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Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:43 am

Hello.

This is my first post here and my first trip report at airliners.net. This trip took place in Feburary this year and this part covers the booking process and the first flight, BA1. The second part, which I shall post soon will cover the hotel stays, the Amtrak trip between New York and Chicago and also the flight home from Chicago.

Introduction

It was June 2010 and my fiancé and I had been discussing our holiday plans for later in 2010 when she asked me what I wanted to do for my 30th in February 2011. For her 30th just 6 months earlier we had gone to NYC for 5 nights so the options were wide open!

We worked out that we could realistically take a week off work but felt that Asia was just a bit far away and South America we wanted to visit, but with more time. In the end it came down to Europe or North America.

We’ve been to the West Coast and visited NYC a number of times but we had always fancied Chicago so that was identified as an early runner. However, as my favourite sport is ice hockey my 30th seemed a good excuse to head back to The Garden and so the trip was now beginning to take shape that involved splitting a week between New York and Chicago.

Making the Booking

The intention was to make use of an Amex 2-4-1 voucher and fly business class to New York or Chicago and back from the other.

We had flown every class with BA (albeit not down back for 5 years) but had never flown the London City to New York route, something I was keen to try out and one of my main reasons for including New York in the trip. It was also an opportunity to get boarding pass with BA1.

We were able to get two seats on BA1 on the day we wanted and as we couldn’t get Club World seats coming back from Chicago we would have to slum it in First. Oh the hardship! Actually I’d have preferred CW (25,000 miles less!) but such is life. As we were returning from a different airport I had to call and make the booking, all of which was done with ease and seats selected thanks to my fiancés Silver status.

The next job was to get us from New York to Chicago. There were ample flights throughout the day to Chicago with a variety of airlines. The alternative was to travel with Amtrak on the overnight train which departs New York at 4pm and arrives into Chicago at 10am the following morning.

Whilst the fight would have been quicker, it meant going back to the airport, etc and would only give us a small amount of time more in Chicago or New York given the timing of the trains. The train also worked out considerably cheaper than flying by the time you take into account air fares, transport to/from airport, additional nights hotel and meals. Travelling by train would also be a more relaxed experience and would let us see other parts of the country.

We booked our train tickets 8 months in advance and got the cheapest fare, $86 each for our coach ticket and $188 for the accommodation upgrade which was a Viewliner Roomette that included a toilet and sink but no private shower. The cost of the accommodation also included our meals (dinner and breakfast) and drinks, with the exception of alcohol.

As for hotels we decided to try something a bit different in New York and opted for the small Library Hotel. My fiancé wanted a view over the lake in Chicago so we went for the W Lakeshore.

BA1
London City - New York JFK
Friday 18 February 2011


So the day had finally arrived and in less than 5 hours we would be walking up the steps to enter the A318 that would be taking us to the Big Apple on BA1.

We woke up relatively early and my fiancé cooked a lovely breakfast before doing some last minute packing prior to starting our journey to London City Airport.



From my fiance's flat in London it would take us around an hour to get from Clapham Junction to LCY by public transport (which was our preferred option for this trip). First up was the train to Waterloo where we would take the Jubilee Line to Canning Town and finally the DLR on the London City. We would have gone via Bank had there not be major works taking place rendering the escalators and lifts out of order.



The DLR train which we joined at Canning Town was very full with passengers heading towards City Airport, many sporting top tier frequent flyer cards and/or business class luggage tags.

We arrived at City Airport and made our way down the escalator towards the main entrance.

Upon reaching the front door to the airport we approached BA’s dedicated New York check-in desk where the check-in staff printed our boarding passes, tagged our bags to JFK and wheeled our cases away. Overall we found this an extremely efficient and friendly service.



We strolled into the airport terminal and walked past the BA check-in desks where we could see our bags being taken away.

Next stop was the London City security area which is notoriously famous for being slow (although better than it was). I had read/heard that they provided a dedicated security line for the New York service to enable the late check-in of 15 minutes for the trans-atlantic service. As we were there 90 minutes before departure I wasn’t sure if the dedicated line would apply.

Approaching the security entrance we handed over our boarding passes which the man took one look at, scanned and at the same time said "So you're my New York passengers" very clearly and quite loudly for all to hear! We were then directed to an empty security line and staff manning that area we told we were for New York. Needless to say security was quick!

