Review of British Airways flight London San Diego in Business

Airline British Airways
Flight BA273
Class Business
Seat 17A
Aircraft Airbus A350-1000
Flight time 11:15
Take-off 31 Aug 23, 13:50
Arrival at 31 Aug 23, 17:05
BA   #65 out of 96 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 948 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 789
Published on 7th February 2024

introduction


Welcome to the last instalment in this series of transatlantic flights in Business class with British Airways. 

Despite the seat-assignment chaos detailed in the previous review, due to BA's last minute decision to fill middle seats in Club Europe, we arrived into Heathrow on time. So while it was certainly a shame to have been inconvenienced a full three days after the UK ATC meltdown, I will give BA credit for having operated our flight on time. We were lucky as there were still quite a few delays in the system that day. 


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routing


Flights in this series of reviews:



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Transit & lounge


Having arrived from MAD at the main Terminal 5 building, it was quick to get to the transit area and pass through transit security to get airside again. 


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Coming up the escalators from Fast Track in the transit hall, we came to transit security, which was jam packed full on this busy day at the end of school holidays. The first security lane to the right coming off the escalators was the lane we knew to have the new machines which allow all liquids, gels, and electronics to stay inside cabin baggage; unfortunately, it was completely full and we were asked to go to the next lane over. 


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As we has suspected, the next security lane over did not have the new machines and was slow-moving. Despite a shorter queue, I witnessed the "updated" security lane moving at a much faster pace. Lesson learned, until Heathrow install the new machines in all of the transit security lanes, we now always make sure to go to the first lane coming off the escalator. As of the last time we were through just a few weeks ago in mid-January 2024, there was still only one lane equipped with the new machines. 


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Once through security we headed to the British Airways Galleries First class lounge, which is located on the level just above the main concourse, on the same floor as the Concorde Room and the Elemis spa and showers. The Business class "Galleries Club lounge" is located one level above. 

Though we were flying Business class, our oneworld Emerald status gives entry to First class lounges of any oneworld carrier–as I've said many times, this is one of the best perks of holding Emerald status. Granted the First lounge is not nearly as luxurious as the exclusive Concord Room, it's still a step above the Business class lounge with better food options and more premium drinks, including several champagne bars. 


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Since we're through Heathrow so often, my 4-year-old knows exactly where the children's playroom is located inside the First lounge and headed straight there. 


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As is often the case, we had the playroom to ourselves. As a parent, I'm always thankful when lounges have these–it makes the airport experience much more fun for kids. And honestly, it's not bad for parents either, as it's usually quieter in the playroom than the rest of the lounge since we're almost always the only people in that room. 


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boarding


As our flight was leaving from the Terminal 5 C satellite concourse, we left the lounge about 15 minutes before boarding time to allow enough time to take the train out to the C gates. 


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The underground train to the B and C concourses is located in the middle of the main Terminal 5 building.


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There is a train every few minutes and it's a quick ride out to the satellite concourses, with a stop at the B gates before the C gates. 


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Boarding hadn't yet started when we arrived at the gate. An agent kindly waived us over to pre-board. Travelling in Club World, we already had Group 1 boarding, but were able to pre-board travelling with our son. BA allows pre-boarding for families with children under 5, which is quite generous compared to most other airlines who mostly allow pre-boarding only for families with babies under 2 years old. 


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Nice views of our elegant A350-1000 as we boarded. 



As usual, we'd reserved seats in the 3-row mini-cabin on the A350-1000


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The mini-cabin is much more quiet and private than the super long 11-row main Club cabin. It almost feels like being in an intimate First class cabin, especially with the closing doors. 

Seats are laid out in a spacious 1-2-1 configuration. Club Suites are a customised version of the popular Collins Aerospace Super Diamond model with the addition of privacy doors. The seats are generally 21" (54cm) wide and convert to fully flat beds about 79" (2m) long. 



Being very familiar with these seats, my kid set his seat to bed mode as soon as he boarded, making himself at home.


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In this reverse-herringbone layout, window seats actually face the windows, which is pleasant. 


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A large pillow, bedding, and noise-cancelling headphones could be found on the seat itself. 


