay Pacific A350 flight from Hong Kong had landed, it was our turn to takeoff and we headed North after departure.


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Taking off


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On this report, I wouldn't include location names for places as I have many photos. They are piled up in this gallery.



IFE - BA 216 WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT to London Heathrow AIRPORT


Alongside with the inflight entertainment system which did contain several movies, TV shows and music; inflight wi-fi was also offered onboard today's flight to Heathrow.


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Price list for the Wi-Fi service. They are quite expensive compared to other carriers. In addition BA doesn't offer free wi-fi for their elites or their customers seated in the premium cabin. Even though, high quality Netflix streaming is advertised, to access that function passengers must pay for the streaming package.


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The seat pocket contained the safety card, the High Life magazine and the High Life shopping catalogue. Inflight shopping was available during this flight.


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BA East Coast route map


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More information about onboard Wi-Fi at the High Life magazine


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Route map shortly after takeoff,



Over the Boston area a drink service had started. Passengers could select their choice of drinks for this service. No nuts or snacks were offered during this service.


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MAIN MEAL - BA 216 WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT TO London Heathrow AIRPORT


45 minutes - 1 hour after the drink service this time the food trolley arrived. There was an option between beef and pasta. I opted for the pasta option. The tray contained the main meal, a salad, bread, a pudding, crackers, balsamic vinegar, a small cheese, butter, a bottle of water and milk for the coffee service. While distributing the trays, the crew didn't ask passengers for their choice of drink.


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The pasta was delicious and it was probably the best Economy meal that I had from flights departing the US.


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Later on tea and coffee service had begun. At that time, I have requested another main meal as it tasted delicious but the answer I had was "Sorry sir, we have nothing left".


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The trays were collected somewhere around here. Shortly after trays were collected, the cabin lights were turned off.



BREAKFAST - BA 216 WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT to London Heathrow AIRPORT


An hour before landing, breakfast was served by the cabin crew. Today's menu was this bagel alongside with a drink of choice.


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Route map at that time



After this service I have visited the lavatory, which looked a bit old but it was clean at that time.


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A photo before descending


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Terminal 5A as we almost touched down.


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And, we're on the ground


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BA A320 heading to Glasgow that morning


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Terminal 5A


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G-BYGC had arrived from Boston at the same time and would park to the gate next to us.


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The IFE system was switched off after we had parked at gate B38. 


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LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT - LHR


Fuselage shot of our aircraft


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This 787-9 had also arrived from Kuala Lumpur that morning.


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After checking the FIDS, I have learned that my next flight to Istanbul would depart from A gates so I headed down to the transit level.


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As I had the time, I had used the walkway to reach Terminal 5A where I would clear security for my next flight.


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Thanks for reading and hope to see you in another report.

See more

Verdict

British Airways

7.5/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew7.5
In-flight Entertainment7.0
Meal/catering6.5

Washington - IAD

7.8/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

London - LHR

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

This flight was an average transatlantic flight with British Airways which had pros and cons in many different ways. The ground experience was pleasant as the check-in process was smooth and the security wait times was OK but a bit much for holiday season. I don't know why but British Airways doesn't offer hot food for their elites traveling on Y or W cabin which restricts them to serve finger food, soup and snacks. That's a bit annoying but the quality of the food at the lounge was great. In addition, the lounge has comfortable furniture and nice shower facilities. Even though boarding started a bit late, priorities were respected. Once on board, I have realized that the seat was comfortable and even better than some 5 star airlines's Economy seats. The IFE was a decent experience as the British Airways IFE system has not that much content and the Wi-Fi was unnecessarily expensive. Even though, the first meal tasted delicious the method that BA serves passengers on red-eye transatlantic flights is wrong and doesn't maximize sleep. 1 hour after takeoff a trolley comes and asks your drink of choice. 1 hours 30 minutes after takeoff meals are served, 1 hours 50 minutes before takeoff tea and coffee arrives, and trays collected 2 hours after takeoff. I don't understanding the logic of serving drinks and the tray separately when there is no snack service as it stole 30-45 minutes of sleep from each passenger unless they prefer to skip the meal service. It was nice that cabin lights didn't open too early as some airlines serve breakfast 2 hours 30 minutes before landing which is unnecessary, but the breakfast was above average and only a bagel with white cheese. Although, the lounge breakfast at Heathrow allowed me to have a breakfast so I didn't stay hungry till my next flight. The landing experience at Heathrow had nothing special to mention.

