I thought it were about time that I made the most of the families air miles, so in 2010 I decided to book a trip to LA to visit family. I would be flying out on BA279 from T5, which would be a new experience for me and returning on BA278 10 days later.
I was very keen on flying BA long haul again as I hadn’t flown BA long haul since 2006, in the gap I had experienced airlines such as EVA, AA, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic.
Reg no: G-BNLW
Seat no: 31A
After failing to get an upgrade at check-in I made do with my pre-booked seat 31A, I always try to be near the front of the cabin, especially in Y as the meals tend to run out towards the end of the service!
The trip through security was uneventful and only took around 10 minutes which was very nice and made a change. I got a bite to eat and then thought I would make the journey over to T5 B as the row of 747's looked amazing and I wanted to get some photos. When I got off the train and went up the escalator I could not believe the views I saw. Seeing a 747 from ground level was incredible!
Boarding commenced about 45 minutes before our scheduled departure time. I got taken for additional searches which is abnormal for me as I usually get through with just the mandatory searches.
I went to my seat and sat down, as I was one of the first on (silver executive club) I didn't have to ask anyone to move to allow me to get to my seat. I think I got the short straw as I was sitting next to a man who would barely talk the whole journey, even after I tried to make conversation about the Airliners World magazine he was reading, shame.
After queuing for quite a while, we took off from runway 27L slightly later than scheduled but the captain said she would be able to get us there on time, so it wasn't a big deal.
Take off video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v4P5Jt9JU4
As we neared our cruising altitude the cabin crew started to serve drinks, afterwards they came round for the meal service. I chose to have what appeared to be a British Airways classic, chicken tikka. I had chicken tikka on a long haul BA flight to BKK in 2006. I found this slightly strange, a morning take off with an evening meal but I guessed they were trying to get us into to the West Coast time zone. The food was lovely and set me up for the rest of the flight!
It wasn't until we were over the top of Scotland till the IFE came on after a few attempts of restarting the system. It's strange how some airlines turn the IFE on as soon as the safety briefing is done and others wait until the cruise. I closed my window shade and decided to watch 'About A Boy' but couldn't get into it, so decided to relax listening to my iPod. I was looking on the tracker map and saw we were flying over the edge of Greenland, so I opened my window shade to have a look. The view was incredible, a clear day and some spectacular views which really made the trip that bit more enjoyable.
I went for a walk around the cabin and a toilet stop shortly after we reached Canadian land, I got chatting to one of the female FA's and thought I may as well ask if there was any chance of looking in the cockpit after we had landed. She said that it would be fine and said come and find me at the front galley when everyone disembarks. This was a dream come true, the 747 is the plane of my childhood and to get to have a look in the cockpit would be an amazing experience!
We must have been around 2 hours from LAX when the FA's came round with a snack of a sandwich and more drinks, the sandwich wasn't to my liking but never mind! The crew collected the rubbish and as we were cruising over LAS a voice from the isle said to me 'could you get your stuff and come with me please'. She took me upstairs and sat me in the jump seat at the back of the 747's bump! Incredible! Going upstairs of a 747 in flight was just amazing, the 2 friendly crew members upstairs let me walk around and take some photos and we had a long chat about flying and my future ambitions to become a pilot. They also mentioned that actor William Shatner was on board along with various famous Hollywood movie directors.
The 2 crew members got strapped in, in the middle of the cabin for landing. It was a very strange landing as I didn't have any windows to look out, but it was defiantly worth it. As soon as the breaks were on at the gate I was taken forward to the cockpit and sat down in the jump seat and had a long chat with the pilot's. I asked to take a couple of photos, but my request wasn't accepted as apparently it could be seen as a security threat, I was disappointed after seeing so many photos online of BA 747 cockpits but accepted her decision. I thanked the whole crew and went and got my baggage still on a high from going in the cockpit!
I collected my bags with no problems and queued up to wait for the final security, and guess what. For the second time I was pulled to one side to have my whole baggage checked, wonderful. But I was pleased to see how serious to security was taken at both ends of the flight, good job guys!
Reg no: G-CIVL (One World)
Seat no: 30A
So after a wonderful 10 days in Los Angeles it was time to go home. I checked in without any hassle and once again failed to get an upgrade, although the kind lady at check in did say that she would do what she could to make sure 30B was kept spare, a nice touch!
I must say the Tom Bradley terminal was one of the worst I have ever been to! Very few shops and once you were through security there were only 2 or 3 tiny stores! I always imagined LAX to be this palace considering its location, I was certainly wrong! I wondered around the terminal for a short while and sent a few texts home saying I should be home on time. My disappointed mood soon changed as I saw G-CIVL would be taking me back to LHR, she is one of the few BA 744's with the One World livery, so I was sure to take lots of photos!
While boarding I noticed a significant amount of people on the flight were Danish, and not all seemed to know each other. Maybe this is the easiest way to get to LA via LHR? I was very lucky as the kind check-in member had managed to keep 30B free which gave me much more room and potential to get a good night sleep. After boarding we got away rather quickly, we waited around for a long while on the runway before finally getting going.
Take off video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQb0IJ-GISs
After take off we made a left turn and went all the way round, there were some good views of Long Beach and Downtown LA which was a nice goodbye to California! As we got into our cruise the meal service began, I had a Chinese chicken dish which was very nice. When the meal trays had been taken in I tried to have a sleep and must have only got about half an hour.
As we were cruising there were some fantastic views on show from the sun and the clouds, who needs the IFE?
The flight seemed to go on for ever, so I went to have a chat with a crew member who had been cabin crew on the 747 since 1986, impressive! We flew over British soil and the breakfast service began, there was a muffin and a yogurt which I had both of as I was quite hungry.
We started our decent into LHR, we were coming into land on one of the 27 runways so I thought there would be a chance of good London views, no such luck with typical overcast skies! I could tell we were coming onto 27L with clear views of Twickenham rugby ground and the building with 'Air Canada' on the roof.
Landing video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdZhRgIZhOs
It was a very smooth touchdown, and we then made the short taxi to our gate at T5B. The transit was very short and our bags took no time at all to come. I then went out to meet my family and get a lift home!
In conclusion, I would say that British Airways are still right up there with their service and all the crew seemed to be very friendly. I must say though, however wonderful the 747 is, it was ageing dramatically and compared to the Virgin 747's it looked a lot older in the cabin. The economy product was exactly the same as when I tried it in 2006, including the same blankets and meals, the only difference was that the IFE had been upgraded to on demand. For me, I will always choose British Airways when I can for the air miles, although I will look to try Virgin's new economy product in the coming years.
I hope you have enjoyed my first ever trip report, I hope I have included enough detail because I know the detailed one's are my favourite! Any questions or comments are always welcomed.