cambrian
Posts: 566
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2003 1:45 am

BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:30 am

As the weather had been so dismal all summer in the UK and I hadn’t had a holiday yet, I decided to take a cruise from Tower Bridge, London, all the way to Barbados. I have been on lots of transatlantic crossings by sea and I have always enjoyed them so much.

Going on a cruise is not everyone’s cup of tea, and the larger ships that seem to dwarf every port that they visit are my idea of hell. There are smaller ships around, and Silversea cruises offer a really excellent product, albeit at a premium price.

As I live in the West End of London, what is easier than taking a 15 minute cab ride to get on a ship that will take me all the way to Barbados? No Heathrow and no hassle.

When Silversea ships come to London, they moor next to HMS Belfast in the very heart of the City. The ship left at 7pm and we enjoyed the spectacle of Tower Bridge opening for us on our journey of just under 4,000 miles to Barbados.

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The Silver Wind would call at Vigo, Lisbon, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Sao Vicente (Cape Verde) en route to Barbados.

Lisbon
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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
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Sao Vicente, Cape Verde Islands
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Our last sight of land for 5 days, leaving Cape Verde to cross the Atlantic to Barbados

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When we were crossing the Atlantic we saw lots of flying fish. One morning I woke up to find that one had landed on my balcony. I am not sure if someone ate this fish, but they do taste nice.

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The cruise lasted for 2 weeks until we arrived in Barbados, where I spent a few days before flying home.

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Ok, finally we get to the aviation part of the trip report…


9th October BA2154 BGI- LGW
Departs Bridgetown 16.40
Arrives London Gatwick 05.45
Boeing 777-200
First Class- Seat 1K


I checked in online the day before at the hotel and chose 1K. I like this seat as it offers a lot of privacy and I find that the noise/ light from the galley and toilet is not too bad.

I had arranged a car from the hotel to Grantley Adams airport. British Airways First passengers can bypass the airport terminal completely and use the private jet centre to check in. This is very convenient and offers a very personalised and hassle free service.

Jet Centre at Barbados
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Upon entering the Jet Centre, my bags were whisked away from me. My boarding card was waiting for me and I was first passenger to arrive for today’s flight. The staff take great care to give excellent service, addressing the passengers by name, and the security check is very efficient, allowing for maximum time in the lounge upstairs. I remembered some of the staff from my previous visits and we spent some time chatting.

The lounge is very spacious for the maximum First cabin load of passengers, and offers good views of the apron.

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Snacks were nothing to write home about, although some excellent sandwiches were served later.

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Virgin, Caribbean Star, Air Canada and American
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Our incoming BA flight from Gatwick arrives
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Soon joined by a Caribbean Airlines 738

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v711/glendore/DSC01308.jpg

I think that it is a real shame that Beewee rebranded into Caribbean Airlines. The new branding was rather hastily applied to the steel drum livery of Beewee.

After a while 4 other passengers arrived at the lounge. Has anyone else noticed the transformation which perfectly normal people seem to undergo upon entering an airline lounge? Suddenly people come over all very posh and develop a sudden interest in the Financial Times. Does this just happen in Barbados, I wonder?

If passengers want to go duty free shopping in the main terminal, they can be bussed there and back to the jet centre. I didn’t bother this time, but some of my fellow passengers did.

At around 16.15 we were called for boarding. We went through customs and immigration at the Jet Centre and board a minibus to be taken to the plane steps.

DHL 727
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So far the process was hassle free. As there were only 6 of us on the bus, I wondered if there would be a light load in First, especially as this is not peak season for the Caribbean in the UK.

I always get a kick out of boarding via steps!

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When I entered the cabin, I realised that the upgrade fairy had been working her magic once more, as the First cabin was entirely full. This seems to happen a lot on the Barbados route. I was greeted by a rather stressed out flight attendant who apologised for not being able to show me to my seat, but she had to stay at the door for security reasons.

I settled into my seat. The First cabin still looks good on BA, although the forthcoming revamp is much needed. I then decided to sit with my travelling companion to enjoy some pre-flight champagne.

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Soon washbags and sleep suits were handed out, along with a list of dvd’s to watch on personal players that were also given out during the flight.

