GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12968 posts, RR: 79 Posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8074 times:
All my time at BA, (man and boy!) means that I now get a Firm Bookable trip per year.
How to use it?
Well, since I met up with AirNet members Mirrodie and Stretch 8 at different times last year in the UK, I have said I'd cross the pond, especially as Stretch kindly offered to show me around the closest aviation museum to his home, which happens to be the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy centre. Had Concorde still been flying, I'd have been over to Mirrodie's turf in my favorite city, New York, before now. I was last there in 2002.
So a long weekend off shift, time to go, use the bookable concession, which usually means getting Club.
Check in confirmed Club was wide open, so I'm in 15G, not window, not rear facing (which would be a first for me on any aircraft), no matter.
Capt Sealy introduced the crew, including a familiar name, the F/O is ex Concorde, Paul Griffin, adjusted by now no doubt to life on the 'Blunties'.
Pushback was at 11.11, a bit of a queue but we were airborne at 11.32.
Throughout the flight, the crew were excellent, the food was fine, the I.F.E. worked, (watched 'Minority Report' and an episode of 'The Sopranos').
I'll get flamed for this, but I cannot really remember the meal I had! If it had been bad I'd have remembered I'm sure, but plenty of top ups of drinks, for me this was tea and orange juice, the crew also handed out bottled water and Club Packs and were very good throughout the flight, the condition of the Club cabin was good too.
The cheerful and informative Capt kept us posted on progress, apparently a good view was to be had on Manhattan, not that I could see from my seat.
We landed at IAD 13.50, in all a good flight, after taxing we were soon at the gate, after a not too bad immigration wait, Stretch was waiting for me in the terminal.
I was surprised how hot it was, but the air con in Stretch's BMW for the drive to the museum was welcome.
This new facility is fantastic, I was struck by the sheer amount of space, so much history in one building.
Not surprisingly, we spent a long time at the AF Concorde, I may have worked in BA Concorde from April 1997 to the very end, but this was my first time near an AF one.
Let's just say that it reminded me of G-BOAC at the end last year, needing a re-paint and showing the wear of many years service, but the aircraft was in immaculate condition overall, like all the exhibits.
Always fascinating to see a SR-71 up close, I well remember them flying at UK airshows in the 1980s, also the Dash 80 and the first Shuttle and may more besides.
After taking time out from his domestic duties to show me around this world class museum, Stretch dropped me at a Washington Metro station, where I got to my hotel at the Metro Centre in D.C.
During my stay, I also visited the Air and Space museum, I was last there in November 1993.
On Sunday, I took the AMTRAK 212 Metroliner to New York Penn, from Union Station Washington, a pleasant 3 hours on a comfortable train, without the hassle of flying and getting to and from airports.
10 mins out from Baltimore station we passed an airfield, with two lines of USAF aircraft, one of A-10s, the other of C-130s, the gate guard was a Grumman sea-plane, with 'M.D. Air Guard' titles, presumably this airfield was an ANG and civil base as I also saw some biz jets parked.
After settling in to the Mayflower Hotel, off NY Central Park, hooked up with Mirrodie and his charming wife, who took time out from house hunting to meet up and have dinner.
Great to meet again.
I hate night flights, never can sleep on planes, so this service is for me, worth getting up early for.
I used it in November 2002 to return to LHR after a NY trip that started with a BA001 on G-BOAD. (I did not visit this aircraft on the Intrepid museum, it's too soon, I'll wait until it is properly established, I had a good look around this museum two years ago anyway).
This time I got seat 13A, window and rear facing seat, with an impressive view of two of the RB211 poweplants through my window, pushback was at 08:59, we were up by 09:24.
Another good flight, crew again excellent, a humorous safety announcement by the CSD, "Ladies and Gentlemen, there may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but only one way to leave this aircraft, please take time out to watch the safety video and to note the position of exits pointed out by the crew".
After a right turn over Bangor, Maine, we proceeded on our way, I had a Salmon starter and traditional cooked breakfast main course, again lots of liquid refreshment and an attentive, professional crew.
