As I’ve just returned home from a week in London I thought I’d relate my experience flying on a British Airways 777. The flight in question was BA99 from LHR to YYZ. My day began, not at Heathrow airport, but at London’s Paddington railway station. I was taking advantage of BA’s central London check-in facility. There was practically no one there at 10:00am so check-in was very fast and efficient. I caught the 10:10am Heathrow express train which whisked me to terminal 4 in 20 minutes. As I had lots of time to kill I thought I would do a little plane spotting so I spent an hour out by the Hilton hotel, which is attached to the terminal by a long walkway, watching aircraft departing off 9R.
The rest of the time was passed by having lunch, duty-free shopping, and a couple of pints at Wetherspoons pub. Time passed rather quickly and it was not long before the gate was posted. I hurried over to gate 12 to find a majestic 777 with the “Whale Rider” tail parked and ready for boarding. I was very impressed with the 777 interior. The overhead bin design makes it feel so spacious. It’s great to be able to stand straight up from your seat and not bang your head. BA’s cabin interior is very impressive. The advanced seat design combined with generous leg room in economy made the flight very comfortable. We departed form the gate exactly on schedule at 2:45pm and taxied to runway 6R. There was a short pause after we lined up then we began to throttle up. A little at first, I imagine to check the engines, then full thrust was applied. The combined thrust of two of the most powerful jet engines ever developed shoved me back into my seat. About halfway down the runway we rotated, climbed away and banked 180 degrees to head towards North America. I watched our altitude quickly tick off on my seat back monitor. The climb was quick and smooth and it was not long before the seat belt sign was switched off. As the pints I had before take off were catching up to me I was the first in the lavatory.
I always look forward to flying “World Traveler” class on BA. The little extras like the socks and toothbrush are always nice. The personal video screens offer hours of entertainment. Twelve channels of movies, comedy, travelogues and documentary’s kept me entertained during the seven hour duration. The flight crew were, as always, courteous and attentive. Even the pilot took an extra effort to keep the passengers informed. The highlight though was the meal service. I can say, without a doubt, I had one of the best airline meals I’ve ever had on this flight. The dinner entrée was braised lamb with herb dumpling and roasted vegetables and a rhubarb crumble tart. This was not your typical airline food. It was actually tasty. It was served, not on a boring plain “economy class” type tray, but on a jazzed up blue platter with matching utensils. Very well presented. The only thing missing was the customary hot towel. I wonder what happened to that?
About six and a half hours into the smooth and unturbulent flight we began our descent into Toronto. I watched the airshow screen as we gradually descended from 39,000 to 10,000 feet. Occasionally the captain would deploy the spoilers to slow us down. After flying past the airport to the north we turned left 180 degrees to intercept the ILS localizer for runway 05. At 2000ft the massive 777 landing gear was deployed and full flaps were applied. There was a heavy cloud cover and we broke through the ceiling at about 1000ft. The approach was smooth as glass as was the subsequent touchdown. After generous use of the brakes we rolled out and taxied off the runway. We landed half an hour early but with all the congestion at Pearson it was two more hours before I was on my way home.
Overall I was more than impressed. Great flight and a great aircraft.