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I think that the quality of the washbag has really gone down recently. Now all you get is the usual eyeshade and socks with a toothbrush and 2 small bottles of Kiehl’s products. There used to be all sorts of goodies in the BA bags, but this is obviously the result of cost cutting.

We were also given the Menu and the Wine List for this evening. I do enjoy having a pre-flight champagne and poring over the menu!

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I returned to my seat for the safety briefing and soon we were pushing back past the VS 744 which would shortly follow us to Gatwick.

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We made the usual powerful take off to the north east, leaving Barbados behind very quickly. We would next make landfall over south west Ireland. I have never taken a flight that leaves so early from Barbados (except for Concorde), so it was quite a novelty to enjoy daylight for the first 45 minutes or so of the trip.

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The Cabin Manager came around to introduce herself to the passengers. At this point I noticed that few people had decided to make up the bed and sleep. As this is a relatively short transatlantic flight and we left Barbados in the afternoon, I find it very hard to sleep on this flight.

Aperitifs were offered with some delicious canapés.
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Then it was time to take dinner orders. I find that the quality of the food and menu choices have improved of late and being in the first row, all of my choices were available.

Tomato and Fennel Soup
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This was really good, and nicely presented, washed down with an excellent Mersault. On this flight all of the wines and champagne were really really cold. There is nothing worse than room temperature white wine or champagne on a flight.


Chicken and Leek Pie
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This was also excellent- but I was surprised that this was the “wellness” option!

I find that a choice of 2 desserts is quite limited in First, but I opted for the Lemon Meringue pie, which did not disappoint.

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Now a few words about the service. Of course it is lovely to be able to fly First Class, and who is complaining! But the service was rather erratic. Other airlines manage to make First class passengers feel that they are experiencing exclusivity and luxury. The BA product does not achieve this, unfortunately.

Wines were not topped up and I had to ask for a refill. In First on other airlines this would simply not happen. Also the IFE can only be described as lamentable. From the outdated tiny screen, to the awkward personal dvd player, it is simply fourth rate. The first dvd player I was given did not work. The flight attendant even suggested that I use my MacBook to play a dvd!

The selection of channels is poor. It is bad enough that there is no on demand, but the selection of films and programming is very uninspiring. This is especially annoying when I know that I am not going to sleep. At one point I ended up watching “Location, Location, Location”! However the audio channels were quite good and the noise cancelling headphones make for good listening quality.

Personal dvd player and coffee
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I settled down to watch a film and enjoy a coffee. The first mug that I was given had a massive chip in it, so I asked for a fresh one. Again, I find gaps in service standards. What has happened to the chocolates that are served with coffee? I wasn’t offered any. Nor was I offered a dessert wine. On Swiss these are offered as normal.

When the meal service was over the lights were dimmed and the crew literally disappeared until breakfast. There was no attempt to hand out water and I even had to ask for a bottle of water.

Now a few words about the seat. When BA introduced the First suite, it was a ground-breaking product. Now it is showing its age and there is going to be a revamp. But as the flight attendant admitted, it won’t be appearing on flights out of Gatwick for many years. I find the seat uncomfortable in most positions and it is certainly not so good for sleeping when compared to the Virgin Upper Class suite. Having said that, I wasn’t going to sleep anyway.

The flight passed quickly enough and as we were over western Ireland, the lights came on, denoting the start of the breakfast service. As I mentioned earlier, the food has improved in BA First and this also extends to the breakfast, which has often seemed like something of an afterthought in the past.

Pancakes with caramelised bananas
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These were really excellent. I also had the smoothie, which was very good.

It was still dark as we flew over Devon on our easterly track into Gatwick. I could see towns such as Exeter and Southampton, still asleep down below.

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The crew prepared the cabin for landing, and gave out details of the Arrivals lounge at the Sofitel, available to First passengers. I have never used this as I tend to want to get home and just go straight to bed.

We had a smooth landing in the dark at Gatwick at 05.32 and soon we arrived on stand. I said goodbye to the crew and made the bleary-eyed trek to immigration and baggage reclaim. For once, First bags actually came off first. Then my holiday was over!

