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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.
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.
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.
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.
Not bad for a view!
Still not bad after she left.
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.
I enjoyed much of that bottle!
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.
And it was an awesome choice. Beautifully presented.
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.”
First view of the A380 cabin after entering from the second door.
A view of the crew rest area behind the cockpit. And the grand A380 staircase that no airline uses.
Enter text here…
In the first cabin (not sure if exclusive) are electronic dual window shades.
With First Class on the main floor, the lavatories aren’t very big.
The BA First Class seat looks to be about as wide as a Business Class seat.
But with much more leg room. Like the 787, the A380 pod reminds you of a large reverse herringbone pod.
This contraption is your control panel for seat, lights, etc.
Sufficient power supply was located in a deep storage bin.
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.
Each pod has its own closet which opens out to the aisle, making is fairly roomy.
Headphones which I didn’t try as I found nothing of interest to watch on the old analog monitors in these seats.
Amenity kit and black PJ’s. The top is like a t-shirt. Not my favorite airline sleep suit, but not the worst either.
Now we enter the First Class phase of the flight. Good selection.
Tony was my FA. He was well intentioned but not very polished at all. After departure, in time, an Oshibori and nuts were presented.
The full beverage menu.
The First Class food menu. (Note the snack selections.)
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.
Regardless of Tony’s polish, he knows how to pour a glass of wine!
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.
But I was allowed a second appetizer so I selected the fried polenta. It would be the highlight.
Service was fairly slow. The map shows roughly 2 hours out of SFO, maybe a little less. But not a worry here.
For an odd reason, one that I’m still not sure why, I ordered the pork chop. And I got what I deserved.
The grilled vegetable bundle was cold and limp.
The chocolate mille-feuille didn’t make up for the loses either.
The IFE often had resolution issues, with the airshow and some content I was flipping through.
Bedding was excellent. Turndown service and I got probably 4 hours of good sleep.
For breakfast I chose the quiche. Certainly breakfast was the winner on this flight.
Descending to Heathrow.
Heathrow has to be one of the best, if not best, #avgeek plane-spotting.
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
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!