This all began on Friday, November 29th, a day that will perhaps live in infamy for those British Airways employees involved in mistakenly loading a $20.00 roundtrip fare into the system. With BA’s pricing schemes, any 20.00 fare, regardless of currency, would come as quite a shock. After all, this isn’t Ryanair we’re talking about. Indeed, London to Edinburgh at 20.00UK on BA would have caused jaws to drop from Piccadilly pubs to Tottenham tearooms. In this case however, the mistake was one of far greater magnitude. As published, these fares would allow one to travel from a number of US cities to a wide variety of European destinations for the eye popping price of only $20.00US! The last deal of this magnitude to come down the pike was Russia’s sale of Alaska to the US for a mere 7 million dollars and change back in 1867.
On that fabled Friday, I sat right here at this very same seat in Alaska Airlines' SeaTac Boardroom and casually pulled up FlyerTalk on my laptop. Like a bored fly fisherman on a hot summer day, I lazily cast my pointer towards the Mileage Run forum hoping to reel in a sub $175.00 trans-con for a Spring 2003 mileage run. Hmm… What’s this?!
SEA-HEL $20 RETURN!!!!! On Travelocity NOW.
Is that Helena or Helsinki? Either way, it’s a helluva deal! Had I been in a car instead of on a computer, my tires would have been squealing and smoking as I sped on over to Travelocity to verify the deal. After loading in some potential dates, I quickly went from beady eyed concentration to wide eyed amazement. I just might have the Mileage Run equivalent of a 90 pound King on the line!! Oh My Gawd!!! It’s fer real! Book it, Danno! December 6th!
So it is that I once again sit here in Alaska’s Boardroom, tickets in hand with boarding passes issued, whiling away a couple of hours until it’s time to board my 777-200 to London’s Heathrow Airport. With tax, this ticket priced out to $95.00. I would like to have taken advantage of this deal for a couple of weeks in Europe in March but I’ll be working all month and so must take this trip now. As such, family and friends will be the beneficiaries of Christmas gifts from Finland this year.
And now, on to the Trip Report.
December 6th, 2002
British Airways World Traveler Plus
Seattle – London
777-236 G-YMMI Seat 23K
My flight from Fairbanks arrived in Seattle at about 2:45pm and I wasted no time in heading straightaway to the British Airways counter to check in and most importantly get a decent seat assignment. My efforts to obtain one over the phone had proved futile as BA apparently allows only 60% of the WT+ seats to be pre-assigned. As I had made my reservation on only one week’s notice, no doubt that 60% quota had long since been satisfied.
In any event, my early arrival in Seattle allowed me to be amongst the first to check in for this flight. There was no line at the BA counter when I arrived and I was immediately waved to one of the three agents quite literally waiting to serve World Traveler passengers. Were that all Economy Class check in procedures were so expeditious!
With three hours to spare before flight time, I headed back across the terminal to the C/D Concourses and Alaska’s Boardroom where I whiled away the afternoon drinking cheap beer and writing this report. One new addition to Alaska’s Boardroom snacks that I really enjoy are veggies and dip. They make a nice change from the cheese, crackers and pretzels.
I hopped the Horizon/Northwest shuttle from Gate C2 over to the South Satellite where BA’s flights depart from. Our flight had a new departure time posted of 7:15pm, 45 minutes later than scheduled. Apparently, the aircraft had incurred a lightning strike climbing out of the Heathrow area and so a little extra time was taken in Seattle to inspect the plane and insure that there was no real damage. Sounds like an excellent idea.
I wandered over to the book store to buy the weekend USA Today and check out the football previews (I’m missing two big games this weekend – Broncos vs. Jets and CU vs. Oklahoma) when who should I run into but fellow FTer and Alaskan resident eastwest (EW). Even though he’s a Raiders fan, it was good to see him and find out that we’d be flying together at least as far as London. He was off to Paris from there but as it turned out he was also returning home on Monday so once again we’d meet up on the return flight.
