crdaus
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RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Mon May 28, 2007 7:11 pm

This is the second instalment of my RTW flight. Part 1 is here RTW Part 1: SYD-SFO QF 1st Class (31 Pics) (by Crdaus May 21 2007 in Trip Reports).

After several days attending a conference in San Francisco, it was time to fly to Boston for another conference. Before leaving San Francisco though, I must give a plug for a great place to eat lunch. It is called “Café Mocca” and it is in Maiden Lane just off the west side of Union Square.


Here is a picture taken from the outside tables of the café showing the Westin St Francis in the background through Union Square:



And of my favourite food from Café Mocca;


Shrimp and tortellini salad, and



Warm turkey sandwich with brie.

Café Mocca is owned by an Italian family and they are here year-after-year serving the same great food with the same efficient service. I know whenever I visit San Francisco they will be there and so will my favourite dishes.

Other highlights of my visit to San Francisco included seeing Kathleen Turner in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and dinner at an old favourite restaurant in Berkeley, “Chez Panisse”.

Now for the flight to Boston.

Since I was travelling on a Oneworld frequent flyer ticket which I booked in sectors, i.e. MEL-SYD-SFO, and EWR-LHR-HKG-MEL I had to buy a domestic ticket to go from SFO to BOS. Knowing how terrible and expensive 1st class travel is in the US, especially AA, I decided to buy a UA economy ticket and ensure that I had extra leg room by enrolling in UA economy-plus and allocating my seat, all done using the UA internet booking engine. Well all that worked OK and I got a window seat in row 10. However, things went downhill from this point.

Arriving at the airport early I was confronted by a confusing array of check-in options and chaotic queues. There were airline staff everywhere barking instructions at pax – anything rather than actually doing something manual. Eventually I began to understand what to do and got my boarding pass and waited at a check-in counter until someone came along to tag my suitcase. Then the first problem: the case was overweight. “How did I get this into the US” asked the agent, assuming I had travelled economy from MEL or had not bought anything in San Francisco! In response, I acted dumb (in any case no one ever understands my accent). It worked, so problem solved.

Before boarding the flight, I decided to have some breakfast in one of the larger airside cafes. Despite their menu stating “freshly squeezed” orange juice for $3.50, I was served juice out of a carton, but it still cost $3.50. Anyway, the Eggs Benedict served with Dungeness crab was OK.

Soon I was boarding the flight paying strict attention to priority of boarding and not daring to take more than one piece of carry-on luggage of the specified dimensions. Needless to say I was the only one following the protocol. Mostly it was a free for all on this full flight as crowds of pax swarmed onto the plane with several carry-ons which were then stuffed into overhead lockers. Consequently, I had to place my carry-on under the seat in front of me, thus robbing me of the extra leg-room. I watched with pity as one late boarding pax with an oversized carry-on and seated in a middle seat appealed to a flight attendant (who actually looked like Debbie Reynolds) to help. She just shrugged. I could see this flight was going to be hideous.

Because this was a flight leaving prior to 10am, the food on offer for purchase was bags of nibbles – no fresh sandwiches. I decided not to eat anything and was grateful for having had breakfast before boarding, and that orange juice from a carton started to look good in retrospect.

I didn’t take any pics of the flight because I am trying to forget the whole experience. In summary, I think UA has got a nerve to advertise extra legroom in economy-plus, which it does provide, but then not police the “one carry-on bag per pax in an overhead locker” rule. It turned out that my overhead locker had several carry-ons belonging to a passenger seated across the aisle. It is a pity I wasn’t on the aisle seat because I would have blocked his desperate attempts to be the first off the plane. I am also very critical of UA offering bags of crap for purchase rather than proper food especially on a transcontinental flight of 5 hours.

Anyway, with friends waiting to warmly greet me in Boston, I just plugged in my Bose headphones and iPod and ignored everything else. While in Boston, my friends took me to brunch one Sunday at “Atlantica” in some coastal village. On another occasion, it was to “Bricco” in Hanover Street, in Boston’s north end – the ‘little Italy’ of Boston:




Both restaurants are fabulous.

