Review of British Airways flight London Washington in Economy

Airline British Airways
Flight BA231
Class Economy
Seat 42K
Aircraft Boeing 787-9
Flight time 08:25
Take-off 12 Jan 19, 15:50
Arrival at 12 Jan 19, 19:15
BA   #60 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 726 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 1488
Published on 12th February 2019

Report No: 2019-102E


Ladies and Gentleman,
Welcome to this short series of Flight-Reports which would be basically including two flights on British Airways, both on routes that I've reported before on the Euro/World Traveller cabin. However, I've decided to report these two flights to show members and visitors the progress of BA since the last two months.

I would share the links of my previous IST-LHR and LHR-WAS reports below so you would also have the chance to compare them.

The second flight of this series would be the report of the additional BA flight to Washington which is only served three days a week in the winter season. While, you are reading the report, you would notice that the service onboard is the same as the later BA flight to Washington (BA293) which departs 1 hour later than this flight. I have reviewed that flight in the past in World Traveller so if you want to check that report as well you could click the link under the routing section. This flight was usually scheduled to operate with a Boeing 787-8, but after a last minute equipment change, it was operated with a Boeing 787-9. This report would also contain a review of the British Airways Galleries Lounge in Terminal 5B.

So I hope you enjoy this small series of flights. The routing is available just here;


Routing


You could click on this line to see my past flights on British Airways on the exact same route from LHR to IAD.


Pax for this flight

Club World: No idea
World Traveller Plus: %95-100
World Traveller: %85-90 


London Heathrow AIRPORT - LHR


After arriving from my previous flight from Istanbul, I had headed to the fast track lane for security before my next flight to Washington. After showing my boarding pass to the BA agent over there I have scanned my boarding pass at the automatic doors and then headed upstairs to the North Security checkpoint. Then I realized that the door between the regular boarding pass checkpoint and the priority lane was open and non-priority passengers were directed to the North Checkpoint as the southern one was full because of the heavy amount of passengers joining at London. 


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That meant that I was going to be directed to the same lane if I didn't have priority access. In normal cases, only the passengers stated below are allowed the use the lane leading to the North security checkpoint. However, I was not in a rush and the security check took around 10-15 minutes which was acceptable.


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After doing some shopping at some of the stores, first, I have headed to the Galleries Lounge at the southern part of the terminal. Unfortunately, there were no empty tables and the lounge was packed. My only option would be to sit with a stranger at the same table if I decided to stay at that lounge but I went to the service desk and asked if my departure gate was at concourses B and C. Sometimes I have seen some A10's ( bus gate ) for 787 aircraft so there is no certainty that wide-bodies depart from concourses. The agent replied me that my flight was going to depart from gate C53 and warned me that I would need to use the transit twice, if I wanted to use the B lounge.


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Before a transatlantic flight, it's good to stretch legs and have a walk so that day, I've decided to walk to concourse B to use the lounge over there.


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The lounge entrance


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British Airways GALLERIES LOUNGE TERMINAL 5B - London Heathrow AIRPORT


The lounge at concourse B was less crowded and I had easily found a set of couches to relax. As the offerings in all BA Galleries Lounge's are the same, being in a less crowded area makes me more peaceful especially before a long flight.


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Today's main courses


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Salad bar


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Pork pies served with piccalilli sauce


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Soup selections


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Finger sandwiches available that day


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The only dessert in the lounge: a cake with cappuccino


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Coffee bars are located at several locations within the lounge. Hot water is also available for those who prefer to have tea. These bars also have coffee snacks as well.


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Later on, I have decided to have a shower before my flight. As the showers in concourse B isn't that crowded, I haven't waited and I was directly assigned one of the rooms. Before entering the shower, the employee asked me if I needed a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a razor or shave lotion. This was a nice touch as these were being offered to me for the first time.


After having a shower, I have done some work at the business corner. The photocopy machine was fast and efficient but it's strange that you must e-mail yourself the document that you want to print and use one the lounge computers to send it to the printer.


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Later on, I had a notification from the BA app that my gate has changed to B34. Also I've noticed that my seat had been changed to 42K instead of 22K. Later on, I went to the service desk at the lounge for a better seat but only middle seats were available so I have sticked to the seat that BA assigned me. Our aircraft was visible from the lounge


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GATE AREA & BOARDING


After, the boarding notification appeared from the BA app, I have asked the lounge staff for a paper cup for my tea that I was enjoying at that moment. They were happy to help me. Then, I have proceeded to gate B34 for boarding. A shot of our aircraft


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While I arrived to the gate, they were boarding groups 1&2 and I was the only one in the group 2 queue. I was welcomed by the gate staff and then invited to board.