All in all it was a good flight. BA got me back on time and in comfort. There are some inconsistencies in service standards, and to be honest BA’s first class product does not compare with major Asian carriers, or European carriers such as Swiss. But these are minor gripes. It seemed like the crew were also unfamiliar with service standards in First. Is this because the European and long haul fleets have merged at Gatwick?

Thanks for reading my trip report, and any questions or comments are welcome as usual.
 
LAXorLGWonDL
Posts: 99
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 2:39 am

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:03 pm

Nice TR and pics! I always love the Tower Bridge in the evening.  Smile I did not know you could cruise from London to Barbados...something to consider in the future!
Next Up: STR, JFK, ATL, TPA, ANC
 
albird87
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:15 am

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:10 pm

i think you must be the first person i have ever heard that seems to be dissapointed with first on BA!! Not trying to rip you here i just want to know if anybody else has this experience..... Normally people i hear from are praising it but this seems to be the fly in the oinment!!
 
cambrian
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Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2003 1:45 am

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:52 pm

Quoting LAXorLGWonDL (Reply 1):
I did not know you could cruise from London to Barbados...something to consider in the future!

Thanks. Quite a few ships come right into London during the Summer and then do cruises around the British Isles or the Baltic. Most transatlantics to the Caribbean tend to leave from places like Barcelona or Lisbon. This cruise was something of a rarity, which is why I jumped at it.

Quoting Albird87 (Reply 2):
i think you must be the first person i have ever heard that seems to be dissapointed with first on BA!! Not trying to rip you here i just want to know if anybody else has this experience..... Normally people i hear from are praising it but this seems to be the fly in the oinment!!

Actually, I wasn't disappointed, as my expectations were pretty much met, having flown BA in F before. All in all it was a good flight, just not on a par with other carriers like Swiss or Singapore. Also the BA First product is pretty tired and due for a revamp soon. I always find service levels and the attitude of the crew to be something of a lucky dip on BA, but in the end I arrived in one piece, as did my bags, so I don't have a lot to complain about. Also BA out of Gatwick tends to be somewhat below the offering from Heathrow.
 
BFS
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:53 pm

Nice report

With regards to your opinions on inconsistent standards in First, you should be aware that whereas at LHR the crews selected to train for First have been flying for years and are very experienced in the role and in the First service, LGW crews have only been working long-haul for a year and for many, have only been flying 6 months before they are trained to work in First. I believe there are plans in place to select dedicated First crews at LGW - I know many crew are very experienced in working in this cabin and chose to work in it time and time again, whereas others prefer the familiarity of World Traveller and Club World.
 
Genius12
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:52 pm

Good trip report.

I see BA FIRST used the same personal DVD player as AC's Executive First on their non-project XM B763ERs.
 
sq_ek_freak
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 4:48 pm

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:44 pm

Thanks for a great report with nice pictures. I dont know - there's just something about BA crew that I really like. They all look so professional, and I have only had the best experiences with them. I love their uniform - very classy, though I wish the women wore those hats more often...it seems very distinctly British to me! VS crew to me seem a bit more erratic. Maybe this flight was a one off with the stressed out crew trying to deal with a last minute op-up filled cabin?
Keep Discovering
 
Bofredrik
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:53 pm

That is a trip i want to do!
Great report & pics.
 
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OA260
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:27 pm

Hi there , your TR was so interesting to me as I was on Silversea a few years back !!! I had heard that things have changed and Silversea is not as good as it used to be . They did away with the Moet and got a cheaper brand and also got rid of the Bvlgari toiletries!! Also I see that the veranda looks like raised nails on the wooden boards and they look a bit worn?? Was this the case???

I have to say I loved Silversea and it was a real experience for me . Id appreciate your views on it??? Do they still have afternoon tea with a guy playing a piano???

---------------------------------------

Now for the BA bit lol.... I have to say I wouldnt be too happy being brought chipped mugs in F !!! Also not being offered chocolates when its part of the offering is a bit bad. BA should pride itself in attention to every detail. Maybe you just got a one off bad experience. I have never heard a bad BA First class experience.

