Flight check: British Airways Club World. Comfort, exelent service from a world class airline

Business class flights from Copenhagen (CPH) to Hong Kong (HKG) via London Heathrow (LHR)


BA 815 CPH-LHR Aircraft A320 flight time 1h 35m

BOOKING PROCESS

Booked through our company’s in-house travel department

CHECK-IN /AT THE AIRPORT

Checked in online, although I had already pre-reserved my seat at the time of booking. At Copenhagen Airport, I used the drop bag facility. Went through security, which was fast, hassle free and very efficient.

BA as well as other carriers, uses the NOVIA lounge, which has very basic facilities and can be crowded due to the various carriers that use the lounge. I was lucky enough to manage to squeeze my wife and son in with me as they were flying economy up to London only, therefore I must commend the reception staff for being flexible and accommodating.

10/10 for check in and drop bag process.

6/10 for lounge facilities.

BOARDING

The gates that BA flights operate from at CPH are located in area D, which is on the complete opposite side of the terminal from where the lounge was, but CPH being well distributed, meant it was just a comfortable five to seven minute walk. Travelling to a non-Schengen destination, we had to clear passport control before accessing the designated departure area, but this process again, was cleared without much hassle by the friendly border control officer.

By the time we arrived, we only needed to wait another five minutes before boarding was announced. Premium class passengers as well as One World Gold and Silver cardholders together with families with young kids were invited to board first.

We were the first to assault the aircraft, so can’t tell what happened behind us. I’m sure though, based on the order I saw while already ensconced that the process was carried out in a very orderly manner.

10/10

CABIN AMBIENCE

The aircraft in question, an A320, is nothing to rave about. BA has a standard ambience for their European services. Navy blue leather seats, fairly comfortable, appropriate legroom and in relatively good shape. Some aircraft more than others. The cabin on this aircraft was relatively well maintained.

7/10

LET’S TAKE A SEAT

Seats on this aircraft are the same for both business and economy class. Just a curtain over the seat headrests separate the two cabins.

For a flight of an hour and a half, seating is appropriate, so no complaints there. Storage space also fine as I was able to utilise not only the top bin, but also the space under my seat as well as that under the middle empty seat.

8/10

LIFTOFF

We pulled back and took off on time. No delays and captain’s announcements and comments were most amusing.

10/10

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

BA seems to have definitely got rid of pre-take off drinks in Club Europe, maybe a sign of cost-cutting? Even the hot towels have been left for just after arriving cruising speed.

Drink trolley with complementary drinks and pretzels or nuts were offered, then an afternoon tea consisting of two quaint but tasty finger sandwiches, warm sultana scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam and a chocolate sponge cake. Very well presented and tasty but I was expecting something a bit more filling and nutritious. Nevertheless, although very quaint and frugal, it was tasty.

8/10

LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU

Apart from BA’s in-flight magazine, there was no other means of entertainment.

6/10

ARE YOU WELL SERVED?

Service, as is the case most of the times with BA was courteous and efficient, with the usual touch of humour yet without being intrusive. Reasonable requests dealt with promptly.

9/10

ARRIVAL

With an on-time take off, other than weather issues and congestion at Heathrow, there was nothing to keep this flight from arriving on time. And fortunately, nothing did. We even arrived fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.

10/10

BA Gallery lounge at LHR Terminal 5
BA Gallery lounge at LHR Terminal 5
Views of the runways from the Gallery lounge
Views of the runways from the Gallery lounge

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BA025 – LHR-HKG Aircraft B747-400 Flight time 11 h 35 m


CHECK IN /AT THE AIRPORT

I had already done the check in together with the CPH-LHR flight. Once we deplaned, at the main building at Terminal 5, I bid farewell to my family who finished in London and went through immigration. I continued to the transfer area where I cleared immigration and security again in a few minutes. The whole process was quick and hassle free, despite it being a Tuesday and during a busy time of the day.

I had a chance to buy something in the duty free before I went to the one of BA’s Gallery Lounges in the main terminal. Located on the South side of the building, it is quite big and roomy but always seems busy. Not necessarily an oasis of calm and peace yet, there isn’t the feeling of huge crowds. I even had a chance to try out the Elemis Spa and had a full neck, head, and back massage.

When I saw the flight already had a gate number and showed open, I made my way out and proceeded to the B satellite via the transfer monorails.10/10 for transfer process & 10/10 for lounge

BOARDING

By the time I reached the gate, about ten minutes from lounge to satellite, they were already starting the boarding process.

First and Business class passengers as well as Silver and Gold card holders were allowed to board through the a separate boarding bridge which led to the L2 door of this Boeing 747-400.

Economy and Premium Economy passengers boarded via the L3 door located just in front of the wing. Both queues seemed to move in an orderly manner and without much dramas.

