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SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:31 pm
by crdaus
This is the third in a series of Trip Reports detailing my flight experiences on a trip to Europe from Australia in July, 2007. My first report SYD-BKK is here New QF 1st Lounge & BA10 SYD-BKK 1st Class (by Crdaus Aug 30 2007 in Trip Reports), and my second report is here TG BKK 1st Lounge & BKK-SIN SQ 1st Class (pics) (by Crdaus Sep 4 2007 in Trip Reports).

This report covers my experience flying BA 1st class from SIN-LHR.

As mentioned in my previous reports, we were travelling on a special BA 1st class companion fare but had to backtrack to SIN after a three day stopover in BKK. After landing at SIN on SQ979, we walked to the new BA/QF 1st class lounge where we had a 3 hour wait before boarding BA16 for London. Thankfully, SQ had checked our luggage through from BKK, so at least we didn’t have to worry about that.

The SIN 1st class lounge is shared by both QF and BA and has been recently re-furbished. I think it is still the same physical space, but has been updated.



I like the colour scheme, but the layout is rather cramped and confusing. It is a long lounge with glass windows down one side overlooking the terminal area. The food and beverages are served at the entry end, while at the opposite end, and rather difficult to find, are the toilets.

Initially, the lounge was rather busy, but things quietened down later in the evening after most of the other BA and QF flights in transit had left. I found the temperature too warm in the lounge.

The food and beverages on offer were good. You can have a sit down meal if you want, but I decided to wait for the on-board experience, and, as you will see later I am glad I did.

Our boarding gate seemed to be miles away from the lounge, so we didn’t waste time getting there when the flight was announced. I can’t recall any fuss or crowds when we approached the gate and on boarding we were warmly greeted by name and escorted to our seats. The BA crew were, once again, incredibly friendly and pleased to see us.

BA16, SIN-LHR, a 777-200, scheduled departure 23:15, scheduled arrival 05:55+1, flight time 13:40, seats 2K and 3K.

As usual, champagne and macadamia nuts were offered as soon as we were seated. Then came the procession of hand-outs including toiletry bag, sleeper suit, and menus. Here is the food menu and wine list:




In no time at all, the plane was taxiing for takeoff, and it wasn’t a long taxi. We seemed to move from the terminal straight onto the nearest runway and immediately took-off! I don’t recall that ever happening before.

The flight left on-time, but soon it was nearly midnight and I had been travelling since 3pm, so I was pleased that cabin service was prompt. As soon as the seat belt sign was extinguished, I changed into my sleeper suit in a miniscule 1st class toilet. I always wait until the plane has taken off before changing, whereas some people do so before the plane even takes off. I have even heard that there have been some pax boarding QF flights already in pyjamas. Tut, tut!!

It was a clear night, and the flight path took us up over Kuala Lumpur where I could clearly see the Petronas Towers all lit up and jewel like. I could tell this was going to be a great flight.

First up were some delicious canapés consisting of a savoury filled puff pastry, a prosciutto covered something, smoked salmon, and a prawn:



Naturally, I washed this down with a nicely chilled glass of Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995.

For starters, I had chosen the green tikka prawns with a mango and coriander salsa:



Mmmm. That was yummy. And the garlic bread was a perfect accompaniment.

I followed this with a salad of fresh leaves with asparagus spears and balsamic vinaigrette dressing:



Most refreshing.

Then came the piece de resistance, the Lobster Thermidor with truffle oil risotto, asparagus, and mushrooms:



I think this is the first time I have had lobster as a main course in 1st class, and it was spectacularly successful. I could actually taste the lobster. The succulent pieces served in a light cream sauce in the shell. The accompanying rice, mushrooms and asparagus added subtle flavours. Delightful!

The glass of Chablis Grand Cru Bougros, Cote Bouguerots, 2004 matched the course perfectly.

To finish this grand meal, I had a dessert of Chocolate and Gner Torte with Mascarpone:



I probably matched this with a small glass of Bonnezeaux 2003, but I can’t remember. Nor can I remember eating after dinner chocolates, although I usually do. I was so sated and tired by this stage – it must have been 2am local - that I didn’t bother with having the bed made up, but just fell asleep and didn’t stir until 2 hours before arrival at Heathrow.

And at about 2 hours before arrival, the attendants come around to those passengers already awake asking for breakfast orders, so I consulted the menu:



To start, I decided on the chilled fruit juice, bircher muesli, and fresh seasonal fruit plate:



To follow, I didn’t feel like the traditional English breakfast but remembered the delicious sandwiches I had on the previous BA flight so I ordered them, together with a cup of tea:



They were somewhat disappointing and not as good as those served on the SYD-BKK sector.

