Review of British Airways flight San Francisco London in First

Airline British Airways
Flight BA284
Class First
Seat 3A
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 09:45
Take-off 03 Oct 19, 20:15
Arrival at 04 Oct 19, 14:00
BA   #68 out of 115 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 803 reviews
Rewardflying
By GOLD 1591
Published on 30th March 2020
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After the experience flying British Airways 787-9 in first class back in the spring, I was anxious to fly the A380. Would it compare, exceed, disappoint? Unfortunately the latter. But 2 fantastic lounge experiences made up for any disappointment.

British Airways is located in Terminal One of San Francisco’s International Airport. I arrived early from my United flight in from Chicago.  


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Boarding pass in hand I headed to the British Airways lounge. After admittance you take an elevator down to the ground floor where both First and Business Class lounges are. Well the lounge is really a single lounge with a First Class dining room at the back of the lounge. 


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The lounge is narrow and long. When I arrived it was packed waiting for the early 747 flight to depart. After it emptied the lounge was packed again before the A380 flight to London. 


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This is looking back at the elevator that brings you down from departure level. The line is to board the 747 flight which boards from the lounge. 


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Not bad for a view!


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Still not bad after she left.   


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In the back is the First Class dining room. Interesting decor, or lack of it. Eerily quiet. An hour before the flight about half the tables were filled. 



A decent selection of wines and champagnes.   



But this was the show topper. And I was told by the dining room manager it had just arrived in limited quantities this very day. 


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I enjoyed much of that bottle! 


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.


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The BA First Class dining menu is very limited. That probably didn’t matter to me as the first selection stood out. There was no other choice for me.


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And it was an awesome choice. Beautifully presented.   


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.


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Off to the gate where some great aircraft views were taken.  



Boarding was a disaster. While British Airways had the signs to designate boarding groups, they weren’t employed. It was every man, woman and child for themselves to get on the airplane. Sure I had First Class but when I see this happen, people pushing people to get on the plane, I always say to myself, “We all get there at the same time.”


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First view of the A380 cabin after entering from the second door.   


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A view of the crew rest area behind the cockpit. And the grand A380 staircase that no airline uses. 


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Enter text here…


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More Cabin.


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In the first cabin (not sure if exclusive) are electronic dual window shades.


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With First Class on the main floor, the lavatories aren’t very big.   


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The BA First Class seat looks to be about as wide as a Business Class seat.   


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But with much more leg room. Like the 787, the A380 pod reminds you of a large reverse herringbone pod.   


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This contraption is your control panel for seat, lights, etc.   


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Sufficient power supply was located in a deep storage bin.  


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Underneath the ottoman was a perfect place for a computer bag, unfortunately it was banished to the overhead bin for takeoff and landing. Strapped in was a blanket and headphones, in lieu of a dinner mate.   


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Each pod has its own closet which opens out to the aisle, making is fairly roomy.   


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Headphones which I didn’t try as I found nothing of interest to watch on the old analog monitors in these seats.   


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Amenity kit and black PJ’s. The top is like a t-shirt. Not my favorite airline sleep suit, but not the worst either.   


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Now we enter the First Class phase of the flight. Good selection.   


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Tony was my FA. He was well intentioned but not very polished at all. After departure, in time, an Oshibori and nuts were presented. 


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The full beverage menu.   


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The First Class food menu. (Note the snack selections.)  


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The red wine from Bordeaux France was good. If price matters you can get this for about $40-$50 so it’s not the best French wine I’ve had on the plane. But the Caymus made up for it.    


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Regardless of Tony’s polish, he knows how to pour a glass of wine!  


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I started with the beef terrine. I’m not sure the vegetables were pickled or just raw. In any case this wasn’t my favorite. And there was no amuse bouche or canapés on this flight.   


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But I was allowed a second appetizer so I selected the fried polenta. It would be the highlight.   


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Service was fairly slow. The map shows roughly 2 hours out of SFO, maybe a little less. But not a worry here.   


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For an odd reason, one that I’m still not sure why, I ordered the pork chop. And I got what I deserved.   


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The grilled vegetable bundle was cold and limp.   


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The chocolate mille-feuille didn’t make up for the loses either.    


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The IFE often had resolution issues, with the airshow and some content I was flipping through.   


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Bedding was excellent. Turndown service and I got probably 4 hours of good sleep.   


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For breakfast I chose the quiche. Certainly breakfast was the winner on this flight.   


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Descending to Heathrow.   


