For the following portion of my 4 journeys throughout the Atlantic, I flew British Airways’ new Boeing 777-300ER top quality from Newark to London. Whereas British Airways is well-known for its new Membership Suites enterprise class, the airline has additionally launched new top quality seats with doorways on choose 777s, although on a way more restricted foundation.
I used to be wanting ahead to this flight, not solely due to the brand new seats, but additionally as a result of British Airways has drastically decreased the dimensions of its top quality cabin on 777s, from 14 seats to eight seats. I puzzled if this could result in extra personalised service, given the extra intimate cabin.
Sadly my flight was actually underwhelming. Whereas I assumed the exhausting product, facilities, and meals, had been all good, the service was among the many worst I’ve ever had in top quality, with out being impolite. The service was in order that unpolished and gradual that I’d have been upset if I had been in enterprise class, not to mention top quality.
Let’s get into the evaluation…
How I booked my British Airways top quality ticket
I booked my British Airways top quality ticket utilizing American AAdvantage miles. Particularly, I booked the next flight in top quality for 85,000 AAdvantage miles plus $731.20 in taxes & charges:
2/11 BA188 Newark to London departing 9:30PM arriving 9:10AM (+1 day)
Whereas the mileage requirement is cheap, in fact the service imposed surcharges on British Airways sting. So I needed to level out that there are probably two higher methods to e-book top quality awards on British Airways:
Why did I e-book by means of American AAdvantage? Nicely, I actually needed to evaluation British Airways’ new top quality, and British Airways is infamous for swapping planes on the final minute. With AAdvantage I may change my ticket as much as departure, whereas British Airways Government Membership doesn’t permit adjustments inside 24 hours of departure.
That ended up actually coming in useful, as I modified my award day of departure so as to get on a airplane with the brand new top quality. So reserving by means of AAdvantage gave me the flexibleness that I wanted on this case, and I wouldn’t have had that by means of the opposite packages.
British Airways top quality lounge & boarding
Within the final installment I reviewed the British Airways Lounge Newark, which is sort of good, and even has a pre-flight eating facility. Boarding was scheduled for 8:50PM, 40 minutes earlier than the scheduled departure. So I headed to gate B55 a bit earlier than scheduled boarding time.
Boarding ended up beginning at 9PM, with these needing additional time being invited to board first, adopted by these in top quality.
Slightly annoyingly, boarding was completely carried out by means of the ahead door on this flight, that means that your entire airplane walked by means of top quality. I’m guessing there was some operational purpose for that, as a result of it doesn’t create a really enjoyable boarding course of.
British Airways 777 top quality cabin & seats
My flight was operated by G-STBO, which is among the latest Boeing 777-300ERs in service. The airplane was solely delivered to British Airways in November 2020.
My first impression of the British Airways 777 top quality cabin was fairly constructive. The cabin is extremely elegant, and I like the temper lighting, finishes, and normal colours.
Earlier than I discuss extra about top quality, I shortly glanced into the enterprise class mini-cabin positioned behind top quality, which options British Airways Membership Suites. British Airways’ enterprise class cabin on these planes is huge, with 76 seats, that are unfold throughout three cabins. On this flight enterprise class was simply round 40% full.
Anyway, again to top quality. Whereas I had heard some individuals say that British Airways’ new top quality is simply the outdated product with a door slapped on, I discovered the adjustments to be extra substantial than that, and there are some actual useful enhancements.
These touring collectively might need to assign two heart seats, to allow them to benefit from the flight collectively and chat. There’s a privateness partition between the middle seats, which will be raised or lowered relying in your preferences.
I assigned myself seat 2K, the window seat on the precise aspect within the second row.
Whereas that is removed from the world’s finest top quality exhausting product, I feel it’s lots snug, and is sort of aggressive these days.
British Airways’ new top quality has a a lot larger and better definition TV than you’ll discover on different British Airways 777s, which is a a lot wanted enchancment.
There’s a console to the again proper of the seat, which has space for storing, plus a small mirror.
Beneath that’s one other storage compartment, in addition to the seat controls.
The storage compartment is pretty deep, and in addition comprises an AC energy outlet, two USB-A retailers, the leisure controller, and headphone jacks. For a product that was so lately put in, I’m upset British Airways didn’t add USB-C retailers or wi-fi charging to the seats. However I suppose that is additionally an space the place no changes had been made in comparison with the earlier product.