Once crossed the threshold, the charming and friendly cabin crew checked my boarding pass and ushered me upstairs to my seat. The purser offered to help me with my laptop case and the bag I was carrying and no sooner had I taken my seat, she came around asking whether I would like a drink. Champagne was my poison of choice to start this next journey in style. She also presented me with the menu.10/10

CABIN AMBIENCE

When I booked my flight, I managed to secure a window seat on the upper deck, which I confirmed when I checked in online.

The upper deck has a 2 x 2 configuration with staggered seating. Window seats face backwards. The seats, which are BA’s latest instalment from two years back are comfortable in a seating position and are separated from the neighbour seat by a cream panel with a frosty divider for privacy. Some people find this configuration confusing but in my opinion, it doesn’t give that sense of enclosure that some complain about. Probably the cream panelling, navy blue seating and off white lighting gives the cabin a tired look in comparison with other carriers’ white panels and mood lighting. Maybe something BA may want to consider for their next refurbishments. 8/10

Window seat face backwards in BA's longhaul business class cabins
Window seat face backwards in BA's longhaul business class cabins
There is ample storage space in the upper bins as well as the panelling under the windows
There is ample storage space in the upper bins as well as the panelling under the windows


LET’S TAKE A SEAT

This is their winning point. The seats are both comfortable in the sitting, lounging and flatbed position. Me, not being a good airplane sleeper, found it quite easy to nod off after dinner, a movie and a spot of writing. Unfortunately, I may have overstepped on the booze at the lounge as well as on the CPH-LHR flight, not to mention on this one as well, so I went straight into hangover mood which meant a splitting headache which didn’t allow me more hours of sleep. Storage space is ample in the top bin as well as the drawers provided next to the seat (good for storing shoes) and the bins located under the windows. The little private area is quite comfortable and convenient to stretch about. Elemis amenity kit well stocked although a bit on the basic in terms of presentation. 9/10

LIFTOFF

A problem with the cargo containers kept us on the ground an hour more than we should have. Captain kept us informed of developments and apologised profusely for the delay. Cabin crew made a few rounds around the cabin, with drinks and hot towels to refresh.

We finally took off at 19.50, almost an hour and a half behind schedule.

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

After the usual round of pre-dinner drinks, we were presented with a varied choice of food. The starter (entrées) consisted of smoked halibut with spiced aubergine and raisin, this accompanied by a dish of Mediterranean vegetables with feta and olive tapenade.

My choice for the mains was a sweet & sour sole with fried rice with brassica. This as well accompanied by seasonal salad with a tasty vinaigrette.

For the desert, I opted for the cheddar and blue cheese platter with grapes and soda crackers.

Starter and mains washed down profusely with an Australian Sauvignon Blanc, a 2011 Pemberley. A sweet German wine for the desert followed by a peppermint infusion completed my dinner.

Tasty it was, well presented and good quantity, but still lacked that wow factor expected in business class. Again, one can notice the odd cuts here and there, but I have had worse. 8/10


LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU

A retractable AVOD 12” screen, with ample film, television, documentary, and game selection which was easy to navigate. Bosé noise cancelling headphones really disconnected you from the outside world. Music library was not one of the most comprehensive I’ve come across with though. I managed a film and a half before gravity pulled my eyelids. 8/10

ARE YOU WELL SERVED?

Service as always with BA, was very efficient, friendly with a non-intrusive hint of humour. Because of the delay leaving Heathrow, they kept those passengers who were connecting onto other flights constantly updated. 10/10


ARRIVAL

Despite leaving an hour and a half late, we only arrived 20 minutes behind schedule at 14.30 the next day. Taxiing to the terminal was quick and deplaning pretty orderly despite those on connecting flights rushing out like headless chickens!

Unfortunately, immigration at Chep Lap Kok can be at time slow, but this is beyond any airlines control. At least by the time you arrive to retrieve your luggage, these are already getting dizzy on the carrousels. 7/10

CONCLUSIONS – OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

BA still offers a great Business Class product on their longhaul services. Service is usually of high standard, food has declined a bit, but that I suppose is a sign of the current times. Their seat and flatbed are a definite asset, and when not in industrial conflict, their cabin crew are stellar ambassadors. 9/10

Now, if you want to know what exactly happened on this trip once I arrived in Hong Kong, go to this link http://tonyabacab.hubpages.com/hub/Hong-Kong-blues-A-June-travel-saga-part-II

For more flight reviews, visit also http://tonyabacab.hubpages.com/t/333889 , http://tonyabacab.hubpages.com/hub/Cathay-Pacific-business-class-flight-review and http://tonyabacab.hubpages.com/hub/Flight-check-Finnair-to-SE-Asia

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