While waiting for the descent into LHR, I took these pictures of the 777 1st class cabin:



I love the cocoon like privacy of the window seats, and the overall spaciousness of the 777 cabin.

It was a nice morning for our arrival at Heathrow, as the following pictures of our descent show:




We arrived pretty much on time, but no T4 gates available so had to wait 20 minutes until a bus was sent. This is the second time I have arrived in a 777 to no available gates at LHR. I suppose T5 will alleviate this when it opens next year? The ground staff positioned the stairs at the second door, so 1st class passengers had to scramble with everyone else onto the bus. A second bus was required but nowhere in sight, so as many people as possible stuffed into the first bus. Then the bus seemed to do a tour of the airport. It must have taken another 20 minutes to reach T4. But we needed to get to T1 for a connecting flight to TXL, so the usual fiddling around with security before boarding another bus to get to T1. This is why I really don’t like LHR and would avoid it if I could, but when travelling Oneworld to and from Australia, it is almost impossible to avoid LHR.

The 1st lounge at T1 was crowded with the morning peak of business travellers to Europe, but at least I got to have a refreshing shower and then enjoy a famous bacon roll!

Conclusion: the BA service from SIN was really quite good. Again the lack of back-up was obvious – in this case the chaos on the ground when de-planing. This was a rather inglorious finish to what had otherwise been a good 1st class service. I don’t know about other travellers, but having to transit Heathrow is now a significant factor in my decisions on which airline to fly and without the discounted ticket and loyalty arrangements, I would have probably gone either SQ or EK because of their connections into Europe. Indeed, after travelling on subsequent sectors with competitively priced business class fares and excellent service on Air Berlin and Spanair (trip reports to be published soon), my future itineraries are likely to contain these carriers as the best way to connect from BA and QF European gateway cities, e.g. FRA rather than LHR.

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 9:31 am
by Ryanair!!!
Hate to say this but somehow, the PCL cabin reminded me of the SQ's JCL on the 777-300ER minus the wooden tones!

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 6:24 am
by ba319-131
Great report, nice selection of pictures too.

Food looks good, well presented too which is most important.

Ground issues are a typical BA problem @ LHR, hopefully T5 will resolve the lack of gates issue.

Look forward to the next TR.

Rgds

Mark

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:42 am
by DFW13L
Enjoyed the photos. The food looks superb! Thanks for sharing.
Matt

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:54 am
by PlymSpotter
You do realise that tomorrow I'm going have to go out to a restaurant to have Lobster Thermidor now? Big grin It was very interesting that you chose to look at the food so closely, after all it's often the most complained about part of flying, however from your pictures BA certainly seem to have hit the nail right on the head, it all looks fantastic!

Many thanks for posting, was an interesting read  Smile


Dan Smile

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:53 am
by crdaus
Quoting Ryanair!!! (Reply 1):
the PCL cabin reminded me of the SQ's JCL on the 777-300ER minus the wooden tones!

HHmmm. The idea of abandoning the Oneworld airlines in favour of SQ is increasingly nagging me, especially with the A380 service now available for booking between SYD and SIN. When QF revise their frequent flyer scheme, it will probably be a copy of SQ which will remove one of the benefits of flying QF. On the other hand, SQ fares are ridiculously high by comparison. Thanks for your feedback.

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 2):

Ground issues are a typical BA problem @ LHR, hopefully T5 will resolve the lack of gates issue

Thanks. I hope you are right.

Quoting DFW13L (Reply 3):
The food looks superb!

Thanks, I enjoyed your trip report about LGW-DFW on AA as well.

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 4):
It was very interesting that you chose to look at the food so closely, after all it's often the most complained about part of flying,

I have discovered that food and beverages on long haul 1st class now sometimes resembles what you get in a good restaurant. It has become something I now really look forward to on a flight. Thanks for your feedback.

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:16 pm
by hunterboy
Hi, interesting report. Next time can you include plane registrations please?

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Sa

Posted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 4:45 pm
by InbarD
Awesome trip report, really enjoyed it. BA first seems to have a wonderful product.

[Edited 2007-09-22 09:46:01]

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 4:56 pm
by B747forever
Really great TR.

The food seems very tasty.

Thank you for sharing.

B747forever.

RE: SIN-LHR BA 777 1st Class (pics): Continuing Saga

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:43 pm
by IDISA
Quoting Crdaus (Thread starter):
This is the second time I have arrived in a 777 to no available gates at LHR.

Same thing happened to me last September, coming back from DEN and still a 777. We landed at about 01.00pm and, after vacating runway, Captain went in on the PA saying that we had no available stand at the moment and to wait some 10 minutes before reaching a remote stand and another 10 minutes for a stair to be placed by groud staff.
Anyway, nice trip report, very interesting. I like BA and their service and is my favourite airline for intercontinental legs.
Regards
IDISA