Anyway thanks for sharing . Great photos

OA260
 
A340600
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:06 pm

Good trip report. Unusual to have a mixed report on BA F, guess you can put the service down to bad luck and the more inexperienced crew at LGW with this cabin compared to LHR. The catering is really getting better too which is excellent,

Sam 

[Edited 2007-10-16 16:08:56]
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
 
bok269
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:22 am

Very nice TR and Pics.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
CO7e7
Posts: 2686
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 3:39 pm

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:42 am

Great Report and amazing pictures.
I really enjoyed the first part.

Thanks for sharing
 
semsem
Posts: 1621
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 1:06 am

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:57 am

Where did you stay in Barbados? Thanks for sharing the Silversea pictures. Is it really such a great cruise line and is it worth what they charge?
 
AirlineBrat
Posts: 483
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 4:03 am

Very nice trip report. The journey across the Atlantic Ocean by ship must have been a great adventure. My grandmother crossed the Atlantic by ship several times when she was little. She most enjoyed the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

The BA First meals looked rather skimpy and uninspiring compared to what I have seen in TR's covering Asian airlines such as CX and MH.
I'm leavin on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again....
 
CV990
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:54 am

Hi!

Excelent report indeed! Great pictures of Lisbon 25th. of April Bridge ( Portuguese Golden Gate!!! ) and also an amazing picture of a Peugeot 404 in Cape Verde Islands!!!
Regards
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
 
cambrian
Posts: 566
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2003 1:45 am

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:03 am

Quoting BFS (Reply 4):
With regards to your opinions on inconsistent standards in First, you should be aware that whereas at LHR the crews selected to train for First have been flying for years and are very experienced in the role and in the First service, LGW crews have only been working long-haul for a year and for many, have only been flying 6 months before they are trained to work in First. I believe there are plans in place to select dedicated First crews at LGW - I know many crew are very experienced in working in this cabin and chose to work in it time and time again, whereas others prefer the familiarity of World Traveller and Club World.

Thanks for the clarification, and I did wonder if the merging of crews from short and long haul fleets had something to do with it. There were some inconsistencies, but overall it was a good flight.

Quoting SQ_EK_freak (Reply 6):
I love their uniform - very classy, though I wish the women wore those hats more often...it seems very distinctly British to me!

Yes, I also like the uniforms. I think that the hats are only worn for VIP flights or PR events. It is a shame as they look very classy and distinctive, and hark back to the days when flying was really special.

Quoting SQ_EK_freak (Reply 6):
VS crew to me seem a bit more erratic.

That is also my experience- very up and down on VS and the food in Upper Class is not too great. Having said that, I much prefer the Upper Class Suite from a comfort/ sleeping perspective.

Quoting SQ_EK_freak (Reply 6):
aybe this flight was a one off with the stressed out crew trying to deal with a last minute op-up filled cabin?

Yes, the upgrade fairy always works wonders on this route, again undermining the exclusivity of the product.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
Hi there , your TR was so interesting to me as I was on Silversea a few years back !!! I had heard that things have changed and Silversea is not as good as it used to be . They did away with the Moet and got a cheaper brand and also got rid of the Bvlgari toiletries!! Also I see that the veranda looks like raised nails on the wooden boards and they look a bit worn?? Was this the case???

I would agree that things are not as good as they used to be. I have been a regular traveller with Silversea since they began operating, and standards have fallen a bit since their heyday. Having said that, it is still a rather special experience. They are using Mumm and Pommery at the moment- both grandes marques, so I have no real problem with that. They started using Acqua di Parma toiletries, which is also a very good brand, but they have gone back to Bulgari now. I actually don't like the Bulgari stuff- it smells like my granny! The Silver Wind is showing its age somewhat and it really cannot compete with the newer, larger Silversea ships. But then again, the larger ships can't dock at Tower Bridge, so they have to go to Greenwich. I hear that the Silver Wind is going to be taken out of service for 6 months, for a full interior refit. It needs it. Silversea has also just bought an Antarctic explorer ship that they are refitting that will take only 120 passengers and they are having another new build ship in 2009. I think that Seabourn has a slight edge over Silversea.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 8):
Now for the BA bit lol.... I have to say I wouldnt be too happy being brought chipped mugs in F !!! Also not being offered chocolates when its part of the offering is a bit bad. BA should pride itself in attention to every detail. Maybe you just got a one off bad experience. I have never heard a bad BA First class experience.

