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Welcome friends to another flight report.
This one is out of order from my round the World series which I am dreadfully dragging my feet completing. I'll continue plodding away though until it gets finished.
This report though I felt was an interesting one to get up quickly as rather surprisingly there are no English reports of this product on the site yet.
We all know that BA has a woefully outdated Business Class product. What was once World leading (they were after all the first airline to introduce flat beds to Business Class - something now so standard and expected it barely warrants mentioning!) has been left behind due to a stunning lack of innovation and progress within the airline. It's not so much been passed by other airlines products but been lapped and sat stalled in the pit lane.
So as news spread that BA was introducing a new Club World seat my interest was piqued. Once details began to emerge and news that their new A350-1000s would be getting the new product I was now really interested.
Finally the new product was unveiled - The Club Suite. Full 1-2-1 reverse herringbone seats with a door to completely enclose the suite. I think everybody was fairly stunned, this seemed more akin to a new product from the ME3 than from dear old BA, whose reputation hasn't exactly been stellar over the last decade.
Not only that but Toronto was named as a launch destination for the new product and the A350. It seemed like the air travel God's were trying to tell me something. So with a day of leave around my 4 days off in November the window was there. I had to give this a try.
So I got in touch with my mate Andy and plans were made for a spotting trip to LHR which as we were talking then morphed into one with a side trip to MAD to fly on the A340-600. Everything was coming up Milhouse!
As I was going to be traveling alone, I needed to sell this trip easily to the Mrs. A $6 grand ticket wasn't going to cut it.
Fortunately BA Avios are easy to mint here in Canada so that was the logical option.
I looked into a pure Avios booking with the knowledge that BA's ridiculous fees and surcharges were going to be eye watering.
Indeed they were. Over $1,500 in cash was needed along with 100,000 Avios. A kings ransom.
However BA at least has generous rules regarding the use of Avios, they can be used for all sorts of things and one of the best uses I find are for upgrades.
Space was wide open in Business for the dates I wanted so I set about looking to see if a good Premium Economy fare was available which I could then upgrade.
Indeed it was. My luck was in and I knew I needed to lock this in right away. A PY return would be $1,800 and with an additional 48,000 Avios and about $200 extra in UK tax I could snag seats both ways in Business. So it was booked, although I had to call the call center as BA's legendary IT would not let me book the flights online.
So for only $400 more in cash and 52,000 Avios less than I would have paid for an outright points booking I had my Business Class return and of course I would be earning Tier Points and Avios for these flights.
Much like Baldrick in the BBC TV series "Blackadder" I had a cunning plan.
I'd managed to finagle my schedule to be working on Saturday but by working a midnight shift, I would start at 2230 on Friday night and be finished by 0700 on Saturday. Thus I could avoid taking a day off work and fly to the UK at the same time.
Brilliantly I thought to myself that will allow to me quickly get my body onto UK time.
If I only sleep for 2 hours after work by the time I depart that night and have dinner I'll be exhausted and ready to sleep all the way across the Atlantic and be ready for a day's photography at LHR once I land.
Otherwise the 1830 departure time would be way too early for a good sleep and with landing due at 0630 London time that would only be 0130 to my body clock.
So I bid my wife farewell around 2:45pm and headed for YYZ. I arrived around 3:15pm and though I might be a bit too early for check in to be open as I recall a few years prior it being exactly 3 hours before departure.
To my surprise check in was already open and with quite long queues.
I had checked in online and was only taking hand luggage, however rather annoyingly, BA decided that my documents had to be verified at the desk before I could get my boarding pass.
I got into one of the two First/Business lines and stood behind 3 or 4 travellers. Amazingly every person before me got sent away from the desk to the Economy line. Yup, they had decided that waiting in the long Economy line wasn't for them so thought they would try it on at one of the priority lanes. The check in clerk was having none of it though and sent them all to the correct line and what was now a much lengthier wait than they would have had if they had just lined up properly in the first place.
She called me forward and asked if I was traveling in Club World tonight, which of course I was and I was then welcomed and thanked for my patience. Check in took no time at all and I was given my boarding pass and informed of the lounge location.
British Airways used to have its own lounge at YYZ. It was a much loved facility with much loved staff.
Sadly in a cost cutting move, BA closed its lounge and instead contracted out to Plaza Premium.
Plaza Premium have done a lot of building work around the lounges area. They still have their own lounge but also the BA lounge now which is still only for BA guests. It is divided into two sections.
