As we are all pretty much grounded nowadays due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (and because I've only joined Flight-Report very recently), I decided to post a few reports from my old trips. I am going to do that over several subsequent weeks. I hope you'll enjoy them even though some of the reports will be from a good few years ago. Apologies in advance if you feel the FR is too outdated or it is missing a few details. I'll try to make it best as I can!
Today, I am here with a report of an intra-European flight from British Airways in Euro Traveller on their A320. As the flight was on the 23rd December, just before Christmas, I was really curious how BA, Heathrow and Warsaw would deal with the higher load of passengers. Needless to say, I also expected some "Christmas touches" throughout the journey. The flight was booked via BA mobile app, which I find really good quality (although some features, like seat reservation work quite slowly).
Some flight details:
Flight number: BA846
Route: London Heathrow (T5) - Warsaw Chopin
Flight date: 23rd December 2019
Scheduled flight time: 2:25 (0825-1150)
Aircraft model: Airbus A320 (Sharklets)
Aircraft registration: G-EUYW
Seating configuration: CY180 (Pinnacle seats throughout, SpaceFlex)
Aircraft age (at the time of flight): 5.5 years
Seat number: 26F
Departure gate: A3 (jet bridge)
Arrival gate: 20N (jet bridge)
Thank you for joining me!
I am starting my journey in Bristol, where you can already feel Christmassy atmosphere here and there with Christmas lights being lit up and Christmas markets taking place.
This is the famous St. Nicholas market in Bristol. Trust me, the cakes were amazing!
Lit up Broadmead.
I travelled to Heathrow the evening before the flight, as my departure was in the morning and I didn't want to get stuck in a huge traffic jam a day before Christmas… I stayed at a cosy hotel Thistle Heathrow T5 which is a good value for money and has a lovely view over the runway from the restaurant. It is also the only hotel at Heathrow which is connected to the airport with the Heathrow pods (although I didn't use them) - you can also take a free bus to the terminal which goes quite often and the journey takes 10-15 mins.
Quite a lot of luggage, as you can see ;) Approx. 45 kgs altogether, I really appreciate generous luggage allowance in Economy plus fare: 23 kgs in check in bag, 23 kgs in wheelie cabin bag, 23 kgs in the small cabin bag!
My flight, BA846 was originally scheduled for A321 so I chose seat 26F to have a great window view and an acceptable legroom. However, less than 1 day before, already after I checked in, the aircraft was switched to A320 but I wasn't able to change my seat… so I ended up being stuck at the very back of the airplane.
Screenshot from the very nice & functional BA app.
And my apple wallet boarding pass for this flight.
I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 quite early this morning, at around 0630 as I was afraid of long queues everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth! Even though I was travelling just before Christmas and there were quite a few departures from Terminal 5 in the morning, I didn't experience any queues or congestions (neither at check in, security, cafes or at the gate). Also, I think, the Christmas decorations add a nice zing to Heathrow's interior. Once I cleared security, I made my way to the central Pret A Manger, to grab myself a sandwich and something to drink, as I usually do. Terminal 5 at LHR has really become one of my favourite airports now, with lots of eateries, shops, places to sit. It's also very clean, including the toilets (I also love how they play Christmas music there).
Although you can see a little queue to Euro Traveller check in (Zone B), I didn't wait more than 3 minutes for an empty counter, which is much more than acceptable!
Only two days away!!! :D
Euro Traveller passengers can now pretty much only use self bag check in, although there are a few agents milling around and giving assistance, should you need that. I sent both my luggage pieces to hold and left myself with backpack only. Interestingly, as my hand luggage was so heavy (15 kgs or so), the agent needed to come and check if that's really hand luggage of proper size, as the system didn't want to let me through. I only had some books there ;)
Heathrow's T5 is full of shops, both the cheaper and the more expensive ones (like the one behind). One thing that really deserves being said is that is absolutely impeccably clean throughout the terminal: from the entrance, to the jet bridge.
This is a screenshot from the amazing Heathrow mobile app. My flight today departs from gate A3, in the Northern part of T5A, which is (in my opinion) a poorer part of Terminal 5 with cheaper shops and cafes. Flights to Warsaw mostly depart from this part of the Terminal, as I elucidated in my previous report of BA.
Boarding started quite early, 30 mins prior to departure but it wasn't a surprise as they had a nearly full plane with only 2 or 3 seats empty in Euro Traveller cabin. As the flight was full (which is usual for Warsaw), they had made an announcement before the boarding commenced that they advise passengers to leave some hand luggage to hold so as not to cause a delay, I appreciate their effort but passengers didn't really want to leave their bags… I already left my very heavy wheelie cabin bag at check in.