Yes, I wouldn't say that I had a bad experience. In fact the flight met my expectations as BA First is patchy and the product is now old. If I had been travelling on Swiss, then my expectations would have been a lot higher. Also Gatwick is always the poor relation to Heathrow flights.

Quoting A340600 (Reply 9):
Good trip report. Unusual to have a mixed report on BA F, guess you can put the service down to bad luck and the more inexperienced crew at LGW with this cabin compared to LHR. The catering is really getting better too which is excellent,

Yes, I thought that there has been a marked improvement in the catering.

Quoting Semsem (Reply 12):
Where did you stay in Barbados? Thanks for sharing the Silversea pictures. Is it really such a great cruise line and is it worth what they charge?

I stayed at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion. I have never stayed there before but I was very impressed with the hotel, staff and service and it is on a great beach. I am already planning to go back.
Silversea remains one of the top cruise lines. I think that only Seabourn is comparable. Is it worth it? Well, for me what made the trip special was having the opportunity to travel from London to Barbados. Given that everything is included in the fare, I think that it is not such bad value for money, but if you were to take Silversea for the first time, then I would recommend the larger ships (still not very large) for the experience.

Quoting AirlineBrat (Reply 13):
The BA First meals looked rather skimpy and uninspiring compared to what I have seen in TR's covering Asian airlines such as CX and MH.

Of course, the whole BA offering pales in comparison with Asian carriers. Having said that, the food was pretty nice and has actually improved significantly of late.

Quoting CV990 (Reply 14):
Excelent report indeed! Great pictures of Lisbon 25th. of April Bridge ( Portuguese Golden Gate!!! ) and also an amazing picture of a Peugeot 404 in Cape Verde Islands!!!

Thanks. What a beautiful city Lisbon is! We also went to Sintra and Cascais. Portugal is truly blessed with a wonderful climate, natural beauty, and wonderful people! Also where the ship docks in Lisbon, there are great spotting opportunities with planes on approach to Lisbon. What more could anyone want?!
Cape Verde was also an experience. Of course it still has strong links with Portugal but there is high poverty and unemployment. I wonder if the Portuguese miss their colonies? Also what would have happened if Cape Verde had remained part of Portugal- perhaps it would have enjoyed prosperity like Madeira has?
 
pawsleykat
Posts: 1714
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 7:38 pm

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:27 pm

Wow... that certainly looks like an AMAZING trip... one day I'd love to do that....  Smile

Brilliant report, loved the pictures....

Well done

JG
First Class passengers are my favourites. They can't get any further forward without an ATPL.
 
CV990
Posts: 4224
Joined: Sat May 22, 1999 3:49 am

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:17 pm

Hi Cambrian.

Thanks for your words...yes we feel blessed by the weather down here, for example right now we have around 25/26 degrees, a very nice weather for this Fall, quite unusual but at the same time great.  cheerful 
Regarding Portugal missing their colonies, well infact I don't think so, maybe some people that lived there and had to return quickly after the "coup d'etat" on the 25th. of April 1974, unfortunately many people lost all they had at that time. But the big issue was the war in Africa; Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique, the political people here in Portugal wanted to stop that at any price, so that's why Portugal left really fast these colonies. Regarding other ones like Cape Verde, S. Tomé and Principe and East Timor it was a matter of coherence but probably they could have better conditions if Portugal ruled but that was not possible.
Regards
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
 
TuRbUleNc3
Posts: 459
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:52 pm

Very good report. Thankyou!
 
Door5Right
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Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 9:29 pm

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:12 pm

Great report and pics, Mr Cambrian. Most enjoyable.
My soul is in the sky...
 
roseflyer
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Fri Oct 19, 2007 8:56 pm

Thanks for the trip report. I have never had the opportunity to fly BA in first class. I've only flown in Club World, which is what they use to BLR which is where I last flew them.