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After being invited to board, the gate agent printed me a new boarding pass with my new seat number on it. Here is my old boarding pass


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And my new one


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Like all BA flights departing from Heathrow, newspapers were available at the gate


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BA 231 LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT TO WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT


After being welcomed by the crew I have taken my seat and asked the crew in my area if they could notify me if there would be a window or aisle seat available in the front section of the cabin. They told me that they would check. Few minutes later, boarding was completed and they told me that an aisle seat was available three rows ahead of my seat. As the passenger at 42J didn't show up and I had an empty middle seat next to me I have decided to stay at my original seat. There were lots of passengers changing seats as some of them were separated from their party and some of them got middle seats while they were originally seating in window or aisle seats.


However, I would continue the report by sharing my seat for the next 8 hours. Pillows, blankets and earphones were available at each seat.


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BA 787-9 are equipped with the Thales IFE system


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Earphones that were available at each seat


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Overhead panel


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This Iberia A320 was our neighbor. That bird was going to head to Madrid.


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Some route information before takeoff


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We had started our push back on time,


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And at that time, the safety video was being monitored


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And as we head to the runway, the spotting experience begins with this 777-300ER which would head to Hong Kong that afternoon


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His neighbor was this 787-9 which would head to Toronto


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G-BGYC was parked at concourse B for before heading to New York JFK as BA 179


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G-ZBKH parked at a remote stand. This bird would operate the later afternoon service to IAD as BA 293.


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Another BA 787-9 that would head to Beijing that afternoon


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VH-OQG waiting at a remote stand for its flight to Sydney via Singapore as QF2


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G-CIVT parked at Terminal 3 for its flight to Miami


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Another BA Queen of the Skies at Terminal 3, this time it would head to Las Vegas


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The BA Queen of the Skies assigned for the YVR flight alongside with the American 777-200 assigned to AA 135 to LAX


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PIA 787 getting ready for its flight to Islamabad alongside with the RJ aircraft next door which would head to Amman.


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B-KQK was being taxied to Terminal 3 from a remote stand as that bird arrived in the morning and it was going to return in the late afternoon 


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TC-JJN parked at Terminal 2. I have also spotted this aircraft that morning in IST.


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Terminal 2 mostly having Star Alliance flights; this UA 777-200 would also head to Washington Dulles as UA 925.


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Later on we had entered the runway and it was our turn to take off.


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The carparks around Heathrow


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Some shots after takeoff


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And we're over the clouds


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IFE - BA 231 London Heathrow AIRPORT TO WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT


As I don't like sleeping much on westbound transatlantic flights I was awake for the whole flight. Here's how to IFE system looks like


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In BA aircraft having the Thales IFE system, there are more content than those aircrafts that are equipped with the Rockwell Collins IFE system and those equipped with the Panasonic IFE system. However, the IFE system that BA offers is not the best within European carriers.


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My movie selections for the day


Just to remind that all seats have a USB port and a power source which is located under seats


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The seat pocket contained the same things with the previous flight. The safety card


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The High Life Magazine


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BA North American destinations


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After BA removing their overhead monitor movie service from their narrow body fleet, the entertainment section is only available on long haul flights.


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The High Life Shop Catalogue. Inflight shopping was available during this flight.


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Shortly after takeoff, the aperitif service has begun with pretzels and a choice of drink.


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Also the cabin crew asked for wine orders for the lunch service which would commence shortly. Before the lunch service had begun, immigration cards for the US was distributed by the cabin crew.


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A shot from the window at that time


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LUNCH - BA 231 London Heathrow AIRPORT TO WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT


Shortly after the aperitif service the meal service had begun. There were two options. The first one was chicken and the other one was mac&cheese. I opted for the pasta option but there weren't any pastas left at that time. I told the crew that I was OK with the chicken option but he checked the galley and brought me this gnocchi which was actually a Premium Economy meal. It tasted delicious and it was one of the best meals that I had on an airplane. In addition, even though it's looked simple, the salad was also tasty. The tray also contained bread, crackers, butter, cheese, a pudding, a bottle of water, milk and a cup for the upcoming coffee & tea service.