A lot of the seat capabilities will be managed from the panel to the aspect of the seat. There’s a change right here in comparison with the seat controls for the outdated seats, and to me this wasn’t intuitive in any respect. With the outdated seats, you might simply flip the knob to recline the seat, whereas that’s not the way it works anymore.
Now you first should push the setting you need to change, and then you definately flip the knob. That system works completely properly, however in the event you’re used to the outdated controls, this can take some getting used to.
Every seat has an ottoman, and it’s strictly an ottoman — this isn’t a buddy seat in order that two individuals may dine collectively.
To the aspect of the ottoman is one more storage compartment. This seat has no scarcity of storage, that’s for positive.
Then subsequent to that could be a fairly slim wardrobe, which is one more useful function to have.
The tray desk folds out from the window-side of the seat, and is among the heaviest tray tables on the market. Personally I’m undecided I like the shiny end, however that’s only a private prefernence.
I’m a fan of how British Airways has blinds in top quality to cowl the home windows, which will be raised or lowered. There aren’t many airways that do that, and I are likely to assume this appears to be like fairly good. The catch is that it makes it a lot more durable to take photos out of the home windows, given you can’t get a digital camera as near the window, to not point out there’s extra glare.
One of many different main options of the brand new product is the addition of a door. I discovered these doorways to be fairly substantial and straightforward to make use of.
Notice that they don’t shut utterly, although, as there’s a little hole.
Sadly the overhead console simply has studying lights, and never particular person air nozzles, for many who care.
All-in-all, I used to be impressed by British Airways’ new top quality. It’s evolutionary and never revolutionary, however crucially it addresses the shortcomings of British Airways’ outdated top quality, together with a small and low definition leisure display, and a scarcity of privateness.
British Airways top quality facilities
Ready at every seat upon boarding had been two pillows and a lightweight blanket. The blanket is simply meant for if you’re lounging round, after which there’s extra bedding if you’re able to sleep.
There wasn’t a lot service throughout the begin of boarding, however ultimately I used to be supplied a pre-departure drink. I requested for a glass of champagne, and as is customary on British Airways, I used to be supplied the tasty Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle.
I used to be additionally offered with a really properly stocked amenity package, which contained eyeshades, socks, a dental package, a comb, earplugs, lip balm, and a number of other Elemis merchandise. It’s superb how a lot they will stuff into the pretty small kits.
I used to be additionally supplied pajamas, which had been snug. Nevertheless, I desire British Airways pajamas from again within the day, which had extra British Airways branding on them (which I like, as an avgeek).
Then I used to be supplied a pair of noise canceling headphones, which had been high quality, however nothing particular.
Lastly, I used to be offered with the menu for the flight.
British Airways 777 top quality leisure & Wi-Fi
One superior facet of British Airways’ new top quality is the a lot improved leisure system, because the display is considerably bigger and better definition. The leisure choice on this flight was big, with a seemingly infinite variety of motion pictures and TV reveals.
My frustration with the leisure system was how there gave the impression to be a delay between if you pushed buttons and when something truly occurred. We’re not simply speaking a delay of some millisecond, however somewhat not less than a few seconds.
I ended up watching “Bros,” which was… entertaining, I feel.
Simply don’t inform Ron DeSantis about it…
The leisure system additionally had a map function, which I all the time take pleasure in.
British Airways additionally has Wi-Fi on its refreshed Boeing 777s.
Wi-Fi is complimentary in top quality, and also you simply should enter your seat quantity and final identify or affirmation code to entry it. It’s beautiful that that is supplied without cost in top quality.
For all different passengers, pricing ranged from 4.99 GBP for your entire flight for a messaging go, to 14.99 GBP for your entire flight for a browse and stream go. That pricing is nice, particularly as there aren’t any information caps. I additionally discovered the speeds to be fairly good.
British Airways 777 departure from Newark
Boarding was fairly environment friendly, and was full by 9:20PM. That’s in all probability due to the flight not being very full, and British Airways additionally having a few of the lowest density 777-300ERs on the earth.
