Mmmmm! BAcon! – Off to Denver and Beyond with Aer Lingus and British Airways
BA218 Denver International Airport – London Heathrow T5 in World Traveller Plus
- A Conference… why not?
- Early morning New New Street, Aer Lingus EI263 London to Dublin
- A Dublin transit, DAA Lounge
- BA827 Dublin to London Heathrow
- The Hell of A Heathrow Transit, BA F Lounge
- BA219 – London Heathrow to Denver
- Staybridge Suites, Denver Tech Center and a road trip
- The Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs
- A road trip back to Denver, Crowne Plaza Downtown Denver
- Photographic Interlude: Downtown Denver
- Denver Airport, American Airlines AAdmirals Club
- BA218 Denver to Heathrow – THIS SECTION
- Heading Homeward
- Interesting times
With a bit of a bounce in my step, I headed towards my upgrade. Well it may have been “Just” to WTP, but an upgrade is an upgrade in my book.
16A is the first row of World Traveller Plus, and the product hasn’t changed much since I last flew WTP when I went to Sydney for six days. That in itself has some pluses, and minuses that’ll go into in a bit.
On the big plus side, it’s a bulkhead seat – and whilst it hasn’t got “infinite” room, it’s still pretty darn good in my eyes.
I stowed my trash in the overhead bin, and plonked myself down for the 8 and bit hour flight that laid ahead for me.
On the seat was a blanket, a WTP amenity kit and WTP headphones – all good for the flight ahead.
Whilst on the ground…
Meanwhile, the plane begun to fill up – the full load that was expected was turning up, filling the plane up (including my seat mate).
Pre-departure, menu cards were handed out, as well as video screens pulled out for the safety briefing.
Pushback was on-time, and the video played. Alas, my beloved seat mate obviously knows the safety briefing word for word and can be tested on it extensively as he continued to read his paper… with a crew member right in front of him. I know I bang on a lot about safety in a plane (and yes, I do run Safety Video Saturday most Saturdays), but if I can’t get out of a plane because you failed to understand the safety implications of something quite important… don’t expect me to recite the video word for word as I shove on your emergency oxygen mask/put my lifejacket on whilst you fumble for yours/push you out of the way if you don’t know where the emergency exit is.
The taxi took us past the three concourses, then to a hold point, and finally a lineup point where our twin Rolls Royce Trent 800 engines roared into life.
Take off was rather smooth, with minimal bumps on the way up, as well as the last glimpses of sun.
Pretty soon the sky turned black, and the bright lights of towns and cities below lit the way (although I need to get a camera with better low light performance… the 40D is great for a lot of things… not night photography…)
As climb continued, I popped my IFE unit out of the seat. As the IFE choices were the same as what I had on the way out… which isn’t too bad. Means it’s easier to fall asleep to the IFE as opposed to paying attention. The IFE system is the same as on the way out, which isn’t a bad thing – except when the map crashes, or if the map is unreadable.
IFE Controller with integrated phone… I wonder if anyone actually uses those phones in flight?
First up was the bar service, which consisted of… well… do you even need to guess?
Smirnoff Vodka with Pretzels.
But of course, before sleep there is of course food! And since we’re in World Traveller Plus we get a little card menu too…
Anyway, an option of beef or vegetarian lasagne was on the menu. So yes – dead cow it was. Wine was offered with the meal.
Roll with water to the side
The funniest looking carrot cake I’ve seen in ages. Looks more like a cheesecake…
Metal cutlery.. with speedmarques.
Now, this isn’t bad. We’ve had bad beef in the sky, but this didn’t need brute force to cut through it. The rest of the tray made for a reasonably high quality meal in Y+, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The salad was fresh, the desert was not as advertised (not that I was complaining) and the roll… oh you know my thoughts about airline rolls. The presentation was reasonable, and the food actually tasted good – which is a challenge for any airline at 35,000ft and above.
Trays were collected in a reasonable timeframe, and the lights dimmed down for the long overnight slog over the pond. Cabin crew asked for window shades to be lowered.
I popped the seat into recline, and tried to get a reasonable evenings rest as I had a feeling I’d be doing phone support on the ground, with a standby to go in if needed.
Truth be known, I got 3-4 hours sleep – which is a lot better than normal for me on a Trans-Atlantic flight. Whilst World Traveller Plus in a 747 has a substantial gap between the headrest and the bulkhead, this is a lot less in the 777 – allowing me to sleep against the bulkhead, and making for a bit nicer of a rest.
WT+ seat guide
I woke up a bit before service begun, and checked the map, seeing we were beginning to close in on Ireland
Meanwhile, I checked the amenity kit – and this confirmed the kit I had on the way out – a World Traveller Plus kit:
Eventually the lights came back on, and it was and it was time for the breakfast service. Now… would BA finally knock the olde Continental off the top spot in my Trans-Atlantic breakfast audit.. or not?
Well it comes nicely packaged. That’s one thing.
Say it with me – Polo Mint
In it, there’s a bottle of probiotic drink, a crunchy thing that I still haven’t worked out and raisins, a cake thing and an oversized polo mint (what some call a “Lifesaver”)
Hmm. Well, it’s a good effort. I nibbled through most of it, thinking that some fresh fruit wouldn’t had gone amiss (Sorry, raisins aren’t fresh fruit), but this isn’t bad. Coffee was served alongside with the snack.
I nibbled on this whilst we crossed Ireland.
God, that map is fuzzy.
Meanwhile, the windows were starting to open around me, revealing blue sky and thick clouds.
The crew were friendly for an evening/night flight crew, but by no means as warm as the crew I had on the outbound leg. Whilst they did more than their job, night flights don’t tend to bring the best out in people – when all you want the passengers to do is fall asleep.
Clear down was done quickly, and soon enough the captain announced 20 minutes to landing. And of course, it was at this moment that the camera decided this would be the perfect time to die.
So the smartphone came into play as we looped around a stack or two, before commencing a river approach into Heathrow, as we descended through the cloud layers
Soon enough the plane was lining up for landing, a mere 6 days since I last was at Heathrow.
Taxi was a quick affair, with the plane peeling off the runway quickly, and heading straight for the C gates, bringing my flight to an end.
Oh yes. It was wet. I should had guessed really.
Overall: Not a bad flight by any means. The World Traveller Plus product does have some seriously good things going for it in terms of the seat and the upgraded catering compared to World Traveller. It is defiantly a Y+ rather than a J-, and should be treated as such. Although as a battlefield upgrade, it’s better than a poke in the eye by any means.
Oh yes, and unsurprisingly the phone rung. Grumble. Guess who skipped the last segment to head back to Birmingham (or deepest darkest West Bromwich) to go and play Active Directories, and then back to the flat… So the next legs were skipped as I needed to head homewards.