BA1329-Flight and service review
I decided to take advantage of the online check-in and was pleasantly surprised. After a few hours of unsuccessful attempts to use the service, the check-in page was finally online and working fine. Looking through the list of available seats, my face lit up when I saw that row 1 was empty. Loving the idea of sitting as close to the front of the aircraft as possible, I nabbed seat 1A, a window seat. Newcastle allows you to print your own boarding pass in order to help BA cut costs once more. I printed two copies out, one as a backup.
At the airport:
I got a lift to the airport from my mate who helped me with the baggage. Check-in was easy and the friendly crew were informative and very pleasant to interact with. My baggage was checked right through to Hong Kong and my boarding pass for HK was also issued. Seat 18B in World Traveller Plus was my pre selected seat. On such a long haul flight, I prefer an aisle seat, despite the extra legroom. When I used to travel with my parents, I took the window seat for takeoff, during the cruise I would take the aisle seat whilst my parents slept, and before landing I retook my window seat for the views!! After clearing the security line, a piece of my hand luggage was taken for a random check. Nice to see that the new security features are working. After inspection, I proceeded to the Cheviot lounge at NCL utilising my priority pass. The lounge is quite acceptable with comfortable seats, a wide range of drinks but a restricted choice of snacks and food. I poured myself a coffee and also took a can of coke and a glass to pass my hour wait. Whilst thinking about what I had taken in my bags etc. I remembered that I’d left my noise cancelling earphones in the house so in a panic, I took a stroll to Dixon’s and bought myself a new pair. It is quite amazing how friendly the staff at both Dixon’s and the lounge were. My flight was called and I headed off to the BA waiting room where I sat and waited once again.
Today’s flight was going to be on an Airbus A319. (Sorry, but I’ve forgotten the registration of the aircraft). I was greeted by very friendly staff, once again, who engaged me in a conversation about where I was going and who also wished my a happy Chinese new year which was a nice touch! I sat in my seat which was quite manageable. I also think that because of the ability to change the front few rows to Club Europe, row 1 has the extra Club Europe legroom therefore the seat felt very spacious albeit narrow and uncomfortable. I am not a big fan of BA’s leather seats. I find that I tend to slip down them and they are unbelievably narrow. (Or I’m unbelievably fat!!!). As the remaining few passengers boarded the bus, I perused the range of magazines nicely put out in front of me. Nothing special but one feature that I find rather interesting is the section in High Life with the pilot’s interview. This month it is the B777 featured.
Taxi was very smooth and takeoff was great. Body pushed back into the seats while powering down the runway. Climb was unusually bumpy and turbulence was causing the bus to move all around the place. When we finally reached cruising altitude, I took a deep breath and dosed off, before being awaken by the horrendous turbulence once again. The crew were again, very friendly and constantly chatting to you.
The service today was the all day deli service which was a nice Chicken, Bacon and tomato sandwich in fatty mayonnaise with a small carton of water and a mini KitKat. Quite nice and I felt it was appropriate for the time of day and the length of the flight. As well as the food, we were served a drink from the bar, of which my choice turned out to be apple juice, a good thirst quencher. After this, the flight seemed to me to last for ages and ages! I tried to dose off but the turbulence kept on knocking me and tossing me around!!
Landing was quite smooth although it took forever to descend and we were also put into a holding pattern just north of LHR so this was frustrating. The cabin temperature was also too warm for my liking. Touchdown on runway 27L and a quick taxi to gate 174 was normal.
The getting off:
I was the 2nd to disembark!!! While waiting for the jetty to attach, the cockpit door opened and I managed to catch a glimpse of the array of switches and screens that the Airbus A319 is dependent on and of course the men who work the bus. The jetty then arrived and attached although a bit rougher than usual, causing the whole aircraft to shudder. The crew then said goodbye and off I went.
This was the part of my journey to which I was not looking forward to, the 5 hour layover. My priority pass enabled me to access the servisair executive lounge in the international departure section of terminal 1. This is where I am writing this trip report to you, making up about half an hour of my 5 hour stop. During this, I grabbed a glass and a bailey’s from the cabinet. The lounge is quite light and fresh, although a bit warm. Not many snacks, once again, but manageable. I also consulted the lounge reception for a recommendation of restaurants. I’ll tell you whether she was right at the end of the report. During this report, I constantly listen to the announcements over the PA calling the passengers of the first HKG flight, BA25, for boarding. I wish I was on this flight!!!
This was relatively chaotic and without any sort of order. First and Club World passengers boarded through a separate aisle although ended up on the same air bridge. Having cleared through the gate I made my final walk in the UK for 2 weeks to the aircraft. I was too tired to see what the aircraft registration was. I was greeted by a nice flight attendant and made my way to the middle of the aircraft to the WT+ section. Passing the First cabin, I took a glimpse of the seat I’ll never sit in! Very nice! Passed through the Club World cabin and took a glance at the very comfortable flat beds. Upon reaching the empty WT+ cabin, I took my seat and a flight attendant took my boarding pass stub and my jacket and hung it up in the wardrobe.
There has been much debate over whether the WT+ seat is worth the extra money. I think I agree with many other people in saying that you are always going to be disappointed if you get on the aircraft and treat it as if it is a business class product. It is best thought of as a premium economy product. I found the seat to be very comfortable and, for a long haul flight, to be definitely worth the extra money. One thing that British Airways must consider though is the quality of the cabin. I was seated in 18B and found that the footrest was broken. In 18A the light wasn’t working. 17A and B both had faulty footrests.
The flight was very comfortable and went by relatively quickly. There were only 5 other people in the WT+ cabin. The whole set of middle seats were empty and I took up seat 17B as there was no one there. This is the seat that I wanted to reserve but it was apparently occupied. This is a seat at the front of the cabin with extra legroom. There is some concern about the toilet being directly in front of you but luckily the toilet here was out of order so I did not get any disturbance. After takeoff, we were served the drinks and then the food. My choice of drink was just a coke and I was also offered a bottle of wine to go with my dinner. I chose the red wine. Dinner options for tonight’s flight were chicken in yellow bean sauce with steamed rice, or sausage and mash. I chose the sausage but when I opened it up, the sides of the mash were all burnt and the gravy was all reduced. The cabin crew must have overcooked it. After dinner, I chose to watch my IFE system. I like the front seats as you can adjust the position of the screen more flexibly. I also switched on 17A’s map and tracked the progress of the flight through that TV. I then retreated to 18A for a nap. I found the cabin temperature to be very hot and even found myself sweating.
Landing in Hong Kong was smooth and completely problem free. I then disembarked and at the end of the air bridge was surprised to find my name on a stand. I asked the hostess why my name was there and she described a problem with the bag that I checked. She said that there had been a problem with the connection of which I thought to be very strange as I had a 5 hour stopover which was more than enough time to get on to the next flight and there was no change of terminal. I went to the counter to find a missing baggage claim and the agent said that my bag was on the BA25 and that it would arrive the next day. It did. I then bought myself some nice clothes and essentials to claim off BA.
BTW, the lounge receptionist recommended an Italian restaurant in terminal 1. I can’t remember the name but it is the one right in the corner of the lounge. I had a very nice Chicken in a red wine sauce. (I was a bit wary of having a white meat with a rich, burgundy sauce but it worked quite well)!
Look out for the return trip soon!
(PS. Sorry there aren’t any pictures, it was a night flight)