AirxLiban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4520 posts, RR: 53 Posted (8 years 8 months 18 hours ago) and read 15538 times:
During one intense and grueling year at Oxford which began in October and ended in July, I took on a graduate course in Financial Economics at Oxford and learned a lot – everything from a few words in Mandarin to how to make chicken curry. I also became a world-class (tongue in cheek) rower and made many fantastic friends who I find myself missing very much now that we have all left. I also learned a couple of things about Financial Economics but now that exams are over and I received confirmation from the examiners that I passed, I’ve forgotten most all of it
Anyway, with regards to this trip report, my flight home to Los Angeles was scheduled for 3 August with British Airways. I was flying on a World Traveller+ ticket upgraded with miles to Club World and as a result of this, I was unable to move up (prepone in India-talk) the date of the flight in order to give myself more time at home in LA before starting work on the 15 August.
Weeks prior to the flight, I logged on to www.ba.com and requested seat 20A, a Club World seat on the main deck of the Club World cabin as I wanted to try the lower deck for once. As it happened however, when checking in online the night before, I balked and decided that the lower deck couldn’t beat the privacy, space and comfort of the upper deck – so I selected seat 64K, a window at the back of the upper deck. The benefit of 64K being the last row is that I wouldn’t have to climb over anyone’s legs on the way out.
Going back to Los Angeles meant leaving Oxford, which I was rather upset to do as I had had an excellent year. It was my first real leaving home experience, and although at times I felt overwhelmed, words cannot describe the extent to which I have matured, learned about myself, learned about others and improved my world view, as well as questioned my values and beliefs for the sake of improving and making them consistent with each other. In total, it was an intense year in many ways, but it was so worth it and overall the experience made me realise a point that we learn early on in life; that is, that the mills of the gods grind slowly, albeit ever so fine.
Now that the Oxford reminiscing is over, we can move on the trip report. For me, 3 August started off in London at my friend’s flat. I had spent the four days prior in the Czech Republic and Germany (will be writing a trip report STN-PRG-LHR on Czech Airways) and I was planned on taking the Underground at 09:00 to get to Heathrow around 10:00 for my 11:55 flight. I woke up around 7am and did the final packing, and then had breakfast with my friend:
Then I went into the Vauxhall train station and as I was getting onto the tube, I ran into a friend from Oxford that was going to work so we took a photo together:
I took the Victoria line to Victoria and then changed to the district line, which took me until Hammersmith. With a fair amount of hassle, I managed to get my bags to the other side of the platform to catch the Piccadilly line to the airport. In the meantime, I took a photo of Hammersmith station:
No sooner had I clicked the photo that a lady from the Underground came over and told me that I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures because of “what happened last year.” I said sorry and put the camera away. The westbound Piccadilly line came and I got on for the trip to Heathrow.
Here’s a photo of the inside of the train:
Hatton Cross station was closed due to “police request” and I got off at the Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 stop. With my 4 bags I desperately needed to find a cart. Here is a phot of my cases on the cart:
The white England bag weighed 31.7 kgs and the Pepsi duffle bag weighed 21 kgs. Quite substantial! I walked to Terminal 1 and went over to the British Airways premium check in area. There was no queue in the Club World line and I simply dropped my bags off and proceeded to security. The check-in lady was kind enough to tell me that the plane operating BA 283 that morning was G-BNLO.
Similarly, there was no waiting at security and I proceeded to the lounge. I had heard that there was a spa at the Executive Club lounge and I remembered seeing photos from Fbgdavidson’s report so I decided to check it out myself. I dropped my camera bag and laptop bag at the cloakroom and then went to the spa. Here is the door of the spa:
The spa doesn’t exactly have a spa – or at least I don’t think so. The lady at the desk told me that I could use the shower suites or else have a massage if I was traveling long-haul. I suppose I could have had a massage but I didn’t really fancy one and I didn’t have that much time anyway, so I just decided to have a shower. Here is a photo of the shower suite:
It was very reminiscent of the showers at British Airways lounge at JFK. When I got out I went back into the lounge and had a coffee:
Also worthy of mentioning that BA provides several magazines other than the Economist in the lounge.
At this point in the day, the lounge was still on breakfast mode so the extent of the food offerings was a couple of croissants, some toast and fruit. I always feel a bit uneasy about taking photos of the lounge because there are so many people in it but regardless here is one that I managed to snap anyway:
Before proceeding to the gate at 11:20 I used the internet terminals and called my sister. Then I walked over to gate 56 (a walk of about 5-10 minutes) and found G-BNLO sitting there waiting for me:
Airline: The World’s Favourite
Flight Number: BA 283
Route: London Heathrow – Los Angeles
Departure time: 11:55 (scheduled), 12:25 (actual)
Arrival time: 14:55 (scheduled), 14:55 (actual)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-436, G-BNLO
Cabin: Club World
Seat: 64K (Upper Deck)
Boarding had already started when I got to the gate and for some reason no distinction had been made between premium and economy passengers. Perhaps they had all already boarded? Anyway, I waited in line for about 3 minutes and then got on the plane. Boarding was done through door 1L and so I got to the walk through the first business class cabin before going upstairs. This particular aircraft had the higher capacity of J class seating (70? as opposed to 38). I found my seat and said hello to the American gentleman in 64J.
