Mr Kevincm returns to Washington – British Airways BA216 (A380 Upper Deck) Washington Dulles to London Heathrow
In this… well.. mess:
- How far can you go for a £1 (+Tax)?
- Off to Manchester Airport, Manchester Airport and the BA Terraces Lounge
- AA735 Manchester Airport to Philadelphia
- A long Philadelphia layover featuring the US Customs and the TSA at their best.
- AA4545 Philadelphia to Washington Reagan
- Holiday Inn Washington Reagan
- The Marriott Marquis, Washington DC
- The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – National Mall
- The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum – The Udvar Hazey Building
- Back to Dulles, British Airways Dulles Lounge
- BA216 Washington Dulles to Heathrow with the Airbus A380
- Heathrow Transfer, North Lounge
- BA1530 London Heathrow to Manchester
- The joy of coaches, and CrossCountry trains from Manchester to Birmingham
- Short and Sweet
BA216 Washington Dulles Airport to London Heathrow Airport
British Airways , Seat 81A
20 Tier Points Earned, 919 Base Avios Earned + 1,838 Tier Bonus
I was welcomed aboard the A380 and was directed to my home at the back of the plane. British Airways have an odd configuration of their A380s, with the lower deck being a four class configuration (First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller) and the Upper Deck in a three-class configuration (Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller).
I began the long hike to the back of the plane. And when I say long…
Club World – sometimes I wish I book this.
World Traveller Plus. It’s a reasonable seat for the short hop to London.
My seat in World Traveller. Two seats again. Note the side-bins are open for business!
World Traveller Seating.
So let’s get onto the seat. It’s a standard World Traveller seat in a 2-4-2 formation. If you’re thinking this is a little like the Iberia seat I was in a few weeks earlier – it isn’t far from that. The blue fabric gives a nicer touch than the grey of Iberia.
Legroom was acceptable – it would even be more acceptable as the seat next to me would be free. That’s three for three so far this trip.
Boarding took its time (like a plane of this size would). The top deck economy was pretty busy too, but the seat next to me was free.
Small things like that make for comfortable flights.
Eventually, the plane filled up for the flight to London and the doors secured.
My my… aren’t you a little “Small”.
Yep. It’s an A380.
With boarding completed, the lights went down, with the mood lighting taking to the fore.
With pushback approved the British Airways safety video played. And I swear the synchronisation on this video gets worse and worse as they add more things to it, with slightly different voices.
C’mon British Airways – it’s time to embrace the future and make a new safety video. This one isn’t nearly fit for purpose any more in my book. It’s serviceable, but needs tightening and improving – and dragging in to 2017.
With the video concluded, our A380 was leaving the terminal area at Dulles.
Hello Virgin Atlantic
Goodbye Trans State Airlines
Leaving life as we know it
and onwards to the runway.
The taxi was short and sweet until our A380 located its runway. With a roar, BA216 took off for its short hop for London Heathrow.
Climbing out, my face was glued to the window, with twinkling lights of the ground as we climbed away from the bonds of the ground.
Hey… didn’t I pass near here a few days ago?
With the lights coming up, it was to time explore the IFE system. And whilst the plane maybe shiny, and the IFE screen working, the audio jack was… well pretty messed up, requiring pressure to applied to it – otherwise it would drop into mono or no audio at all.
That’s… more than annoying.
The guilty socket.
Power at seat is available, with one USB socket per seat, and one mains socket between two seats
Mains power (random shot … lucky if I’m totally honest)
USB Power. I’d say about 500maH output.
The IFE system itself was reasonably responsive with a mixture of content – including BBC World News loaded on it. After accidental exposure to CNN the past few days, this was like heaven.
Content was a good mix, with something for everyone. I went with the Big Bang Theory – as I can fall asleep to it without any problems and not miss anything.
But not before dinner. First up was the drinks service
Something I wish a lot more airlines would use – a split tray.
Drinks were offered, and taken. And no, I didn’t drink all the vodka shown in this picture. But can we dump these diddy cans of cola please???
The meal tray followed with a choice of chicken curry or some pasta. I went for the curry.
… and revealed.
This is a first for me – a meal that caters at Dulles haven’t loused up. When I used to use United across the pond – part of me hated going from Dulles to Heathrow, as the catering was notoriously bad. This is actually one of the better meals to come out, with the rice not hard, and the spices working well.
A partially chewed roll.
Lilly O’Briens sweet thing.
With that consumed (and also teaching the world how to depressurise their salad dressing pots…. what you didn’t read my clickbait article? Head this way and hang thy head in shame).
With the meal cleared away, the lights went down, and I dozed off for the crossing across the Atlantic.
I woke up somewhere over Ireland and noticed the lights were slowly coming up.
With the lights up, the grew began their breakfast run. This flight was sub 7 hours 30… so it would be subjected to Alex Cruz’s new edict that there would be a snack service for breakfast. So goodbye breakfast box and say hello to a muffin or cereal bar.
and lord help you if you wanted both.
To fly, to serve? Not on your Nelly. To fly, to cut back is what Alex Cruz has done to British Airways – before inflicting the nastiest axe of all – buy on board on short-haul.
It doesn’t improve how many times I look at this. Considering AA now gives out a box, and other airlines are improving their arrivals service, this… joke… does not make sense from a passenger experience perspective. Period.
Lets add an iPhone 7 in for comparison’s sake. Ridiculous isn’t it?
Looking outside, at least dawn was rising on a new day.
Another check on the IFE screen showed we were 1 in a stack and 2) I can’t escape from BBC’s Travel Show.
Tracking BA216 to its home base.
With not much work needed to be done in World Traveller, the crew tidied up the plane and secured it for landing.
With grace – even though this plane looks like something out of a Vogon Constructor fleet – the plane made its decent to London Heathrow.
With the plane coming in, we had a long taxi back to Terminal 5C, allowing me to see the morning traffic.
Morning Star Alliance Terminal!
Morning Terminal 4
Off this plane goes…
With the plane limited to which taxiways it can take, we eventually turned to Terminal 5, Concourse C and found a gate – bringing my A380 aboard BA216 experience to an end.
Thank you A380.
Overall: Passenger Experience is everything as I keep on banging on about on this blog. And it seems whilst the hardware is in reasonable condition (bar the clapped out headphone socket in my row), British Airways has a problem as showing on BA216. And its to do with its second service and where it wants to be as an airline. Whilst the crews are good, they’re muddling through decisions management have made for them which give a crappy passenger experience. And this does worry me about the future of the airline. You can have the shiniest hardware in the world, but if the whole passenger experience is marred because you make cut after cut, then something is wrong and needs to be looked at.
And British Airways – I would suggest looking at the World Traveller/World Traveller Pus second service – and don’t treat it as a cost centre like you’re doing with most of the airline. In many respects food and drink are one thing any passenger remembers (ask anyone who’s flown Emirates).
As for the A380 – I liked it when I flew to Frankfurt in it. It’s a nice plane, comfortable and reasonably implemented in the British Airways method. It wasn’t that bumpy – which if you’re at the back of the plane can be a problem.
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