One for First and Gold card holders and another for Business Class passengers.
Once I had checked in I went straight through security. I can't stand spending time landside once I'm checked in, I want to get through the security zoo and airside as quickly as possible.
The queues for security were non-existant and I should have been through in no time at all. Unfortunately for me at least I was directed to a scanner behind a family with 3 small children and a multitude of bags, laptops, ipads, liquids etc who must have been flying for the first time.
It was frustrating but what can one do. After around 10 minutes of waiting for them to get organised and repeatedly take things out of their bags and put them into what must have been approaching 10 trays I was through and off to Gate C32/33 and the lounge area.
The BA lounge is in a common location with the other T3 International lounges. Its a quick elevator ride up 1 floor where you are spit out into a lobby area where all the lounges are located.
I headed to the BA one of course and with a quick scan of my boarding pass I was in.
It's fair to say that the BA lounge is compact.
There are some distinct areas. First by the window there are some seats overlooking the apron and gates.
Sadly even so early on the lounge was already reasonably busy so it was difficult to get shots without annoying the other guests.
I grabbed the last window seat and had a beer to start while connecting to the fast wifi.
To quote the legendary Hometoyyz (Where are you, we miss you!) I puttered around for a while and watched the planes come and go.
The beer was pretty good and there were 2 draught choices - Guinness and Canadian.
After a while I headed to the back of the lounge and to the dining area.
Note in the image above I am sat right at the back of the lounge against the wall - This is the complete size of the lounge.
There are 5 or 6 I think tables along the back wall for dining that seat only 2 people.
Infront of that is the long desk you can see which can accomodate 8-10 people each side. It's quite long, but I didn't see any power ports there.
In front of that is a wall and the seating area. This area is quite small. There are about 6 seats facing out of the window then a row of 6 more seats that have side tables and privacy screens and then 6 rows of 3 armchairs each. These did have charging ports.
Overall though with the A350 having 56 Business Class seats there is not much in the way of spare capacity.
In a delay situation where you have passengers from the 10:15pm departure also in the lounge its going to be standing room only.
Seating Area by the windows:
I decided it was time for a snack before boarding. I would be forgoing breakfast in order to sleep so I wanted to be sure not to go hungry.
Food choices were not bad. Was quite pleased to see some Roast Beef, Yorkshire and gravy!
Other hot options, including Pizza and Soup
No prizes for guessing what I ended up with!
After that, and another couple of beers I spent some more time online and messaging various people it was time to start thinking about making a move to the gate.
First it was time to visit the washroom………..
The first class area was closed off and appeared to still be having work done on it.
Washrooms were large and decent. Very clean.
No urinals here, all the toilets were in their own small cubicles complete with mirror and sink.
Lounge visit complete, it was time to head to C33 as the excitement level built. I couldn't wait to get on board and see what the brand new Club Suite cabin looked like in the flesh. This would of course also be my first A350-1000 flight.
Quick check of the FIDS before we go
There is no denying the A350-1000 is a gorgeous airplane.
Airline: British Airways
Flight Number: BA92 (BAW5CA)
Departure: Toronto Pearson YYZ
Scheduled Departure Time: 1820
Actual Departure Time: 1814
Arrival: London Heathrow LHR
Scheduled Arrival Time: 0625
Actual Arrival Time: 0621
Flight Time: 7:07
Travel Date: Saturday November 23rd 2019
Aircraft: Airbus A350-1000
I arrived at Gate C33 just around 1730 with a boarding time of 1740. There were already line ups at the various marked Group boarding zones.
Almost immediately passengers requiring assistance or extra time were called to board.
Shortly after Group 1 was called and then almost immediately after Group 2 where Business Class passengers find themselves. Boarding had actually started a little early and by 1735 I was on the aircraft.
My anticipation had reached fever pitch by this point. I was only moments away from stepping onto that gorgeous A350-1000 and into a whole new British Airways.
Now BA gets a fair amount of flak and most of it is justified. I think a lot of people like to pile on too and frankly bashing BA has become a bit of a sport for some. BA is nowhere near as bad as some extremes make them out to be, but they are by no means perfect, or really even great anymore.
I feel fondly of BA, but that's borne almost exclusively out of nostalgia. As a Brit born in the mid 70s I remember what a great, iconic monument to Britain BA used to be. For a time it really was "The World's Favourite Airline". Sadly its done little in recent years to measure up to anything that anyone would call great as its been left in the dust of bigger, bolder and more visionary pioneers.