Here is a view of the seat:
And the view out the window:
No sooner had I sat down than one of the F/As came by and offered me orange juice, champagne or water. I chose the OJ and here I am drinking it:
The nice thing about the upper deck is that if you have a window seat you’ve got the luxury of having the side bins between the seat and the window to store various things. Here are some photos of the side bins. More space than I could use and of course it’s also good for putting things aside when shuffling around in my seat or when getting up to roam around the cabin:
Here are a couple more shots of the seat:
Note the shade between the two seats (which the guy in 64J kept closed) and the reading light:
Here are the various seat functions:
While taxiing out I took some photos of the various aircraft. Nothing special to report but here are a couple of the better pictures:
BA 767-336ER G-BNWB:
A tired looking TAP Air Portugal A310-300:
A United Airlines 777-222 N774UA heading to…anyone know where at about 12:15pm?
We taxied out to the runway and held short in order to allow a Qatar Airways A330-200 to take off, presumably bound for Doha. After it was clear, we proceeded onto 27R and the pilots gently increased thrust to what I guess was 70% N1 before fully opening the throttles. We started galloping down the runway and were treating to the lovely roar of the Rolls Royce RB211s. We rotated and started climbing out and banking right.
The service soon started with the passing out of the amenity kit. Here is a photo:
And the contents:
Menus were passed out and the drink service began. I had a scotch with some nuts. The days of the warm roasted nuts served in a small bowl are long gone:
I had originally asked for the prawns and the beef but the beef wasn’t available. The F/A apologised profusely but I said that the chicken was absolutely fine. I had a glass of Italian wine as well.
Here is the tray:
The prawns were really good actually, particularly with the lemon:
The salad was just a salad – can’t really bugger it up but at the same time unlikely to be anything amazing:
The F/A came round with fresh baked bread twice during the course of the meal.
Then the chicken arrived:
The main course was actually really quite good. I hadn’t had chicken fricassee for ages and enjoyed this one. Here I am enjoying the wine as well:
After the main course was cleared away, the apple tart arrived:
And I had a coffee as well:
I was quite tired after all this having woken up quite early and so I decided to get some sleep. The following photo was taken with my digital camera with an 8 second exposure (at this time the cabin lights had been dimmed).
I woke up with about 4 hours to go. During the course of the flight I noticed that the F/As came round the cabin with orange juice and water on a regular basis (perhaps 1ce an hour?).
Here is a photo of the upper deck cabin:
There was nothing on the entertainment system that I felt like watching (in fact I find BA’s Omnia system to be quite substandard compared to other aspects of its product). But the games were quite good and I played crossword and hangman:
With 1.5 hours left the cabin lights were turned back on and breakfast was served. One of the F/As came over to my seat to tell me that he wanted to make sure that I had my choice for breakfast, since my first choice wasn’t available at lunch time. I ended up choosing the chicken and cheese sandwiches and they were really good. Here is a photo of the tray:
The chicken sandwich featured crisp bread, mayo on the toast and good quality pieces of chicken:
The tomato and cheese sandwich had onion chutney as well, which wasn’t great but nonetheless I enjoyed it:
And the dessert was really, really good! I don’t know if you’d call this an eclaire due to the space, but it was filled with chocolate sauce and was delicious:
For the rest of the flight I just took it easy and read my book, Al-Qaeda by Jason Burke. Great reading:
We started our descent for LAX and came in for a smooth landing on 25R, touching down at 14:55 on the dot. We taxied over to Bradley but were delayed pulling into the gate because of the late departure of the Lufthansa 747-400 that was vacating our parking space. In the meantime I took some photos around the airport. Nothing too significant, but I did see this private Saudi 747-400 and here is a photo of it:
Anyone know what it was doing there?
I also saw the American 767-200 whose engine exploded a couple of months ago. When we finally did pull in, we parked next to another British Airways 747-400, G-CIVD, which was operating BA 278 back to London at 3pm. Here is a photo:
Right behind our heels, an Air Tahiti Nui A340-300 pulled in and parked on the other side of us:
Deplaning was done through door 2L. We were held back by one of the F/As to allow the First Class passengers to exit first. I was one of the 20 or so people out of the plane and I raced ahead to immigration. When I got to the passport control desk there was no one waiting. The conversation with the immigration officer went like this:
Officer: How you doin?