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While I was enjoying my gnocchi, the cabin crew came once again for the tea & coffee service. I have opted for a cup of tea.


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Shortly after the trays were collected I have adjusted the window to dark mode


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And the window started to darken shortly and was completely darkened within 5 minutes.


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The route map at that time


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Later on, I have visited one of the lavatories. They were clean at that time


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After I left the lavatory I have checked the snack basket at the galley but couldn't find one. Then one of the crew members told me that the snack basket was only available from flights from the US, not to the US. However, he told that they were going to serve ice-cream shortly. In addition to that, the crew had made drink runs every 30 minutes which had water, orange juice and apple juice as an option. Other soft drinks could be requested at the galley.


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The route map which I finished my second movie and while the ice creams were distributed


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SNACK - BA 231 London Heathrow AIRPORT TO WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT


Before arrival, a snack box was served to passengers. The box contained a tuna mayonnaise and sweetcorn wrap alongside with a Cadbury chocolate. This was the same box that they offered on my previous LHR-IAD flight which was two months ago.


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Route map at that time


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After the boxes were distributed, the cabin crew came for another drink run, this time with the cart and I have asked for a tea alongside with a cup of water


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Later on, the crew made their final checks before arrival and then we had landed to IAD ahead of schedule.


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United Express aircrafts at A gates.


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A6-BLC getting ready for it's flight to Abu Dhabi as EY 130.


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Later on, we had parked to gate B38, which isn't the actual BA gate at the airport. As this flight is an additional flight we had parked to the SAS gate.


WASHINGTON DULLES AIRPORT - IAD


After saying goodbye to the crew I have left the aircraft and then took this photo.


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As I was sitting in the rear World Traveller cabin, I was in a hurry to catch the first moon buggy to the immigration area but unfortunately, it got filled before I reached the station so I needed to wait 10-15 minutes for the second one to depart. The second moon buggy waits for all the crew and all the passengers needing assistance to deboard so for a shorter wait at immigration and leaving the terminal earlier, it's essential to catch the first one. The last shot of our aircraft from the moon buggy.


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Even though the government shutdown was active and there were only 5 employees calling people from the visitor lane, I had waited around 15-20 minutes and then took my baggages from carousel 20 which were already there waiting for me.


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Later on, I have called an Uber and left the airport as I had two bags and there was a snowstorm at that time.


This report and series has came to an end.


I expect to see you in another report. Thanks for reading and take care.

See more

Verdict

British Airways

9.0/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering9.5

British Airways - 5B

8.4/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.5

London - LHR

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.5

Washington - IAD

7.2/10
Efficiency6.0
Access7.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

As you could imagine, this flight was one of the best BA flights that I have experienced. The priority lane access in Heathrow was a bit funny but the lounge experience, of course with the help of the lounge staff at T5A South, was really great. It's always good to know your concourse in advance and head to the emptier lounge in Terminal 5B if your flight departs from T5B or T5C. Also the spa and showers are emptier then the one in the main terminal. The lounge staff was really helpful and when I asked for a clear file for the documents that I've printed, they were really helpful and found some at the staff room and handed them to me. The boarding process was well organized as priorities being respected and being allowed onboard just after I arrived to the gate. The flight experience was good except the starting part that I was dumped to one of the last rows due to an aircraft change. They were passengers who were assigned to a middle seat while they were seated at a window or an aisle. The crew had done the best to provide me a better seat but after noticing the passenger seated in 42J didn't arrive, I sticked at my own seat. The lunch service was basic but the touch that the crew gave me a PE meal was really nice. It tasted really good and gave me a good impression of BA PE that I have never flown. Drink runs were made throughout the flight and the ice-cream service was made while we were between Greenland and North America. It might not be good for sleepers that the snack bar is removed from eastbound transatlantic flights, however the second meal was also tasty and satisfied my expectations. The IFE system was also sufficient for a 7 hour flight. After arriving to DC, I missed the first moon buggy with 10-15 passengers in front of me which made me wait for an extra 15 minutes. However, the immigration was better than I expected, even when the government shutdown was active, so I left the airport almost an hour later than we had landed. To conclude, BA is one of the cheapest transatlantic options from Istanbul and being a loyal customer, I would continue to choose BA on most occasions but this year I would also try new carriers on the same route. For those interested in BA reports, there are minimum 6 more BA reports coming this year.