A later selection of ciabaitter (SP?) bread sandwiches were passed around, with a chocolate cake and more drinks, this was about 90 mins before landing.
Very clear at 39,000 feet, a view of Halifax as we passed over, a reflection of the sky and horizon in the engine nacelles, I watched 'The Day After Tomorrow' and had a relaxing, enjoyable flight.
As so often, in the stack at LHR, but before that a clear view of Ireland and England's illuminated towns/cities, after a nice sunset.
Even so, we got down on schedule and only had a short taxi to T4.
As an employee, I am biased, I also have no experience of recent long long haul on rivals, but what I saw impressed, the front line at least, can do a good job still.
One thing though, this 'BA are stuffy' idea? In all my years, I've never seen it, the crews were cheerful and efficient, yes it's a premium cabin, but even so, this is a myth that needs exploding.
BA777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2161 posts, RR: 8 Reply 5, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7705 times:
Great stuff GDB, doesn't quite match the superb Concorde report of yours from a while back though hehe! I'd have to say that both BA and VS have absolutely top-notch service...especially BA shorthaul i like!
Don't take the mickey outta the "blunties", they're brilliant aircraft and all those 777s are doing the world of good for BA!
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 12968 posts, RR: 79 Reply 7, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 7623 times:
Stretch, No I did not see OAD, that can wait.
After the grind of being involved with the REAL problems at BA, the 'HAL from 2001' like engineering I.T. system (helping to keep the flow of spares and work moving, not anything technical with I.T. heaven forbid), I was well due a change of scenery.
Arsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 21 Reply 8, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 7624 times:
Good report, always interesting to read BA trip reports. I also flew on BA 178 not long ago, was only the second time i flew a daytime transatlantic flight eastbound. A Change from the usual night-time departures from JFK.
Trolley Dolley From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 11, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 7353 times:
Stuffy crew? I think it's a valid comment. I've flown BA since it was BOAC on over 200 flight sectors with them, mostly long haul from New Zealand or Africa. The best example of this was when I was in economy and asked to see the selection of Hermes scarfs, for my aunt, which sell for well over GBP100. The stewardess told me in no uncertain terms that they were loaded on the "first class duty free trolley only as they were too expensive for economy class passengers." It was only when I inisted that I wanted to see them and she saw the colour of my credit card did she bring them to me. It's the class attitude that permiates and makes those down back fell less than worth. If only the service was more like you get at local British pub.
That said BA is miles better than many other airlines. I've had some stellar crews serve. I wouldn't have flown 200 sectors with them if they were totally awful.
Glad you had a great trip. looking forward to seeing the AF concode at IAD- after a BA flight as well. Only in traveller plus though.
Cambrian From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 619 posts, RR: 5 Reply 12, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7333 times:
But maybe you are biased or were lucky. Think of those of us who pay for Club Europe tickets and have to travel in dingy, worn cabins (esp. the 767's) and get indifferent service. Imagine being told by a CSD that they can't serve drinks before the meal because there are too many Club passengers that day.
Imagine flying a codeshare flight operated by BA for Swiss, and then flying back on Swiss and realising what real customer service and finesse is.
I have had some wonderful long haul BA flights in First, but these days with BA it is the luck of the draw as to what the crew are going to be like- and as someone who pays for their own Club tickets, I have had some lousy luck recently.
As a BA insider, I am sure that you have a handle on what is happening at the moment- not sure if there is a huge morale problem or cost cutting, but I now actively avoid BA on European routes.
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3691 posts, RR: 29 Reply 13, posted (9 years 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 6784 times:
Just came across this report by accident last night while submitting my new trip report (gave me the duplicate warning)
Came back today to read it. Glad as always to hear other people's perspective on Club World. Appear to be too many VS apologists on here so us BA flyers need to stick together!
I've never seen any of the stuffiness either, I've flown all cabins BA offer many times including Concorde and have never come across stuffy members of crew. You just get the odd one who is having a bad day but then you get that anywhere. As for showing them your credit card colour as way of getting them to bring you duty free.....that is stuffy!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey