Check In: I decided to try the city check in British Airways offers at their downtown office. Took a cab with all our bags and were there at 3pm. First they weighed the bags one by one on a scale and put them to one side. Once that was completed the bags were put on counter and searched by an agent. Once that was done it was time to wait for agent to check us in. All of this took about 30 minutes since there were quite a few passengers checking in for the flight. When the agent was free we were called and our bags were labeled straight to Tampa, being an Oneworld ticket. The seats that we had reserved were given to us and the check in agent was pleasant and helpful.
When we got to the airport at around 11pm we were asked to identify our bags and put them on the counter. We did that were told to proceed to passport control. If you have read my Delta trip report you will find out about the immigration lines at Bombay. Once that was complete it was nearly 11:55pm. I was looking forward to sitting in the lounge but then I remember we were not issued with an invitation. I looked around and found out BA does not have lounge for its business Class passengers. My father flew the same flight about a week later and he got an invitation for a restaurant lounge. Anyway no major problem but I was very disappointed in this. Every airline I have flown with out of Bombay always has a lounge for its business class lounge passengers.
Boarding & Seat: Boarding was called at 1:00am and was done by rows for World Traveler and all First and Club World passengers could board at their own convenience. We did and there was quite a big line to the aircraft. We were on the plane at 1:45 and as soon as I steeped through the door I could feel the heat on the plane. As I started to put the bags away and sit down a steward came by and asked if we would like anything to drink. He came back in a minute with a glass of water as I had asked for. As I was drinking it the cabin lights started flickering on and off, and the heat was intensifying. The captain came on a little while later to make this announcement. “Ladies and Gentle sorry about the heat in the aircraft but it seems that our APU is out of order and we seem to be having difficulty with the ground power unit. Once the Engines are started I shall put the AC on full.”
The seat was the old Club World Cradle Seat which I expected since this was on a 742. The seats were showing their age but were still comfortable and seemed to have ample of legroom and looked like they were going to be ok for the nine hour flight ahead. Then the cabin crew came around and planted a toilet bag and menu in the seat in front. We pushed back exactly at 2:15 and the engines were started and the cabin began to get cooler and the lights were turned on.
Take off was at 2:35 because we were waiting for an Aeroflot IL-62. Take off was smooth and we cruising in no time. The lights never came back on and the cabin crew asked everyone to close the window shades. I complied and decided to decline was offered for a snack. The choice was:
Grilled King Prawns with Avocado Slasa
Indian Vegetarian starter of Gramflour pancakes filled with Paneer Chat and Dahi Pakora
Chicken Biryani, Dal Makhni, Tandoori Gobhi
Parmesan crusted Sea Bass, roasted baby Zucchini in Balsamic Vinegar
I put my seat all the way back and tried to sleep. I was tired and normally I can’t sleep on planes but this seat was good. I woke up sporadically and was happy to find a bottle of water had been put on my armrest, not the small bottle of Evian that Delta gives but a 500ml bottle. Woke up a couple of minutes before breakfast and made a beeline for the bathroom, unfortunately I was not fast enough, 3 bathrooms and a line of 10. Once I got out they had commenced breakfast and I was stuck at the back till they finished. The stewardess apologized for making me stand and I said don’t worry about it. She seemed so happy that I was not pissed like the others that she came by my seat and gave me a packet of playing cards with my fruit platter. This was what was on offer for breakfast:
Chilled Orange Juice
Our special wake up Energizer Drink of Watermelon, Banana and Guava
Selection of Seasonal Fruit
Breakfast Cereal with chilled Milk
Grilled Bacon, Pork Sausage, Omelette, Hash-brown Potatoes and sautéed Mushrooms
Spinach Tortilla, grilled Mushrooms, Rosti Potatoes
I chose the omelette and it was absolutely disgusting as was the side dishes. Landing at Heathrow in the morning can be a busy time, but it was not that long. We circled for 20 minutes and touched down at 7:05. Then of course the problem was with the shortage of gates. We were toed to our gate at 7:25 and were off the plane and heading towards the Club World lounge at the other end of the terminal.
Heathrow: This was the first time I was flying through Terminal 4, I had always used 1 and 3. It was nice form the inside and was on the crowded side but that was ok. The lounge was spacious and I opted to sit on the 2nd floor with a view of gates 1-3. The food on offer was ok, just some cookies, fruits and cereal. Great choice of hot drinks, I had a cappuccino which really woke me up. I decided to go out for a walk later on and it was great to stretch my legs. The terminal is on the big side and I walked from one end to the other. Nothing inters me in shopping so I went back up and sat down and watched the planes come and go. Boarding was eventually called at 10:30 and we headed out to the gate.