Once the boarding commenced all priorities were respected and everything worked like a clockwork, I have to say, judging how full the airplane was! Unfortunately, we had lots of bags to load this morning as well, so once the boarding was completed, we still needed to wait for 10-15 mins for all cargo to be loaded. This resulted in that we lost a slot, a late departure (and arrival 15 mins late). But to be fair I expected more delay in the Christmas time :)
On board I was welcomed by smiling crew (something I always expect from British Airways), and a female (!) pilot who made an announcement about a little departure delay. I made my way to the seat 26F. Unfortunately there was no more space in the overhead compartments so I had to squeeze my stuffed backpack underneath 25F… which reduced the already tight legroom, which I'd describe as 29". It is curious how the legroom in BA A320 family varies with where in the airplane you are. From my subjective observation: 31" at the front, gets tighter to 30" in the middle and very tight in the last few rows 29".
That's us at gate A3, next to G-EUYE (A320) & G-MEDN (A321). I really like the red touches on flap track fairings in BA airplanes :)
Quite a usual departure this morning from runway 27L, towards west. You could although feel the aircraft was very heavy with lots of passengers, bags and cargo, as the take off roll was long. Once airborne, we made a sharp right turn to be on our way to Warsaw. The crew soon commenced the M&S on board service.
I just want to write a short paragraph about "inflight entertainment" which pretty much no longer exists on European carriers' short haul fleet. And that's a pity, however I understand it saves airlines lots of money. This A320 no longer has the overhead monitors with moving map. However, I'm 99% sure it was already equipped with WiFi, although I didn't use. The BA's magazine is also of quite good quality with some interesting stuff in it. And of course I could enjoy fantastic views form outside the window!
Climbing out from London.
Although the crew were really friendly and helpful, it's quite annoying the service went really slowly (lot's of people were buying stuff this morning). And as I was seating towards the back, I was served as one of the last… approx. 1 hour into the flight. I decided to treat myself with some sweet, unhealthy stuff. It's Christmas after all!
Mini Jaffa cakes and a coke. £3.35 together - could be cheaper but the price is still acceptable. The napkins unfortunately don't have the BA logo anymore (cost cutting?), at least the cup still has. It is those little things that make the difference for me. And of course, in my opinion, BA should rethink their BoB strategy… a small refreshment provided free of charge to Economy passengers would really change their experience a lot.
I just want to do one more digression on payments on board. Although this might seem controversial, I am quite happy that you can't pay with cash anymore. This accelerates the slow service a bit, at least.
The coat hook next to the seat proved helpful, as there wasn't even space for my coat in the overhead bins!
The cabin of this A320 was very well maintained, but that's partly because it was reconfigured only in February 2019 to Y180 (and SpaceFlex installed). Those Pinnacle seats are comfortable for a short haul flight, except for their legroom at the rear of the cabin, of course. And I really appreciate their big tray table, coat hook, adjustable headrests and a separate literature pocket. I also simply deem they are elegant and pretty.
Having flown quite a few times with BA's A320neo/A321neo aircrafts, there are 2 main advantages of the OLD airbuses - consistent Pinnacle (more comfortable) seating throughout the cabin and led mood lighting which improves customer impression in my opinion.
Toilets on this A320 were very very tiny, as is the case with SpaceFlex but at least clean.
The rest of flight was pretty uneventful with really smooth flying conditions this morning. After a bit less than 2 hours of flying, somewhere above Poznań (PL) we started our descent into Warsaw with an announcement from our captain about the current weather conditions - rainy.
Quite a long approach into Warsaw as there were a few aircrafts in front of us in the queue.
We landed in Warsaw at 1205, only 15 mins after the scheduled arrival time which is totally acceptable for me. We parked at 20N which is a jet bridge gate, much appreciated, as I would not like to step out to this rain… And nearly 50% gates in WAW are bus gates, although BA, from what I know, always uses air bridges at WAW. I was very surprised how well the ground staff at Warsaw dealt with the huge number of bags. As soon as I got to bag reclaim, the bags were already there :)
Awful weather welcomes me in Warsaw :(
Some snow a few days after my arrival ;)
Overall, a very typical intra-European flight with British Airways, although I expected some more Christmas accents :( Nothing really Christmassy on board, not even a word or Christmas wishes.
Thank you for joining me on this BA report! And of course feel free to leave comments below.
All the best, stay safe!
Nice quick flight with British Airways. I would definitely use their services again.
+ Heathrow's cleanliness and amazingly good organisation
+ Gorgeous crew
+ Convenient departure time
+ Generous luggage allowance
+ Nice & functional mobile app
+ Being well informed by the crew and captain
+ Beautiful and clean aircraft cabin
+/- Good quality snacks albeit chargeable
- Poor legroom at the back (26F)
- Tiny toilets at the rear