Finally, boarding commenced and we proceeded onboard post haste. The airplane was about two thirds full and as EW was seated one seat ahead of me on the same side, we had no problem effecting a switch to get seats side by side. No pre-flight beverage service was offered, but then this is still an essentially economy class service in this cabin.
British Airways offers four different cabins on its 747 and 777 aircraft – First, Business (Club World), Economy (World Traveler) and World Traveler Plus. World Traveler Plus differs from regular economy in that it offers:
It’s own separate cabin consisting of only 5 rows of seats
The seats are slightly wider and arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration as opposed to the 3-3-3 arrangement found in regular economy.
Legroom is advertised at 38” as opposed to 31” for regular economy.
Otherwise, there’s really not much difference. The meals served are the same as in Economy Class and there’s no pre-flight lounge access.
As we boarded the plane, I was impressed by the size of BA’s Business Class cabin. It was huge! There must’ve been almost 50 seats up there! It also looked full for tonight’s flight. As we entered the World Traveler Plus cabin, our ears were assaulted by screams from not one but two unhappy infants seated in Row 21. Oh boy… Still, the cabin looked relatively spacious by Economy Class standards and the deep blue fabric adorning the seats lent an attractive air to the whole affair. The seats themselves were a bit stiff in my opinion and I wasn’t overly enamored of the winged headrest cushion either as it was just a bit low for me and would not slide up or down. I suspect mine was broken. The seat had three buttons affecting recline, lumbar support and a leg rest. While a 38” pitch is certainly generous by economy class standards, it’s still not really enough to take full advantage of a leg rest unless you’re shorter than 5’0”. A foot rest was available however and appreciated.
I would like to add before anyone might get their knickers in a knot over my comments given my $95.00 roundtrip fare, please bear in mind that if some of my observations aren’t entirely positive, I offer them in the spirit of an objective analysis and comparison of BA’s product to that of other similar products I’ve experienced. Regardless, I am eternally grateful to be traveling on such an incredible fare and thankful that BA chose to honor it. Not all airlines would in similar situations.
Our captain came on over the PA with a warm welcome, apologized for the delay and said we’d make up most of it as we’d have a nice tailwind into London this evening. Flight time was projected at 8 hours 50 minutes and our route of flight would take us across southern British Columbia, over Banff and Calgary, then The Pas and across the middle of the Hudson Bay before shooting out over the Atlantic and heading directly into Heathrow. Cruising altitude was planned for 39000. Well alrighty then!
After a short taxi and a long take off roll, we climbed out along the Puget Sound, affected a nice wide turn over Gig Harbor and pointed our collective noses to the northeast. I reclined my seat a tad and settled in for the long flight. Service began with the drink cart and I ordered a Fuller’s London Pride, described by our Flight Attendant as a darker, bitter beer. EW availed himself of a Grolsch. In lieu of the traditional peanuts, we were offered a packet of tiny breadsticks flavored with Worcester sauce. Not Worcestershire sauce but Worcester sauce. Still, it tasted like Worcestershire sauce to me. They were OK but I’m going to make sure to stock up on some nuts for the return flight. EW on the other hand was quite taken with the breadsticks, even going so far as to say they were the tastiest drink snack he’d ever had. Later in the flight, he asked for some extras and was given a huge bag full of them – at least enough to get him around the world and back.
“Beef or Chicken” were the offerings from the dinner cart and I opted for the chicken. EW had preordered the vegetarian option and his meal was delivered first. It consisted of a small salad, a roll and an entrée dish containing couscous, a serving of what can best be described as a mushroom mash and something that looked an awful lot like refried beans. EW never did figure out what it was but he ate it anyway. His dessert was a couple of slices of cantaloupe – very healthy. My chicken dinner looked every bit as good as it ultimately tasted! My tray contained a small salad of mesclun greens with a tasty vinaigrette dressing, a roll, and the entrée featuring a small but tender breast of chicken accompanied by some kind of corn stuffing and a smattering of green beans. Dessert was a Ghirardelli chocolate square and a slice of cheesecake. Tasty though not quite as substantial as I’ve had on other carriers in years past.