From Boston to New York, I travelled on Amtrak’s Acela Express and it was a most pleasant 3.5 hour journey. The airline/airport people could do well to travel by train occasionally to see how seamless and calm travel should be.

In New York, I always stay at “The Kitano”:



Conveniently located on 38th and Park Avenue, it is an excellent hotel. You can read my review on tripadvisor.

Manhattan was at its best the few days I was there – sunny but not hot. I made the most of the break from work by going to Broadway shows including “Jersey Boys”, “The Year of Magical Thinking” and “Spamalot”. Vanessa Redgrave’s performance in the second of these was electric.

I also had some memorable dinners at “The Four Seasons”, “Gotham Bar and Grill”, and “Café Gray”. I found that Opentable.com is a handy booking engine for restaurants.

I also went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the newly opened Ancient Roman section, and in particular the Etruscan Chariot, the museum’s ownership of which is disputed by the Italian Government:




My favourite food place in Manhattan:


The Grand Central marketplace. For quality and value, it easily outstrips “Dean and DeLuca” which has become a tourist trap.

A visit to Manhattan would not be complete without at least one shot of the Empire State Building.


This one shot at night.


Union Square.

Looking across the Hudson

from Greenwich village.


The oldest house in Manhattan.

Soon it was time to depart New York. The people at “The Kitano” had booked me a limousine for the journey to EWR. I wasn’t expecting anything quite like this:


A very stretched limo. How I have cursed these when walking around Manhattan! And during peak hour no less. The car took up two lanes just to turn a corner!

About to enter the Lincoln Tunnel:


The drive to EWR took about 70 minutes and I arrived in plenty of time. BA check-in was smooth. A very pleasant woman greeted me and remarked on the long journey I had chosen to get back to MEL. She issued the boarding pass for LHR-MEL as well as EWR-LHR and explained where the 1st class lounge was. In turn, another lady warmly greeted me to the 1st class lounge and suggested dinner before boarding.

Here is the menu for the pre-boarding meal in the 1st class dining room:




I had the following first course:

Roast corn broth with smoked duck, corn lobster celery heart salad and goat’s cheese polenta. Delicious.

For main course, my companion had:

Vineet Bhatia’s prawn masala with khichdi rice, mint chutney and naan.

I had:

Grilled turkey scalopine over warm fingerling potato and spinach salad. Yummy.

Of course, had to sample the cheese:


and the dessert:

Chocolate swirl cheese cake and mocha anglaise.

All this and we haven’t boarded the flight yet!

The EWR 1st class lounge was quite small and crowded with not much refreshment on offer, but this did not matter when you could eat in the Dining Room. In fact, no sooner had I finished the dinner than the boarding call came and I was off to the flight.

BA188, a very modern looking and spacious 777, was scheduled to leave on time at 9:15pm. I was escorted to my seat at 3K and immediately given a handsome toiletry bag and sleeper suit:



Then it was down to champagne (something non-descript) and macadamia nuts before takeoff:


A night time view of Manhattan soon after takeoff from EWR:


After takeoff, Champagne Perrier Jouet (Belle Epoque 1999) was served with a selection of canapés:

Fried coconut covered shrimp, asparagus spear in filo pastry, and smoked salmon.

As I sipped the champagne and nibbled on the savouries, the ghastly UA flight long forgotten, I contemplated the following menu and wine list:



For first course, I opted for the smoked salmon and crab terrine on seaweed salad with wasabi dressing:


This was an excellent beginning with lots of flavour.

Main course was lobster salad with warm sesame chicken, couscous-filled red pepper and coriander dressing:


Again, a very tasty dish although the chicken was too dry.

Finally, who can resist New York cheese cake with fresh berries?


Yum!

On such a short flight of about 6 hours, there isn’t much time for sleep and certainly no time for watching movies which is just as well since the screens on this 777 are very small.


(picture taken about an hour from LHR).

After a few hours sleep, it was time for breakfast. Since I had eaten far too much a few hours earlier with two dinners – one pre-flight at EWR and one on-board – I had a healthy breakfast:


Orange juice and fresh fruit.



and cappuccino of course.