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There was also a bottle of water and the amenity kit inside a side storage compartment. 


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In the side console there are multiple USB-A charging ports, a universal power outlet, the in-flight entertainment remote and headphone jack. It would have been nice to also have USB-C ports, considering how new these aircraft are. 


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Seat controls are just on the outside. 


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Legroom is very good and the footwell is roomy in bed mode. 


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Shortly after settling in cabin crew came through with welcome drinks and menus. 


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A look at the menu and wine list. There were 3 choices of appetiser for the first meal with 3 options of mains. For the pre-arrival meal there were 2 options of appetisers and 3 choices of main dishes. 



the flight


Boarding wrapped up on time and the safety video was played as we pushed back from the gate. 


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It was a busy time on a very busy day at Heathrow with quite a bit of traffic waiting for the departure runway. 



After a long-ish taxi, we were off.


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10h20m of flight time from takeoff to touchdown in San Diego. 


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The Wi-Fi was available shortly after takeoff, as the aircraft reached an altitude of 10,000 ft. Full internet packages begin at GBP 11.99 for 4h and Messaging-only packages begin at GBP 2.99. 



On longer flights like this, I usually go for the full flight option for GBP 19.99


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The in-flight service began about a half hour into the flight with an apéritif. I opted for the Balfour Rosé de Noirs Brut NV, an English sparkling wine, which was surprisingly decent! The bubbles were very fine, which is very rare for sparkling wines from outside of France. I was glad to have tried it. I recently read that an article claiming that climate change is slowly making for ideal terroir for white wines and sparkling wines in the southern UK. 


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My son's child meal appetiser was served first, along with any other special meals in the cabin. As usual it was quite nice, but way too much food for a four-year-old. Just the appetiser was plenty enough, which is unfortunate as the main tends to go to waste. I've since learnt to ask for either just the appetiser or just the main from the CHML, so as not to waste a meal in case it can be given to another passenger or even if the crew want it themselves. 


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For my appetiser, I selected the British beef salad:

Roasted British beef salad
Broccolini, baby corn, carrots, horseradish cream


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It was nice, fresh, and well-presented and I like the extra kick provided by the horseradish sauce. 

A look at another appetiser option:

Roasted sweet potato salad
chimichurri, flamed corn


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We overflew the Faroe Islands on our very northerly route–another one for the bucket list. Sadly, it was cloudy so I couldn't see anything from the window. 


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The main dish for the CHML was a fried chicken dish with creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables. All very good ingredients that kids like, but again, way too much food for a four-year-old. 


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For the main course I selected the fish dish. In my experience, that is usually the safest bet–beef is almost always overcooked and chewy on aeroplanes, and chicken can be hit or miss. As I've said before, I really wish BA would introduce some more interesting or different proteins in Club World. As we often fly BA long-haul it gets a little boring always seeing beef, chicken, fish, or vegetarian options. It would be nice to occasionally see lamb, duck, or a bigger variety of seafood. 

Nevertheless, the fish dish was perfectly cooked and the wasabi purée had a nice level of spice to it, which was a nice follow-up to the horseradish in the appetiser.

Pan seared North Atlantic cod
Carrots, courgettes, edamame, wasabi mousseline


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We flew right over Iceland, too bad it was still cloudy the whole way across this amazingly beautiful country.


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For dessert, I went with the cheese board, which I enjoyed with a port wine. 

Camembert, Coastal Cheddar, Shropshire blue
Served with apricots and plum chutney


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Following lunch, I found plenty of options for entertainment on the Highlife entertainment system. Tons of films series, music, and games, as well as an extensive children's programming section, Skyflyers. 


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With these modern IFE systems, I always enjoy the option to search content on the touchscreen remote and then have the moving map on the remote while watching content on the main screen. 


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Cabin lights were darkened for much of the rest of the flight so people could relax. 


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Here's a look at the huge main Club World cabin mid-flight. 


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As you can see, the A350-1000 is in a very premium-heavy configuration and I'm glad that the BA route to my home airport can support an A35K as I always enjoy flying this beautiful aircraft. In fact, the London-San Diego route is doing so well that we'll have two daily flights starting in spring! Though we'll lose the A350 once the double-daily flights begin in April, which will be operated by a 777-200ER and a 787-8. 

