countvis
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Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:16 pm

Escaping Moscow with British Aiways – BA873

Welcome to my first trip report. As a long time reader, I’m glad to contribute here at last. This should serve as a practice trip report for a very special inaugural flight (for me) at the beginning of April. So I apologise in advance about the poor picture quality, as I was using a compact camera on auto mode. I had planned to do a trip report here, however I was surprised to see very few trip reports involving BA and Russia, so I hope this will be of interest to some.

Background

After having had a few fascinating days in Moscow and St Petersburg, I was more than happy to be returning home. However diverse a country Russia is, I had had enough of the yelloe, smelly tap water of St. Petersburg, and the unpleasant food provided at Hotel Cosmos in Moscow.

Having flown into St Petersburg on BA868, travelled to Mosow on the overnight train it was at last time for the return sector on BA 873 Moscow DME to LHR. Scheduled aircraft type was for this sector was the good old 767, a bit more interesting than the A320 on the outbound, and only my second sector on this type.

Airport

I arrived at the new terminal at DME. The building looks quite impressive from the outside, and although operational, did not appear to be finished from the outside. I apologise for the lack of pi8cs on the ground here but was reluctant to bring out the camera with the strict security measures around Russian airports.

Before you could access the check in area, it was necessary to pass through a metal detector, and have all baggage x-rayed. Apparently this is in respins to the bombing at arrivals at DME in January 2011.

Impressions inside were of a smart and modern terminal, with nice big windows even landside of the aircraft. At the BA check in area, the queue moved quickly, and I was invited over to check in at the Club Europe desk by a ‘typical Russian’ i.e. unfriendly agent. Such impressions may be since she had poor English, which is disappointing since she was working for British Airways. I note, that unlike some staff at the check in area, she was not wearing BA uniform, so perhaps she was some sort of contract worker?

It was after check in I discovered there was an hour delay on my flight

Next stop was passport control, where my boarding pass, passport, and exit section of my entry card were carefully scrutinised. Then I proceeded straight to security where my boarding pass and passport were checked a further 2 times in 30 seconds. No queues. Full body scanners were in place, which all passengers go through after passing through the metal detector. Unlike in the UK, the person screening you was sitting in front of you, and called me into the scanner.

Now, this is where all of these security measures are made to look farcical. A fellow passenger had left a bottle of water in his bag. The security agent searched through his bag and found it, but instead of insisting he should throw it away, said he was allowed to keep it, as long as he didn’t bring it on to the plane! Unbelievable, as that completely undermined all the other security measures.

The departures pier was mainly for international flights on foreign carriers. IT was modern and arranged along a couple of stories, very much any modern European airport. There were very big windows, even in the toilets. I visited a café at the end of the pier, where I had the most expensive almond croissant and orange juice of my life for 500 rubbles or £10! At least it was proper orange juice, unlike the synthetic stiff I had been subjected to in the hotel.

The Flight

I has been hopeful that I would get a long haul configured 767 on this flight. Having dilligentlyu been monitoring what aircraft had been flying BA873 on the BASource, I realised I had a pretty good chance of getting one. However the delays which according to BA.com was now 90 minutes, made me concerned that there might be some sort of aircraft substitution. Flightaware.com indicated the flight was to be operated by an A320 to my horror! Fortunately this was not the case, and I was very pleased to see a BA 767-336ER taxiing to the gate.


AN15 by CountVis, on Flickr

It turned out to be G-BNWD, which was I had hoped a long haul configured 767 with Personal IFE. Approaching 22 years of age, this is actually the oldest aircraft I have flown on. This is also a non ER version, along with WC the only non ER configured for long haul.

Loading up for the delayed service to Heathrow as it started to get dark.


AN16 by CountVis, on Flickr

Flight Info

Flight Number: BA 873
Route: Moscow Domodedovo to London Heathrow (DME-LHR)
Aircraft type Boeing 767-336
Registration: G-BNWD
Seat: 37E
ETD: 18:00
Airborne: 19:55
ETA: 18:20
Landed: 19:35 GMT
Scheduled Duration: 4 hours 20
Actual Duration: 4 hours 5 minutes

Unlike for other flights, there was no boarding call whatsoever at any point. So glancing at the departures board, I proceeded to gate no. 4. Unlike the some othe gates, it was enbclosed, and far too small for a fully loaded 767. I wonder how they will cope when BA starts flying long haul configured aircraft (including 747s from March this year.)

I was left with the stub of my boarding pass, and picked up a copy of the infamous Daily Mail at the entrance to the air bridge. Bas 767s have a bad reputation for being a bit long in the tooth, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the aircraft in very good condition on boarding. A friendly crew member directed me to my seat on the penultimate row on the window side of the aircraft.