Finally, a couple of shots as we came into land at LHR.
.

The service throughout this flight was beyond excellent. The BA crew were amazing – very attentive and friendly, always professional. Together with the BA ground staff at EWR, I was balled over. I have flown with BA in the past on long sectors, LHR-MIA during the catering strike being the last time, and I have never experienced such magnificent service. It has completely altered my opinion of the airline, so much so that I am contemplating changing my forthcoming travel plans in July to incorporate more BA sectors. I especially like their 777. It is such a comfortable and spacious aircraft (at least in 1st class) and leaves the QF 744’s well behind. QF needs their A380’s urgently.

On landing at LHR, I had a couple of hours to kill before boarding QF30 for MEL via HKG. I spent this in the Concorde lounge in Terminal 4. But more about that in my next instalment: RTW Part 3.

Thanks for reading.
 
Flyboy81
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Mon May 28, 2007 8:09 pm

Wow fantastic trip report! That's an amazing picture of Manhattan and the food looks delicious.
 
767747
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Mon May 28, 2007 9:19 pm

Great report and pictures!! Looking forward to Part 3.

767747
I love to fly!
 
CXtra
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Mon May 28, 2007 10:27 pm

Thanks for writing up and snapping your trip! I'm enjoying browsing all your reports here. BA and QF F really seem to give the likes of SQ and CX a run for their money.. doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference to be had between them.. your thoughts??
Cathay Pacific, Now you're really flying
 
triple7man
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Mon May 28, 2007 11:35 pm

Thank you for your report. So you get pre departure dinner in the lounge and another dinner on board? Wow!
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
semsem
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 12:44 am

I am confused. You are allowed a dinner in the lounge and again a 2nd dinner on the plane? Great pictures.
 
ba319-131
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 1:13 am

Great report!

Love the pic's of NYC, very nice indeed, love that city.

The UA sector was interesting, made me smile whilst reading that Smile

BA seemed just superb on this short flight, good to see you enjoyed the flight.

I can't believe you dined before the flight and then ate on the flight! - Were you feeling rather full after? I know I would have been!

Look forward to part 3.

Regards

Mark
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ANITIX87
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 3:37 am

Must be nice to be rich, hahahaha. And having miles doesn't hurt, either. I can't wait until I can fly Business class on my flights without feeling guilty about the price, lol.

Great report. Looking forward to the final leg.

TIS
www.stellaryear.com: Canon EOS 50D, Canon EOS 5DMkII, Sigma 50mm 1.4, Canon 24-70 2.8L II, Canon 100mm 2.8L, Canon 100-4
 
jaysit
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 4:35 am

Great pictures!

You sure do have a healthy appetite!!!
Atheism is Myth Understood.
 
crdaus
Topic Author
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 7:18 am

Quoting Cxtra (Reply 3):
BA and QF F really seem to give the likes of SQ and CX a run for their money.. doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference to be had between them.. your thoughts??

After this trip, I consider QF and BA to be equal as far as 1st class. I am very pleased that the standards have been raised. I noticed a significant improvement a couple of years ago in QF, but now BA is also up there. There are big improvements everywhere: cabin comfort, food and beverages, and especially staff service both in the air and on the ground. The BA and QF airline staff are really pleased to see you, are happy to chat, offer suggestions, and nothing is too much trouble. Very welcoming indeed. The only thing letting QF down now is there aging 744's and the tired fitout. Of course this would have been replaced by now had the A380's been delivered on time.....

The experiece has convinced me to alter plans for my next trip in July when I am going on holidays to Europe for a month and am actually paying for 1st class. I had 5 itineraries booked with various airlines: EY, EK, SQ, QF/LX, and CX, but have now decided even at extra cost to travel on another RTW Oneworld ticket with BA, CX, and QF.

Quoting Triple7man (Reply 4):
So you get pre departure dinner in the lounge and another dinner on board?



Quoting Semsem (Reply 5):
I am confused. You are allowed a dinner in the lounge and again a 2nd dinner on the plane?



Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 6):
I can't believe you dined before the flight and then ate on the flight! - Were you feeling rather full after?