With the seat in bed mode, I slept for most of the remainder of the flight and woke up about 2 hours before landing. These seats are very comfortable in bed mode, and the inclusion of a mattress pad with the bedding helps to make it even more comfortable. 


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About an hour and a half before landing, the pre-arrival meal was served. On these longer flights, there are two proper full meals, rather than the lighter "tea" service on eastbound London to East Coast flights.  

For the appetiser, I had the Ploughman's salad, which was an interesting and tasty option and very British, and definitely not light. 

The Original Ploughman's Selection
Wiltshire ham, Scotch egg, gin-pickled onions, Branston pickle,
English Cheddar


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During the meal, there were beautiful alpine scenes below as we flew along the Rocky Mountains. 


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Over Wyoming, heading towards Utah. 


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More beautiful scenery over Utah, including the Great Salt Lake. 


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For the main course, I continued on the British theme with the Cottage pie–I really like how BA have been showcasing British cuisine. It's simple, but almost always satisfying…and again, not light, haha. It's good "Comfort Food" if you will. 

Cottage Pie
Minced beef, mashed potato, Parmesan cheese, crispy panko flakes


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The gorgeous landscapes continued as we flew just west of the majestic Grand Canyon.


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arrival


We began our descent into San Diego over the Salton Sea in the Southern California desert. 


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The greener it gets, the closer to the coast we move. 


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As usual, the approach took us just north of the Otay Lakes and my neighbourhood adjacent to the lakes. 


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After passing Mount San Miguel, the usual route takes us northward again along the coast as we pass the Naval shipyard and the Coronado Island bridge. 


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On final approach, fantastic views of downtown San Diego from the left side. 


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We landed about 25 minutes before scheduled arrival time, which is always nice. 


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Taxi time is short as usual at our little 1-runway airport. 


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Being just 2 rows from the door, we were off quickly. 


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Spotted the other regular A350 in SAN on the way to the customs hall. 


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Bags were delivered quickly, as is often the case here in SAN with BA, and immigration was quick with Global Entry. The only thing that can be a bit slow is that customs usually have all inbound international passengers place all baggage through an X-ray scanner before being able to exit. This is the only airport I've seen this happen regularly for all passengers, rather than just for those sent to secondary inspection.

It can be a bit slow-going waiting in the queue to exit, but nothing beats the convenience of arriving at our home airport!


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See more

Verdict

British Airways

8.6/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering8.0

British Airways Galleries First - 5A

7.5/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services8.0

London - LHR

7.9/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

San Diego - SAN

8.4/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

A lovely long-haul flight in British Airways Club Suites, which more than made up for the negative experience of the seat-assignment confusion and chaos on the previous flight. Cabin crew were wonderful and attentive as always and the Do&Co catering rarely disappoints--though again, a little more variety would be nice to see, especially for those of us who fly BA often.

Information on the route London (LHR) San Diego (SAN)

Les contributeurs de Flight-Report ont posté 3 avis concernant 1 compagnies sur la ligne London (LHR) → San Diego (SAN).


Useful

La compagnie qui obtient la meilleure moyenne est British Airways avec 7.3/10.

La durée moyenne des vols est de 11 heures et 5 minutes.

  More information

12 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 643960 by
    gben GOLD 878 Comments
    Thanks for the review.
    BA has a great high product and lot of food for this long flight. Small business cabin is quieter than 11 rows.
    Im happy to try this cabin soon :)
  • Comment 643965 by
    jettoajet SILVER 24 Comments
    Love this FR, I felt like I was on board. Happy to see you enjoyed the English sparkling wine as sadly I think the Monopole is subpar at best (Something BA needs to improve on, and now LPGS is gone from F????). That 3-row cabin looks fantastic, much better than the big front cabin. Sad to see the A350 go from San Diego as I would love to catch it before it does. At least the 772 will feature club suites as of now but the 351 is such a nice plane to fly on.
    • Comment 644003 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 6594 Comments
      Thanks! Yes, the English sparkling rosé was a very nice pleasant surprise. Being French, I'm generally not a huge fan of other sparkling wines from around the world--though there are some very good ones, of course--so I was fully expecting acid reflux (which is how I generally judge a bad sparkling). But nope, very smooth with super fine bubbles. Will have to keep an eye on the British sparkling wines in the future as they keep getting better.

