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Asia's World City - New & Old - BA First (w/pics)  
User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 18866 times:

Introduction

Welcome to another of my trip reports, this time covering my flights to Hong Kong in British Airways First. As is usual with my trip reports, this will be photo-heavy and quite detailed in terms of lounges, onboard service and inflight product – these are the areas that interest me and what I look for when reading a trip report. My aim in writing a trip report is to make you, the reader, feel as if you’re sitting next to me (although not right next to me – this is first class after all!). Enjoy!

So, I was off to Hong Kong for a week’s break, staying in the InterContinental Grand Stanford. Taking advantage of the European BA sale in January, I purchased tickets ex-Amsterdam, and so my ‘main’ booking route would by AMS-LHR-HKG-LHR-AMS in Club World, upgraded to First with 80,000 BA miles thanks to a helpful BA Gold line agent. Being London based, it was necessary to get to AMS to start the trip, and so I booked a cheap BA flight to AMS early morning, requiring an overnight stay at the Sofitel London Gatwick. After having nightmares about Euro Chaveller, I promptly took advantage of the relatively cheap online upgrade price to Club Europe, also choosing to do the same for my return AMS-LHR flight at the end of the trip. This trip would thus earn 400 tier points, with 2 sectors in First (earning 120 TPs each due to the Club World base fare paid with cash) and 4 in Club Europe (40 TPs each).

Sofitel London Gatwick

The day before departure, I took a taxi from my London apartment to Victoria station. Upon arrival, I queued (a new concept for me) with the great unwashed at the ticket desks in order to purchase an anytime single ticket to Gatwick Airport station, travelling with Southern Railway. The Gatwick Express, rather pricey, represents only a ten minute time saving, and as I wasn’t pushed for time, I took the 40 minute Southern Railway option. Using a mainline service also enabled me to get rid of a leftover £10 compensation railway voucher I had received for a re-route and delay on Worst Late Western at the end of last year. The journey to Gatwick passed by relatively quickly (in standard class, no less – the 2-2 seating was a shock, I can tell you!), and soon I was taking the newly refurbished driver-less transit from South to North terminals, the stations of which are actually quite impressive now.

Emerging into the North Terminal, I backtracked down the short covered walkway to the Sofitel. There was no queue to check in, and I was warmly welcomed as a ‘special guest’ by virtue of my A-Club Gold membership. In fact, I was apparently so unique that I was called ‘special’ no fewer than four times during the check-in process. Perhaps the receptionist reads FlyerTalk. I was informed my room had been upgraded from a Classic (standard) room to a Superior room, although after enquiring, the complimentary internet was not available to me. I tried to negotiate staying in the standard room and having complimentary internet, but alas this was not possible. The check-in process seemed to take a good 5 minutes or so (with payment collected on check-in), but soon enough I was walking into a good-sized room on the 6th floor, overlooking the airport as requested. The receptionist had also given me a complimentary drinks voucher for use in the bar, and a 2-hour wifi access code for the lobby, although both went unused. I ended up paying £15 for 24 hours’ wired internet – speeds were good, although the LAN cable could have been longer.

The room was clean and bright, the bathroom in good condition, with a comfortable bed and soft chair. I liked the L’Occitane bathroom amenities, complimentary mineral water and the token ‘pate de fruit’ (although that turned out to be disgusting!), and it was good to see a shower screen rather than a curtain in the bathroom, although the shower was over the bath, which I dislike. I would much prefer to have a walk-in shower and no bath. The major downside of the room for me was the warmth, which did not seem to dissipate, despite having the air conditioning on the lowest 18 degrees setting constantly.


Superior room


Bathroom


View of the airport from the room

I settled in for the evening, enjoying the views over the airport, including three recently retired BA 757s, stripped of their markings and looking rather forlorn at the far side of the airfield. I did not, however, enjoy the rubbish quality picture on the CRT television – not exactly 21st century! Skipping dinner, I took an early night ready for my 04:30 wake-up.

Unfortunately the temperature of the room did not decrease much, but I managed a few hours’ sleep before taking a shower – the pressure was adequate, but the towels were a little hard, and the provision of only one flannel was a little stingy. I checked out at around 05:30 (no queue at this time of the morning) and made the short walk to the North terminal.

LGW-AMS-LHR, BA Club Europe (or LGW-LHR, Taxi)

The BA check-in area in Zone D has had a bit of a refurbishment, and now boasts smart LCD screens above the desks. I collected my boarding pass from the First desk (no queue), swiped a First bag tag (yep, absolutely shameless!) and headed through Fast Track security, which thankfully was fast. The slightly unfriendly security agent said my liquids bag was too big, and one item had to be disposed of to fit the remainder into the DfT-regulation bag… it’s honestly pot luck whether agents will pick you up on this, but I’ll admit I took a chance and it didn’t work. Oh well!

Through to airside I took the world’s slowest lift up to Level 4 of the Lounge Pavilion, the home of the BA Galleries First and Galleries Club lounges, both of which have been refurbished into a sort-of Galleries concept (the new furniture, carpet and lights are present, but the bars etc. are old style). Turning right, through the doors (complete with old ‘FIRST’ logo), I was welcomed into the completely empty F lounge and took a seat at the far end.


LGW Galleries First overview, looking towards the entrance





Soon a waitress appeared and took my order for a bacon baguette, which arrived promptly and was devoured with a glass of fresh orange juice.

As the lounge slowly started to receive more passengers for the first few European flights of the day, the receptionist came over to me and announced the ‘bad news’ that my flight to Amsterdam had been cancelled due to ATC problems in the Netherlands. Needless to say my heart skipped more than a beat at this point. Possibly the worst thing that could happen had happened – I wasn’t going to be able to get to the start of my ex-EU booking, and would therefore be unable to board the flight to HKG. As it transpired, however, the receptionist wasn’t sure whether AMS would be functioning properly at all today, meaning that I had a bit of negotiating power in allowing me to start the trip direct from LHR. A ticketing manager was called, and shortly a car was secured to take me from LGW to LHR, paid for by BA after a gentle reminder of my Gold status and First flight to HKG – a big well done to BA for this. I can’t stress enough how helpful both the manager and lounge agent were at LGW – ba.com/welldone completed!

Within 30 minutes the receptionist approached me again to hand me a £10 refreshment voucher (not really needed with lounge access, but a nice gesture nonetheless), and a friendly BA agent arrived to escort me through a side entrance through arrivals – a first for me, and very welcome! We initially went to the taxi desk, where they had no record of a booking to LHR, but soon enough my name was paged over the airport system, and we met the driver at the Airport Information desk. Thanking the BA agent, I followed the driver to his car in the short stay car park, and was rolling up at LHR a little under an hour later after a customary queue on the M25.