Quoting Jaysit (Reply 8):
You sure do have a healthy appetite!!!

I was being rather indulgent eating two dinners. I wasn't expecting to be offered another dinner on board, but couldn't resist. Also, it had been a long day in New York and I hadn't eaten much so I was hungry on arrival at EWR and there wasn't much on offer in the lounge which was also crowded, so I went into the dining room. I was feeling full later so that is why I didn't have much for breakfast. I don't think the airlines mind feeding you twice. As far as they are concerned you can eat non stop if you want. And I break all the rules about long haul travel in respect to avoiding jet lag - I eat and drink to excess and sleep when I feel like it - and this works for me. I didn't have the slightest jet lag when I arrived back in MEL after 32 hours elapsed including 27 hours of flying!
 
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alaskaqantas
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 7:21 am

Great report!
The issues with united sound like the usual deal. I think if I decide to fly BA first class anytime soon that I will make sure to jump on a 747, as the PTV is tiny on the 777.

Can't wait for the 3rd installment
~Cheers-
~~Kyle H.
to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
 
tbear815
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 10:12 am

I am almost embarrassed about UA's service. US carriers have a lot to learn and do to catch up with many foreign carriers. As usual, your TR is fantastic. From your reports and others, it seems BA has come a long way in their approach to the First Cabin. QF looks excellent as well. First impressions are lasting - from check-in, through lounges, and boarding. Even both airlines' websites are beautifully done. Looking at the First experience with both QF and BA is extremely impressive.

I certainly appreciate your attention to detail regarding inflight service, cuisine, and amenities. There are many on this forum who write excellent, detailed reports. These should be guidance to others. Most A.netters are very inquisitive about airlines - obviously. And many live vicariously through these reports. They also educate fellow A.netters. Learning about various cultures, cuisine, and attitude is a hallmark of enjoyable travel. In many instances, flying different airlines is a prelude to new destinations, experiences, and adventures.

Thanks so very much for sharing your travel experiences. You show great knowledge and appreciation of the finer things life has to offer. My hat is off to you, my friend. Again, job well done!!

Rod  highfive 
 
Lu
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 10:59 am

No words describing this report except one"AMAZING"
 
MaverickM11
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 3:06 pm

Quoting Crdaus (Thread starter):
While in Boston, my friends took me to brunch one Sunday at “Atlantica” in some coastal village.

It's in Cohasset, and has a beautiful view but the food is hit and miss--hopefully "hit" in your case. I was just there at the beginning of May for a memorial service. Small world Smile
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
B747forever
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Tue May 29, 2007 3:21 pm

Really good TR and pics.

The food looks very delicious.

Nice that you liked BA. They are really good. Hope you will enjoy them more.

Looking forward for part 3
Work Hard, Fly Right
 
buck3y3nut
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed May 30, 2007 2:33 am

wow... excellent trip report...
 
StefanPAD
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed May 30, 2007 3:00 am

What an amazing TR!!!

I see, you know how to enjoy the life. Thanks for your hints like opentable.com

Looking forward to your final leg.

Regards,
StefanPAD
 
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fbgdavidson
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed May 30, 2007 6:54 am

More great stuff!  thumbsup  I like the dining recommendations and city guides.

For those asking about the pre-flight dining it is primarily designed to allow you to eat before you board the plane then sleep onboard. In Club World the service is pared back quite a bit if you are on a Sleeper Service flight, however in First you get a meal on the ground and full service in the air. Personally I think it should be this way for both F & J, it isn't always possible to get to the airport in time to eat before the flight (that's why F & J have such short minimum check in times, right?  Wink) I believe BA did a lot of research before rolling out the Sleeper Service flights, with Snooze Zones mooted but it was decided to not follow through based on customer research.

Compare Sleeper and non-Sleeper flight from the same route: RIC-IAD-LHR:UA/BA Club World Sleeper Service (Pics) (by Fbgdavidson Dec 27 2005 in Trip Reports) BA293/292 Club World - LHR-IAD-LHR (with Pictures) (by Fbgdavidson Apr 4 2005 in Trip Reports)

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 10):
I think if I decide to fly BA first class anytime soon that I will make sure to jump on a 747, as the PTV is tiny on the 777.