AN19 by CountVis, on Flickr

A bright green S7 Airbus on the adjacent stand.

AN5 by CountVis, on Flickr

The amended estimated departure time came and went, with nothing from the crew. There some sort of passenger looking through the overhead lockers for a bag. Shortly afterwards the well spoken and professional CSD apologised for the selay, as some passengers were being offloaded. The crew later disclosed that the passengers in question were under the influence of a lot of alcohol! After a security check, the aircraft began the push back. Just as the audio from the safety demonstration came on, it decided to fail, forcing the crew to do a manual safety demonstration.

This took some time to organised, and we were well into the taxi to the runway, passing An12s before they started. The crew were quite rushed, and they were still on their feet when the aircraft had lined on Runway 11L. The CSD then addressed the crew to take their seats quickly as we were ‘lining up on the runway.’ Shortly after the wonderful noise of the RB211s kicked into action, and we were soon airborne.

After 20 minutes there was the introduction speech from the CSD outlining the service on this flight. Club Europe passengers had canapés and dinner, whilst drinks and a hot dinner were also to be provided in Euro Traveller.

Headphones, The Daily Mail and a toothbrush. I was surprised to see the latter on my seat for a relatively short flight.


AN6 by CountVis, on Flickr

The entertainment system still retained this message, and I my suspicions that it had crashed proved to be correct.


AN9 by CountVis, on Flickr

The CSD was on the microphone again, apologising, and said she wqas going to try and reboot the system.

This then appeared on the screen for around 20 minutes.


AN10 by CountVis, on Flickr

And finally the entertainment system decided to work! I was surprised to see full AVOD was available onb this 767. I had expected an archaic loop system, but instead the full version of High Life was available. It had a very extensive selection of recent film releases, television, radio, music even BBC news and surveys. Although it is no Kriss World, it was a very substantial offering which would be more than sufficient on a proper long haul flight.


AN18a by CountVis, on Flickr

Soon, the crew delivered drinks. I was very impressed with the crew, the best I have come across on my 8 sectors with BA. They were courteous, while being friendly and engaging with the passengers, making jokes etc. An example of BA crew at there very best.


AN8 by CountVis, on Flickr

After another 30 minutes, dinner was served. First those who had ordered special meals had their food taken out to them, and the trolley appeared from the back galley. No choice was available, the meal being chicken pasta, with salad and cake with custard. It is nice to see that on Band 4 European flights, BA has kept a proper meal.


AN18 by CountVis, on Flickr

IT may not look great, but this was a superb meal. Very tasty, with enough chicken, and the vegetables being crisp. The side salad was flavoursome, with the tomoto and olive tasting fresh. The cake and custard also tasted very nice too. A very impressive meal on such a flight, I, and also fellow passengers seemed pleased.


AN12 by CountVis, on Flickr

Another drinks run was made during the dinner service, and finally a tea and coffee run.


AN13 by CountVis, on Flickr

All in all, this was a very impressive service on this flight. Friendly crew, good food, good entertainment system and a great aircraft.

The lights remained on for an hour after the meal service only to be turned off when we were 40 minutes from Heathrow.

The winged headrest was better, and provided more support that the one which I had on QF.


AN7 by CountVis, on Flickr

Within a flash the flight was coming towards the end.


AN17 by CountVis, on Flickr

We approached over my home county of Essex, before doing a couple of holds over North London. It was only at this point, I first heard something from the cockpit, who had been surprisingly quiet throughout the flight. We landed on 27L at Heathrow an hour and fifteen minutes late, just in front of a SQ A380.

A relatively short taxi, where we docked at T5C. The transfer shuttle was relatively infrequent, with perhaps a 10 minute wait. Soon we were at the main terminal, where I quickly passed through passport control and collected my bag. The end of a momentous and thoroughly enjoyable trip thanks to BA!

Conclusion

I was very impressed with BA on this flight. The delay was unfortunate, however I didn’t mind an extra 90 minutes at DME, however it is disappointing there was never an explanation for the initial delay. However on all other aspects BA excelled. I was very pleased to get a long haul configured 767, and it is wonderful that BA is upgrading Moscow from a Euro to a long haul route next month, so that flights will always receive a vey solid product.

I hope this trip report has been of interest. I loo; forward to contributing again in April with a very special inaugural flight for me. Next time I will try and take some more photos than this time! I apologise for being so wordy, but I had to make up for the lack of photos somehow!

Comments and even criticisms welcome!
 
palmjet
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:25 pm

Hi there. Thanks for your report. Nice to see a BA report from Moscow. You're right in that there aren't that many reports of BA flights between London and Moscow. Looks like you had a pretty good flight overall. It will be interesting to see how the 744 does on the route!