After dinner, I checked out the movie selections. The screens are located in the seatbacks and can be swiveled slightly for better viewing. There were 18 channels offering a good variety of movies, some TV programs and a couple of documentaries. I settled on the latter half of James Bond’s “Goldeneye” before switching to the SkyMap and drifting off to sleep halfway over the Hudson Bay. We were making good time, cruising at over 600 mph and showing just under 6 hours until our arrival into London.
Breakfast was served about an hour and a half out of London. We were just approaching the western shores of Ireland. Unfortunately, heavy cloud cover prevented any view of the Irish coastline – always a welcoming site in the morning sun. Breakfast for me was a tub of blueberry yogurt, a banana muffin, a small fruit plate and a cup of coffee. EW having requested the vegetarian option received a small fruit plate as his appetizer with the main dish being a larger portion of the same fruits. He did not receive a muffin.
As we approached London, our Captain informed us that one of the runways at Heathrow had been temporarily shut down for some reason so we’d be spending the next 20 minutes in a holding pattern. Oh well, at least it was sunny up here. The holding pattern turned out to be closer to 30 minutes and upon landing, we then were placed in a ground based holding pattern a mere 100 yards from our gate. We sat there for a good fifteen minutes and listened to profuse apologies from the flight deck before finally being towed in. At last! But no, apparently there was more confusion at the gate. As many of us had already risen, claimed our carry ons and begun to move forward, EW and I found ourselves in the Club World cabin when the announcement was made that it’d be a further ten minutes before we’d be disembarking. Passengers were once again encouraged to have a seat which allowed us to sample the Club World seating.
The best thing BA’s new Club World seats have got going for them is that they go completely flat. As well, I liked the way everything around the seating area from the TV screen to the tray table were arranged. Very convenient. With the wrap around barriers and fold out dividers, passengers effectively have their own private compartment.
As to the seats themselves however, I found them really quite stiff – hard even. In their flat configuration they no doubt provide a nice firm sleeping surface but I’ve certainly sat in coach seats that felt more comfortable. On a daytime flight, say a westbound trans-Atlantic crossing from London to the US where I weren’t likely to sleep, I think I’d be far more comfortable in United’s Business Class seat.
From a service standpoint, I’d like to acknowledge the superb job from everyone on board the aircraft. The flight attendants working the WT+ cabin were friendly and efficient, gracious in their service and quick to clear trays and bring around requested water and other beverages. The information from the flight deck was thorough and the apologies sincere. Certainly I don’t hold BA accountable for the confusion at and approaching Heathrow. In a word, all of the crew were excellent! Even the passengers, in particular our two infant passengers, were quiet throughout the flight.
Although during the flight we’d made up all but about 10 minutes of our delay out of Seattle, our subsequent delays on approach to and on the ground at Heathrow resulted in our not exiting the aircraft until 1:25pm, almost an hour and a half late. With a scheduled five and a half hour layover in London, I’d hoped to take the Heathrow Express into Paddington Station and have a stroll about the area if nothing else but now that didn’t seem such a prudent idea. EW's connecting flight to Paris left at 2:45pm, fortunately from Terminal 4, so after seeing him off I took the bus over to Terminal 1, grabbed a bite to eat and headed up to the Servisair Lounge.
I have EW to thank for informing me that my membership in Continental’s President’s Club would also gain me admittance to the Servisair lounge. This lounge also serviced Business Class passengers from Finnair, Icelandair and Cyprus Airways along with Diners Club and Priority Club cardholders. The lounge is located upstairs, just above and to the right of BA’s Executive Club lounge. The receptionists checked me in and directed me to the non-smoking side of the lounge. As airport lounges go, this one was pretty good. A decent selection of non alcoholic beverages as well as beers, wines and spirits were offered along with a nice variety of snacks ranging from packaged cookies to chips to mixed nuts and pretzels. I fixed myself a coffee, grabbed a couple of packs of cookies and fired off a few Christmas cards to be mailed later from Helsinki.