LHR-HKG, BA First

The driver dropped me at the far end of the terminal, and I made the short walk to First check-in in Zone J. I was welcomed (and recognised) by one of the Special Services team whom I have spoken with before, and escorted to an empty desk. My boarding pass was printed and I was on my way to Fast Track security (South) within a few minutes. The queues were, not unusually, pretty ridiculous for ‘Fast’ Track, and it took around 10 minutes to get through, with two scanners available for premium passengers. The normal lines looked equally busy, so I didn’t bother switching.

I felt a little pang of excitement, I’m not ashamed to admit, as I approached the guardian of the ‘magic doors’ to the Concorde Room (the doors which I usually mournfully glance at on my way to Galleries First). This excitement increased as I walked through the doors for the first time in almost three years and was welcomed by name at the reception desk into, in my opinion, one of the very best airline lounges in the world.

After depositing my roll-aboard at the luggage desk in the lounge, I headed first for the Concorde Dining area, and was shown to a table by the entrance to the area.


The entrance to Concorde Dining in the CCR

I ordered a full English breakfast (minus the mushrooms), with a glass of orange juice. The quality was adequate, but service had vastly improved since my last visit. Staff regularly passed through the lounge clearing empties and taking orders. After my full English, I opted for a pot of English breakfast tea, nicely presented on a china tray.


Concorde Dining breakfast table setup


The butter had started to melt…


My choice of full English breakfast


Breakfast tea tray

After breakfast, I took a seat in various spots around the lounge (not that I can split my body parts, but I did have about 10 hours in the lounge!). I ordered some drinks from the Concorde Bar, which were promptly delivered at my seat.
















Concorde Bar

Dumbledore (aka Sir Michael Gambon) entered the lounge at one point (alone) and headed straight for the Concorde Terrace.


Concorde Terrace




Fantastic view from the Concorde Terrace


BA 772

Approaching midday, the menus were changed for lunch, and I perused these for a while, deciding to eat lunch at around 13:00. Before this, I confirmed my 16:00 cabana booking at the Quintessentially concierge desk with a friendly agent, and booked a massage chair at the Elemis spa for 14:55 upon the Quintessentially lady’s recommendation.

I checked at the customer service desk if my flight had New First, but she was unable to tell as it was so far in advance of departure. Shortly thereafter, the agent came over to advise I’d been offloaded from the HKG flight! Yeah, fantastic work BA! Anyway, this mess was quickly sorted out with a lengthy explanation from me. It was a bit disappointing that some miscommunication had occurred between LGW and LHR, but the CCR lady (possibly Special Services, judging by the non-uniform), was professional and friendly throughout, and most apologetic about the whole fiasco.


CCR Board Room



At around 13:00 I wandered over to the dining area once again, was promptly escorted to a table and drinks orders taken. From the menu, I opted for ‘Farmhouse Chicken and Tarragon Pie’ (not wonderful, but the mash was tasty enough), followed by the ‘English Custard with Summer Berries and Clotted Cream’ (absolutely fantastic). Service was spot on – a different waiter served me for lunch, and he was excellent – better than in most restaurants. My experiences with breakfast and lunch in the CCR confirm my opinion that the SYD Qantas First lounge offers far better quality food, but that I do prefer the general ambiance of the CCR over the more crowded QF F lounge (which is nevertheless still amongst the best). I think I’ll email BA about the CCR food – it needs to be so much better for their flagship ground product.


Concorde Dining booth set up for lunch/dinner


Lunch/dinner table setup


Rather bland main course


Delicious dessert

A wander into the main departures concourse of T5A emphasised just how remarkably quiet and exclusive the CCR is – I felt very lucky, and even considered guesting in one of the passengers sitting at the bottom of the lounge escalators, but decided against it to avoid any embarrassing conversation. They were mostly wearing trainers anyway, and I even spotted a football shirt amongst the throng…

At 14:50 I made my way next door from the CCR to the Elemis Travel Spa, and after a short wait and filling in the health and safety form, I was being pummelled away in the ‘intelligent massage chair’. It was my first experience of such a thing – it woke me up more than relaxed me, which was great considering I’d been awake since 04:30 and needed to stay awake for the next five hours at least! The Elemis area features soothing music and changing mood lighting, which is actually quite relaxing, although the curtains do not give a great deal of privacy when you’re in the massage ‘room’. I’d never had any form of spa treatment or massage before, so have nothing to compare the Elemis experience with. I don’t really see the point of it to be honest, although it seems popular.


Mood lighting in the Galleries South Elemis waiting area

After the massage, I checked with the customer service desk in the CCR once again, and was delighted to learn that my flight would have New First – fantastic! Large-screen IFE and funky electronic blinds here I come!

Checking with the Quintessentially desk revealed that my cabana was in use until my pre-booked time of 16:00, and so I whiled away the next half hour sitting opposite Concorde Dining at the bar stools (although not the ones actually at the Concorde Bar). A hot chocolate was ordered and promptly delivered – sadly not quite as good as my favourite Costa Marchmont Street (London) one! At this point I felt that I had become something of a fixture in the CCR, and the staff were going to find it hard to get rid of me…

I was escorted to my cabana just before 16:00, and was shown to Cabana 1, the largest of the three, which is equipped for disabled use (although done so in a discreet way). The cabana is basically an open plan living area with chair, footstall, side tables, desk chair, TV and mineral water. One can order from the CCR menu if they so wish, via a buzzer device on the table. Lighting is fully adjustable via a control panel. The attached washroom area was sufficient, although the pressure of the shower was far from good – equally, the water temperature fluctuated way too much and the noisy drain really is ridiculous. Also lacking were flannels – forgotten, or not provided?! I could have asked for some, but by the time I realised, I was already under the water… My final dislike was the low basin, I guess because of the disabled access, but this meant I splashed water unavoidably everywhere when shaving. In summary, the cabanas are OK for a shower and a quick lie down, but you wouldn’t want to spend too long in one (they are a little claustrophobic), unless you perhaps were with children. Yes, if you have children, definitely go to a cabana. And stay there. Especially if you’re on my flight in F with me.


Cabana 1, looking towards the washroom area


Looking towards the living area of Cabana 1

Exiting the cabana, I asked at the reception desk which gate my flight was scheduled for, and as predicted it would depart from T5B. The journey over to the satellite only took ten minutes from CCR to the T5B Galleries Club, and before long it was approaching 18:00, so I made my way back downstairs to Gate B43. This gate is equipped with dual airbridges, but of course as is usually the case at LHR with BA, only one was in use, attached to Door 2. I wonder whether they’ll still only use one airbridge when boarding their A380s… The gate area was quite crowded, but I found a seat right in front of the Fast Track lane, just as pre-boarding was announced for those needing assistance. Shortly afterwards, a general boarding call was announced for the rear WT rows and any premium passengers to board at their leisure through the dedicated lane. I wish shorthaul departures had Fast Track lanes – it would make the world of difference. I was the first person through the BP check and down the airbridge, to be greeted at the door by the CSD and welcomed by name before being escorted to my suite 2A in the nose of this 747.