Initially 5 of the primary class seats had been occupied, however as quickly because the door closed, the cabin supervisor moved up two passengers from the again (one was a British Airways pilot, and I’m undecided who the opposite man was).
At 9:25PM the primary officer made a welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our imminent departure, and our flight time of 6hr10min. At 9:30PM we started our pushback, and on the similar time a guide security demonstration was carried out.
We began our taxi at 9:45PM, and 5 minutes later had been cleared for takeoff. We had a easy climb out, and the seatbelt signal was turned off 5 minutes after takeoff.
British Airways top quality dinner service
As you’d count on, dinner was served after takeoff and breakfast was served earlier than touchdown. East Coast to London flights actually are means too brief to get any actual relaxation, not to mention take pleasure in each meals and sleep. However in fact I’m dedicated to reviewing as a lot of the expertise as doable, so I took one for the group. 😉
Under you could find the British Airways top quality dinner menu for the flight.
Then under you could find the British Airways top quality drink checklist for the flight.
Previously I’ve discovered that British Airways flight attendants are not less than rockstars in terms of the tempo at which they supply service on brief transatlantic flights, given how usually they work them. Nicely, that wasn’t the case this night.
Meal orders had been taken 25 minutes after takeoff. Then the primary spherical of drinks had been served 45 minutes after takeoff. I ordered a glass of champagne, and that was served with canapés, which included seared beef tenderloin with remoulade, grilled prawn with togarashi aioli, and candy potato quenelle. This was fairly tasty.
Lastly an hour after takeoff, my desk was set for the dinner service.
The starter was served 1hr20min after takeoff. I ordered the balik salmon with asparagus, sugar snap peas, pea puree, and chive oil. Actually, what the heck is happening with the presentation right here?! I’m so confused. Is the usual actually for the sauce to be served in a small plastic cup? And is that plate imagined to be garnished, or what’s that mess?
The primary course was served 1hr40min after takeoff. For this I chosen the baked cauliflower muffins with creamy spinach orzo, heirloom carrots, and parmesan. I’ve by no means seen cauliflower muffins on a airplane earlier than, so I used to be pleased to strive one thing new. The dish was fairly good, and was offered significantly better than the starter.
Lastly, for dessert I had the salted caramel and chocolate mousse with strawberries and whipped cream, which was scrumptious (naturally).
Whereas catering on British Airways isn’t fairly to the identical degree as on different prime airways in top quality (there’s no caviar, and so on.), the meals was tasty, and I assumed the presentation was fairly good too, apart from the appetizer.
British Airways 777 top quality mattress
After dinner it was time to sleep, so I requested for my mattress to be made. British Airways provides turndown service, the place a mattress pad is positioned in your seat, and a cover is positioned on the mattress. Usually when turndown service is offered, there’s some effort to make it look neat and interesting.
I feel this may simply be the sloppiest turndown service I’ve ever obtained in top quality on any airline. Actually, did the flight attendant simply throw all the pieces on the seat and stroll away, or…? I feel this turndown service is a reasonably honest illustration of what service was like all through the flight.
Anyway, by the point I bought into mattress, there have been round 4 hours remaining enroute to London.
I fell asleep fairly shortly, and wakened 2.5 hours later, round 90 minutes previous to touchdown in London.
British Airways 777 top quality toilets
So far as toilets go, British Airways has one bathroom on the entrance of the 777-300ER top quality cabin, by the cockpit. It was a good dimension and had a pleasant faux-marble countertop, however in any other case wasn’t very properly maintained.
There was hand wash and hand lotion within the bathroom from Elemis.
One bathroom actually isn’t that a lot, particularly because it’s additionally shared with the pilots. If you happen to’re seated on the precise aspect of the cabin you must stroll by means of the galley to get to the bathroom, and the crew was tremendous bizarre about it. Like, after I’d stroll to the lavatory they wouldn’t get out of the best way, however somewhat would simply have a look at me bizarre. In the meantime on most Asian airways they’d run to open the door for you…
British Airways top quality breakfast
Whereas I’d have ordinarily tried to sleep longer, I figured I’d rise up for breakfast, so I may evaluation it. You could find the British Airways top quality breakfast menu for this flight under.
