(pics to follow upon my return to US Dec 20)
I decided to visit my family in the Manchester Area (Cheadle Hulme) for a couple of weeks prior to starting a new job. The trip was booked through ba.com for $477.00 return. It was my first time using ba.com so I’ll take a minute to comment on it. Compared to what I’m used to, DL
/AA/CO/NW, I found booking the trip a bit cumbersome. Not really crazy about the layout but got the job done. Once booked, I found the confirmation page very thorough, but a bit busy. Was pretty easy to select my seat and order a special meal. Email confirmations were automatically sent, including when I changed my seat. The confirmation emails were lengthy but ok.
After debating how I’d get to the airport, I decided to save the $60 cab fare from Manhattan and take the NYC MTA (Subway and AirLink) for a total $7. My main bag was heavy at about 55 pounds but I knew there were elevators at the 14th Street stop so that should be ok. I’d only have one staircase to manage, at 1st Avenue “L” Street stop, or so I’d hoped.
The 14th Street elevator coming up from the very deep “L” train tunnel was inoperable. Needless to say, this made me very unhappy. A nice person helped me up the final stairs. Door to door, including 2 subways and the AirTrain to JFK
Terminal 7 was 1 Hour 30 Minutes - not bad, especially for a Saturday.
I had printed my boarding pass online (nice touch BA
) so went, as instructed online, to the middle ticket counter to check my bag. The check-in agent misread my boarding pass thinking I was a London passenger and began telling me where the Terrace Lounge was. When I appeared puzzled but pleased I was getting an upgrade, I asked her why I was being upgraded. She went red in the face, apologized and said, I’m sorry, I thought you were a London passenger, you’re in economy for Manchester. Build up for let down! lol
Security was actually fun. There was a UA
rep with a VIP (actress Polly Bergen) in a wheelchair who said to me, “I’m sorry, I must cut ahead of you.” My response, “Since Polly has been a favorite of mine forever and I love her, it’s no problem.” Polly loved it, turned to me and said, “Aren’t you a sweetheart!” She also told me she’s going to be playing Gina Davis’s Mother in her weekly TV
series about the first female President. Go Polly! Nothing like a celebrity sighting to make a trip fun!
Purchased some duty free items to keep my cousins happy, grabbed some coffee and pound cake. Then I proceeded to Gate 2. The seating at Gate 2 wasn’t adequate for a full 767. Boarding began, after a bit of confusion about how many wheelchair passengers were boarding at 5:20 for the 6:00pm departure. The gate agent forgot to call Club and Elite One World members. Boarding was all at once which I found interesting. Between stopping to get ones duty free at the jetbridge and making an "everyone can board" calling, it somehow worked out ok. OK
, I’m now onboard!
A/C Registration: G-BNWH
A/C Type: 767-300
Seat: 12K (window, may have the seat letter wrong)
Class of Service: World Traveller (the back of the bus)
I had heard this aircraft was the last to be upgraded, due in January, 2006. One can see why! It was incredibly worn - almost to the point you wondered how safe it was. A few examples: My seat reclined (awful pitch, came off with a backache) then pushed me forward; the overhead personal light didn’t work (flight was in total darkness so that really stunk); my tray table was badly cracked and worst of all, the lav (near 2R
door) didn’t close properly – translation, twice I was doing my business and had other passengers push the door open. Can you say embarrassed? There was a long, approximately 3.5 feet of plastic strip that should have shut the door that was hanging into the bathroom like a hazard. I wondered how this aircraft could be going back and worth and no one report this.
I took a couple of pictures of the boarding process and will post them upon my return to the US December 19. (place boarding pic here)
The Captain came on and thanked everyone for boarding early so we could push off a bit early. We pulled away at 1755 and made our way to 31L. We were airborne at 18:26, not bad for an 1800 departure out of JFK
. While we revved up and began our role, I watched a BA744 touch down on 31R - was a fun scene.
We were off the ground by the time we passed Terminal 2, a quick roll for a full 767. We did the required "Canarsie" bank to the left then banked again to the left and made our way over the Long Island Sound. With no PTV or any type of tracking for the rest of the trip and it being a full night trip, I just guessed where we were.
The drinks cart came down the aisle about 30 minutes after takeoff. The small can of coke was ok, but could have done with two. I did, after asking twice, get an American sized portion of ice and a lemon wedge! The small bag of pretzels stunk. Also, the drinks cart was incredibly dirty, sort of consistent with the general shape of the aircraft.
The lacto-vegetarian meal arrived about 20 minutes later. Salad (fresh), balsamic/vinegrette dressing (good), entrée of rigatoni with some kind of tomato sauce and some unidentifiable cheese (really bad), cheese cake dessert (good) and a small bar of Cadbury’s chocolate (very good). Overall the meal, because the entrée was almost uneatable (I managed), was poor. (place pic here)
Three movies were shown but I had to strain my neck to see the TV
screen at the front of the cabin (bad). Movies were a Kurt Russell Disney Flick, some soccer flick (Mexican-american does well at New Castle) and Charlie and his Chocolate Factory. Watched the first two, skipped Charlie, had seen it and by now my back was killing me from straining. Main cabin lights were turned out for about 2 hours. The pre-arrival “continental” breakfast consisted of tea/coffee and a pathetic blueberry muffin. Yuch.
A hard touchdown (both sides though) at 05H45 and an 8 minute taxi to the gate greeted us upon arrival. It was nice to see the lite Condorde upon arrival. Quick hop through immigration and a 30 minute wait for our bags. Met my cousins at 06:30.
Online Booking: 8/10
Online Check-in: 9/10
Airport Check-in: 10/10
Overall rating, 48/70 = 69% (barely passing if 65 is the threshold)
I guess the 69% rating speaks for itself. BA
MUST upgrade this aircraft, it’s truly abysmal. All BA
personnel, throughout, were polite and good. It’s a shame they have to work on such a shoddy aircraft. I did file a complaint upon arrival in hopes they would, at the minimum, fix the lav door. I am a Sky Team member and have been considering, because I come to visit family a couple times a year and the JFK
flight is best for me, becoming a One World guy. Unless something dramatically changes on my return flight on Dec 19, that ain’t gonna happen. CO
service on the EWR
, from aircraft to meal service, is far better, let alone the PTV's!
I'll add the pictures and write my return trip report upon my return. I'm heading to ALC
tomorrow on LS
, will try to do a couple of reports on these trips too.