      Yeah it's really a shame about LPGS going away in F, especially since it was basically the only thing that set F apart from J since BA stopped serving caviar yeeears ago. It seems there are some decent premium champagnes in the lineup for F, but it will really be hit or miss depending on the date.

      The A350 is going away mid-April once the 2 daily flights start. LAX also had a regular 35K for a while (I flew one in Oct), but it looks like its just 777s and A380s for the whole schedule now. From SAN the trick will be to make sure to be on the 777 flight for Club Suites since the 788s are still rocking old Club World seats.

      Thanks for stopping by!
  • Comment 644023 by
    Carlotherocks 91 Comments
    Thank you for this report Kevin and happy 2024 (with some delay)

    You're raising a little frequent flyer, I'm sure your little guy will inherite your passion for flying

    British Airways Club World looks a marvellous product, I really appreciate the hardware upgrade from their previous seats.

    I think the children's menu is a great touch, by the way as you said the quantity seems too much
    I'm surprised considering how airlines and companies in general put attention on food waste. If I were the one who decides I'd make a smaller plate with packed options available. If the child is hungry the parents may just ask, if is full nothing will go wasted
    Your wise in asking just the entree...

    The Grand Canyon seen from air is something unbelievable. I visited it in 2007 and it was impressive. Now I want to see it from the plane XD

    Enjoy your future flights and take care!
    • Comment 644024 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 6594 Comments
      Hi Carlo, thanks so much for your comments!

      You're raising a little frequent flyer, I'm sure your little guy will inherit your passion for flying

      Haha yes, he's a good flyer as he's very used to jetting off somewhere every few weeks. He definitely loves flying, but he's way more into cars and trucks than planes, haha...that he doesn't get from me.

      If I were the one who decides I'd make a smaller plate with packed options available.

      That is a REALLY good idea! I think that would work wonderfully. I love the idea of a packed option that the child can eat at his/her leisure. Getting kids to eat at set meal times on a long-haul flight crossing a bunch of time zones is never easy, so this would be a great option.

      I visited it in 2007 and it was impressive. Now I want to see it from the plane XD

      It's so spectacular from the air...photos just don't do justice to the grandeur. If you sit on the left side on any flight from the East Coast of the US or Europe to LAX or SAN on a clear day, you're almost guaranteed to see it.

      Thanks for reading!
  • Comment 644025 by
    Jett Tyler GOLD 351 Comments
    Great report on the BA A350-1000 Club cabin, I've yet to fly the A350 on BA. Nice photos of the USN Ships at the San Diego docks on arrival. Very enjoyable read and great storyboard of photos!
    • Comment 644063 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 6594 Comments
      Thanks Jett! Hope you get to try out the 35K soon, it's a wonderful aircraft--honestly my favourite widebody to fly on right now, especially since Her Majestly the BA 744 has gone forever 😢
      Flying into San Diego is one of the most scenic approaches from the left side of the aircraft.

      Thanks for your comments!
  • Comment 644175 by
    ChrisB GOLD 3335 Comments
    Thanks Kevin for the report!
    did not have the new machines and was slow-moving.

    Thats such a shame for such a big aiport like LHR. These new machines have been in LYS for quite some time now.
    As you said the lounge does not seem as exclusive as concorde room but my god it is a step up from the business class lounge.
    Nice to pre board.
    Lovely views of this a350k!
    Indeed the smaller J cabin seems quieter and better.
    Seat is really nice.
    English sparkling wine ermmm... ahah
    The meal seems nice but you are rigjt BA isn't very daring to choose something else than beef.
    Cheese or dessert - it can't be both?
    • Comment 644269 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 6594 Comments
      Hey Chris, thanks for your comments :-)

      These new machines have been in LYS for quite some time now.