LHR
(+) Priorities respected while boarding and the whole process was organized
(-) Every transfer passenger was automatically directed to the priority lane ( What does priority lane serve for? )
(-) The late announcement of gates ( However I was able to learn my gate via one of the lounge representatives in advance, however, later on it was changed )
Galleries Lounge T5B
(+) Easy to find seats ( not like those lounges in the Main building )
(+) Very helpful friendly lounge staff ( including Spa staff )
(+) No waiting for showers and the nice touch of providing amenities
(+) Lunch selection ( both food and beverages )
(+) Nice touch that some of the food selections had changed, some still rest the same for months
BA231
(+) Having the middle seat empty ( Probably the passenger who was originally going to sit at 42J missed their connection )
(+) The touch that I was served a premium economy meal as my first choice was not available
(+) Really good crew, they were absolutely perfect
(+) An IFE system that would satisfy a 7 hour flight
(+) Drink runs made in regular sequences
(+) Toilets were kept clean during the flight
(-) The replacement of the snack bar to an ice-cream ( Although the ice cream service is a nice touch )
(-) Being dumped to one of the last row seats because of the aircraft change ( at least it was a window seat )
IAD
(+) My baggages were waiting for me, after clearing immigration
(-) Waiting for the moon buggy to depart ( This system wastes a lot of time )
(-) Immigration wait times could be improved

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

The contributors of Flight-Report published 9 reviews of 1 airlines on the route London (LHR) → Washington (IAD).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is British Airways with 7.3/10.

The average flight time is 8 hours and 17 minutes.

  More information

6 Comments

  • Comment 488197 by
    757Fan 545 Comments

    Nice report! Thank you for sharing. It looks like BA offers a decent Y class service on this route. Food looks quite good, and the seat looks pretty comfortable.

    • Comment 488198 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 193 Comments

      Hi 757Fan and welcome to this report,

      "It looks like BA offers a decent Y class service on this route."
      - Yes, that's probably because they compete with Virgin Atlantic and United at the exact same route. Passengers has lot of choices.
      "Food looks quite good, and the seat looks pretty comfortable."
      - Completely agree, no sign of the bad Euro Traveller product. This product "World Traveller" is amazing while "Euro Traveller" ( offered on shorter routes ) has no difference than a LCC.

      Thanks for your comment and hope to see you again.

  • Comment 488405 by
    airplanegeek64 3 Comments

    Excellent report!! I always enjoy reports that involve my home airport (IAD). But my god, the cost cutting on BA is f**king ridiculous. Its the small things like headphones to earbuds, and even the cheap arrival meal they serve. Last time I flew BA was back in 2016, and I at least of a sandwich, some crisps, and a scone- with jam and cream! Its sad, but Alex Cruz is ruining BA.

    • Comment 488451 by
      ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 193 Comments

      Hi airplanegeek64 and welcome to this report,

      "Excellent report!!"
      - Thank you for appreciating
      "I always enjoy reports that involve my home airport (IAD)."
      While you wrote this comment, I was onboard BA216, the opposite direction of this same flight route, so I have given you the hint of my next flight report which would also involve IAD.
      "But my god, the cost cutting on BA is f**king ridiculous."
      - Yes it is, especially on short haul flights.
      "Its the small things like headphones to earbuds, and even the cheap arrival meal they serve."
      - Yes that's true, however, BA Economy is cheaper than the past.
      " Last time I flew BA was back in 2016, and I at least of a sandwich, some crisps, and a scone- with jam and cream!"
      - That sounds better than the snack provided on this flight. I have started using BA regularly since August 2017 so I won't be able to comment on that. I don't actually remember what they served on my first BA transatlantic flight in January 2016.
      "Its sad, but Alex Cruz is ruining BA."
      - Definitely agree, he is treating a legacy airline as a low-cost for some extra money. Especially by reducing seat pitches, removing overhead screens on the narrow body fleet, and introducing BOB on short haul. If I'm not wrong, even Alitalia serves free meals onboard.

      So thanks for your comment and hope to see you in another report.

  • Comment 489417 by
    arturo1989 102 Comments

    Hello
    Thanks for these flight report
    i hope read one more in the future

  • Comment 489434 by
    ISTFlyer GOLD AUTHOR 193 Comments

    Hi Arturo1989 and welcome to this report,

    Thanks for appreciating my Flight-Report's.
    Stay tuned as more Flight-Report's in the same route would come in the near future.

    Hope to see you again and take care.

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