I was a bit confused about your reference to your aircraft being a non ER version. All of BA's 767s are designated -ER versions.

Thanks for your report. Cheers P-jet
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countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:32 pm

Thanks for your correction palmjet. WD is indeed an ER, I thought otherwise thanks to an inaccuracy on airfleets! Apologies.
 
lukeyboy95
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:21 am

Quoting countvis (Thread starter):
I had planned to do a trip report here, however I was surprised to see very few trip reports involving BA and Russia, so I hope this will be of interest to some.

No, it appears that way, well , it is a sector I have always been interested in, so thanks very much for what was a great first trip report. Well done.

Not sure why so few reports on this sector, most likely people are weary of security and not landing themselves in trouble. Still, we get plenty from Saudi Arabia and places.

Nice to see another solid BA performance. I feel like I might even buy some shares after reading this report. Equipment looked good, meals rather tasty and very glad to see proactive crew. Feel there should have been an explanation, or even refreshment vouchers for what isn't an insignificant delay.

Thanks

Luke
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
lychemsa
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:47 am

BA serve nice meals in Y unlike AA. It's clear they just budget more while the US airlines spend the least possible that is possible,
 
countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:00 am

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Feel there should have been an explanation, or even refreshment vouchers for what isn't an insignificant delay.

I did find that surprising. There was a distinct lack of communication on the ground, with there being no boarding announcements, in stark contrast for the BMI flight to LHR. Even though on the BA website the delay was listed as 90 minutes, the board only ever showed an hour delay.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
Not sure why so few reports on this sector, most likely people are weary of security and not landing themselves in trouble. Still, we get plenty from Saudi Arabia and places.

Photography in Russian airports seems to be a very grey area at Russian airports. There was absolutely no visible police presence, so I was sure there must have been some plain clothed officers wondering about. Having said that, I did see someone pull out a DSLR at one point.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 3):
I feel like I might even buy some shares after reading this report.

Please don't buy shares on the back of this report alone! However unlike some horror stories, I have always had a very good experience with BA, apart from a couple of niggles such as a pathetic breakfast snack on BA365 and a lost bag. Overall I do think they provide a very solid product. However the price of the Moscow flights are very expensive, must be one of their highest yielding routes, which must justify the upgrading of it to the long haul fleet.

Many thanks for your comments.
 
countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 9:07 am

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 4):

BA serve nice meals in Y unlike AA. It's clear they just budget more while the US airlines spend the least possible that is possible,

I was very pleasantly surprised with the food provided by BA's Moscow caterers. Cost cutting has certainly hit the BA catering department as well. Although BA can still provide a Full English Breakfast on their domestic flights, this was the extent of the catering on an early morning flight ex. LYS.


BA 'Breakfast' LYS-LHR BA365 by CountVis, on Flickr

Thanks for your comment!
 
gabrielchew
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:44 am

Nice report, thaks for posting. I flew BA LHR-DME back in 2005 - was an ok flight, but that was before my trip report days!

Quoting countvis (Thread starter):
Bas 767s have a bad reputation for being a bit long in the tooth, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the aircraft in very good condition on boarding

The shorthual planes ARE a mess, but the longhual ones are fairly ok.

Quoting countvis (Thread starter):
And finally the entertainment system decided to work! I was surprised to see full AVOD was available onb this 767. I had expected an archaic loop system, but instead the full version of High Life was available. It had a very extensive selection of recent film releases, television, radio, music even BBC news and surveys. Although it is no Kriss World, it was a very substantial offering which would be more than sufficient on a proper long haul flight.

All the 767 and 747s have AVOD, whislt only part of the 777 fleet do
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countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:17 pm

Thanks a lot for your comment gabrielchew. Do you happen to know the status of the proposed refurbishment of the short haul 767s?
 
lhr380
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:53 pm

Thank you for a great report  

I really need to have a flight on the 767 properly (other then a test flight on the first refurbished one last week) G-BNWW is the first one that has had the refit.

Thanks again for an enjoyable read.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:48 pm

Thanks a lot lhr380.

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 9):
really need to have a flight on the 767 properly (other then a test flight on the first refurbished one last week) G-BNWW is the first one that has had the refit.

Lucky you! I've just seen some photos and WW looks very smart indeed. However I'm surprised such a refurbishment us deemed necessary with the aircraft being so close to retirement. G-BNWN was in just as good condition as the 320 I had on the outbound. A nice new product offering from BA nonetheless.
 
idlewildchild
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:38 am

I miss the BA 767s for JFK-MAN-JFK. Now it's AA with a tired 757. CO owns the route now from EWR and DL during the summer.
 
countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:11 am

Thanks idlewildchild.

