Part 1: South American escapades - On BA's Longest flight to Santiago Video Report British Airways - BA251 - London to Santiago - Club World - B787-9
Hello A'netters! Hope you are all well.
Once again, in the UK, for 2019, we had a pretty decent stretch of holidays between Easter and the May Bank holiday. Wanted to make the most of it and hence decided on travelling the world, like we always do, around that time.
We had decided to take around 6-7 days of leave which would equate to around 12-14 days of travelling time. Opened up Google Maps and the glaring omission in our travels was South America.
Did a bit of research and found that BA had 4 weekly flights to Santiago and the timing of the flight was excellent -> a night departure and into Santiago bright and early. They also had availability on the companion voucher. (At the time of writing) This was BA's longest flight at a block time of 14 hr and 40 min! on their latest Dreamliner 787-9! Bring it on!
At the time of booking, I only booked a 1 way ticket as I had no idea of where we were flying back from. My initial idea was to spend 12-13 days across Chile and Peru and fly back from Lima.
After much deliberation we thought Chile and Peru over 2 weeks should be a viable plan. So my next step was to book a 1-way back from Lima. Once again
, I would be spending my birthday in the air! Could not get any better
I shall be breaking this series of reports into the following chunks:
1. BA Club World to Santiago on Boeing 787-9
2. Domestic Chile - Santiago to Punta Arenas and back
3. Chile to Peru - On Sky Airlines
4. Domestic Peru - Lima to Cuzco, Juliaca and back
5. Return back to London (Gatwick) on Shoddy/Disappointing/Hopefully never again Air Europa on B787-8 and B737-800.
Thanks to GC Maps, route for our trip:British Airways - BA251
Route: LHR - SCL
Flight Reg:G-ZBKF; Delivered to BA on Jan 2016
Aircraft Type: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Flight time: 21:55 - 07:30 08:30 (22:14 - 07:20)
Actual flight time: 14 Hr 06 min (To date my longest flight in terms of time and distance)
Distance: 7228 Miles
Load: 118 passengers load. With the load being front heavy. Only ~80 passengers in wtp and wt with the rest in first and CW. Including 7 out of 8 passengers in first.
11th April 2019
Booking details: Used companion voucher. Total of 105000 points (Peak) + Comp voucher + £782 in taxes for 2 Club world tickets.
My Log book: 36th Flight on BA / 2nd flight on Boeing 787-9 / 202nd Total overall flight
I checked in online, exactly at 21:55 the previous day. It was a normal OCI process and it was super easy to do. There were quite a few seats available and the pre-selected seats of 13J and K seemed to be the best option.
Day of the flight was fairly busy drive to the airport but we started earlier than anticipated. Reached the airport by 7 PM.
Heathrow T5 on a Thursday evening
Club World check-in
Bags drop took around 10 minutes which seemed a lot more time than the economy desks as there was hardly any crowd over there. Nevertheless it was efficient and security check was quick too. Air side by 7 20 PM.
Did a bit of duty free shopping and used the walkway to terminal 5B gates. It was a good walk and enjoyed the wind down time.
Airside at T5
Heading towards the B Gates to try out the T5B Galleries Lounge
Hmm, lets walk instead of taking the shuttle
let's keep walking, keep walking..
15 minutes later at T5B Lounge
Reached the lounge by 1930 with enough time to relax before the flight.
The lounge at 5B gates is much quieter than the north and south galleries lounges. It was fairly relaxed and I settled in with a drink and some nibbles.
It was a very relaxing experience at the lounge. We headed to the gates at around 2110 and boarding commenced at 2120 and was on board by 2125.
A much more relaxed ambience at the T5B Galleries Lounge
Food was mediocre, but drinks were plentiful
Pre-boarding snacks and drinks
Not too many departures left for the day
There is our ride to Santiago
Time to board
BA have upped their game on board. The welcome was warm and cordial. Seats had a white company soft duvet and a fluffy pillow waiting for us. The temperature was perfect and just right.
Club world was empty with a lots of vacant seats. The customary champagne and menu card was served. Even the menu card was changed and looked a lot more slick. I commented on it and the friendly flight attendant acknowledged.
We disembarked spot on at 2155. Flight time of 14 hrs and 15 min was announced which meant that this would quite comfortably be my longest flight. The previous best being at 13 hours from Guangzhou.
It was a short taxi and we were airborne by 2215.
As expected, the Dreamliner was silky smooth in its take off.
Warm towels were distributed within 15 minutes after take-off.
My crib for the next 14 hours
Newly introduced fluffy pillows and proper duvets
new menu on board
White Company amenity kits
Reading on board
Trying out the Chat functionality with myself
A good watch
Drinks and food was served within an hour after take-off.
Pre-meal drinks with nuts
The chicken and wild mushroom terrine starter was sublime
This was followed by the succulent beef with vegetables. It was delicious and I licked the plate clean.
Then came the decadent sticky toffee pudding.
All I can say is that BA nailed this dinner service. Sumptuous food with exemplary service. Perhaps a light cabin could've attributed to this experience but regardless it was flawless.
Trays were collected promptly and I proceeded to prepare my bed.
Toilet visit before a nap
Slept fairly decently for around 5 hours and then spent an hour or so speaking to the wonderful cabin crew. There were two lovely ladies and we discussed everything from the new A350 to the usage of air Belgium aircrafts to Dubai. It was very casual and interesting. They were part of the mixed fleet crew. Probably one of the best conversations I have had on a flight.
Bare looking snacks cupboard
Snacking on Coke Zero and posh popcorn
Slept for another 90 minutes or so using the deep sleep music which was very effective. An overall kip time of around 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Breakfast was promptly served which was once again spot on.
Breakfast served 2 hours before landing
The service on this sector was impeccable. Professional, chatty, informal and was the perfect mix of those attributes.
The flight was bumpy in certain places but nothing out of the ordinary.
We landed into foggy Santiago on time. Some gorgeous views of the Andes during approach.
View of the Andes as we approach SCL
Landed on time But a bit of delay to find the gates since the airport were reassigning gated due to the heavy fog.
We were eventually stuck in the aircraft for 60 minutes! And only disembarked at 8 30. There was some delays with getting the remote stand since our original gate had some oil spill. And then they got the wrong type of steps to the aircraft. Fun and games at Santiago.
The newly refurbished First Cabin
Thank you BA for a great flight. Please stock up the snacks cupboard next time
Bussed to the terminal
Once at the terminal building, immigration and baggage was quick(Ish)
Out of the airport by 915. Nearly 2 hours after landing.
Plane spotting at SCL
Duty free after immigration
Queueing for customs
Arrivals at SCL Verdict
This was a solid flight by BA. The timing was perfect since we could get an entire days' worth of work done before winding down for the day.
The crew on this flight were fantastic and had a great time chatting with them and sharing flying related experiences. Food was top notch and the entertainment on board was adequate.
The only slight niggle would be the cabin temperature was a bit too warm and the inadequate amount of snacks in the galley, none of which are deal breakers for me.
Overall had a very memorable experience on this Longest BA flight. Next part of the trip report to be followed soon.
Until then, happy and safe flying, Adios!