With the time now approaching 11.30 my fiance wished to do a little magazine shopping for the flight before we proceeded to Gate 24 which was now showing as open.



At the bottom of the stairs our boarding passes were checked and we were given US Customs Forms which we had to complete prior to our arrival in Shannon.

At this point there were 11 other passengers in the lounge, some of whom knew each other, and so we found two empty seats with a table beside them and sat down.

There was a selection of drinks, fruit and crisps available in the lounge. Whilst it in no way compares to the offer at LHR it is a different product and I don’t believe it merits a bigger selection. I doubt many turn up 2 hours in advance at LCY to make use of the lounge facilities and to relax!

I got us each a nice brew each and helped myself to some fruit whilst we completed the customs forms.

Boarding was announced at 12.30 and everyone was invited to board their leisure. A couple of passengers crossed the tarmac straight away whilst others finished up phone calls or packed away their papers before heading out to the aircraft. We finished our cuppa and then strolled out to the plane when I could see no queue on the steps.

This was the final BA cabin (other than the new First product) that we had to experience and I was very much looking forward to stepping on to such a small plane with only 32 seats.



Wow - what a fantastic plane!



We were welcomed on board by the Gatwick based, Mixed Fleet crew who were very friendly crew and directed to our seats, 2A and 2B. Pillows and blankets were on our seats which we put in the overhead lockers together with our bags. Coat hangers were waiting for our jackets which were promptly placed in the cabinet at the front of the plane.



All 15 passengers were on board by 12.40pm and we left the stand at 12.50pm making our way to the runway. Take off was surreal – very short and powerful and before we knew it we were up and through the clouds that were covering London.

The flight time to Shannon was 1 hour and 10 minutes during which time we would be served a starter, a drink and our orders taken from lunch en-route to New York.

Crew were quickly into service and during the flight to Shannon we managed several glasses of champagne and the duck salad on the short hop to Shannon. The internet sign went off at 10,000 sq ft people began reading emails, etc.



We landed in Shannon shortly after 2pm and were led through the terminal where we arrived at the entrance to immigration. For those of us with checked bags, 6 out of 15 passengers, there was a holding area where we had to wait until they had carried out the necessary work before we could proceed.



Once we were given the all-clear to proceed there was a quick security check and while laptops and liquids could remain in our bags, shoes had to be removed. We then made our way to Customs and Immigration where there were 3 counters open for 6 passengers and it didn’t take long!

We had to identify our bags and then our passports were stamped and we were back at the gate area waiting for final on-board preparations to take place before we could re-board.

The entire process was carried out very effectively and we were back on board within 30 minutes ready for take off at 2.40pm.

While lunch was being prepared the media players were provided and set-up. Whilst it is not the full selection of films that you would get from LHR it was more than enough to keep me occupied for a few hours!



A nice salad to start with followed by the fillet which was fantastic and very well cooked. No complaints with that or the chocolate pudding. All washed down with some beer.



Following lunch the other half watched a film whilst dozing whilst I had another beer and continued to watch more movies whilst having the odd chat here and there with the very friendly cabin crew.

Afternoon tea was served before we arrived in NYC and I opted for the pork belly salad with some scones and cream cakes.



After landing we had a short wait before arriving on our stand as we had to wait for other aircraft to leave the area.

A lovely flight with some great views.



We arrived on stand just after 4.30pm, 45 minutes ahead of schedule and beside my favourite aircraft, the mighty 747. I would have been nice to get a picture of the A318 beside the 747 but it wasn’t to be.



The next part interested me, how long would it take us to get into a taxi?

I started the timer as we left the plane and kept it running whilst we walking through the terminal, collected our bags and got into a yellow cab for Manhattan. It took us just under 9 minutes!

 
dimoko
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 10:44 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:32 am

This is a wonderful report, and a very unique flight. i hope to take this one day!

Keep up the good work, looking forward to the rest of it.
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." -- Douglas Adams
 
jayeshrulz
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:36 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:05 pm

Amazing trip report !

Quoting Euan (Thread starter):
This is my first post here and my first trip report at airliners.net.

Welcome to airliners.net!

Quoting Euan (Thread starter):
We woke up relatively early and my fiancé cooked a lovely breakfast before doing some last minute packing prior to starting our journey to London City Airport.