December 7th, 2002
British Airways Euro Traveler
London - Helsinki
A319-100 G-EUOA Seat 9A
Boarding for BA 798 to Helsinki was announced over the lounge PA system so I collected my gear and headed out to the second to the farthest gate from the lounge pavilion. At the gate was A319 G-EUOA looking quite fetching in what appeared to be a new coat of paint. The plane practically glowed in the ramp lights, it was so clean and shiny. Of course it bore the latest flowing Union Jack tail markings, a fine looking livery if ever there were one. While I enjoyed the short lived Colors of the World tail art that BA employed through the late Nineties, it was clear from the get go that such flamboyance would never survive British sensibilities for too very long. The present color scheme should serve BA well for the next 10-15 years.
Inside the 319 were 119 seats, all of them upholstered in dark blue leather. The first seven rows are Club Europe, arranged in a 3-2 configuration. This was nothing to get excited about however as what you really had were seven rows of 3-3 seats, but on the right side of the cabin the center seat was designed so that it’s outer edges could be folded down to create a two seat side. Overall, these seats didn’t really look all that much more comfortable than what we were offered back in Economy, though seat pitch was increased to 34” as opposed to 31” in the back. Thankfully, I’d managed to snag an exit row window so I and my row mates enjoyed the best legroom in the plane.
Taxi was short, take off was swift and before long I had a small tray in my lap bearing a fairly large chicken sandwich, a bag of peppered potato crisps and a container of chocolate and vanilla pudding. Very nice. I wolfed it all down with a glass of water and promptly fell asleep until about 10 minutes before landing. The captain announced that the temperature in Helsinki was a chilly –16 degrees. Centigrade. That’s close to zero Fahrenheit and right in my comfort zone for this time of year. It was good to be back in Helsinki!
I know, I know… a lot of people think you’d have to be crazy to travel to Helsinki this time of year. It’s cold, it’s dark… It’s also a friendly and charming place – for me at least – and a wonderful city to simply walk around in. I was quite taken with the parks and many of the older buildings. I do quite enjoy that old European architecture.
Unfortunately, I was unable to reserve space on such short notice for a longer stay so I only had one free day in Helsinki. Still, if anyone had asked me two weeks ago if I’d be interested in a day trip to Europe for only $95.00, I would have said of course!
I’d booked accommodations at Helsinki’s Eurohostel, located just a couple of blocks from the Viking Line’s Katajanokka Terminal. It is an easy 10-15 minute walk from the hostel into the city center but the number 2 and 4 trams both have stops within a block of the hostel as well.
Finnair operates a bus service into downtown Helsinki for a very affordable $4.90 Euros one way. Departures are every 20 minute and 30 minutes later will drop you off at the central downtown train station. From there, it’s easy to connect by tram or bus to most anywhere in the city. I didn’t arrive at the hostel until almost 1:00am and was thankful to have a reservation as it was totally booked this evening. $34.00EU/nt got me a small room offering a single bed, a big table and chair, armoire and a big window which in my case looked out towards the ferry terminal. Shower and toilet facilities are located just down the hall. I’d left Fairbanks Friday morning at 8:10am and it was now 2:00pm Saturday afternoon there. After 30 straight hours of travel, jet lag notwithstanding, I was ready for bed. I slept soundly until 8:30am the next morning.
It’s worth noting the exchange rate is essentially even between the Euro and the US Dollar so from here on I’ll just keep it simple and list any prices as $.
I had a nice breakfast of sliced ham, salami, tomatoes, cucumbers, bread and boiled eggs before heading on into town for a little sightseeing. Snow was falling lightly outside and the temperature was at about 10 degrees Fahrenheit – perfect for a good brisk walk! The downtown looked quite festive with all the Christmas lights and seasonal decorations. The window displays alone were worth the stroll around the downtown district. In Stockmanns, the premier department store in Helsinki, an all girls choir was creating the most beautiful harmonies to a variety of Christmas carols, some of which I recognized and some of which I didn’t. “Silent Night” really sounds very nice sung in Finnish.