It isn't that big of a deal...the normal screen isn't much bigger and if you do have the small screens you'll get a personal DVD player. It's a bit of a bodge job but it works to plug the gap. Besides not all the 777s have the small PTVs.

I rather like the 777 up front, it feels more spacious than the 747 where I think taking two or four seats out of the cabin would really help. In the 777 the 13 or 14 seats feels just about right. Of course being in the very front of the aircraft on the 747 has some advantages. Next to no visual traffic if in rows 1 or 2 for example. If you want to choose the 747 over the 777 then that's fine, just don't do it over a PTV!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
crdaus
Topic Author
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed May 30, 2007 4:32 pm

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 17):
I rather like the 777 up front, it feels more spacious than the 747 where I think taking two or four seats out of the cabin would really help. In the 777 the 13 or 14 seats feels just about right

Thanks for your comments. I agree with you about the BA 777. It is very spacious being a wider cabin than the equivalent in a 744, and the ceiling seems higher and the overhead lockers less obtrusive. The herring bone design of the seat configuration is much better than in QF 1st. The 777 seems more effortless aerodynamically than a 744, although the roar of its engines are more noticeable on takeoff. Given a choice I would rather fly in a 777 than a 744.
 
SASDC8
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:37 pm

Thanks for a really nice report with great pictures  Smile

Your TR's are among the very best at A-net, so keep them coming.

Stein
2-3-2 is NOT a premium configuration
 
BFS
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:35 pm

Quoting Alaskaqantas (Reply 10):
The issues with united sound like the usual deal. I think if I decide to fly BA first class anytime soon that I will make sure to jump on a 747, as the PTV is tiny on the 777.

Yea, they are pretty small on the GE powered 4-class aircraft, although I understand they will be upgraded with the Club World refit. Until then, remember that First passengers have personal DVD players with quite a selection of DVDs to choose from.
 
DALelite
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed Jun 20, 2007 5:55 am

Your TR is taking me back to wonderful times spent in San Fransico, Boston and Manhattan. Many thanks for pointing out Restaurants and the Grand Central Market. They all seem very promising.
The pictures you have taken also were great. I liked the pic the most saying "Weawaken,Hoboken" taken on the Jersey Turnpike. I used to live in Hoboken years ago.

The menu from the BA First Class Dining Room sounds jet very superb!!
But i am positive that i've could'nt eat another meal after that.

Once more , outstanding TR: DALelite
They loved to fly and it showed..
 
EXAAUADL
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:12 am

My stomach is about to burst just reading this TR...
 
LH423
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:43 am

Quoting Crdaus (Thread starter):
While in Boston, my friends took me to brunch one Sunday at “Atlantica” in some coastal village

I grew up in that "coastal village". As Maverick said, you were in Cohasset. The restaurant has a rather storied past (many restaurants have been there over the years) and though I haven't been to that town in a few years and it's been several more years on top that I've eaten at that restaurant, I'm glad to enjoyed. As Maverick said, it is a very small world.

Great report. Glad you enjoyed your flights on BA.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
bastew
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RE: RTW Part 2: EWR-LHR BA 1st Class (many Pics)

Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:52 pm

Quoting Crdaus (Thread starter):
On such a short flight of about 6 hours, there isn’t much time for sleep and certainly no time for watching movies which is just as well since the screens on this 777 are very small.

great report!

yes, you were on one of the few 777's we have (18?? - most of which are LGW based) that use an older system manufactured by (a now bankrupt and dissolved) GMIS. This system is restricted to only 12 channels and the screens are a lot smaller than those used on our other aircraft which are maufactured my rockwell collins.

to help alleviate this small selection (and until the aircraft are AVOD installed) instead of the 12 channels playing 'on a loop' (ie one movie per channel, repeated) both inbound and outbound films will be played on each sector, increasing the choice to 24 channels. so, on a flight from EWR-LHR first the EWR-LHR film will play on channel 1 and once that has finished the LHR-EWR choice will play....if that makes sense? lol

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