Out of curiousity, what needs to be improved? The IFE seemed bad. I don't like the portable DVD players at all since there is no where to put them. Most of my flying in first class is on UA or LH, so I'm wonder what BA is up to. They do have a pretty good reputation.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
Comeflywithme
Posts: 249
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:51 pm

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sat Oct 20, 2007 9:51 pm

Nice trip report.

Mostly all the bad reports I have heard in BA FIRST seems to be of the ones that are LGW based and especially the ones to/from the Caribean.BA need to sort that out as it reflects badly on all their routes.
You are correct that their Amenity Kit does seem to be rather sparse considering for an extra few quid they could make it far better although it's nice of them to hand out pyjamas and slippers which you don't always get with some airlines.
The chipped mug is an embarrassment and also the disappearing crew which is rather all too common with most airlines but not in First Class.
Lets hope BA's new First product gets rolled out sooner rather than later as it clearly needs a revamp.
 
InbarD
Posts: 214
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 2:46 pm

RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:28 am

Nice TR. BA First Drooooool, it looks pretty damn awesome. Glad to hear you enjoyed your flight. Thanks for sharing.
 
B747forever
Posts: 12855
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:44 am

Excellent TR. Really amazing

great pics, just loved them.

Would love to pass the Atlantic with a cruise ship, but dont know if I dare to pass it with boat.

Thank you for sharing.
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phatfarmlines
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:08 am

Is it my understanding that BA actually has a separate waiting area for first class pax at BGI? (As opposed to just a lounge). Is this done anywhere else?
 
trintocan
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:51 am

Thanks for this great trip report Cambrian - sailing to Barbados and flying back, certainly a contrast! I liked the photos, especially Cape Verde - it looks so beautiful! The BA product to BGI seems light-years ahead of the services to the rest of the Caribbean - separate First check-in, cocktail bar and the like. I will fly them to POS next month and will compare experiences (I will go in WT and they do not offer First on this route).

From your photos the food in First was amazing. I guess that as a seasoned traveller with many experiences of First you were disappointed with some things not being up to scratch but for me, having flown First only twice ever, it seemed fabulous. Never mind, it is the totality of the experience that counts. Thanks again.

TrinToCan.
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cambrian
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:08 am

Thanks for more of your replies and comments.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 20):
Out of curiousity, what needs to be improved? The IFE seemed bad. I don't like the portable DVD players at all since there is no where to put them. Most of my flying in first class is on UA or LH, so I'm wonder what BA is up to. They do have a pretty good reputation.

Don't get me wrong, it is a good overall product, but the service managed to be both slow and rushed at the same time. I really got the idea that the crew were quite inexperienced with the First product and service levels. BA can't seem to uphold its own standards. Small things like not offering a digestif or chocolates after the meal in First class simply would not happen on LH or LX.

Quoting B747forever (Reply 23):
Excellent TR. Really amazing

great pics, just loved them.

Would love to pass the Atlantic with a cruise ship, but dont know if I dare to pass it with boat.

Thanks! An Atlantic crossing is pretty special, but I don't think that I would attempt it on anything smaller than a cruise ship!

Quoting Phatfarmlines (Reply 24):
Is it my understanding that BA actually has a separate waiting area for first class pax at BGI? (As opposed to just a lounge). Is this done anywhere else?

Yes. As I mentioned in my report, in Barbados, First class passengers can by pass the terminal completely. I was driven to the jet centre, which normally only handles private jets. The lounge is pretty basic (no champagne or hot food), but it does the job, and avoiding the chaos of the evening rush of both scheduled and charter flights back to the UK is well worth it.

Quoting Trintocan (Reply 25):
The BA product to BGI seems light-years ahead of the services to the rest of the Caribbean - separate First check-in, cocktail bar and the like. I will fly them to POS next month and will compare experiences (I will go in WT and they do not offer First on this route).

Hope that you had a good trip by now. BA was light years ahead of BeeWee in many respects, but I do miss seeing the Beewee brand in the Caribbean. On one of my photos you can see the hastily-applied "Caribbean Airlines" decal. I loved the Beewee colours, and I think that the Caribbean Airlines name and branding are so boring and unoriginal, and convey none of the warmth and spirit of the region. How I miss seeing the BW Tristars, with "We are the Caribbean!" proudly emblazoned. IMHO, Caribbean Airlines is just dullsville.