One of the main boulevards in Helsinki is called Mannerheimintie. From the downtown, it is just a short walk along this boulevard to the Parliament House and the National Museum. I spent much of the morning in the National Museum. It’s housed in a huge castle like building and displays everything Finnish from prehistoric times to present. It is a fascinating and recommended destination for any visitor. Also recommended based upon my visit last May are the Uspensky Cathedral (As amazing outside as it is inside!) the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Senate Square, all located just a short walk from the downtown district.
Darkness falls early this time of year in Finland and I wanted to get some lunch as well as check out the Russian express train “Repin” to St. Petersburg. It departs Helsinki each day at 3:45pm for the 6 ½ hour journey into St. Petersburg. When I come back here later this spring, I’d like to take that trip and possibly continue aboard “The Tolstoi” into Moscow.
There’s a very nice cafeteria style restaurant in the main Railway Station, and with time running short I headed over there directly for a tasty plate of reindeer in a cream sauce served atop mashed potatoes. After lunch, I hurried down the platform to get a look at the “Repin” which was minutes away from its departure. Here in America, stainless steel zephyrs were certainly pretty trains in their day but I prefer a painted train. The “Repin” is that, sporting five single level cream and navy blue coaches and one dining car. Through the windows the compartments looked warm and inviting. I was particularly impressed by the dining car with heavy drapes at every window and flowers on every table. The glasses and silverware sparkled and I was sorry I couldn’t have stayed longer on this visit or I’d have been on that train tonight for sure!
Later, I visited Stockmann’s department store and walked down Aleksanterinkatu Street also known as “The Christmas Street” for all of its lights and quaint shops. It’s hard to imagine any city being any more festive or attractive at Christmastime.
December 9th, 2002
British Airways Euro Traveler
Helsinki - London
A319-100 G-EUOB Seat 9F
My alarm was set for 5:00am this morning as I’d arranged for the 6:00am airporter taxi out to Helsinki’s Vantaa International Airport. Via taxi, it’s about a half hour journey from downtown and costs $18.00. Normally, I would take the city bus out to the airport and save some money but that would have involved getting up considerably earlier and making my way into the downtown first. At such an early hour, I decided to opt for convenience.
Check in was listed as taking place between counters 204-229. Wow! That’s a lot of counters! Truth be known, I think those counters may have been assigned more than just this flight but regardless there were plenty of agents and my wait was minimal. I found that I’d been pre-assigned seats per my preferences that I’d called in prior to departing Alaska. I was satisfied with the choices but managed a switch to an exit row on this morning’s flight down to London.
For a Monday morning, the airport didn’t seem all that busy. There were no lines at the security checkpoint and immigration formalities were also quickly accomplished. I purchased a cup of Robert’s Coffee – Finland’s answer to Starbucks – and surfed the net. There were plenty of Internet kiosks throughout the airport offering what I thought to be very reasonable prices – $1.00/10 minutes. Just enough time to check e-mail and get the bad news – Jets 19, Broncos 13. Only a month ago, the Broncs were the odds on favorite to represent the AFC in the Superbowl. Now, they probably won’t even make the playoffs. Ah well, life goes on…
Boarding was called about 20 minutes before departure. The flight was only half full so we were all on board and ready to go quite quickly. Unfortunately, ATC Heathrow assigned us a departure window 40 minutes after our scheduled departure. I wonder if this happens often to these morning departures into Heathrow?
Once airborne, little time was wasted in commencing the breakfast service. We were hungry and thirsty and the crew seemed to know it. Breakfast consisted of either a ham or egg salad croissant, a chocolate muffin and a small portion of what appeared to be canned chunks of pineapple and pears. The egg croissant was quite acceptable and the muffin simply delicious. I don’t care for canned fruit so I passed on that. Once again, a stellar effort from the cabin staff.
