I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw the old Rockwell Collins IFE in the Business Class cabin, that in 2017, I would be able to reminiscent the old days of 747s and when I used to fly to Europe at the back. In fact, the first time I flew BA, on the return, we already had the new IFEs on the 77Ws, so imagine my surprise or my dismay when I saw this old plane flying me to Bangkok.
Anyways, I digress. My trip started in Dusseldorf where I arrived in the airport’s Holiday Inn the night before. They upgraded me to a suite but I was too tired to take any pictures. I dropped dead on the bed until I woke in the morning, and then hurried to the airport after grabbing a few bites. I did not manage the lounge, although sources told me it is pretty bad. And the first thing I shall report is my short flight to London in the Club Europe cabin.
What I did have time to do was to walk to Terminal A to spy on Singapore Airlines’ A350. I am a huge fan of SQ’s Business product and it is indeed my hope that I will return soon (although I am now a OneWorld Emerald member!)
A bus gate today!
View from 1A is fabulous indeed
A short taxi and then we are off. It was a Sunday morning that I flew out of Dusseldorf so understandably not too busy in terms of traffic although I had to wait in the Club line to get my bags check in – not a complaint though.
Great views on departure
The crew quickly sprung into action as this segment was less than an hour and had a 6-row Club cabin (full) to serve. This is my first flight having BA’s new dining concept in Club Europe – I would complain about the portions, but the helping of the bread was generous enough for me. I did not have much of a breakfast so this helped. The crew did not make a fuss about my Gold card unlike those in my flight over in Euro Traveller.
Soon enough we reached the top of descent
I quickly settled down in the Galleries First lounge to rest/relax/eat. As far as it goes, this lounge is a half-decent First Class lounge (of course, real First Class passengers travelling on BA gets to go to the Concord Room). The bubblies are free-flowing and a decent alcoholic selections are present. There is a menu for which you can order from and the food is definitely a step-up from the Club lounge, But compared to other lounges in the system, this is subpar.
The Champagne Bar
The 4-hour transit went by rather quickly as I was dozing off in the lounge with the champagne that I had. I also had a chance to use the spa and have a shower. It was a good stay no less, although the lounge was at its full capacity throughout and it proved difficult to find seats.
My flight to Bangkok would depart in the B gates so a short ride on the train would do. One thing I like about Terminal 5 is that there are transit trains to take you to your gate areas, as opposed to those long walks to Terminal 3 gates used by Cathay.
I arrived when general boarding just began – so no wait in the queue at all.
My chariot today – 18 years old when taking me back to Asia
My seat is 11A and the window seat in the cabin. I sit directly next to the engine
I was offered a welcome drink
Departure was bang on time
And as a late Sunday afternoon as a phrase suggests, no long queues for the runway and soon enough we were cleared for takeoff
Hot towel offered after cabin crews were released from their seats
G&T to start
A second round of drinks was offered (this segment was about 10 hours long, by this point, the service took already 1.5 hours and we were still on drinks) I took a Rose Champagne, which is my go-to drink on BA
Sometime between the second round of drinks and the laying of the table linen, I was asked about my preference for starter. Here I was acknowledged as a gold member, but lo and behold, they ran out of options by the time they got to me. What a complete waste of time asking for what I want
Anyway, the vegetarian starter was very good
By this point, we were well into Eastern Europe – the quality of the IFE is of course wanting
The sun is catching up with us
Beef for main – not the best decision I have made in life – very tough but bearable
The IFE is not working, but I have been treated to nature’s wonders
The dessert was good once again, saving grace, really. However the inability to have fruits, cheese and pudding means that BA continues to lag behind all its competitors, including CX. I am therefore very much looking forward to the new Club World dining.
Once after dinner, I slept and the flat bed was very good. The last rows of the cabin and the window seat meant an extra long bed and direct aisle access. I was a happy man and I slept swimmingly. I woke up with just under 2 hours to go.
Breakfast was soon served
The beef congee was underwhelming
This IFE map really brought back childhood memories
Must be my lucky day – another bus gate!!
Thoughts? I really detested the deployment of these very old aircrafts in such long haul flights. The TV was barely working and the resolution made me feel like I own a time machine and went back 10 years in time. The service was good but not outstanding. It is a matter of consensus that BA offers a subpar Business Class product, but once again, I got very solid sleep and was very energetic when I got off the flight. I suffered from very minimal jetlag in Asia which was helpful given my very short trip. So all in all, a good flight. What comes next, though, is the best Cathay flight I have ever flown on. Stay tuned