Quoting idlewildchild (Reply 11):
I miss the BA 767s for JFK-MAN-JFK.

Yes its a great shame BA couldn't make that route work. Am I correct in thinking BA still flies 767s from LHR into EWR?
 
lhr380
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:07 am

Quoting countvis (Reply 10):

They are going to be ith us for a few years yet because of the 787 delays. Part of the refurbishment was paid for by Boeing I think because of the delays.
(The views on this site are my own and no one elses)
 
lukeyboy95
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:45 am

Quoting countvis (Reply 5):
Please don't buy shares on the back of this report alone! However unlike some horror stories, I have always had a very good experience with BA, apart from a couple of niggles such as a pathetic breakfast snack on BA365 and a lost bag. Overall I do think they provide a very solid product. However the price of the Moscow flights are very expensive, must be one of their highest yielding routes, which must justify the upgrading of it to the long haul fleet.

ha ha, no, you wont have that on your shoulders. Had been planning to for a while, as BA seems to really be getting itself back on its feet. Sure, costcutting here and there, but in line with other carriers. The only ever-present threat is that of strikes, which have in past years, really hampered the business. Oh, and of course, oil prices!
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:05 pm

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 13):
lhr380

That explains the situation considerably. Many thanks.

Quoting lukeyboy95 (Reply 14):
lukeyboy95

I agree entirely with your analysis. The merger with Iberia has put the airline in a stronger position than ever. BA is certainly doing a lot better than AA and AF.
 
akhmad
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:13 pm

Hello countvis,

First of all, welcome on board. Nice to have you among us, trip reporters.  

Good to know you had a pleasant flight with BA. My flights with BA last September were really enjoyable as well. Hospitable crew members and decent on-board service.

Quoting countvis (Thread starter):
So I apologise in advance about the poor picture quality, as I was using a compact camera on auto mode.

No need to apologize. The compact camera has done it nicely.  


Quoting countvis (Thread starter):
Unbelievable, as that completely undermined all the other security measures.

Well, to be honest, I don't think the water bottle be as hazardous as the drunk passengers who got denied boarding.

Quoting countvis (Thread starter):
It is nice to see that on Band 4 European flights, BA has kept a proper meal.

I applaud BA for this move.


Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your further contribution!  

Cheers,
Suryo
Friends forever
 
countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:48 pm

Thanks a for you kind comment Suryo.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 16):
Well, to be honest, I don't think the water bottle be as hazardous as the drunk passengers who got denied boarding.

I agree entirely that security has become excessive. II was just highlighting the different standards I experienced in Russia. If it happened in the UK, the likes of the Daily Mail would be in uproar!

Unfortunately as far as I was aware the drunk passengers weren't denied boarding (for the groundstaff weren't competent enough to do that!) They had to be removed from the aircraft, which caused a delay as the caboin crew had to do an additional security check.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 16):
I applaud BA for this move.

Agree as well here with you. Food is very important for product differentiation.

Quoting akhmad (Reply 16):
Thanks for sharing and looking forward to your further contribution

Thank you again, and my future contributions should be 'connected' with AMS.
 
LX138
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:18 pm

Thanks, good report. The reason for the AVOD was that the long-haul 767's all got a big refurbishment a few years as part of something called 'dusking'. They painted over the plastic cabin panels too to make them look newer.

I don't think I have read a BA 767 trip report where the safety video didn't fail! They really need to get a technician in.
On the shorthaul ones, they still have the overhead CRT monitors, on my last flight the safety video was in black and white and started skipping frames by the end! Terribly out of date  
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MSS658
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:54 pm

Hi countvis

Nice report, good to see a longhaul BA763 on a flight such as DME-LHR! A big improvement above the 320!

Greetings
Marc
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
countvis
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RE: Escaping Moscow With British Aiways – BA873

Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:26 pm

Quoting LX138 (Reply 18):
The reason for the AVOD was that the long-haul 767's all got a big refurbishment a few years as part of something called 'dusking'.

Thanks for your comments LX138 I really was surprised the long haul 767s had such a good product on them, and now there being refurbished again. Thanks for the explanation.

Quoting LX138 (Reply 18):
On the shorthaul ones, they still have the overhead CRT monitors, on my last flight the safety video was in black and white and started skipping frames by the end! Terribly out of date

Certainly could do with replcement. I flew on a QF 767a couple of years ago with CRTs, and they were fine. Clearly maintenance issue.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 19):
Nice report, good to see a longhaul BA763 on a flight such as DME-LHR! A big improvement above the 320!

Thanks Marc. Certainly a massive improvement, I did feel the long haul product was suited to the route, and great to see it will be exclusively operated by long haul aircraft in the 25th of this month.

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