IAD
(+) Fast & efficient check-in
(+) Priorities respected while boarding
(-) Security waiting times could be improved
British Airways Galleries Lounge - IAD
(+) Nice and comfortable furniture
(+) Food & drink selection
(+) Shower facilities
(-) Hot bar only available for premium cabin passengers
BA 216
(+) Comfortable seats ( +1.5 at cabin section )
(+) Nice and delicious dinner ( +2.5 at meal section )
(-) Meal services planned were not helpful to maximize sleep ( -1.0 from meal section )
(-) No drink of choice during the meal service ( -1.0 from meal section )
(-) Breakfast -> only a bagel ( -1.5 from meal section )
(-) IFE content could be improved ( -1.0 from IFE section )
(-) Expensive Wi-Fi ( -1.0 from IFE section )
LHR
Nothing to mention

Information on the route Washington (IAD) London (LHR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 8 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Washington (IAD) → London (LHR).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is British Airways with 7.4/10.

The average flight time is 7 hours and 4 minutes.

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5 Comments

  • Comment 480512 by
    lagentsecret SILVER 9699 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    The fare for the upgrade is very expensive.

    The BA lounge offer is very poor.

    Way too expensive wifi, almost incredible !

    The meal is very basic : a salad, a hot dish and a cake.
    Plastic cutlery.
    At least the pasta were good.

    ""Sorry sir, we have nothing left"."
    Really ???

    " breakfast was served by the cabin crew."
    Light in my opinion ;)

    Reading your experience I wouldn't fly a BA long haul flight.

    See you soon for another report

    • Comment 480532 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 132 Comments

      Hi again and thanks for another valuable comment,

      "The fare for the upgrade is very expensive."
      - I certainly agree, I wouldn't pay more than 300$ for this route for a 7 hour flight.
      "The BA lounge offer is very poor."
      - BA distinct passengers by their travel classes in their US lounges, probably due to many American passengers joining their lounges because it's certainly better than Admirals Club lounges. That's why oneworld elites traveling on Premium Economy and Economy while flying British Airways doesn't have access to the dining area.
      "Way too expensive wifi, almost incredible !"
      - Yes, it is too expensive. It's even more interesting that passengers in First class need to pay this fee to use the internet.
      "The meal is very basic : a salad, a hot dish and a cake.""Plastic cutlery."
      - Nothing more to expect from BA World Traveller.
      "At least the pasta were good."
      - They cater from the one of the best air-meal companies on most of their long haul flights: "Gategourmet"
      ""Sorry sir, we have nothing left"." Really ???
      - I have seen the crew carrying extra meals at the rear galley. Probably, they are going to eat the extras. In addition to this, the stewardess serving our area was in a mood to finish the service earlier and go to sleep.
      " breakfast was served by the cabin crew." "Light in my opinion ;)"
      - Breakfast was the ironic part of the sentence. It's just a snack. At least they could have also provided a yoghurt which would cost no more than 1$ per passenger.
      "Reading your experience I wouldn't fly a BA long haul flight."
      - They have the best fares from/to Istanbul usually. Roundtrip USA from Turkey: $499 in World Traveller and $1899 in Club World. They have usually the half price of Turkish Airlines.
      "See you soon for another report"
      - Thanks again for stopping by and hope to see you in a future report.

  • Comment 482513 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 196 Comments

    Thanks for sharing. From my experience, I would pay a bit more and fly a decent airport. BA nowadays is nothing more than a glorified LCC trying to sell their flights as a legacy carrier.

    • Comment 482514 by
      ThomasDutch SILVER 196 Comments

      Airport = airline.... my bad... probably late here lol

    • Comment 482568 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 132 Comments

      Hi ThomasDutch and thanks for stopping by,

      "From my experience, I would pay a bit more and fly a decent airline."
      - That's true but BA is the cheapest on the route that I fly and I have a Oneworld Sapphire status. Now I also hold a Star Alliance Gold status so probably I would try different transatlantic options in the near feature.
      "BA nowadays is nothing more than a glorified LCC trying to sell their flights as a legacy carrier."
      - Completely agree, they are certainly a LCC. Their only advantage is that OWS and OWE passengers could still use their privileges ( except checked baggage ) while flying Basic Economy. Otherwise they have no difference than Easyjet, Wizzair, etc...

      Thanks again for your comment and wish the best in 2019.

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