Date: March 2011
Route: LHR [London Heathrow] (T5) – HKG [Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok] (T1)
Aircraft: B747-436, G-BYGA (1998)
Seat: 2A (First)


First impressions of the New First cabin were overwhelmingly positive –a quality look and feel, with good lighting and personal space. As I was shown to my seat, I made a comment about it being the New F cabin and the CSD asked whether I’d flown in the New First cabin before, to which I replied no. She then proceeded to run through a quick tour of the suite with me, highlighting the individual wardrobe and suite controls in particular. The two main F crew appeared at this point (one male, one female) and welcomed me onboard, commenting how they wished the ‘Prime’ seat was on all aircraft. As the CSD headed back to the door, the female F crew member (mainly serving my aisle) asked me whether I’d like a drink. Within a minute my requested glass of still water was delivered, together with a bottle for takeoff.


New F in the nose of this 747 G-BYGA




Suite 2K


Suite 1A

As I settled into my very comfortable suite, I noted all the new features of New F – the blue mood lighting, the new reading lamp, electronic window blinds, intuitive dial controls, large pop-out IFE screen, personal wardrobe, wider ottoman and nifty folding tray table (one side leather, the other smart black). The literature pocket is now at the side of the seat, containing High Life and First Life magazines, the safety card, sick bag and, most useful, a guide to the suite. On the ottoman were slippers and a blanket, with a cushion on the seat and bedding (including mattress cover, duvet and pillow) in the overhead locker. The central wardrobe between suites 1A and 1K has been retained, with a new magazine storage rack in the centre podium in front of 4EF. The F galley and washrooms have both been slightly refurbished with both having new wall coverings, and the latter having new lighting. Fans of the window in the forward First washroom will be pleased to note that it hasn’t been covered.


Legroom shot


Suite control panel and reading light


Suite control panel (left) and blind controls (right)


New two-window setup

As the cabin filled up to its full complement on this flight of 8/14 (occupied seats were 1AK, 2AK, 4EF, 5EF), the cabin crew checked on pre-departure drinks levels and soon distributed Anya Hindmarch amenity kit bags (filled with REN products) and sleeper suits (PJs).


Amenity kit and PJs


Amenity kit close-up


Amenity kit contents (photo taken in the IC Grand Stanford)


New lampshade in the washroom

Mr 1A was quite jovial about the accidental spilling of champagne over him by one of the cabin crew. A takeoff delay was announced from the flight deck due to overcrowding at the takeoff runway (pretty much a given at LHR), but the delay was only around ten minutes, during which time the safety video was displayed and I got my first taste of the new, larger, IFE screen – great size, but the IFE picture is low resolution, not putting the new high resolution screen to good use.

After a smooth takeoff and climb from RWY 09R, the CSD made a welcome announcement, gave a flight time of approximately 11 hours, and introduced the crew, noting that First would provide an ‘a la carte’ service, and all other cabins would be served a ‘hot meal’. Ah, the luxury of an international first class service. Shortly, the CSD made an appearance in the cabin and did the rounds welcoming each passenger by name individually, setting the tone for the rest of the service that was really very good indeed. BA’s crew can be hit or miss, but this crew was most definitely a hit.

As further drinks orders were taken and nuts delivered, I fired up the IFE and started watching the latest Harry Potter movie. Being quite a dark (literally) movie, the poor quality of the video feed could noticeably be seen. The movie itself was actually rather disappointing – I had been expecting more.




Excellent split-screen map view


Post-takeoff drinks and nuts

At this point, the menu and wine list was provided for my perusal – I had emailed You First who had sent me the March menu for the BA25, but despite still being March, the April menu was onboard this evening! So faced with new choices, I spent a little longer before choosing.

I opted to eat straight away, and so within 15 minutes or so my table was set with the ‘new’ service, featuring red water glass.


Dinner table setup

A choice from a basket of bread was offered, along with an undisclosed canapé plate – quite a tasty thing, but still none the wiser as to what it actually was.



The soup starter was delicious, possibly the best soup I’ve ever tasted, served with a fresh (but uninspired) side salad and further choice of bread.





The lamb rendang was very nice too, followed by an equally lovely coffee-inspired dessert trio.




Dessert, showcased on the leather folded table

A pot of English breakfast tea concluded the dinner service which was as good in quality as Qantas’s First offering, although BA do provide slightly larger portions (most welcome!).





The mood lighting was in full swing by now, and I lowered my electronic blind to reveal a funky blue effect, mimicking the roof and floor lighting of the F cabin. As I took my PJs to the (consistently clean) washroom to change, the male member of the cabin crew offered to make up my bed, and when I returned my seat had transformed into a 6’6” flat bed, made all the more spacious thanks to the lowering armrests in New F. After concluding Harry Potter, I switched the lighting to the lowest setting (all off except a faint blue light in the foot area, covered mostly by the reclined seat). However, the blue light in the centre of the cabin ceiling was on throughout the night, and really was most annoying. Apparently the new B77Ws are even worse, with two white spotlights at the rear of the cabin remaining on throughout the night in addition to the blue light. According to a Business Traveller article, BA are set to make a change to the software to allow crew to dim the lighting further, but how long this upgrade will take to come into effect remains to be seen.







The bed itself was very comfortable (plenty long and wide enough too), and privacy has slightly improved in New F over the older seat, with the ‘wings’ around the head area having been extended slightly. It would be good to see some sort of door to the suite, however, although this may prove a little too claustrophobic for some. After a few hours’ rest, I settled on watching The Social Network, a most impressive film that made for interesting viewing. I requested the rather refreshing breakfast fruit plate halfway through the movie, and this was promptly brought by a female cabin crew member who seemed to have relieved my ‘usual’ crew member. At the end of The Social Network, I was beginning to feel the jetlag a little, and dozed for another few hours before awakening to the sounds of breakfast being prepared in the galley.




Annoying blue light


The Social Network



After changing back into something a little more civilised, during breakfast I listened to some of Taylor Swift’s latest album – I’ve not heard much by her before, but was impressed enough after the flight to purchase the album on iTunes. I enjoyed my fruit smoothie and gooseberry yogurt, but was not feeling up to a full English breakfast. Mr 2K clearly was, however, and seemed quite surprised at the arrival at his seat of an overflowing plate of unhealthiness!


Ottoman in the morning light (still very narrow)


The usual ‘almost there’ shot

Shortly decent had begun, and I requested a duty free bag from the crew in which I deposited my PJs and washbag (I had packed my rollaboard to full capacity, as I had not checked in any hold baggage). We arrived in HKG on time via RWY 07L, and taxied to Gate 19 at the main building end of the terminal.