In fact I wasn’t significantly hungry. I ordered a smoothie and a cappuccino to drink, and a few fruit and a yogurt to eat. I fairly like British Airways’ glasses and mugs, and loved the yogurt, ardour fruit, and mango smoothie, in addition to the cappuccino.
The fruit plate consisted of melon, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries, and the yogurt was served in an Upstate Farms container.
I used to be additionally supplied a range from the bread basket. I chosen a croissant, although it was exhausting as a room and room temperature, so I didn’t eat it (which was in all probability for the higher).
British Airways top quality service
Let me begin by acknowledging that that is in fact a primary world drawback, since individuals all the time level on the market are larger points on the earth (in fact there are, and I’m properly conscious of that, however I’m fairly positive individuals come to my weblog for premium airline product critiques, in order that doesn’t appear related for these functions).
I hate to say this, however the service on this flight was horrible. Probably the most weird a part of it’s that the crew wasn’t impolite within the slightest, but I walked away with such a detrimental impression. For these conversant in British Airways’ crewing practices, it was just like the crew lacked the expertise and polish of the previous Worldwide Fleet crews, but additionally lacked the passion of the Combined Fleet crews.
I don’t know the way precisely to place this delicately, but it surely’s the reality — the service degree felt roughly like what I’d count on in the event you had two unenthusiastic quick meals employees who had been put in a firstclass cabin for the primary time. Individually every drawback was pretty minor, however if you add all of it up, it makes for a really un-premium expertise.
Amongst different issues:
- The preliminary meal service was outrageously gradual; despite the fact that I requested to eat ASAP, my major course ended up being served 1hr40min after takeoff, which isn’t supreme when attempting to get some relaxation on such a brief flight
- The flight attendant poured champagne by holding the bottle by the neck, possibly an inch from the highest; it’s not an enormous deal, however have they actually not been skilled in pour correctly?!
- The crew didn’t handle passengers by identify, the inflight supervisor by no means got here round to see if every passenger loved their flight, and so on.; for what it’s value, enterprise class was solely 40% full, so it’s not even that they had been tremendous busy in different cabins
- There was simply zero consideration to element, from the turndown service, to plates not being cleared promptly, and so on.; for instance, 20 minutes after I completed my breakfast, my tray nonetheless hadn’t been cleared, as nobody ever got here to verify on me
- The crew wasn’t even participating or enthusiastic; they only form of spoke in fragments when taking meal orders, and so on.
I had hoped that with British Airways now having smaller top quality cabins, service would really feel extra attentive, although as a substitute I skilled was the least attentive service I’ve ever had on British Airways. With so few passengers (and a few individuals going straight to sleep), I don’t perceive how the service could possibly be so lackluster.
British Airways 777 arrival in London
At 8:20AM London time, the captain introduced that we’d quickly be descending for Heathrow, and could be touchdown in round 40 minutes.
At that time the cabin was ready for touchdown. The seatbelt signal was turned on about 20 minutes earlier than touchdown.
It was a easy descent, and we ended up touching down in London at 9:05AM.
We then had a 5 minute taxi to our arrival gate, the place we pulled in at 9:10AM. We arrived on the far pier of Terminal 5, so after going to passport management and clearing immigration, I headed to the Renaissance Heathrow Airport, the place I’d be spending the evening.
I used to be excited to fly British Airways’ new top quality. Forgetting service for a second, the expertise largely left me impressed. The brand new top quality suite is a pleasant incremental enchancment, significantly with a door and a significantly better leisure display. On prime of that, the facilities in British Airways top quality are good (particularly free Wi-Fi), and the meals within reason good, although not as premium as on another airways in top quality.
Sadly that brings us to the service. Giving this flight a 2.5 star ranking may sound harsh, however the fact is that having an detached and sloppy crew actually takes away from an in any other case premium expertise. Whereas airways like Air France and Lufthansa aren’t all the time excellent in top quality, I’ve by no means skilled such a degree of unprofessional service on these airways.
In early 2022, British Airways’ CEO said that he needed to make the airline extra premium. Whereas British Airways has made quite a lot of exhausting and smooth product investments, the variable service on British Airways is a significant space for enchancment. One essential facet of a superb product is consistency and realizing what you’re going to get, and that’s an space the place British Airways fails.
What do you make of British Airways’ new top quality?