There are however signs that the tide may be turning as BA have invested in a revamped soft product in Club and now a brand new (and long overdue) hard product. I couldn't wait to see how this was going to shape up after having now flown with some of the World's leading airlines.
Down the jetway to the L2 door I went and was warmly greeted by a lovely young lady - clearly this route is a Mixed Fleet crew route and was instructed to turn left to 4A.
Quite honestly the first impression when you step into the Club Suite cabin is……………….
Wow! Is this really BA?
Hold on, did I just set foot in a Qatar Airways aircraft?
This is absolutely beautiful………………….This can't possibly be tired old BA.
The cabin is stunning. You could hear other passengers almost gasping as they boarded, the comments and the vibe was overwhelmingly wow, this is incredible.
The colour palette is classy and understated.
The bulkhead looked amazing with a white honeycomb style mural and simply stunning large chrome BA speedmarque in the center.
It looks magnificent.
The Suites though are the star of the show. First glance they just look so modern, fresh and full of class.
This really is a cabin that would not look out of place on the very best airline's in the World.
Again you almost have to pinch yourself to remember that this is BA.
Lets take a look at some more shots around this sensational cabin shall we?
Some mood lighting
Taken after landing………..
Night time mood lighting
Lets take a quick look at how BA have configured their A350-1000s………………
Image: copyright SeatGuru
So there are a total of 56 Club World seats split over 2 cabins.
The seats are in a 1-2-1 direct aisle access configuration.
There are 11 rows in a huge forward cabin between Doors 1 and 2 and a smaller 3 row cabin behind the 2nd door infront of the World Traveler Plus cabin.
There are a total of 56 World Traveler Plus seats in a 2-4-2 layout and 219 in World Traveler in a comfy 3-3-3 layout making a total of 331 seats in this A350-1000.
The A350-1000 itself is 242ft long and has a wingspan of 212ft. It is powered by a pair of Rolls Royce Trent XWB-97 engines which generate an impressive 97,000lbs of thrust.
BA have 18 A350-1000s on order and have recieved 3 so far. One can only hope they order more to replace the rather elderly 777s that make up much of their long haul fleet.
Time now to take a longer look at this seat, or should I say Suite……………
The view when seated. The privacy is fabulous.
Upon reaching 4A I found a bag with bedding and a pillow waiting on my seat. This is 4E which remained empty to give you an idea of how the seat looks. I was under a bit more duress than I would like on boarding as several people were behind me waiting for me to get out of the aisle so my photography time was cut short.
This was the best view I could manage of my actual seat as I arrived with its White company bedding.
Loads and loads of room. The foot area in these Suites is by far the biggest I have seen in any reverse herringbone type product.
The seat has fairly standard reverse herringbone features commonly found on most other comparable products…………
One thing regular BA fliers will love over the current Club World seat is the massive increase in storage………..
Forgive me, I had to use these next 2 shots from my return flight (Spoiler alert I was in 4K!) as the originals were too blurry and unusable.
But you can see the typical double storage compartments. The first one was nice and deep, the smaller one was a bit shallower but still allowed ample storage room………….
Especially coupled with this…………..
On the side of the Suite is a small cubby that also houses a literature pocket and also features a mirror on the door inside. A nice feature is that all the storage features closing doors so that you don't have to worry about anything slipping and falling while you sleep.
The storage on this seat compared to the old BA one is light years of difference. Nice job BA!
Continuing the storage tour, there is even more space down in the foot area, where the safety card is located and there is room for a water bottle to be stored. This storage can be accessed even when the bed is fully flat.
As one would hope and expect from an aircraft delivered in 2019 it comes with complete with a standard universal power port and USB charging port.
Notice the ground crew in YYZ didn't do a great job with the cleaning service!
At the back of the same large compartment is a headphone socket and another USB charging port.
Just above the armrest and located perfectly to avoid unintentional bumps with hands and elbows is a seat control panel. This is a touchscreen where you can move various parts of the seat and comes with three tactile preset buttons. More on this later!
A little overview of the side of the seat, with storage bins, armrest and seat control panel. The finishes are beautiful.
Continuing around the shell we have a very standard reading light with 3 brightness settings.
Also note the fabric lining of the seat shell.
