New York JFK to London LHR 744
London LHR to Bologna BLQ 734
Bologna BLQ to London LHR 319
London LHR to Newark EWR 777
This is my first trip report so I beg your forgiveness in advance if it is not up to the standard of some of the other reports posted.
1. JFK to LHR
My Aircraft was a Boeing 747-400 "lite" (City of New York) , in the new Union Flag colors. The aircraft was in immaculate condition, and very elegantly appointed; the color blue was the theme in all classes .
The aircraft was in the "new" four-class configuration, which meant:
1) New Club World seats (flat bed). These looked absolutely wonderful, although I still can?t get over half the seats facing backward!
2) The New World Traveller Plus (more about this later).
3) Enhanced Seating in Economy with better legroom, plush seats with adjustable winged head -rests, and personal TVs.
I was in World Traveller. I had the starboard window seat in the second-last row of the plane, which means I only had one passenger sitting next to me rather than two. That really makes a difference!
The flight took off and landed on time. The service was on the whole good, perhaps not as individualistic as Virgin?s, but certainly better than most airlines. This was the day-time flight, so instead of dinner and breakfast, we were served lunch (poached salmon or lemon chicken) and snack .
The entertainment system was fine, although more channels could have been provided.
Take off and landing were on time.
2. London LHR to Bologna BLQ
The aircraft was a Boeing 737-400 (G-DOCD) with the "Africa" tail.
The aircraft looked old, especially after the Jumbo. Almost half the plane was in the Club-Europe configuration Just as we were about to depart the captain announced that all passengers would have to disembark with their baggage, as the plane had been sitting in the hangar and had not undergone it?s security check before being boarded. As a result, we took off an hour late. The flight itself was nice. Seats were extremely comfortable (with the new blue leather interiors), and legroom was more generous than on the 747s, I thought. (is this correct?) We had a lovely view of the Alps en route . Even on this short hop a full lunch was served (pasta salad, or smoked salmon sandwiches) [And yet, American carriers insist on using the excuse of flights being too short to serve meals!?!]
Bologna airport was a joke. Our 737 and another 737 from BA subsidiary Go were the only aircraft in sight. There were no jet bridges; we were ferried by bus to the terminal.
3. Bologna to London LHR
The aircraft was an Airbus 319 (G-EUPJ), in the new "union flag" colors.
My flight was at 8 am; this time the airport was more alive, with an Air France B 737, Volare A 3210 an Alitalia and Meridana MD80, and some Alitalia Regional Jets. Again, a full breakfast was served on this short hop, and we arrived in to Terminal 1 on time.
I had six hours to spare until my flight at 3pm to Newark, so I went out of the terminal into the spectator gallery . On this day runway 9R was being used for Departures and 9L for arrivals so we had an exciting view of take-offs. An El-Al Boeing 747-200 did a go-around twice, for reasons that were never clear.
4. London LHR to Newark EWR
The aircraft was a Boeing 777-200(G-VIIT). This one was powered by GE Engines, and was in the "Rendezvous" color scheme [the chinese characters].
My eyes dropped when I boarded. The aircraft was spotlessly clean, and was perhaps the most beautifully fitted aircraft I?ve flown in. Again, the aircraft was in the four class configuration, which has the added effect of making you feel less of a "tunnel" environment as the aircraft is sub-divided into so many small zones. In contrast, Virgin?s Economy class on its 747s seems like an endless tube. I had originally been assigned a window seat but as I went to the gate I found out I was bumped to a middle seat- and that too of the middle section. I don?t know how that happened, but in any case Irefused to take that seat, and was upgraded to World Traveller Plus.
The service was identical to World Traveller, but the seats were more comfortable, with their own leg-rests and power points. Food was very good and a plenty (I had the goan curry) and was followed by a snack and even icecream. The crew on this flight were fantastic- as friendly and courteous as just about any I have encountered. My cockpit request was granted, and I got a lovely view from the flight deck. Both pilots had transferred from the 747-400 because they preferred this plane.
We landed at EWR absolutely on time.
All four of my flights were good, and the last one in particular (LHR to EWR on the 777) was one of my favorite!
So Would I fly them again? Absolutely!
And the million dollar question: Which did I prefer: Virgin or British Airways?
Each one had its own plusses but all in all I would have to rate BA over Virgin
Bigger Network: they fly just about everywhere!
Better mileage program.
More comfortable seats
More comfortable and elegant cabins
More types of aircraft
Terminal 4 at Heathrow much nicer than Terminal 3
Better overall inflight service
Better food (quality and quantity)
Better amenity kits, even in Economy