Me: Great, how are you?
Officer: Good, where you coming in from?
Officer: What are all these countries you’ve been to before your last visit? What were you doing all this time?
Me: Oh I was studying in the UK and I did some traveling before coming back.
Officer: What are you doing here?
Me: Visiting my parents.
Officer: Ok, have a good one. You’re all set.
The bags came off two carousels as usual and luckily my bags didn’t take that long to come out. Unfortunately the 405 was its usual congested self and it took me almost two hours to get home.
My parents had left the dog in the backyard and after parking the car in the garage I raced into the house without even unloading the bags to see her. She was waiting at the garden door and she jumped up and down, ran around the house and started barking when she saw me.
Took a couple of photos with her. These are for you Sara!
And for a change of pace:
Overall the flight with British Airways was its usual self and that is to say very good. The crew was friendly and charismatic and the service was good. The only thing was that I didn’t see priority boarding at the gate at LHR, but that might well have been a result of my late arrival. Otherwise, all was well and even though I’ve been on 16 segments with BA since September 2005, I can’t think of a better airline to get sick of than the world’s favourite.
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3720 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 17 hours ago) and read 15464 times:
Great report! I think your trademark is rapidly becoming the photos of hangman with nearly finished clues
You really captured the privacy of seat 64K very well After reading this report I've just checked and one of my upcoming Club World bookings has been changed from a 777 to a 747 so have moved myself to....64K
Enjoy your time back home and best of luck with the new job
Quoting AirxLiban (Thread starter): A United Airlines 777-222 N774UA heading to…anyone know where at about 12:15pm?
I know there is an IAD flight at about that time and I think it is 777 operated in the summer months...then again UA has flights spread out throughout the day. However www.lhr-lgw.co.uk comes to the rescue:
'UA0905 To JFK, New York N774UA 777 03/08/2006 12:33'
Alaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 906 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 15324 times:
Great report and pictures!
Do they seriously serve you a sandwich in a wrapper in BA business class? I am surprised that the flight attendants don't take it out first.
so does the seat have a footrest attached to the seat, or just the ottoman?
ohh well, great read and loved the pictures... lovely looking dog... we had to put our Australian Sheppard down
to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
That's not breakfast my friend, that's afternoon tea. There should have been scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream too.
Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 4): Do they seriously serve you a sandwich in a wrapper in BA business class? I am surprised that the flight attendants don't take it out first.
There's a label on the sandwiches stating something like "Sealed for hygiene purposes". Personally, I'm okay with that. However, it would look nicer if the sandwiches were on the plate sans plastic packaging.
Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 4): so does the seat have a footrest attached to the seat, or just the ottoman?
Our Club World seats consist of the seat and a separate food rest. There's no ottoman of flip-up footrest attached to the seat. The seat tracks forward when in flat-bed mode and 'mates' with the footrest to form the sleeping surface.
Thanks - ask no more! You'll soon get LHR-GVA-LHR, LHR-ATH-LHR, STN-PRG-LHR, LAX-LHR-DXB
Quoting LHR777 (Reply 8): That's not breakfast my friend, that's afternoon tea. There should have been scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream too.
Yeah, I suppose not, I guess I was still stuck on BA 282 syndrome. Personally, it didn't occur to me that the plastic wrapping was in any way unfit for a business class product. But now that its mentioned, I suppose it could potentially be a little tacky. At the end of the day it didn't matter for me and the sandwiches were good, so...
Joeyby From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2006, 59 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (8 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 14534 times:
wow......just wow. but i wanna see a first report!!! and when u flying to dubai? try and wait till the end of this year and fly emirates with the a380 cos i think everyone would like to see u do a report of that!
Comorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4908 posts, RR: 16
Reply 17, posted (8 years 7 months 4 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 13977 times:
I look forward to your upcoming trip reports.
1. BA has struggled for decades with the beef entree in all classes - you didn't miss anything.
2. I can't believe they didn't serve you the scones and clotted cream!
3. The salad dressing is really amazing, otherwise I don't eat salads.
4. The BA lounges at LHR all smell of food now that they serve soup and pasta - not elegant at all.
I am flying out tomorrow on CW to LHR - it'll be a great flight, but it's getting old really fast. I do hope the new product arrives soon and is better. Hopefully they will also give their menu consultants a boot and upgrade the food. I also know that I will not get a cup of really hot coffee. This will be my 80th trip in CW, so I know the drill...
I'll get flamed again by fbg for suggesting this, but I think seat 60K is actually better than 64K - why don't you give it a shot?