Sensibly, all gates at HKG have dual airbridges, and both of these are always utilised for widebody aircraft. As such, we disembarked through Door 1L, with the crew holding back the Club World masses. The gentleman from 1A and I exchanged a little ‘you go first… no, you go first’ moment at the door, as he emerged from the ‘K’ side of the aircraft through the galley. The friendly female crew member who had mostly been serving me exchanged a comment along the lines of ‘so polite’, and with a thank you and a smile I departed the aircraft and embarked on the 5 minute walk to immigration. It took about 10 minutes to be processed through the Visitors channel, but once I had my passport stamped I was landside within two minutes.

The Airport Express is by far the easiest way to reach Kowloon/Hong Kong Island, and there is a ticket desk conveniently located to the right before making the final exit into the arrivals hall. After purchasing an excellent value HK$300 Octopus card, allowing for two Airport Express journeys and unlimited MTR/MTR Bus travel for three consecutive days, it didn’t take me long to find the clearly signed train platform. The journey to Kowloon Station took around 20 minutes, and thanks to no queue for a taxi at the extremely efficient manned taxi rank, I was checking in at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong only around an hour after landing.

InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong and my time in Asia’s World City

The IC Grand Stanford (GS) is one of two ICs in Hong Kong, the other being vastly more expensive and, judging by pictures/reviews, not significantly better. I was delighted with my stay at the GS – the property is styled classically with a modern twist, and has an overall good feeling about it. It’s not too businessy, not too touristy – just the right balance.


Hotel exterior






Entrance foyer

My rollaboard was taken from me as I exited the taxi, and I wandered over to the Ambassador check-in desk. The efficient (but not overly welcoming) receptionist checked me in, gave me directions to the Club lounge on the 1st floor, and did the usual credit card/paperwork shuffle, before handing me my room keys with directions to the lifts.


10th floor lift lobby


10th floor corridor

My room, on the 10th floor of this 18-floor property, was a Side Harbour View room, upgraded from my booked City View room thanks to my Ambassador status. The room was on the large side, with a queen sized bed, writing desk, TV cabinet with large LCD TV and standard-sized bathroom (with shower over the bath and, even worse, shower curtain!). However, the room was spotlessly clean and the fantastic view across the harbour to Wan Chai more than made up for the (not unexpected) shower arrangements. The Ambassador welcome fruit plate and Vittel mineral water were present on the TV cabinet, as was the Ambassador gift (a box of delicious chocolates, on this occasion). Two bottles of complimentary InterContinental branded mineral water were available in the bathroom (replenished daily), along with Elemis amenities.


Side Harbour View room






Ambassador welcome amenities














In-Room Bar




Bathroom


The dreaded shower over bath and shower curtain (not too bad in reality)


Spectacular view from the room

The Club lounge in the 1st floor overlooks the harbour, and has recently been refurbished into a rather impressive space, featuring a long ‘corridor’ of seating, boardroom, hot and cold buffets, TV seating area, two PCs and an outside terrace. Staying on a Club rate, I was entitled to 20% discount on laundry services, and, much more useful to me, complimentary wired and wireless internet, not only in the lounge, but throughout the hotel (including in-room). This should be the norm at all five star properties these days.

The Club lounge staff couldn’t have done more to make me feel welcome, delivering consistently excellent service throughout my 5-night stay. The breakfast selection was comprehensive, with a changing choice of buffet hot dishes and a vast array of continental items. In addition, a breakfast menu was available from which a variety of items could be ordered. Afternoon tea was not quite so comprehensive, but did change each day and included a variety of cakes and scones. Evening canapés matched breakfast in choice (and in quality), with a delicious selection of both hot and cold items. Drinks were available throughout lounge opening times of 06:30-23:00. The lounge staff clearly took pride in serving their guests, and it was a delight to visit every day. I also experienced both In-Room Dining and The Mistral (Italian) restaurant during my stay. Both were superb, in terms of service, choice and quality. The Mistral experience was only let down by its location in the base of the hotel, thus lacking any view. It was also rather on the expensive side, but I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively cheap In-Room Dining, that was certainly not cheap in terms of quality.


Entrance walkway to the Club lounge on the 1st floor




Club lounge










View from the Club lounge


Club lounge tables set for breakfast


Breakfast menu


Breakfast






Afternoon tea






Canapé service




In-Room Dining



During my time in Hong Kong, I visited a mix of tourist and local areas, broadly falling into the areas of Central (financial centre), Western (fascinating steep and narrow hills with shophouses), The Peak (with the famous Peak Tram), Wan Chai (a mix of modern Western and traditional Chinese streets), Causeway Bay (shopping mecca), Lantau island (the location of the famous Big Buddah) and Tsimshatsui (the area around my hotel). My preferred areas for experiencing ‘real’ China were Western and Wan Chai, although the mega malls of Tsimshatsui and Causeway Bay were certainly impressive. I will include a very small selection of shots from around HK;









In my opinion, the Peak Tram is slightly overrated – a long queue for an eight minute ascent. The Peak Tower is a complete tourist trap, but if you head straight to the top, the view is certainly spectacular (particularly on a clear day, quite a rarity in HK). Skipping the Tram on the way back from the Peak, I took a local bus, which gave a fascinating tour through country and suburban areas on its way back to Wan Chai.



I was pleasantly surprised by the Big Buddah, reached via MTR and the spectacular Ngong Ping cable car, with breathtaking views over the parkland and airport. Walking through the touristy fake village, the Buddah itself was impressive, and the monastery a fascinating insight. A short walk through the countryside away from the tourist trail, and more spectacular views revealed themselves.





The famous Symphony of Light show, impressive if a little Disney, takes place every night at 20:00, and is best viewed from Tsimshatsui, towards the ferry-end of the Avenue of Stars. Avoid the Kowloon-end of the Avenue (closest to the IC GS), as this is where the tourist buses tend to congregate, and the tourists don’t tend to walk too far along the Avenue.

Transport around HK was easy thanks to the efficient MTR, with the Star Ferry and traditional trams being a great way to see the city for a very, very cheap price (think pence). The Upper Deck of the Star Ferry costs just 20p, and affords awe-inspiring views of both sides of the harbour. I experienced little of HK’s supposedly infamous brusque customer service, instead being made to feel welcome by all those I interacted with. HK, despite its many corporate towers, certainly does have a special aura about it, different from many other Asian cities. With English being the second official language, it is relatively easy to communicate (taxi drivers being the most notable exception). Thanks to matthandy from FlyerTalk for his excellent advice on what to see and do before I visited. If Hong Kong is not on your list of places to visit, it should be.