As we move around on the other side of the Suite is the much talked about door.
The doors are locked on boarding and must be open for take off and landing. The crew ask you to keep the door open during service but can still serve you over the top of the door even if you keep it closed.
I'll have more thoughts on the door once we are in the cruise.
Back around to the front of the Suite now and an absolutely huge widescreen monitor sits in front of you.
Full gate to gate entertainment is now possible. no more storing the screen for take off and landing.
The screen is massive and like everything else on this aircraft is just beautiful. It so crisp and responsive. My pictures will not do justice to just how amazingly sharp and high definition the images on this screen are. watching movies on this is a joy.
Lets move on to the table, and BA hasn't skimped here either……………
Here is the table fully stowed. To release there is a latch handle underneath it. Pull this and the table starts to slide out
And cleverly the table has 3 positions allowing you a ton of flexibility with how you want to use it. So from fully stowed, the first stop on the rail is this sort of halfway position. This position is great as it allows you full access in and out of the seat.
And here is the table fully deployed and still folded in half
And here it is fully deployed and fully unfolded. Perfect for meal service but in this position you won't be getting in and out of your seat unless you have the body shape of a supermodel.
The seat shell. that little "thingy" on the back of the shell infront at the top there might well be a coat hook. to be honest I didn't notice at the time. Frankly I was in such a state of awe it was difficult to keep my jaw off the floor.
Sadly no air vents, but reading lights.
Overhead bag bins were gigantic, you could have fit 3 or 4 full size rollaboards in one bin as they would easily fit in bottom first without having to be turned lengthways. There were overhead bins above the center rows, although the cabin still felt plenty large, open and spacious.
As you can see when sat there is complete privacy. No the walls are not high enough to prevent you being seen by anyone walking in the aisle but is that really necessary? I know the bloggers love to be completely isolated from all of humanity but I think this was an ideal compromise. The most important thing is that once you are in bed mode, you feel completely shielded and shut off with the door closed.
BA provides a handy guide to get the most out of your Suite experience
Judging by the comments I could hear I wasn't the only one impressed with what I'd walked into.
You know the old joke about all the fighting in ice hockey (or just hockey to us Cancuks) 'I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out' well this was a bit of a case of 'I went to a BA flight and a Qatar Airways flight broke out'.
Whether it was a case of low expectations but I've genuinely never heard so many people be wowed at the seat and cabin of an aircraft.
The crew were also delighted and proud of their new aircraft. I think its fair to say that its generating rave reviews so far……….
After getting settled in and trying to gather my thoughts the crew member who would be serving this aisle came by and sadly I didn't get her name as I could never get a good look at her name badge.
I was offered a pre-departure drink of water and errrrrrr fizzy grape juice. Unsurprisingly the fizzy grape juice won out, although it wasn't the most generous pour ever (the drinks came pre-poured)
A short time later amenity kits were handed out. More on that later.
Next it was menus and breakfast cards. Again stay tuned for them.
I made note that the crew were kind, friendly and engaging. One thing I've always found consistent with BA is the crew. Maybe the rest of the World don't really get our Britishness but I can honestly say I've never had a bad BA crew in 20+ years of flying with them.
I think a lot of the famous bloggers like to be sycophantically fawned over but that's never going to be the British way. Perhaps we are just a strange breed of people. Anyway I always feel at home on BA and its always possible to enjoy a joke and some banter with the crew.
Fizzy Grape Juices and Still Grape Juices
I went with the Chicken Tikka for main with the soup to start and I skipped dessert in order to get to my cup of tea and then bed more quickly.
For breakfast my plan was to sleep and then tuck into a cholesterol inducing full English breakfast in the arrivals lounge, so I just chose the wake me up beverage. Can't arrive in London without a good cup of tea in the system!
We managed to push off the gate a little early at 1814.
Looking after us today would be Capt. Brian Connolly and Cabin Service Manager Shannon. Interestingly I noticed that both this flight and my return flight had 2 Captains up front. I suspect they are line training captains as the fleet expands. BA already has 3 A350's flying and a fourth will be online soon just as soon as Airbus repair the damage after they whacked it in a paint hangar in Toulouse! XWBD should be fixed up and flying soon into the new year.
BA will be flying the A350 to YYZ of course, Dubai, Tel Aviv and Bangalore. Currently the A350s have not been assigned to the Summer schedules however they should be staying on those routes.
If you want to experience the A350 to YYZ like I did you must make sure you book on BA92/BA93. BA have 2 daily rotations from LHR to YYZ and only this rotation has the A350. The BA98/BA99 are a mix of 777 and 787 - And frankly you don't want to end up on that when for the same price you can fly on the A350 which is a massively superior product in every way.
We taxied out to Runway 24R where we had a short wait for a couple of arrivals.
We lined up and took off right on time at 1830.
The A350 is a remarkably quiet aircraft at all times, even during take off. It's also a powerful beast and departing out of YYZ tonight on a shortish flight was no effort at all. It was a nice, clear night and after a series of left turns we were passing abeam the Toronto downtown with great views of the city, the CN Tower and Billy Bishop airport.
Seatbelt signs were turned off at 10,000ft.
The lady 3A infront of me went straight off to sleep.
I reclined to the lounge position and popped my headphones on. A quick glance through the IFE quickly brought me to my movie choice for the night - Toy Story 4!
One thing to note here and not sure if this is common to this aircraft or was just peculiar to my seat or headphones but when I plugged my headphones in and then plugged my phone in to the power port to charge I had an awful high pitched noise in my ears.
Took me a few minutes to figure out it was the charging that caused it. Unplugging my phone made it stop immeditely. So might just have been the headphones but something to watch for perhaps.
At around 1850, 20 mins after take off hot towels were handed out. Again here is a chance for BA to be a touch more premium and hand them out on little trays. In this case though its simply a pair of tongs to deposit the towel into your hands.
In fairness to BA though it looks like these hot towels might be slightly thicker and better than ones I've seen fro mother Club world flights that have frankly looked very sad and pathetic.
Water bottles were then handed out, sadly my shot is rather blurry. I hope this doesn't damage your eyes
Around 1915 YYZ time, around 45 mins after departure dinner and drinks orders were taken.
I had been looking forward to trying the Speedbird 100 IPA beer, so I took one of them and ordered a glass of French sauvignon grape juice to have with dinner.
At 1934, just over an hour after we had been wheels up the beer appeared, served on a nice tray with some nuts
The Amenity Kit was presented in a small black pouch with White Company branding.
Contents were the usual items. socks, eyemask, earplugs, various creams and lotions and toothbrush. One item that BA includes that is really handy is a pen. Overall this amenity kit was OK. Nothing ground breaking by any means, the pouch itself is not bad.
At around 1950, an hour and 20 mins after departure dinner was served. For my starter I had chosen the soup.
Proved to be a good choice. The soup was delicious.
A warm roll was offered from the breadbasket and was delightful.
The salad was a touch dry and I would have preferred different dressing options than just the supplied olive oil.
At 2013 my main course was delivered, the chicken tikka
And of course a delightful French Sauvignon
This course was both filling and absolutely superb. The meat was tender and cooked perfectly. The chicken chunks falling apart and the tikka masala sauce flavoured it beautifully. This was a great dish, I was very happy to have chosen it.
By this time it was 2024 YYZ time and there was only 4:35 left of the flight. We were cruising over St.Pierre and Miquelon.
We were all the way up at FL390 for our Oceanic cruise.
At 2034 dinner items were cleared away and I turned down dessert and asked for a cup of tea.
At 2041 tea was served as I finished up my movie.
Headphones on boarding. Wrapped in a plastic bag.
And unwrapped. These headphones were decent. Noise cancelling seemed to be fine but the A350 is so quiet anyway it was honestly difficult to tell.
Onto the IFE screen itself.
First things first though a huge boo and hiss to BA for not equipping their A350's with tail cameras. Would have looked incredible on that great screen. Grrrrrrr!
Toy Story 4……………Excellent!
BA has always had a pretty well regarded IFE selection. Lots of British TV if that's your thing as well as a large selection of movies and International TV. The problem with BA's IFE has never really been the selection but the ancient and antiquated screens people have had to watch the content on.
The moving map was fabulous. Latest generation of course. You could move it with your fingers, zoom, turn and do all sorts with it. Very uder friendly and instantly responsive. Also loved that you could chose to display units in Imperial or Metric.
By now it was 2050 YYZ time, almost 3 hours after we had departed and I wanted to hunker down and get as much sleep as I could. We were now only 4 hours and 20 mins from LHR and with facing being woken 50 minutes prior to landing there was only a little over 3 hours flight left to get some rest.
And therein lies the problem with Eastbound Trans-Atlantic redeyes. They are invariably short flights so its difficult to get a good rest even in the best circumstances. I could have forgone the meal service entirely of course or taken the express option but while I wanted to sleep I also wanted to enjoy the BA Club Suite experience.
Just a couple of things that would really take BA over the top would be a turn down service and slippers and pyjamas in Club World. I recognise that not many airlines now offer PJ's in J, but at the very least slippers would have been nice. Also the turn down service is a highlight of some of the World's best. Its not a huge deal of course to make up your own bed and given the A350 has a whopping 56 seats in its Club cabin its probably not realistic.
Seat control panel. From this screen its possible to control each segment of your seat and also the lighting.
Recline mode, tons of space, and a spacious and wide footwell
Seat in the recline position
The Suite with the door closed from reclined position
From bed position
From seated position
I have to admit I absolutely loved the door.
When reclining into bed mode, just being able to shut the cabin out was really nice. No need to worry about light coming into the suite from TV screens or people's devices. I don't like wearing sleep masks so the door meant I didn't need to and it really made me feel cosy in my own little World. I didn't find it cramped or claustrophobic whatsoever. I realise this will be a YMMV thing though.
I was absolutely stunned by the bed. I had not expected it to be as comfortable as it was.
What I loved more than anything though was the sheer room and space you have when you are laid flat. I tend to sleep on my front and side so I spread out a lot when I sleep. Usually this means I'm quite constricted in reverse herringbone setups, but not here. I had tons of room for my knees and my feet never came close to touching the ends of the footwell, which is also really wide. your feet never feel pinned into a tiny space.
The bed is over 6ft long fully extended and is one of the best bed's I have yet seen in the sky.
The White Company bedding was plush and delightful.
First is a provided mattress topper. It's very small and doesn't fit the whole bed though. It does cover the top half of your seat.
There is a thin blanket which I laid over the mattress topper which covers the length of the seat.
Finally is a plush and large comforter or quilt as we would call them in Britain. This was large and very easy to wrap yourself cosily in.
Bed ready, just need to lay it flat, get in and fall asleep!
I woke after 3 hours of on/off sleep. Not the fault of the bed at all but rather some passengers a few rows behind who felt it was OK to have a loud and lengthy conversation during the flight. Clearly oblivious to the masses of people around them trying to sleep.
The A350 is so quiet, it was unfortunately possible to hear every word.
It was time to visit the washroom.
BA have 3 washrooms dedicated to the Business cabin. One at the front of the cabin and 2 between the main and mini business cabins.
White Company branded toiletries
Darkened Club World cabin at night
In between the Club cabins is what BA calls the Club Kitchen. Unfortunately by the time I ventured back here we were close to London and most of the items had been packed away for landing. Here though you can help yourself to snacks and drinks during the flight.
As we began our descent into London I stuffed my bedding into the footwell. You can see here though the large amount of space.
I had my morning cup of tea which came exactly 50 minutes prior to landing. It was a nice, refreshing way to wake up and I was glad I wasn't woken and forced to have breakfast. I really wasn't hungry only a few hours after dinner.
We approached London over South Wales, overflying Cardiff and heading for the Ockham hold for the South West of Heathrow's 4 holding fixes.
Interestingly we then turned left and proceeded to Bovingdon to hold, which is the North West holding fix.
These are known as "Stack Swaps" and there are specific STARs that ATC can assign to move aircraft between the various holds due to congestion.
It can be especially problematic with arrivals from the North Atlantic because of the track system. You can find that many aircraft get filtered towards one hold while the other remains fairly empty. To balance this out and alleviate excessive holding at one fix ATC can tactically assign stack swaps. These STARs cannot be used for flightplanning, they can only be issued by ATC.
We made a single spin at Bovingdon before coming out of the hold to make an approach on Westerly operations. It would be 27R this morning.
Seatbelts on the A350-1000 come with a shoulder harness that must be fastened only for take off and landing.
Using the map to zoom in our approach over North London. You can make out Heathrow just to the right of where it says "Slough" (Pronounced Sl-ow. Ryhming with Ow! That hurt or Cow)
It was a pretty grim morning in London, with a dreary low overcast and drizzly rain. Infact this would later develop into full blown fog and low visibility which hindered my spotting and photography later in the morning.
