The airline with the best average rating is British Airways with 7.3/10.
The average flight time is 2 hours and 20 minutes.More information
Well let's roll the clock back to mid-March 2019…
Boeing 777-300(ER) of British Airways that operated the flight, this one is G-STBE, sister ship to the one we flew (G-STBF).
So it was time to get another OneWorld trip in, and I wanted to show my friend the wonders of Madrid. We are also plane enthusiasts so it was natural we'd go to the Boeing 777 flight from British Airways, then return on the Iberia Airbus A340 (which was subsequently changed to a brand new A350). We had spent £165 for the two of us to do a return flight in Economy both ways, but things were about to get flashy!
We checked in for our flight the afternoon before, that evening I had gone to see the Searchers (a legendary Merseybeat band that had been active since 1958) on one of their farewell tour dates, and then it was off to London Heathrow the next morning.
It was one heck of a busy and enjoyable weekend to put it nicely!
The Searchers live on the gig I saw before I went to Madrid, the band retired only 2 weeks later, ending a sixty+ year career.
We found our flight was still scheduled to be a Boeing 777-300ER (G-STBF). This would be my first time on a British Airways B77W, but my second flight on this aircraft type since 2016- when I did the Garuda Indonesia flight from London Gatwick to Amsterdam. So I was pretty excited about that. We had checked in online, so we made our way into Terminal 5 and airside before finding our gate was a bus gate to the remote stands, where our plane would be- also spying the then newly painted retro BOAC 747-400 (G-BYGC).
BOAC retro-jet Boeing 747-436 G-BYGC on stand at Terminal 5b at London Heathrow, with Airbus A320 G-EUUA in the foreground, which I flew to Berlin in September 2016. There is a review of that on this website too!
We got to the boarding gates, and waited for Group 3 to be called up (I am OneWorld Ruby, so we get a priority group on our booking) we lined up and went to the lady waiting for us, and I went up first. My boarding pass was scanned and flagged up a red light, which should have been green for good, I was concerned we would be bumped from this busy flight or if something was wrong with the booking… Oh no… I couldn't have been more wrong!
Terminal 5 is a huge terminal complex, but a fully laden wide-body aircraft boarding process can really make the place feel cramped.
The lady came back with a new boarding pass for me, saying that my seat was changed from Row 30 something (I don't remember the specific seat) to Seat 4A!
My friend came up, concerned as I had been flagged and he was next making it likely he'd be flagged too. He was also given the same as me, but placed in Seat 3A.
We'd just been upgraded for FREE at the gate!
Now we were on a Boeing 777-300ER, which meant that we were seated in the First Class Cabin, albeit the Club Europe service would be provided by the crew. However this would be an amazing sample at least into the world of the First Class flyer. Both of us were lost for words and extremely grateful!
We boarded the aircraft on stand, allowing for some impressive pictures of the massive Boeing 777. Open boards are very rare at London Heathrow as majority of flights board by the jet-bridges, especially at Terminal 5.
G-STBF on stand ready for its BA460/BA461 "quickie" to Madrid!
So there is such a thing as a stairway to heaven!
Me and my mate turned left for once, entering the First Cabin, an area that most people pay upwards of £6,500 to sit in! It felt so surreal to be in the First Cabin for a flight, I've only been through it to visit the cockpit after a flight has arrived.
The Boeing 777-300(ER)'s length isn't fully appreciated until you board one and look straight down the fuselage!
The boarding was going to be extensive as half the 777's passengers were still at T5, so me and my friend explored our little capsules for the next three hours. There was a lot to take in for us!
Unlike the similar IB3166 and AY1332 service, the BA460 hasn't got the licence to allow the In-flight Entertainment to be broadcast, I have heard it has been made live since, but not sure if that's changed again since.
The flight eventually boarded and we got our start up and push back clearance for our flight to Madrid. The massive screen started playing the in-flight safety video, featuring various British celebrities from various years. I am quite a fan of the video, but what do you guys think of it?
We took off and began to head towards the Spanish capital. I had my GoPro attached to the window most the flight.
A quick behind the scenes snap of me filming a flight review!
Shortly after the flight departed for Madrid, the crew in the Club Europe (covering the First/Club World cabins) began the initial snack service by offering complimentary drinks from the bar alongside a small packet of almonds. My choice of beverage was black label Johnny Walker with a Cola… it wasn't my only boozy beverage that afternoon!
Half hour into the flight, the complimentary meal was then served up. The small menu given to the passengers in Club Europe were offered three options for a main course, so I went with Cumberland pork sausages and mash with peas covered in gravy! (The other options were tomato and courgette gnocci, which my friend chose, and roast beef with tarter cream, rocket, tomato and Parmesan).
The meal (indifferent of the three main options) was accompanied by a passion fruit panna cotta desert, three cheeses and crackers as well as a small salad. I still have the menu card on display with the boarding pass, alongside my Boeing 777 model at home!
My sausage meal option above, compare to my friends vegetarian meal choice down bellow.
I enjoyed a few more drinks after the meal (G&T, Jack & Coke, finished with a hot tea). When our flight began its decent over Bilbao for Madrid. The flight wasn't long enough I'm afraid…. (yeah, I know- a very First World problem!)
The flight arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. However we still had to taxi to the remote Terminal 4-Satellite which handles Iberia/OneWorld non-Schengen flights at Madrid Barajas.
The Terminal was cluttered with Iberia Airbus A340-600 and Airbus A330 aircraft, with a small number of non-Schengen bound Airbus A320's. The rush hour for this terminal wasn't going to be far away, so the waiting area and connection gates were most likely about to get really busy!
Unlike the Airbus A320's, the BA 777 flight gets a two hour wait at Madrid Barajas, allowing for a larger clean up and preparation job to get done on this aircraft. It's amazing to get this experience from BA still despite the Boeing 767 retirement the previous year, even if it is just one route. The shortest routes that offer a regular wide-body now other than Madrid by BA are Moscow, Cairo and Tel Aviv.
As was typical of me flying with British Airways, I asked for a flight deck visit, which was gladly permitted!
So I got my first (and to date only) Boeing 777-300(ER) flight deck picture, as I only got pictures on the 777-200. Me and my mate got on well with the Senior First Officer on this flight, and we have kept in contact since. He approved of my Flight Review video (Link is at top of article).
And this concludes my BA460 experience in Club Europe/First Cabin. Arguably my best flight experience to date!
The amazing team at BA (both on the ground and in the air) deserve a huge nod of appreciation for making this occur! I have a feeling the next time I indulge in such a luxury I'll be paying a few hundred £££ or a large sum of Finnair Plus Miles (on AY business).
British Airways- Great flight experience all round and a brilliant surprise! I do think BA is missing out a bit of potential by not having the IFE active on this flight if its a regular B777/A35K service. The food was brilliant (all though I arguably chose the "Basic" option). Crew were friendly and professional and very happy to accommodate a pair of life long plane geeks!