During the penultimate day of my stay, I indulged in a spot of relaxation on the pleasant and well-maintained hotel ‘Sun Court’, the top-floor heated outdoor pool and sun terrace, adjacent to the small fitness centre. Service was again very good, although the staff were not quite so proactive in offering drinks as in the Club lounge (strange, given that Sun Court drinks are a revenue source for the hotel!).



Check-out was efficient in the Club lounge, with no fewer than five members of staff bowing me out of the (held open) door. Marvellous. I can wholeheartedly recommend the InterContinental Grand Stanford, and it is most certainly well worth the extra to enjoy Club privileges.

HKG-LHR, BA First

So my time in Asia’s World City had regrettably come to an end, and it would soon be time to face the world of work once more. However, thanks to a very late flight departing at 23:15 and a hotel check-out that had been extended until 16:00, I had the majority of the day free in the city, before making my way to the airport in good time thanks to a quick taxi ride to Kowloon Station and the marvellously efficient Airport Express.

I arrived at the airport at around 17:00, a good 6 hours or so prior to departure. This gave me ample time to do the oneworld lounge tour of the three CX lounges (not counting the former Dragonair Gate 16 lounge, now operated by CX, which by all accounts is rubbish) and joint BA/QF lounge.

The BA check-in desks don’t open until 3 hours before departure, but as I had hand baggage only and had printed my boarding pass in the Grand Stanford’s Club lounge, I was able to go straight through security (with the minimum of wait times, despite there being no Fast Track) and emigration (around a three minute wait, again with no Fast Track). I opted to go through the left hand zone for these two checkpoints, as this would bring me out closest to Cathay Pacific’s flagship ‘The Wing’ lounge complex. Much like the CCR at LHR T5, there is a private entrance to The Wing’s F section on Level 7 immediately on the left after passing through emigration. Those wanting the J section must descend to Level

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (3 years 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 18162 times:

Seems as though I got cut off, so here is the final part;

HKG-LHR, BA First

So my time in Asia’s World City had regrettably come to an end, and it would soon be time to face the world of work once more. However, thanks to a very late flight departing at 23:15 and a hotel check-out that had been extended until 16:00, I had the majority of the day free in the city, before making my way to the airport in good time thanks to a quick taxi ride to Kowloon Station and the marvellously efficient Airport Express.

I arrived at the airport at around 17:00, a good 6 hours or so prior to departure. This gave me ample time to do the oneworld lounge tour of the three CX lounges (not counting the former Dragonair Gate 16 lounge, now operated by CX, which by all accounts is rubbish) and joint BA/QF lounge.

The BA check-in desks don’t open until 3 hours before departure, but as I had hand baggage only and had printed my boarding pass in the Grand Stanford’s Club lounge, I was able to go straight through security (with the minimum of wait times, despite there being no Fast Track) and emigration (around a three minute wait, again with no Fast Track). I opted to go through the left hand zone for these two checkpoints, as this would bring me out closest to Cathay Pacific’s flagship ‘The Wing’ lounge complex. Much like the CCR at LHR T5, there is a private entrance to The Wing’s F section on Level 7 immediately on the left after passing through emigration. Those wanting the J section must descend to Level 6 and walk back through the shopping mall.


Entrance to The Wing F lounge, pictured from within the lounge

Taking this ‘private’ entrance, I was welcomed at the reception desk to The Wing F lounge, and passed through into the relatively small lounge space, with the washrooms and ‘The Library’ (quiet seating area) on the left, followed by an open plan balcony seating area with a few PCs on the right, before reaching the end of the lounge with ‘The Haven’ (food buffet) and cabanas on the left. Ahead at this point is the larger J section of The Wing, with a smaller J section on Level 6.

The Wing is currently undergoing a major renovation to bring it in line with CX’s new ‘The Cabin’ lounge. Currently, the Level 6 J section is finished with the new concept, but Level 7 has yet to be touched (both the J and F sections). The décor of Level 7 (identical across both J and F) is really rather dated now, but nevertheless the lounge was spotlessly clean and there were no majorly visible maintenance issues or wear and tear. CX has clearly done a good job of keeping The Wing in tip-top shape.


Main F seating area


Great view from The Wing’s Level 7 balcony areas

I have to say, however, that I was distinctly underwhelmed by The Wing. The F section features (very good) waiter service for drinks, but I was surprised that the food was not waiter service in The Haven restaurant area. Yes, the tables are beautifully laid, the buffet selection comprehensive and of an excellent restaurant-quality, but for a flagship home-station F lounge, I was surprised that this food was self-service.


The Haven







Apart from the extensive buffet and waiter-served drinks, the only other major distinguishing feature of the F side of The Wing are the cabanas. These are much better than the cabanas in the CCR, with a large relaxation space, bath, shower and separate cubicles for toilet and washbasin. The choice of amenities was very good, but these good cabanas are a relatively minor part of any F lounge experience in my view, and couldn’t make up for the remainder of the underwhelming F section of The Wing.


Cabana









At one point, as I was seated on the balcony area, a fellow lounge guest at an adjacent table started giving somebody a tour of the lounge on Skype. This got increasingly louder and louder, to the extent that the man was walking around the lounge holding his laptop so that a person the other side of the world could marvel at ‘the peasants’ (his words) below the lounge and the copious amount of wine the man was drinking. I’m ashamed to say he was British. Needless to say I gave him a glare as I moved to The Library for some peace and quiet.


Annoying Skype man


The Library


Waiter-served drinks in The Wing F lounge



Walking through the J section of The Wing on Level 7, I noted how busy it was compared to the F section, but, as described above, the décor was identical and rather underwhelming. The view of the airfield remained impressive, however. The Wing Level 6, the refurbished area, is quite excellent, however. Despite being a small space, this is a good taste of things to come for Level 7, and I liked what I saw. Slick lighting, very comfortable ‘solus’ chairs, plush furniture and a smart-looking buffet.


The Wing J lounge, Level 6

After my fairly unimpressive visit to The Wing, I headed for the furthest lounge from the main terminal area, The Pier – The Wing’s little sister. This is located in one of the terminal ‘fingers’, about a 15 minute walk from the main terminal area. Despite being in the basement and thus having no view, I was pleasantly surprised by this lounge. The Pier is split into F and J sections, both having separate entrances (like The Wing). I didn’t experience the J section, but the F section was very pleasant indeed, with similar décor to The Wing, but somehow with a much more intimate feel. The lighting is softer and the furnishings feel plusher. The Pier also has ‘The Haven’, with an almost identical setup to the area of the same name in The Wing. I had a light dinner here, and was again impressed with the quality and variety of produce on offer. Service, as at The Wing, was very good – The Peninsula hotel-trained staff certainly lived up to their name.


The Pier F lounge









I took a shower in The Pier to freshen up before the long flight back to London – the shower rooms are very nice indeed, with a fairly powerful ‘rain’ type shower, although I found the shampoo and soap dispensers to be a little annoying, as I had to pump quite hard to get anything out (even though they were filled to the top). The shower rooms are of a good size, and as with the rest of the lounge, were spotless.