Looks Amazing!

Quoting Euan (Thread starter):

We were welcomed on board by the Gatwick based, Mixed Fleet crew who were very friendly crew and directed to our seats, 2A and 2B. Pillows and blankets were on our seats which we put in the overhead lockers together with our bags. Coat hangers were waiting for our jackets which were promptly placed in the cabinet at the front of the plane.

I actually like the seat! Looks Pretty comfortable.

Btw, am i the only one, or the cabin actually appears a little dull?
I honestly cannot sit in a black and white atmosphere for a long time!   
Looks unadventurous  
Quoting Euan (Thread starter):

A nice salad to start with followed by the fillet which was fantastic and very well cooked. No complaints with that or the chocolate pudding. All washed down with some beer.

If you dont mind, what is the round thing next to the fillet?

Overall, a amazing first TR.

Saludos,
J
Keep flying, because the sky is no limit!
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:51 pm

Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 2):
Amazing trip report !

Thank you  
Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 2):
Welcome to airliners.net!

Thank... again  
Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 2):
Looks Amazing!

It was!!!

Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 2):
I actually like the seat! Looks Pretty comfortable.

Btw, am i the only one, or the cabin actually appears a little dull?
I honestly cannot sit in a black and white atmosphere for a long time!

The seat was very comfortable. The dull is probably the fact I took pictures on the iphone. In fact I found the cabin very light and extremely pleasant.

Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 2):

If you dont mind, what is the round thing next to the fillet?

Roast potatoes.
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:53 pm

Quoting dimoko (Reply 1):
This is a wonderful report, and a very unique flight. i hope to take this one day!

Keep up the good work, looking forward to the rest of it.

Thank you  

It is a truly unique flight. I accept there are other all business class flights but none on a plane barely 100 foot long and with some a unique set up where you stop and deal with immigration before you reach your destination.

If anyone has the opportunity to fly BA1 (or BA3), I would highly recommend it.
 
MSS658
Posts: 2453
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:16 am

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:41 pm

Nice trip report, thanks for sharing! Flying a A318 over the Atlantic is a pretty rare experience. Did you get a new crew for the SNN-JFK leg?
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:09 pm

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Flying a A318 over the Atlantic is a pretty rare experience.

It is indeed 
Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Did you get a new crew for the SNN-JFK leg?

The flight crew change at Shannon but the cabin crew remain the same through to JFK.
 
bill142
Posts: 7867
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:15 pm

I flew BA1 back in May and I agree that it's a nice and enjoyable flight. Flying out of LCY is a lot more enjoyable than LHR
 
Knightsofmalta
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:51 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:33 pm

Hi Euan

Thanks for the interesting trip report. Now I'm really gagging to take this flight. So if I understand correctly they serve an afternoon tea for the second service with scones? That must be so cool!

Cheers,
William
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:45 pm

Quoting knightsofmalta (Reply 8):
So if I understand correctly they serve an afternoon tea for the second service with scones? That must be so cool!

Yes, the second service was either quiche or the cold salad together with a selection of cream cakes and scones. The right amount after lunch.

Quoting bill142 (Reply 7):
I flew BA1 back in May and I agree that it's a nice and enjoyable flight. Flying out of LCY is a lot more enjoyable than LHR

It is more enjoyable as long as you don't intend turning up 2 hours before hand wondering where the lounges are, why there is no massage and why the shops are small 
 
Burj
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:46 am

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:55 pm

Very cool! I am definitely looking forward to the Amtrak trip report as that is something you don't see here very often!
 
fshplns
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:03 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:04 am

Next time in New York, have an additional adventure and take the subways from JFK((heck of alot cheaper than the taxies)above ground at JFK for the subways)
 
767747
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:45 am

Very cool that you get to clear US immigration in SNN. What a nice perk! Always something to dread when you arrive into the US and have to wait in line for what feels like HOURS to get through customs.

BA J on the A319 looks like a very sleek way to fly across the Atlantic. Almost as if you're in your own private jet!

Matthew
I love to fly!
 
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fbgdavidson
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:45 am

Very nice report, Euan! I've been tempted to try this route since it started but it's just a bit too out of the way for me....the F&B does seem to be quite a step up from regular Club World. You're certainly saved the delights of "afternoon tea sandwiches"   

Quoting Euan (Thread starter):
At the bottom of the stairs our boarding passes were checked and we were given US Customs Forms which we had to complete prior to our arrival in Shannon.

