Here is a very short report on a recent flight. I originally was not planning on doing a Flight-Report as I was travelling to France due to a family emergency and was not in the mindset for it, but I did manage a few pictures of my return flight so here we go.
As mentioned above, due to an emergency I had to get from DC to the Southwest of France immediately. Unfortunately for me, it was during the Air France pilots' strike and there was nothing available on SkyTeam anyway. As A Delta Platinum, I try to stick to SkyTeam, but this time I made sure to stay away from Paris. So I would be flying BA long-haul for the first time in years (I've flown OpenSkies and BA short-haul more recently).
I flew out from Toulouse that morning. In the midst of the Air France strike, the airport was a ghost town. I'd never seen it that empty…barely anyone in the parking lot, very few people in the airport shops, and a deserted Air France ticket counter. As you can see, most AF flights were cancelled…good thing I'll be flying BA!
Two Airbus Belugas as I board my A320 to Heathrow.
I had a four hour connection at Heathrow, and without lounge access, I decided to enter the UK and get some fresh air as well as do some planespotting…ok, a lot of planespotting :-)
LHR is a planespotter's dream with such a variety of traffic and A380s galore!
It started as a typical overcast London day. Caught an Emirates A380 in the distance just as I was walking outside.
Jet Airways 77W
Air Canada A333
I went over to the arrivals side for a bit to see what was going on there. It was mostly BA arrivals.
BA A320 at the gate
Virgin Atlantic B744
Back to the departures side.
Air Canada B763ER
A beautiful American Airlines B77W. I really like the new AA livery.
BA B744 in OneWorld livery
Kuwait Airways A300-600. I hadn't seen an A300 since I was a kid.
Another BA B744…there is no shortage of BA 744s at Heathrow.
LOT Polish E190
AC A319. It was odd to see a narrowbody from North America on this side of the Atlantic. The A319s fly London to St. John's, Newfoundland. Though Transatlantic, the route is actually shorter than many North American Transcontinental routes.
A flying cigarette. Qatar Airways A340-600
And a shorter version from Virgin Atlantic. VS A340-300
Closeup of BA 772ER
Closeup of the Queen of the Skies
An elegant BA B777-300ER
And I finally got an A380 taking off…that's what I'd been waiting for.
Singapore Airlines A388
After a good amount of planspotting I went to grab a coffee at the Landside cafe overlooking the arrival runway. And here is another A380! An Emirates A388 arriving from Dubai.
After my coffee I went through the T5 South Security checkpoint. I like that the checkpoints have large signs that show how busy they are. The South checkpoint was showing less wait, and indeed I was through in just a few minutes.
After security, I headed straight to the B concourse from which the Washington flight would be departing. Although I really like T5, one thing that irks me about LHR in general is not displaying boarding gates until an hour before. Luckily my flight showed at T5B without specifying a gate so I could at least head to the right concourse.
Upon arrival at T5B, I spotted this beautiful BA B787 arriving.
BA 744 in OneWorld livery next door.
Upon arriving at the boarding gate, there was a very long queue. I couldn't tell if there was a priority lane for Elites and Premium cabins, but it didn't seem like it.
Today we'll be boarding from the tarmac on a remote stand. I was surprised as there seemed to be some free gates on the concourse, but then again, I don't mind tarmac boarding as it affords good planspotting opportunities.
Waiting for our bus on the tarmac.
It's a long-ish ride to the aircraft, but on the way there are some 747s, A380s, and 787s.
And finally we arrive at our aircraft. G-YMMO, a B777-200ER delivered to BA in 2001.
I always like this view when boarding from the tarmac.
I wasn't surprised to discover that this aircraft was still outfitted with the old World Traveller Plus cabin. I'm not sure what BA's rate of retrofitting to the new cabins is, but it does not seem to be at a fast pace. Nevertheless, the old seats look comfortable, and they are.
There is a blanket, a larger pillow than in economy, and a decent quality headset with a small amenity kit already on the seat. Here is a view with the seat controls.
The amenity kit is basic and contains an eyemask, socks, a toothbrush with toothpaste, and earbuds.
View of the Club World cabin from my seat in the bulkhead during boarding.
During boarding, Flight-attendants come around in the WTP cabin with a tray offering water and orange juice. A pre-departure drink, even if not fancy, is nice touch in my opinion.
Boarding is completed on time and taxi time is short. After takeoff, FAs bring lunch menus.
View of the World Traveller Plus cabin.
Drinks are served as we approach the coast of Ireland. I took some white wine. It was alright, not great and not bad. Drinks are served in proper stemware.
FAs came around to offer refills, which is nice, and the meal was served about a half hour later. I chose the beef main, which I found to be pretty good. The first course was a simple coleslaw, which I imagine is the same as in Economy class. The main course seems more like what you would get in Business class, however. The dessert was an orange-chocolate mousse in a plastic cup…it looked out of place and cheap on an otherwise decent meal tray. The utensils were the same as Business class.
After the meal I went for a little walk to stretch my legs. View of the Economy cabin.
Afterwards I started to watch a movie, but the IFE on this aircraft is not AVOD so I missed the beginning of the film. I ended up falling asleep right away anyway and didn't wake up until the FA came to ask me to bring my seat upright for landing. I missed the pre-arrival meal, which was a sandwich.
Back to Washington. Home sweet home.
Thanks for reading!
London - LHR
Washington - IAD
All in all a good flight with British Airways in Premium Economy.
Comfort: The seat is comfortable and plush with decent recline and good width. The major downside of this seat in my opinion is the lack of double-wide armrests. Comparing BA to past experiences in Premium Economy with Air France and Virgin Atlantic, I would that this seat ranks last, with VS in first place. Both AF and VS have larger armrests.
Crew: A very pleasant and present crew on this flight. They were very warm, polite and always smiling. In fact, that was the case on all four BA flights on my IAD-LHR-TLS roundtrip--staff were great in the air and on the ground. On the way to France, I had a very short connection at LHR due to late departure of my flight from DC. There was an employee waiting for me at the door of the aircraft who gave me a fast-track card and escorted me there! That has never happened to me anywhere, on airlines with or without status.
Meal: Overall a good meal. Some elements cheapened it, such as the coleslaw and the desert in a plastic cup, but it was nice to have real glasses and silverware. Again, comparing to AF and VS Premium Economy, I believe VS has better meal service, with AF and BA on a level playing field.
IFE: non-AVOD looping movies is definitely outdated, but I imagine BA has plans to update the aircraft so new IFE should be coming.
On-time departure and early arrival.
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