Heading back towards the main terminal area, I stopped off at The Cabin, CX’s latest lounge offering, a joint F and J lounge located halfway between The Wing and The Pier. As with The Pier, The Cabin is located in the basement, although it does offer a low view of the airfield. I was very impressed with The Cabin, which was similar in design to the Level 6 J section of The Wing (and presumably similar to what will eventually be the design of the whole Wing). Again, being a J lounge, The Cabin was rather busy, and for this reason I didn’t stay long. I did linger long enough, however, to appreciate the ‘solus’ chairs, iMacs and iPads, bar area and comprehensive buffet. Really rather impressive, and if it wasn’t for the more crowded nature of the lounge, I would have preferred The Cabin to both The Wing and The Pier F sections.


The Cabin’s ‘solus’ chairs






Signage in The Cabin

Finishing my tour of the oneworld lounges at HKG, I headed back up to Level 7 and the opposite side of the main terminal area from The Wing, adjacent to the right security/emigration point. Immediately after coming through this checkpoint area (closest to the BA/QF check-in counters), turning right will reveal a ‘private’ entrance to the BA/QF First lounge (with the Business lounge being located on Level 6, once again necessitating the walk through the shops). I was welcomed inside into a large, open-plan seating space, with a buffet area, TV/relaxation area, washrooms and showers off to the right.


BA/QF F lounge


SQ 777 viewed from the lounge

Whilst the quality and choice of food was unsurprisingly not as good as the CX F lounge options, the décor and overall feel of the BA/QF F lounge appealed more to my taste than the dated Wing. I had a wander downstairs to the Business section, which was possibly the most crowded airport lounge I have ever seen. One to avoid, particularly in the evening with several close-together BA/QF departures.

From my vantage point overlooking the gates, I could see that boarding was about to begin for BA26 back to LHR, and so I left the BA/QF F lounge just ahead of the lounge boarding announcement, heading downstairs to Gate 17.

At this point, it might be useful to provide a quick summary of the oneworld lounge options in HKG. Assuming F lounge access, I would first head to The Wing for some excellent food in The Haven, followed by a nice shower in a cabana. After this, head to The Cabin to relax or to work in stylish surroundings, before heading to the BA/QF F lounge or The Pier F lounge, whichever is closest to your departure gate. If you only have J lounge access, then The Cabin should be your lounge of choice – avoid the BA/QF J lounge, as it’s very crowded. The Wing F lounge will no doubt be very good after its renovation by the end of 2012, and may negate the need to go to The Cabin, which no doubt will become very crowded during renovation of Level 7 of The Wing.

Sensibly, all gates at the main terminal building at HKG have dual airbridges, each with clear ‘First/Business’ and ‘Economy’ signs at the gates. Accordingly, boarding at Gate 17 was a painless procedure, as I bypassed the Economy line to find only one person in front of me having their BP checked. My seat was changed at the gate from 1K to 1A, with no explanation given. I didn’t think anything of it until a little later…

Date: April 2011
Route: HKG [Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok] (T1) - LHR [London Heathrow] (T5)
Aircraft: B747-436, G-CIVZ (1998)
Seat: 1A (First)


I was welcomed at Door 1L, and directed (but not shown) to my seat. As I settled into the old First cabin and stowed my things in the central wardrobe, it became clear just how dated this cabin is now looking. It was reasonably clean on the surface, but the control panel was ingrained with dirt, the seat covering had seen better days and the wall panels were scratched in places. This is really not good enough for an international F product, made doubly worse when considering the small IFE screen and broken overhead light. New F fleet-wide can’t come soon enough – latest estimates suggest a Spring 2012 completion date, although JFK and HKG are rumoured to be going all New F by the end of 2011.


The view from 1A in old First


Empty 1K


Filthy seat controls

As the cabin filled up to its almost full complement of 13/14 seats occupied, I was delighted that 1K was the only seat left free. I mentioned to the French cabin crew member serving my aisle that I was supposed to be in 1K, and she couldn’t understand why I’d been moved, as the IFE and seat functioned perfectly well. It remains a mystery as to why I was moved, especially as later Mr 4F occupied 1K for the remainder of the flight due to spilling his drink all over 4F.

Pre-departure drinks were offered, newspapers did the rounds, as did amenity kits and PJs. The seat area was already equipped with headphones, slippers, blanket and cushion.



After a speedy takeoff from RWY 07R through the clouds, having reached the seatbelt sign off point, further drinks and nuts were offered (although the usual hot towel was absent). I changed into my PJs before dinner orders were taken, reclined my very comfortable seat (despite its age) and commenced watching The Next Three Days, a good film about a man’s struggle to break his wife out of prison.


Table setup for dinner



The canapé, again of an undisclosed variety, was quite delicious, but from then on the catering was sadly woefully inadequate. I opted for two main courses rather than having a starter. First up was the chicken – which turned out to be a few salad leaves with an uninspired sauce and a lump of tasteless warm chicken on the side. Yep, a salad as a main course in international first class, a salad that wasn’t even described as such on the menu! Unbelievable.



The chicken went back to the galley after a few bites, and shortly the potato gnocchi was served, unfortunately smothered in a powerfully horrid sauce that rendered the dish inedible. Oh dear.



The dinner service was partly rescued with a nice dessert, chocolates and good strong coffee, but by then the damage had been done.





After this disappointing dinner, with the film concluding, I requested my bed be made up, and was soon drifting off into the land of nod for six hours.


Old First is still very comfortable

Upon waking, I commenced watching The Tourist, a very enjoyable film despite featuring one of my least favourite actresses (Angelina Jolie). Breakfast was soon served.


Table setup for breakfast

First I asked what yogurt selections were available. ‘Natural or fruit’ was the response. Unfortunately the ‘fruit’ flavour was unknown, but I plumped for it anyway, and it turned out to be apricot – a minute quantity of which was served in a wine glass. Come on BA, this is really poor.



Being rather brave, I subsequently opted for a hot breakfast from the full English selection. Grisly bacon, undercooked sausages with skin hanging off, rock hard toast and undercooked, tepid scrambled egg were the order of the day. Truly woeful.


It looks better than it was

The ‘muesli’ didn’t appease my frustration at the breakfast, as it was served in some horrid yogurt paste. Maybe that’s where the rest of my breakfast first course went.



Landing onto RWY 27L meant only a very short taxi to Gate B35. The airbridge was connected to Door 2L (against standard operating procedure for arrivals), meaning half of the Club World cabin escaped before First. This did give me time to have a quick chat with the crew, who had been most apologetic about the old F cabin throughout the flight, and were clearly embarrassed by having it onboard BA26, especially since they had worked New F for the past few flights.