Did they forget the immigration forms or were those not available until you got to SNN?

Quoting jayeshrulz (Reply 2):
Btw, am i the only one, or the cabin actually appears a little dull?

I think the same. Maybe it looks better in person because I see plenty of people rave about the cabin...
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
aflyingkiwi
Posts: 434
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 4:52 am

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:41 am

Hi Euan,

Great trip report and welcome to a.net.  

The service on BA1 looked fantastic. I especially like the food which looked simply delicious and it's good that they didn't milk on quantity with 3 different meals.

Looking forward to the Amtrak & return flight TR.

Regards,
aflyingkiwi
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:34 am

Quoting Burj (Reply 10):
I am definitely looking forward to the Amtrak trip report as that is something you don't see here very often!

Indeed you don't see many Amtrak trip reports anywhere. Hopefully get it posted later today/tomorrow.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 12):
Very cool that you get to clear US immigration in SNN. What a nice perk!

It's fantastic. It takes minutes compared to potentially hours once you land in the US. Plus you are in a cab in under 10 minutes once you land.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 12):
Almost as if you're in your own private jet!

I'd agree but probably with a more comfortable seat and good food and drinks.

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 13):
F&B does seem to be quite a step up from regular Club World

Having flown from LHR as well in CW I would probably agree. The service was certainly the best I've received from BA in J.

Quoting fbgdavidson (Reply 13):
Did they forget the immigration forms or were those not available until you got to SNN?

No immigration forms now you have to fill in the ESTA ahead of departure.
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:00 am

Part 2 now available here which covers our hotels in New York and Chicago, our Amtrak trip and our flight home.
 
bill142
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Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:07 am

Quoting Euan (Reply 9):

It is more enjoyable as long as you don't intend turning up 2 hours before hand wondering where the lounges are, why there is no massage and why the shops are small

That is the big downside to LCY is that there are no lounges.
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:16 am

Quoting bill142 (Reply 17):
That is the big downside to LCY is that there are no lounges.

It is and it isn't a downside. LCY is not really designed for passengers spending considerable time in the airport departures area.

The LCY-JFK flight has a check-in time of 15 minutes without checked luggage (20 minutes if you're checking luggage in) and so it's designed (as are all flights) for passengers coming from the City/Canary Wharf and straight onto a flight.
 
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fbgdavidson
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Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:25 am

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:39 pm

Quoting 767747 (Reply 12):
BA J on the A319 looks like a very sleek way to fly across the Atlantic. Almost as if you're in your own private jet!

It's better than that, it's an A318!

Quoting Euan (Reply 15):
No immigration forms now you have to fill in the ESTA ahead of departure.

Now if I wasn't a US Permanent Resident I'd probably have figured that  
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8317
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:04 pm

Nice report and pictures,reminds me of my flupight on BA1 last year, still serving the duck I see!

The LCY-JFK on the 318 is a great service, can't wait to find an excuse to use it again.

Cheers

Mark
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Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:11 pm

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 20):
Nice report and pictures

Thanks  
Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 20):
still serving the duck I see!

And long may they continue... it was very nice.
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6538
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:46 pm

Hi Euan,

great first report, well done! I'd like to try BA001 one day, the takeoff at LCY alone would be worth it. The J Class product looks nice in general, but I miss the spacious feel of a widebody cabin.

Quoting Euan (Thread starter):
While lunch was being prepared the media players were provided and set-up. Whilst it is not the full selection of films that you would get from LHR it was more than enough to keep me occupied for a few hours!

I guess they don't have an airshow, do they?

Quoting Euan (Thread starter):
A nice salad to start with followed by the fillet which was fantastic and very well cooked. No complaints with that or the chocolate pudding.

The food looks good in general, but the presentation of the main course could be better.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
Euan
Topic Author
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:32 pm

RE: BA1 - London City To New York JFK

Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:14 pm

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 22):
but I miss the spacious feel of a widebody cabin.

I know what you mean, there is something nice about a widebody cabin but to be honest, because this service is so unique I didn't miss it one bit.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 22):
The food looks good in general, but the presentation of the main course could be better

Yes the food was good and I would agree the presentation of the main course could have been marginally better.

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