Overall, my impression of BA’s intra-European economy class services is quite favorable. Granted I’ve only got these two flights to go by but the aircraft have been modern and clean, the crew friendly and efficient and the meals adequate if a bit on the small side. Well done, BA!
British Airways World Traveler Plus
London - Seattle
777-200 G-VIIE Seat 23K
Terminal 4 was packed! Delays were the big problem today and as such lots of people who would ordinarily have been sitting on aircraft were milling about the terminal. Apparently, today marked the first day of some new security procedures being implemented here at Heathrow and thus far it did not appear to be a smooth beginning.
My flight to Seattle was scheduled to leave at 2:05pm. At about 1:00pm the TV monitors indicated it would be leaving from Gate 1B. 2:00pm came and went without any announcements ever being made explaining our delay in boarding. As well, I was supposed to meet eastwest for this return flight but so far he was a no show. I assumed that he had managed to extend his stay in Paris and wasn’t too concerned about it. However, he finally showed up at the gate about 2:00pm breathless and carrying a case of French wines. Apparently his flight got caught up in all the delays and when it finally did arrive and get parked, he’d run straight over to this gate. With the case of wine. Fortunately for him, BA's Paris flights also arrive and depart from Terminal 4. Most of BA’s European services arrive and depart out of Terminal 1. But enough of that. On with the flight.
Boarding commenced at about 2:20pm and involved getting us all onto a fleet of busses for a ride out to our aircraft which was remotely parked. I’ve never seen an airport with so many wide bodied aircraft around. BA dominates of course but there were also plenty of 747s, 777s and Airbuses from most of the world’s great and not so great airlines. I did notice that BA appears to have almost completed their transformation to the Flowing Union Jack colors on their tails. Only the occasional aircraft can now be spotted with any of the old Colors of the World tail art.
We had a short taxi out to the runway and watched as an EL AL 777 and an Air Jamaica A340 took off ahead of us. Our aircraft was powered by GE rather than Rolls Royce Trent engines but the GE’s were certainly up to the task of lifting us quickly and smoothly out of Heathrow.
Flight time was projected at a relatively expeditious 9:00 hours. Our route of flight would initially take us north over Scotland while climbing to 36000 feet. We’d pass about 100 miles south of Iceland and right over the southern tip of Greenland before proceeding to 38000 feet for the journey across Canada. After flying over the northern portion of the Hudson Bay and passing directly over the settlement of Rankin Inlet, we’d overfly Edmonton and Lake Louise before beginning a long and gradual descent in SeaTac about 200 miles out. Arrival was projected to be at 4:17pm, just 18 minutes late. I can live with that…
One of the benefits of sitting in World Traveler Plus is that the economy service starts there. We get the first choice of drinks and meals and so I started this trip off with a couple of Fuller’s London Pride Ales. Grolsch was absent so EW ordered a couple of red wines which didn’t overly excite him. His attempts at coercing one of the Flight Attendants to open one of his bottles of wine met with apologetic but resolute refusal.
EW must have been pleased to see that once again BA had stocked his favorite cocktail snack – the Worcester Sauce flavored bread sticks. I had made it a point to snag a few packs of mixed nuts from the Servisair lounge and offered a pack of these to EW but he’d have none of them as he tore into his Worcester flavored bread sticks like a wild boar into truffles.
The luncheon cart was wheeled through soon after, offering the time honored choices of “Beef or Chicken”. I asked about the beef and was informed that it was “Braised”. Hmmm…. Nah! Gimme da chicken! What I received was like a chicken goulash without the noodles. Chunks of chicken in a flavorful cream sauce were accompanied by a medley of carrots and celery along with what could best be described as a small square of potato quiche. The entrée was accompanied by a shrimp salad served on shredded lettuce with a wedge of lemon. Dessert was a slice of cherry-apple pie with a vanilla cream sauce on the side. Very nice for an economy class dessert. And, over all, very nice for an economy class luncheon.