LHR-AMS-LHR, BA Club Europe

Connecting was hassle free at this early hour of the morning, with Fast Track in operation for connections but not at North Security. However, the queue was minimal and I was safely ensconced in the CCR within 15 minutes of landing, opting first for a shower in the Galleries South Elemis complex. I noted that flannels were lacking once again, so they must not be provided in BA facilities. Rather odd.


Galleries South shower room


View from the CCR to the Concorde Terrace


Concorde Terrace in the morning light

The CCR was practically empty throughout the couple of hours I spent recuperating after the long flight from HKG. I ordered a coffee and three different yogurt varieties (having left much of the breakfast that had been served on BA26). The waitress asked whether I wanted the yogurt in a bowl or not, and I said not to worry, hence the substandard presentation…



The flights to and from Amsterdam in Club Europe were uneventful, with the same aircraft (A321-231, G-EUXM) and crew both ways. The crew were very good, and much amused by my appearance on both sectors. I declined the breakfast outbound, but did indulge in a spot of lunch on the inbound sector (not having time to visit the Galleries Club lounge at AMS during the short turnaround). This salad was very good (in terms of both quality and taste), and put both of the main courses I’d had on BA26 in F to shame, despite being cold.


BA431 Club Europe lunch

After landing back at LHR, I had a few hours to kill before my train from Paddington back the English countryside, and so visited Galleries Arrivals by virtue of my incoming BA26 boarding pass. This is a pleasant space to while away a few hours, even though the food options do disappear from around 12:00 (when I turned up at the lounge). For pictures of this lounge, please see my Australia, Singapore and New York trip reports.

Conclusion

The inbound First flight was a disappointment in almost every regard. The old cabin is no longer up to international F standards, but it was the appalling catering that really made this sector not worth the 40,000 miles to upgrade from J. I have contacted You First, who have forwarded my concerns to Customer Relations and added my comments to their own CEO report for this week. I hope that a satisfactory resolution can be sought in terms of mileage compensation.

New F is a very good product. Comparisons to CX and SQ F cannot be justified, as BA is in a different league to these stellar carriers. However, amongst mainstream carriers, BA is leading the way with such a good hard product. Outbound, the catering was more than adequate and I enjoyed each course as much as the next.

The crew on both sectors were fine – nothing overly special, but nothing terrible either. The CSD welcome on the outbound set the tone for good service on this flight, a level of service that was noticeably absent on the inbound, as were the hot towels. At no point (either on BA25 or BA26) was I called by name, except during the CSD meet and greet on the outbound. At all other times I was addressed simply as ‘Sir’. This is fine by me, but I would expect to be called by name at least initially in international F. It’s these little things that set apart F from J on carriers, like BA, where the hard product is very similar in terms of featuring a good flat bed and the same IFE across both classes.

This is the end of this Hong Kong trip report. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and any comments and questions are welcome as always.


User currently offlineardian From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 533 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 week 3 days ago) and read 17775 times:

What a wonderful trip report with great pictures! Thank you for sharing it with us. BA's new first class looks amazing! Very sophisticated and elegant; truly a reminiscence of the golden years of aviation.

User currently offlineglobetraveller From Germany, joined Apr 2008, 379 posts, RR: 20
Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 17591 times:

A great trip report with excellent detail.

The new BA F really looks like a massive improvement and it is great that you were able to compare the two products for us in this TR.

Thanks for all your efforts.

Globetraveller


User currently offlinealaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 902 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 17516 times:

An amazing report. lately I dont comment on reports as much, but this was splendid.

I've flown 4 BA F international fights, 3-4 years ago and was very disappointed and although I now live in London I don't fly with them.

Qantas or Cathay Pacific (my favourite in terms of seat) are my favourites and I don't mind going around the world to reach these destinations for what they offer. Yet BA (granted- old F seats) was not in any shape or form worth it.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Sir Michael Gambon) entered the lounge at one point

One of my utmost favourite actors. Saw him in Krapp's Last Tape on West End in November last year. A one man Beckett show- breath taking.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
I don%u2019t really see the point of it to be honest, although it seems popular.

I enjoy the massages and such. Flying is one of the only times I get to relax (unless I'm flying within the US for business) but international flying in J or F is relaxing and having a massage or some extra way to relax is a very nice touch. Unfortunately CX doesn't offer this- although I have written to them. We'll see with the updated lounge.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
I hope that a satisfactory resolution can be sought in terms of mileage compensation.

I wouldn't hold my breath. As a BA elite you might have better luck. But as a F passenger 4 years ago the airline lied to my face when I had 10 hours in Nairobi between my inbound flight and my BA flight and they never bothered to bring us our bags to identify although they kept saying they would. In the end we went down to ticketing/customer service and waited in a long line as the plane was boarding. talked to some one gave the the bag tags (which were set to go through anyways) and a description of each bag. then we ran to get on board. within a few minutes the head of Customer Service on the ground (the lady we had talked to) came on board and said she had personally confirmed our bags and had seen them get on the plane. in LHR we found out this was not true. and then to make it better they couldn't find the bags for 2 weeks. -simply could not 'find' them inside the airport. My father had lots of expensive surveying equipment in one of the bags and we had things needed back home. BA was extremely rude would never admit they had made a mistake (said they were sorry for the mishap, and we understand there are some bag issues with all airlines, but this is first class, we had 10 hours connection in Nairobi and they lied to us- not acceptable) after they found them 2 weeks later it took another 6 days to get them to us and even then they arrived in alaska and were not delivered we had to go pick them up.

I wrote to BA about this and received a very short reply no mention of following up with the agent who lied to us in Nairobi or any of the other mishaps. No compensation was given and I promptly told them they had lost my business. Which they have. - yes as you can tell I'm still a little bitter towards BA  
I wouldn't mind trying out the new F seats, to see what they're like, but only if its paid for by someone else  

but I'm glad your outbound flight was enjoyable, I don't understand how those seats aren't narrow when they fit 5 rows on the window and two in the middle of 2 seats when CX does 4 rows and only one seat in the middle.

How do you compare the number of seats/amount of space on BA over CX?


Best,

Cheers-
Kyle



to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
User currently offlinebps3458 From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 553 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 17396 times:

Thanks for posting a brilliant report supported by great pictures. You have actually managed to provide very useful information for my upcoming trip to Germany in three weeks time. Will be flying a mix of CX and AY in J from BNE via HKG and HEL to HAM. The "Cabin" will certainly be my choice while in transit to Europe. On my way back have a one night stopover in Hong Kong (have treated myself to a night in the new Ritz Carlton) and will make sure to view the Symphony of the Lights show from the area but I do assume I'll also have a great view from the Hotel's bar up in the 118th or 119th floor.