      Nice that you have them in LYS, they really need to finish changing out the machines in LHR...it's been almost a year now and still only one machine as far as I know. At least in Transit area.

      As you said the lounge does not seem as exclusive as concorde room but my god it is a step up from the business class lounge.

      Indeed, definitely better than the Club lounge...I think they don't even have real champagne in the J lounge anymore. Granted, it's been years since I've been in the Club lounge, I saw it in a review recently. If true...sad cost cutting.

      English sparkling wine ermmm... ahah

      I know...I didn't expect to like it haha. I mean I won't saw it was amazing, but is wasn't bad at all. A pleasant surprise.

      The meal seems nice but you are rigjt BA isn't very daring to choose something else than beef.

      I know...I'm so bored with the choices...haha, I hate that that makes me sound like a diva...nevermind, I guess I am a diva 😉

      Cheese or dessert - it can't be both?

      Yeah it's one or the other, with is so Anglo hahaha, US airlines do the same thing. We've had success in the past asking for both, but they usually make you wait to see if there's enough. But every time it's been fine...I just usually am not hungry enough to ask for both.

      Thanks for stopping by!
  • Comment 644591 by
    NGO85 SILVER 1941 Comments
    Hi Kevin, thanks for sharing this FR!

    the level just above the main concourse

    Those hordes battling for seats are just so typical of LHR, a very unpleasant airport to kill time if you do not have lounge access. LHR is almost designed to push people to keep moving around through the shops with the lack of seating and late notification of gates.

    I'm always thankful when lounges have these–it makes the airport experience much more fun for kids.

    It’s very rare for lounges to have play areas inside, so definitely a good initiative for BA to appeal to different passenger types. Much more convenient than having to balance the layover between lounge and play area.

    As we often fly BA long-haul it gets a little boring always seeing beef, chicken, fish, or vegetarian options.

    Alas, it is British cuisine, you cannot have too high of expirations ;) That said, more ethnic food drawing from South Asian and Caribbean roots should be realistic inclusions to make it a little less pub food like. That said, Do&Co looks excellent in terms of presentation.

    the London-San Diego route is doing so well that we'll have two daily flights starting in spring!

    The life sciences sector is growing rapidly in SAN, likely pushing demand for premium cabins on LH/BA. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a Chinese carrier pop up sometime in the future.

    Great views over the western states on a sunny day, thanks again for sharing!
    • Comment 644604 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 6594 Comments
      Hey, thanks for your comments!

      Those hordes battling for seats are just so typical of LHR, a very unpleasant airport to kill time if you do not have lounge access.

      Ugh, it's awful...I shudder ever time I see it. Thank god we have lounge access.

      LHR is almost designed to push people to keep moving around through the shops

      Yup, that's exactly what it is. I've said this for years. And even the access to the lounges forces you to go through the shops first in the most nonsensical way. Fast Track security and Transit security are right next to the South lounges, on the upper level, but you are forces to do this big loop by going downstairs to walk past all the shops and then come back upstairs again...it's the stupidest thing.

      It’s very rare for lounges to have play areas inside, so definitely a good initiative for BA to appeal to different passenger types.

      Absolutely, plus the Snooty McSnoots in F lounges hate having small children in their immediate vicinity so it's a win for everyone haha. Though my son, who obviously travels a whole lot, is always super well behaved in planes and lounges, I've definitely seen a lot of bad behaviour from kids during out travels, who perhaps aren't used to flying as often.

      Speaking of the LAX oneworld Business lounge, that's another one that has a nice kid's play area

      Much more convenient than having to balance the layover between lounge and play area.

      Exactly...if there even is a play area. So any airports are missing them. I don't know of any at huge airports like JFK for example (except inside lounges), and ORD has only one I think in UA's terminal which isn't super convenient for me when we fly AA.

      Alas, it is British cuisine, you cannot have too high of expirations ;)

      Hah, true! The British do eat lamb though...so would love to see some from time to time.

      The life sciences sector is growing rapidly in SAN, likely pushing demand for premium cabins on LH/BA

      Haha yup...the whole reason we're in SAN

      Thanks for stopping by!

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