EW’s veggie meal consisted of a small mesclun salad without dressing. The entrée dish contained basmati rice with a white bean casserole and a serving of ratatouille. A couple florets of steamed broccoli added color and texture to it all though EW felt what it really needed was more flavor. Dessert was a sponge cake soaked in a burgundy colored sauce.
A man in a turban seated just ahead of us requested a vegetarian meal but had not ordered one prior to the flight. The Flight Attendant patiently explained over and over that as BA had no way of knowing this gentleman’s dietary preferences, they hadn’t loaded him a veggie meal. I think there might have been a bit of a language barrier but ultimately the FA talked him into a chicken dinner and offered to see if he could scrounge up some fruit and veggies. Later, he returned with a big plate of fresh fruit and a beautiful salad, both presented on First Class Wedgewood china, no less. Oddly, the man passed on the salad but accepted the fruit. I indicated that I’d be happy to scarf that salad and did. It came with a tiny 10ml. bottle of a rather zesty balsamic olive oil vinaigrette imported from Italy. This certainly looked nice but the portion was ultimately too tiny given the size of the salad.
EW and I were impressed at the effort that the Flight Attendant put out to get the man some food. This kind of service certainly lends credence to BA’s advertising slogan claiming that they’re “The world’s favourite way to fly”. No wonder!
After lunch it was siesta time. I reclined my seat and slept surprisingly soundly for about four hours before waking up over Hudson Bay. It was cloudy however so I nodded off again as we passed over the barren wasteland that is northern Ontario. I awoke a little more than an hour later with the SkyMap indicating that we were over Northern Manitoba whisking along at a sprightly 487 mph whilst battling a fierce 71mph headwind. The air temperature was a numbing –83 degrees Fahrenheit. Recent glaciation has gouged out thousands of lakes in this region and had it been clear they might have looked kinda neat reflecting the late afternoon sun. Unfortunately, the world beneath us remained completely ensconced in clouds. At least it was starting to get sunnier up at our elevation. There were just over 3 hours left in the flight so I decided to stay awake and put in some work on this report because I’d like to post it tonight.
Later in the flight, I desired a coffee and rang the call button. There appeared a flight attendant at my seat within about a half a minute. Very impressive. You don’t suppose these BA lads actually assume they’re supposed to work the entire flight, do you? Lord knows few of their brethren in America take that approach. BA is fast becoming my favourite way to fly!
About an hour and a half out of Seattle, an Afternoon Tea was served. A tray was presented bearing an hermetically sealed selection of three sandwiches offering the following fillings:
Cheddar and Apple Chutney
Chicken Caesar Salad
Egg Salad with Tomato
Also included were a 4 oz smoothie in a sealed container. Though the packaging described it as a smoothie, it was really more like a nectar – but a very tasty nectar. Dessert was a small square of prepackaged chocolate fudge cake.
EW’s vegetarian selection offered a somewhat blander selection of sandwiches filled with:
Mushroom and Coriander
Asparagus, Tomatoes and Parsley
Courgette and Basil
Each sandwich included a tasteless white spread that looked at first like cream cheese but since the meal was advertised as Vegan, that would be a no-no. EW and I pondered over it for a spell but then got distracted by something slightly more scintillating and never did figure out what it was. Some soy based mayonnaise, perhaps?
We descended smoothly through the cloud cover and approached SeaTac from the south. After 9 hours and 2 minutes of flying, we touched down lightly on Runway 16R and taxied through a light rain to our gate at the South Satellite.
My overall impressions of BA’s World Traveler Plus are generally quite good. In particular, the service both on the ground and in the air was impeccable. The WT+ seat is certainly more comfortable than BA’s economy class seat though were I paying the advertised $250.00 each way upgrade for the WT+ seat, the only thing I’d find worth it was the legroom. Otherwise, the seat was not that much more comfortable than many coach seats I’ve sat in. The meals were on the small side but were also surprisingly tasty.