One of the best flights I ever had was in Business class on BW on their 738 between BGI and ANU. The crew were so attentive.

I live near the Beewee office in Berkeley Street in London. It closed down just a couple of weeks back. More cost cutting, I suppose.

Don't forget to post a report from your Trini trip. Shame that there is not a connection with KLM from Cardiff through Amsterdam to POS!
 
ba319-131
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:33 pm

Great stuff as always, nice to see a different mode of gtravel too!

Quoting Cambrian (Thread starter):
The cruise lasted for 2 weeks until we arrived in Barbados, where I spent a few days before flying home.

- Love the sea in that picture, just fantastic!

Whilst looking nice, it does appear BA's First Class is in need of an urgent overhaul, especially now SQ have shown us their Suites!

Regards

Mark
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MadameConcorde
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:41 pm

Thanks for your report. Did you see Concorde in her new museum in Barbados?
I have seen the Silver Star several times here in he harbour in Monte Carlo. She is rated as a Luxury ship if I am right?

The breakfast pancakes with caramelized bananas look good. I make delicious pancakes but I have never thought of caramelized bananas going with them. I will have to give it a try.
There was a better way to fly it was called Concorde
 
trintocan
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Wed Nov 28, 2007 5:27 am

Hi Cambrian, I am in Trinidad right now. I will write the trip report when I return - it will be very long with as many as 7 flights to cover! KL flew to POS between 1938 and 1993, in the end it was using 747-300s to AMS via PBM. Were it still flying to POS it would have been a good option. BW no longer flies to London, it has been replaced by 3 weekly BA services from LGW to BGI and POS. On the days BA does not fly to POS one can take a connecting BW flight to BGI to catch the daily BGI - LGW service (a separate service as I mentioned earlier).

I have visited Concorde in BGI, the experience is awesome and it was well worth it.

TrinToCan.
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APYu
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Fri Nov 30, 2007 12:59 pm



Quoting Trintocan (Reply 25):
will fly them to POS next month and will compare experiences (I will go in WT and they do not offer First on this route).

Do they sell the First Cabin as Club seats on this route then on the days the flight goes with 4 Class equipment? I flew on BA2153 last week which is the LGW - BGI - POS and it had First, but I got off in Barbados. I know on certain days they use the 3 class though with only J, WT+ and WT

Question - Why does a full cabin on board mean the upgrade fairy has been working? There are also First desks in the terminal which the other passengers could have used if they did not want to use the Private Jet terminal or didnt even know of its existence.

I agree they were probably upgrades (on my flight home on Tuesday around 80 were waitlisted!) but they may have just been F pax who had checked in in the main terminal.
We'd like to welcome in particular our Executive Club members and those joining us from our Oneworld alliance partners.
 
trintocan
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Sat Dec 01, 2007 12:39 am

Correction my friends, I flew back on BA yesterday from POS and indeed they used a 4-class machine on the route - and the First seats were available from both POS and BGI, so POS does get First on some days.

TrinToCan.
Hop to it, fly for life!
 
BA747-436
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:06 pm

There are two flights a day out of BGI (on most days). The first is a 4 class machine and the second is a 3. Generally there allot of staff members travelling with the crew on these flights as the crew get 5 days trips out to BGI and other places. If this is the case and the CM is nice then you'll find any seats not taken up by pax in any class are generally used for companions flying with the crew. I can say this as ive done it myself quite a few times. As for BA's First product, I cant say i was overly impressed with it compared to my other jaunts in First on airlines such as Emirates. The service is erratic, the IFE ridiculously dated and the crew are generally not trained to a high enough standard. A dedicated F crew would be a very good idea as service standards are not always followed or even known amongst the newer crews out of Gatwick.
Dan Valentine - Bad Ass MOFO Photographer
 
APYu
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RE: BA First:Barbados- Gatwick (with Pics)

Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:12 am



Quoting BA747-436 (Reply 32):
The first is a 4 class machine and the second is a 3

The second is sometimes a 4 class machine too - The POS service varies from a 3 to a 4 class on certain days.
We'd like to welcome in particular our Executive Club members and those joining us from our Oneworld alliance partners.

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