Quoting Jaysit (Reply 16): Tacky, serving sandwiches in a sealed wrapper.
The crew could easily unseal it, and present it on china. For $ 5000, that's the least one can expect.
Yup, it loks like it came out of a vending machine. The old reception sandwiches were more appropriate for a tea service. Let's be grateful they don't serve the dreaded Panini they torture WT passengers with.
BA is still the greatest airline, period. However, my UK City contacts are all switching to VS in droves. I'm a loyal kind of guy, though - my first flight was on BOAC CCU-BKK in 1950, and I look forward to many more trips with BA.
VHVXB From Australia, joined Apr 2006, 5526 posts, RR: 18
Reply 18, posted (8 years 7 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 13820 times:
That was a great trip report Airxliban I really enjoyed it as well as the pics. Well Done
Quoting AirxLiban (Thread starter): No sooner had I clicked the photo that a lady from the Underground came over and told me that I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures because of “what happened last year.” I said sorry and put the camera away. The
Lol. You do that In SYD you may get a fine
This is the first time I have commented on your TRs I have to say that you written some of the best Trip Reports i have seen here
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3720 posts, RR: 27
Reply 19, posted (8 years 7 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 13701 times:
Quoting Comorin (Reply 17): 1. BA has struggled for decades with the beef entree in all classes - you didn't miss anything.
That is very true, although a couple of weeks back I was brave and nothing else on the F menu grabbed me and it was actually one of the best entrees I've had onboard Sometimes it pays off to be brave
Quoting Comorin (Reply 17): I'll get flamed again by fbg for suggesting this, but I think seat 60K is actually better than 64K - why don't you give it a shot?
..... Well less people for me to battle with Some people don't like 64K because it faces the wall and they find it claustrophobic, personally for me the privacy offered and the fact you don't have to leap over someone else makes it a real winner for me
Quoting Jaysit (Reply 16): Tacky, serving sandwiches in a sealed wrapper.
The crew could easily unseal it, and present it on china.
I have to agree on this point, the only thing that comes to mind is the fact that afternoon tea in F the sandwiches are served off a silver plate and some product differentiation is trying to be made. However they aren't even the same size or flavours.
Frankly it does look lazy and tacky, they don't taste too bad and a nice plate would make them taste a little sweeter
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
KLM11 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 182 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 13420 times:
Excellent trip report! After reading your report I think I will chose BA for my next trip to the U.K. It has been a tossup between UA and BA and it looks as though BA far exceeds UA's levels of service for Business Class travel. Especially with the Molton Brown Spa! Can't wait to read more...
KhunRyeroam From France, joined Aug 2006, 33 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (8 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 13287 times:
What an envy of the world you are. The world is your oyster now. Thanks for this trip report and thanks for always showing us all the games you play when you fly. And, remember, don't let the corporate world callous your moral sensitivity.
p.s. Your Sara is such a beautiful beagle. Oh, and when you brandished out Al-Qaeda book to take a picture inflight, did people panic?
THAI MAK MAK---TOTALLY THAI---TOUT Ã? FAIT THAÃ? ---MUY, MUY TAILANDÃ?S
: Thanks for the comments guys, keep em rolling in Off to Dubai on Saturday, but I do hope to get on an EK 380 before my stay in Dubai is over! And I in
: Excellent trip report mate, infact I am going to use your style of writting as a reference for my upcoming YYZ-LHR-DXB TR (will be flying on the 18th
: Debenhams, actually! I saw it on sale for £100 during the World Cup and as soon as they lost it came down to £40 which is when I bought it. The Eng
: Michel, What can i say? Another Detailed and well written Report. I think it belongs to Prince Walleed Ben Talal. Ohhh...Good doggy. Regards F-OMEA.
: A picture's worth a thousand words I just arrived in the UK on BA178 (day flight from JFK) last night. I recklessly ordered the Full English Breakfas
: That's rubbish on the part of the F/A. They're supposed to offer dessert for gawd's sake! I took your advice about avoiding the beef on BA yesterday
: Great report-Well done! The private Saudi B747-400 in the picture is actually the flagship plane of Saudi businessman Prince Waleed Bin Talal.He got t
: Thanks for another great report. I think that I'll fly BA whenever my time comes to travel across the pond. Thanks again and keep these masterpieces c
: My sympathies, I was there (LHR) on Friday! Bags yet to arrive...
: Thanks so much for this report. I flew on BA287 to SFO on Aug 5th in 62K but unfortunately my camera batteries died so I didn't get to record the expe
: Ah...I missed out on that due to partially not really being in the mood and partially not really knowing what it was. Do you just sign up for one in
: It lasts 20 minutes although it seemed to last a lot longer. Its first come first served so you just sign up when you get there. They also have other