Sadly this meant almost nothing of London was visible on the approach. The approach to the 27s at London is always beautiful as you overfly the great city and get an amazing view of the landmarks along the Thames.
Not to be this morning though.
We broke out of the cloud base only a couple of hundred feet above ground right as we passed the BA hangars on the East side of LHR.
We made a rather bumpy landing on 27R and then made our way to Terminal 5. Landing was ahead of schedule at 0609 local time.
We made our way to the C Gates where we had an unfortunate wait for our gate to be ready.
After 7 or 8 minutes or so however we pulled onto our Gate which would be 557.
Sadly the flight was over. It had been a simply wonderful ride in a fantastic new product.
In so many ways it was difficult to believe that this whole experience had been British Airways. Perhaps Mr Cruz has realised that you can only cut so far and if you want to deliver a premium experience with a premium price then you need to be competitive.
Perhaps BA really have turned a corner at long last?
A final look at the beautiful BA A350 cabin
I love that BA have an Arrivals Lounge which is geared to those short East Coast Trans Atlantic flights. It allows travellers to freshen up and eat before continuing their day, allowing for better use of the time in the air to sleep.
The lounge is located in Terminal 5 at the A Gates main building and is landside - after immigration, baggage claim and customs.
It's at the South end of T4 you find the orange elevators and go up one level.
The lounge is open from 0500-1400 and offers a full cooked breakfast until 1230.
I arrived and was one of the first few to enter the lounge. I was scanned in and grabbed a seat near the breakfast area.
Time for a nice English breakfast!
This really hit the spot, perfect after an overnight flight.
After I let that go down and let my buddy know that I had arrived, I headed for the showers to freshen up.
There are an absolute ton of shower units in this lounge in their own dedicated area at the back. Even at 0700, prime arrivals hours I had no wait at all for a shower. By now the lounge had filled up, although there seemed plenty of space. The lounge looks small at first glance but its actually much larger once inside.
An array of shower and bathroom units
Once inside the unit was compact but had everything you could need
The shower was quite roomy and the pressure was excellent
I had a fantastic shower that left me feeling awake and ready to tackle a long day of photography at LHR!
The shower was easy to operate and the wall mounted instructions were a nice touch rather than leaving you to figure it all out for yourself
All done, heading back to the main part of the lounge
This BA adventure ends……Off down the escalator to meet my buddy and the start of our trip.
The BA Arrivals Lounge is a really nice facility. It does exactly what it sets out to do. The staff were all helpful, the food was very tasty and the shower was a wonderful boost after a night of flying.
BA have absolutely smashed it out of the park with Club Suites.
This product is totally unrecognisable as British Airways. Everything about the experience screams premium and quality. The new Club World would give Qatar, Singapore and Emirates a run for their money - Infact I'd even go so far as to say that this product is better than Emirates Business Class.
The cabin is absolutely stunning. It looks pure class. Its clean, understated and superbly elegant. A harking back to the glory days perhaps of BA.
The seat is a complete triumph. Hard to find fault with anything BA have done with this seat.
Its very comfortable in all positions and I think its class leading in terms of room and space in the bed position for any reverse herringbone product.
The door people may find gimmicky but I thought it was a great touch. In the bed position it makes a huge difference being able to block out light and sound and provides a feeling of being in a completely private cocoon.
The TV screen is so sharp you can almost cut yourself on it. The display is gorgeous and very responsive. The table functionality is awesome, and the storage in this seat is finally something to write home about.
The hard product is simply superb in every way.
The difference between Club Suites and the old Club World is so vast its not even fair to compare them.
In terms of soft product. The bedding is incredibly comfortable and cosy. The pillow was thick and plump. The mattress topper provided a soft padding and the comforter was the kind you could just wrap yourself in and fall into a blissful sleep.
Food was a surprising treat. A good range of options and choices and well executed dishes.
The crew asked each passenger if they wanted the express or full dinner service and also the breakfast cards allowed the option to maximise sleep.
The service was charming and friendly. Drink top ups were offered and the crew were working hard with a mostly full cabin. The only slight drawback with the full service is that on a short flight (only 6 and a half hours actually in the air) it took almost 2 and a half hours to complete everything and get bedded down for the night. This only left about 3 hours to sleep.
In short I would absolutely go out of my way to fly this again. I'm hoping with all my might that BA keeps the A350 on the YYZ route into next Summer and beyond.
Congratulations BA you really have delivered something quite extraordinary.