Boarding & Seats: There was a separate door for First and Business class so we were in the aircraft in no time. We were greeted and sent upstairs. The new Club World seats looked really good and comfortable, I could not wait to get into them. When I sat down I was happy, it looked like it was going to be a nice flight, even though the seat was facing backwards. I flicked through the entertainment and saw that there were 12 channels that just kept repeating after 2 hours. I thought they would have video on demand like most other airlines. The toilet bags were the same as on the other flight and the headsets were the same as well, no fancy noise canceling or stuff like that!
Take off was on time and we did not wait very long, 10 minutes. Once we were in the air the orders for our meals were taken. The menu was as follows.
Crab Timbale and smoked Salmon
Shaun Hills char grilled English Asparagus Spears and Goat Cheese
Fresh Seasonal Salad Served with vinaigrette
Grilled Fillet Steak, Gorgonzola Risotto
Pan Fried Halibut and Parsley Butter, Sweet Potatoes Fondantes, Cabbage with Bacon
Vegetable Tajin with Couscous
Double Chocolate Ganche
The crab was fantastic, the steak was dry and the risotto I would not feed to a dog! The chocolate Ganche was fantastic as well. Once the meal was done I started the first movie, “Along Came a Spider.” Nice movie and it was better since the PTV’s were on the bigger side. The picture was clear and crisp. During the movie, chocolate ice cream was served and it was great, reminded me of the “Movenpick” that Swissair serves. I then watched “Shrek” and it was ok. By then I was getting totally bored since the other movies were of no interest or the British comedies. I put the music on and listened to it for the rest of the flight. Before landing a snack was served, the choices were:
Shaved honey roasted Ham, Mustard Butter and Tomato, Hummus and roasted Vegetables on White Bread
Prawn Mayonnaise and Dill Butter, Brie, Apple and Celery on Brown Bread
Warm Fruit Scones served with Cornish Clotted Cream and strawberry Preserve
Sticky Ginger Cake
I chose the Ham and it was good, but I was still full from Lunch. The cake was too gingery but ok. Landing was roughly 30 minutes early and Terminal 5 at O’Hare was already full to the brim with the likes of American, United, Virgin, Turkish, Air France and many others. The lines were big and since they ran out of forms on the plane we had to find them and fill them on the ground. The line took forever and seemed like it was not moving at all. They then opened up a new line and we moved to that. We were in the front and he asked all students to go to the front so I did, filled my paper work and managed to move through. The baggage claim was really crowded due to the number of flights that had just come in. Our bags were already circling the carousel and I grabbed them off we went towards the customs which was breeze and towards the train for the ride to Terminal 3.
Once we arrived at Terminal 3 it was around 3pm and our flight to Tampa was not on the board yet. We ended up finding some empty seats at gate K3. So we sat down for a while. I decided to take a walk through the terminal and it was huge! I stood near the Iberia gate, which was crazy, full of people screaming at the attendants, quite a site. Eventually the A340 came and left with everyone.
Boarding & Seats: Once the flight came on the board it stated H4 as our gate so I prepared to go there but thought what the heck, there is no crowd here so I stayed put. What do you know, gate change, flight to Tampa is now gate K3! Boarding was called by group number, and since we had British Airways boarding passes there was no group number on. I just stood up and presented the boarding pass and she said go right ahead. On our way we grabbed a Bistro bag that American gives to its coach passengers. As I stepped through the aircraft door the steward was very intrigued that we had British Airways boarding passes and asked us where we came from and so on. The seats were ok and they seem to have legroom but after the last two flights it just seemed plain cramped! I had a better seat on United’s coach.
Take off was a bit behind schedule and that is normal for O’Hare. Once we were in the air people started opening their Bistro bags and I decided to take a look at what they had in them, a chicken wrap with chips and a brownie. Ok nothing special but it was filling, but I wasn’t very hungry. The drinks were served and the can of Dr. Pepper was given which was a nice touch. After that I just dosed off and woke up before landing. We landed on time and it was a long taxi to the gate, Tampa was virtually deserted and we were the only flight at the terminal. I picked up the bags and we were out of the airport in a jiffy.