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Heathrow has to be one of the best, if not best, #avgeek plane-spotting.  


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Visit rewardflying for a comparison ranking versus other first flights. http://www.rewardflying.com/report-blog/2020/3/8/british-airways-a380-first-class-sfo-lhr

See more

Verdict

British Airways

5.8/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew6.0
Entertainment/wifi4.5
Meal/catering6.0

British Airways Terrace Lounge

8.0/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.0

San Francisco - SFO

7.5/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness7.5

London - LHR

6.4/10
Efficiency6.0
Access6.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

The cabin is spacious, although high density for a lower deck A380. Seats are decent, oversized business class seats that work. The bed is very comfortable with White & Co. bedding.

Food/Amenities: Highlights were the Laurent-Perrier Grant Siècle champagne. The wine offerings were good, but not necessarily First Class compared to other carriers. I however was content. The food on this flight was subpar to my liking. Of course it could easily have been my choices.

IFE: Poor marks for the IFE. The monitor is definitely business class or worse as these are outdated technology.

Flight Attendants: Tony was my primary FA. I don’t have any complaints. Yes service was slow but he got the job done. But there wasn’t anything to give extra points for on this flight

Aircraft: I will never complain about flying on an A380 if First Class!

Information on the route San Francisco (SFO) London (LHR)

4 Comments

  • Comment 548972 by
    Razza_Pr 216 Comments

    Hello, Rewardflying! Thank you for this Flight-Report.

    Would it compare, exceed, disappoint? Unfortunately the later.

    BA stands for Barely Achieving, didn't you know? ;). Also, quick typo fix on that last word in the quoted sentence :D

    So you've experienced quite a range of A380 Fs. Who among them do you think has the best (and worst) seats/suites?

    Thanks again for this FR. Happy quarantine!

    • Comment 549803 by
      Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 494 Comments

      Hi Razza_PR, good to hear from you. Thanks for the typo note, I'm sure there are others! Thank God for spell check tho! Barely Acheiving. I like that.

      So here is my opinion on A380 FC seats with a rating and disclaimers
      9 - Etihad Apartment: Based on size and privacey. The seat itself isn't comforable and the bed is narrow and hard. IFE awesome.
      8 - Singapore Old Suite: Seat is comfortable as is bed. IFE is only negative as newer technology is far superior.
      8 - Lufthansa: For wahterver reason I love LH First Class seats in any aircraft. IFE is a little small.
      8 - Asiana: While no longer available, this suite was awesome. It had everything including a brilliant huge IFE monitor.
      7.5 - Qatar: The suite was actually very nice. Not as private but comfortable and good IFE
      7.5 - Emirates. The seat was small and the bling was overwhelming. Plus the footrest broke my luggage. 7.5 is generous.
      7: Qantas: The seat itself was nice, it was the monitor that was horrible, and storage was an issue.
      7: British Airways
      6.5: Singapore New Suite: I sat in 1A (others may be better). Whoever designed this suite was an idiot. There are so many flaws I don't know where to begin.
      6: Thai. I think this is a stock F class seat that others fly like CA in F. This was awhile ago and I might rate differently. The whole flight experience wasn't my favorite.

      I have ANA planned in May, that won't happen. Looking at Korean Air for next year but hate to book with their instability. China Southern boycotting anything that has China in it. Air France, not interested and the A380 may be gone anyway. Malaysia no more F. Had another QF booked (refreshed seat) but that has already been cancelled. Sad the A380 is dwindling.

  • Comment 549717 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5319 Comments

    I think your report perfectly sums up how many people feel about BA First. Decent wine list, ok hard product but in dense configuration for F, good Concorde lounge experience in LHR, and ok catering. With the new BA Club Suites as good or better a hard product than First, BA really need to step up differentiating F from J. They had recently announced bringing the canapé service back in F, so I'm disappointed they left that out on this flight...a 10h flight with plenty of time for additional service at that. The lack of caviar service also cheapens the BA F product. Nevertheless, as you say, it is still First class and still an overall enjoyable product. I will say that BA F is among the most accessible with miles or cash out there.

    Thanks for sharing Mark and I hope you're weathering this unprecedented grounding period well!

    • Comment 549804 by
      Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 494 Comments

      Hi Kévin. I flew the new Club Suites on their A350 (report coming) and it was a great experience. The 777 that are being converted and new 787-10 F class really won't have much of a differentiation from J unless they do step up their catering and wines. I will say the Concorde Roon dining is one of the best I've experienced. In fact publishing that right now! Stay safe!

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