Cheers from Brisbane,

Peter


User currently offlineN178UA From United Arab Emirates, joined Jan 2001, 1655 posts, RR: 66
Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 17186 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Genius 12

Excellent TR, well documented of the trip, great recommendation and amazing quality pictures!

Even i wasn't a big fan of European Airlines, after reading this TR, it convinced me of trying the BA first (hopefully getting the new one)

On a side note, which camera and lens do you use? The photo looks excllent. Best I've seen for a while on TR!

How many B747-400 and B777 of BA have been converted to the new First Class, do you know?

Sam


User currently offlineNQYGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 16557 times:

Brilliant report and an interesting read, if not a little self-important in places.  

Thanks for sharing your trip!  


User currently offlineLondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1448 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 16369 times:

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
The check-in process seemed to take a good 5 minutes or so (with payment collected on check-in),

I am surprised this so-called leading LGW hoteln asked you to pay up front, especially as you were a "special guest." I thought only UK budget hotels acted like this !

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
As the lounge slowly started to receive more passengers for the first few European flights of the day, the receptionist came over to me and announced the ‘bad news’ that my flight to Amsterdam had been cancelled due to ATC problems in the Netherlands.

I would have thought it would have been better to have flown over to AMS the evening before to prevent the possibility of any problems.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Shortly thereafter, the agent came over to advise I’d been offloaded from the HKG flight! Yeah, fantastic work BA! Anyway, this mess was quickly sorted out with a lengthy explanation from me.

I suppose that when you never made the AMS-LHR flight the BA booking system would classify you as a "no show" and then cancel all the onward bookings you held. But you were lucky to be able to board the LHR-HKG flight "out of sequence" as it were !


User currently offlinejrfspa320 From Australia, joined Sep 2005, 225 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 16032 times:

Great report, and pictures! BA has a solid product and the new F looks a big improvement. Im off to HK myself in a few weeks (albeit on QF in Y) but have a few ideas now  

User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 16004 times:

Thanks for all the comments, much appreciated  
Quoting N178UA (Reply 6):
On a side note, which camera and lens do you use? The photo looks excllent. Best I've seen for a while on TR!

Thanks, I'm using a Canon PowerShot G12 (actually an advanced compact, so no interchangeable lenses). Its HD video recording is quite impressive too.

Quoting N178UA (Reply 6):
How many B747-400 and B777 of BA have been converted to the new First Class, do you know?

You can keep track on this site; http://ftdashboard.net/balhr.htm

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 8):
I am surprised this so-called leading LGW hoteln asked you to pay up front, especially as you were a "special guest."

I was surprised too! Didn't think much of it at the time though, otherwise I'd have questioned it.

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 8):
I would have thought it would have been better to have flown over to AMS the evening before to prevent the possibility of any problems.

Yes, with hindsight I would have flown to AMS the day before and stayed the night there instead of at LGW.

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 8):
I suppose that when you never made the AMS-LHR flight the BA booking system would classify you as a "no show" and then cancel all the onward bookings you held

The LGW ticketing manager said she'd sorted it out, hence why assumed that all would be OK in LHR. But thankfully the CCR Special Services lady was an angel and sorted it out without a problem.


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3037 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 15974 times:

Well, the new FIRST certainly seems to be pretty good. Shame the catering on the way back was so bad. Lucky you made the flight on the way out, it could have gone very pear shaped very quickly!


http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights: LHR-JMK,JTR-LHR-WAW,MSQ-FRA-EZE,IGR-EZE-CUN,MEX-FRA-LCY,LHR-TXL-LHR
User currently offlinerobso2 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2010, 217 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (3 years 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 15808 times:

Excellent TR. A great pleasure to read.
Looks like a tail of two worlds! The First cabin on the newly refurb'd aircraft really looks the business!

Thanks for sharing!



733/4/5/6/7/8/9, 319/20/21, 752, 744, 772, 332/3, 343/6, E70/90, AT43, AR85/1, D38, D10, M82
User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 15012 times:

Thanks for the comments  
Quoting robso2 (Reply 12):
The First cabin on the newly refurb'd aircraft really looks the business!
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 11):
Well, the new FIRST certainly seems to be pretty good.

Yes, New First is much, much better than the old cabin. However, both seat are still very comfortable. My main concern with the old seat was the dirt!


User currently offlinelalib From Pakistan, joined Feb 2010, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 14182 times:

Genius12,

Nice flight reporting and awesome pics of HK - I should know I live here.

For future reference and if interested there is a Sky deck in Terminal 2 for plane spotting - one could kill a few hours there.


User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 13562 times:

Quoting lalib (Reply 14):
For future reference and if interested there is a Sky deck in Terminal 2 for plane spotting - one could kill a few hours there.

Interesting, thanks for the tip - I'll check that out the next time I'm in HKG.  


User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (2 years 12 months 2 hours ago) and read 12368 times:

As an update for those following this thread, I received 20,000 BA miles by way of compensation for the substandard food on the return flight.

Until BA's refresh of fleet-wide F cabins is complete in Spring 2012, and until such time as the catering improves consistently (at least to the standard it was on the outbound flight), I'll be sticking with QF and CX when flying F.  


User currently offlinesfflyer123 From United States of America, joined May 2010, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12140 times:

Excellent TR! The photo quality is phenomenal; everything is so sharp and clear. It seems that the new F is more cramped than the old F. It does not seem as spacious, based upon the photos. Did you find that the new F was more cramped?

User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 11639 times:

Quoting sfflyer123 (Reply 17):
Did you find that the new F was more cramped?

I think the old and new cabins are pretty much the same - they would certainly feel a lot more spacious without seats 4EF, but one doesn't feel cramped when seated (particularly in Row 2).


User currently offlineKFitz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 11372 times:

The new product looks great, but honestly the lack of footroom on the ottoman is troubling. Products like the new United First Suite have nearly three times the amount of room to move your feet, not to mention an entertainment display that is twice as large.

http://elitechoice.org/wp-content/up...ed-airlines-first-class-suite2.jpg


User currently offlinepawsleykat From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 1978 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (2 years 11 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 11295 times:

Very interesting report dude! I do love the new First, its exceptionally nice to work in.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
along with an undisclosed canapé plate – quite a tasty thing, but still none the wiser as to what it actually was.

That would be your Amuse Bouche; Poached Asparagus with a Parmesan Cheese Sauce. Very tasty.

I'm also a little dissapointed in the presentation of your fresh salad on the outbound flight, that could be made so much more aesthetically pleasing if the galley lead had just taken some more time.

JG  



First Class passengers are my favourites. They can't get any further forward without an ATPL.
User currently offlineelevate From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2009, 144 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 10783 times:

Fantastic report, defiantly one of the best reports if not the best I've ever read!

Looking forward to the next.

Sam


User currently offlineGenius12 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2007, 193 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 10265 times:

Thanks very much for the latest comments, much appreciated.  

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