Overall this was a great trip and I have to say I was really pleased with the BA cabin crew. I had not flown BA in along time, and now I know why Virgin flight was worse than this. The new full flat seats seem really comfortable, not that their old ones were not. American was ok, but my favorite U.S. airline will stay United for the time being.
I will be flying the return leg of this Oneworld ticket in December and I am expected to try out Cathay Pacific’s new full flat seats. I hope they are as good if not better than BA’s. The flights are as follows
Hope this was not too long. Thanx for reading and if U have any questions or comments, go right ahead.
Ikarus From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 3524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5136 times:
Somehow the idea of having backwards-facing seats sounds odd to me (I know it is supposed to be safer, and I suppose save space). Was the flight feeling any different? Is it weird to accelerate backwards? (I had nightmares for years with a feeling of falling backwards, sometimes even several a night, and I always woke up sweating and screaming...)
Also: Did the check-in agent inform you that your seat was facing backwards beforehand? I know a lot of people who are sensitive to travel sickness suffer more if moving backwards (e.g. in a train) and hence it would be quite inconsiderate of an airline not to warn its Business Class passengers in my opinion...
Adam84 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1400 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5090 times:
Oh your doing a RTW. Those suckers are cheap for how many places you can go and how many flights you can take. Not to mention the First and Club fares. The First class RTW fare for 4 continents is about the same price as the JFK-LON First roundtrip.
Swiss-airplane From Switzerland, joined May 2000, 591 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 5078 times:
Excellent trip report. Well done. Very interesting for reading. Seems like you enjoyed your flights with BA and American. I never flow British Airways (just Cityl Fliyer Express on behalf of BA) so far, but I would love to try it soon. My favourite US airline is Swissair, they are great as well. I love them. I had only excellent experiences with American in april. But the bistro bag looks a bit cheap, isn't it? I wish you a nice stay in the USA.
Greetings from Switzerland
Chepos From Puerto Rico, joined Dec 2000, 6360 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5057 times:
SR103 why didn't you arrive into MCO, its closer to Daytona Beach. Anyway great trip report I wish my flight would have been as long as yours.By the way yesterday I was going through McKay hall and there was a guy with a black thing on his head (my guess it was one of your roomates right).
Zizou From Australia, joined Oct 2000, 1536 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5051 times:
Excellent trip report. Another brilliant effort! From what you have typed, I assume your BA flights were better than your DL flights you took earlier. I eagerly look forward to your return trip report, especially the CX and QF flights.
Have you settled in to Bombay now? India must be a huge difference compared to the US. Though it is nice to go back and experience your "home" once again. In my case this is Sri Lanka.
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1747 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5025 times:
The flight did not feel that different, sure during take off the acceleration was the opposite, but that was about it. I liked staring at the wing and watching the flaps and the engines. The only major difference is the brace position which is not head between your knees, its hand on your upright chest.
Regarding the fact about the check in agent, no he did not mention that. Me being so interested in aviation knew this but I had thought the window seats were facing forwards and the ailse seats facing backwards. I'm sure if you check in in London or the US they warn you, but not in India as they might not know.
Thanx for the compliment. The BA flights were 10 times better than the DL flight!!! I will post the trip reports about CX & QF in January when I get back home, which inccidently is not India. I have never lived in India. I live in Daytona Beach, Florida right now, I go to ERAU. I used to live in Germany so Florida is a change, thats true.
Aussiestu From Australia, joined Mar 2001, 780 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (14 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4989 times:
Great trip report and glad that you enjoyed the BA sectors. One thing that you said was you wished they had video on demand like most airlines. There are NOT that many airlines that have video on demand and one that did that I flew with had more problems with it than you can imagine. I think they all will have it when technology improves but with BAs big longhaul fleet it has to be something that is going to be right first time and not something that needs constant attention.
SR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1747 posts, RR: 36
Reply 9, posted (14 years 5 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5009 times:
Actually I have been on quite a few flights with video on demand. I have had no problems what so ever. I have been on with SR (before 111), SQ & US. I heard that CX will have it in their new Business Class. I have been quite satisfied with them. I agree they have their problems but the majority of the time it runs without a hitch.
Yeah maybe BA wants to get it right, but with the other competitors installing them I would think BA would have, cause within 3 years when other airlines start this full flat business class thing, I am sure more of them will have video on demand, and BA will be left behind unless they spend millions on a re-vamp again!