BA295 London Heathrow T5 to Chicago O’Hare T5 in British Airways World Traveller
A Celebratory Trip to Chicago
- So, Chicago eh. That’s really different.
- Take the National Express, Manchester Airport, British Airways Terraces Lounge
- BA1385 Manchester Airport to London Heathrow
- T5 – Pick a lounge. Any Lounge – British Airways Galleries South, Galleries T5B
- BA295 London Heathrow T5 to Chicago O’Hare International
- The joy of O’Hare and Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- Experiments with a Canon 40mm lens
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Using Amazon out of your home country in a pinch
- Back to O’Hare, The New AA Flagship Lounge
- AA86 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow T3
- Terminal change shenanigans, British Airways Galleries North
- BA1386 London Heathrow to Manchester Airport
- Luggage delivery incompetence, last-minute changes, and CrossCountry Trains home
- Why celebrate?
BA295 London Heathrow T5 to Chicago O’Hare T5 in British Airways World Traveller
British Airways, Boeing 747-400, Seat 43K – World Traveller (Economy Class)
3953 Miles flown, 988+1,976 Avios earned, 20 Tier Points Earned
I was welcomed aboard the plane, and headed down to World Traveller. This being a Super Hi J configured plane, it is configured with a lot of Club World (as the name Super Hi J indicates). I passed the big seats, and onto World Traveller Plus… and finally to the gallows. I mean World Traveller.
Hey, if you’re going to travel cheap, it’s best to set your expectations slow.
Welcome to World Traveller.
The plane itself had been through a refurbishment, with a Super High J Configuration – meaning there was 81 Club World Business Class seats (replacing a lot of the old World Traveller and World Traveller Plus seating.
The seat itself is the old British Airways long haul World Traveller seat (fitted with new covers) – and that is a good thing.
A good thing I hear you cry? The seat is padded, it’s not slimline and more importantly, it has drop-down head rests you can flip down to rest your head against.
I like this. At least on this long haul segment, I stood a chance of getting rest.
Moving on to the seat itself, it’s the usual leg room we’ve all come to know and love. Or hate. I’m never sure these days.
Let’s look around the seat. First up – there’s no air vents.
What is it with European Airlines and the distinct lack of air vents?
However, there was something new in front of me – gone are the days of the clapped out postage stamp Rockwell Collins IFE system, and hello to a Panasonic ex3 system.
Finally – an IFE system that isn’t something out of the dark ages.
There is USB Power at seat, however, no mains power refitted.
Single pin earphones were provided.
As for the IFE screen – nice and clear – and responsive as heck. The captive screen is akin to using a modern tablet or phone, with the appropriate experience.
The plane loaded up, with a reasonable load to Chicago that morning – although not full – meaning the middle seat was empty.
In a lot of ways, this is far better than Premium Economy as there is a chance to spread out and organise yourself.
And as if I needed a reminder of the type of plane I was on…
With my phone calls home and to the office wrapped up, it was time to turn the phone to offline mode, and watch the safety video again. It seems the video still works after two watchings of it (although it is a bit too long I suspect).
Is six minutes too long for a safety video? Discuss.
With departures heading in the Windsor direction, our Boeing 747 begun the long taxi from T5B down to the bottom of 27R. A long taxi, but a chance to look at departing aircraft.
United Boeing 747… no longer with us…
Malaysia Airlines A380 – again, we’re not going to see much of these in the future.
British Airways Boeing 747 – we’ll see these until the end of days.
Eventuality it was our turn to depart, with our plane turning on to the active runway.
With a powerful take-off, BA925 took the skies for the long run to Chicago.
With the plane passing over Windsor and Eaton and climbing, it was time to settle in for the flight.
With the plane in the air, the cabin was divided up, and the curtains drawn.
A drinks round made it out in reasonable time – and I settled into my traditional in flight drink.
Keep an eye on this diet coke. We’ll come back to that later.
Meanwhile, there was cloud outside – a sign that this flight was going to be bumpy. And thus it was a bump-fest over the pond.
Ice crystals, check. Wing, Check. Rolls Royce RB211, Check.
Soon, lunch made its way around the cabin – a choice of pasta or chicken. Chicken with Cheesy Risotto Rice.
Wine was also offered.
Let’s break down the tray:
I’m not sure what caterer thought this was a good idea. Cheesy Rice? The chicken was acceptable at least
Red Cabbage Coleslaw. Not that appetising.
White wine – not bad for economy class wine.
Chocolate Ganache – probably the nicest thing there – but way too small.
Normally, catering out of London is pretty solid. This time, this meal felt like is was designed to a price and that’s it. Not the worst meal I’ve had, but its low. Pretty low.
With lunch done and dusted, the trays were cleared away, and the lights went down. I feel asleep to the Big Bang Theory on the TV… waking up as the plane cleared St Johns.
And from this point onward, it was seriously bumpy.
With time closing on the flight, it was time for the second service. I had thought with the segment length I had chosen, I would escape the ambient snack pass.
Choices were a Twix (single finger), Biscuits or a “fun” sized Mars Bar (what my American friends would call a “Milky Way. British people have a completly different definition on what a Milky Way is… and Americans would call it a 3 Musketeers. No, I don’t get it either)
I’ll add at his point, they were out of Diet Coke on the plane (or in World Traveller). What a poor show… with an embarrassing “arrival service”. I’ll touch on this on the Overall review section.
And woe betide you if you grabbed more than grabbed more than one item from the basket.
With a cup of cola, I also had a cup of coffee to wake up. It was brown and tasted that coffee had passed next to it at least.
With me finishing The Big Bang Theory, I explored the map function.
Again, the touch interfaces really help with the map functionality. Meanwhile, the cabin was cleared for arrivals and paperwork handed out for those who needed it.
Eventually, Lake Michigan came into view – showing we were nearing the end of the journey.
With the plane over Lake Michigan, final landing preparations were completed.
Eventually, the North Short came into view – indicating we had crossed Lake Michigan and entertaining Illinois.
With the ground looming ever closer, BA295 landed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport – ending this 8 hour 40 segment.
With a long taxi to the gate, BA295 passed a variety of traffic.
International Traffic at the International Terminal… busy as always, and never a good sign for immigration & customs queues.
Eventually, BA295 found a gate at the International Terminal, ending this trip across the pond. At the gate, it was usual mass bundle to get off the plane as fast as possible. And I took part in this as I had a nasty feeling I was going to be queuing a long time today.
Overall: Whilst the refreshed hardware is a welcome thing to see – as well as a will crew – British Airways have serious problems in World Traveller when compared to their fellow oneworld partners over the Atlantic. Catering seems to be a forgotten concept on this airline, with uninspiring meal service, sub-par loading of drinks, and of course that ambient basket pass service.
On the plus side, it seems the basket pass is on the way out – which can only be a good thing.
Certainly, switching out a sandwich or afternoon tea for a fun sized chocolate bar was a cutback too far for British Airways – especially as the airline as it attempts to positions itself as a “premium” airline.
But was this flight a premium performance in long haul, and showcasing the best in passenger experience? Hardly British Airways.
Hardly at all.
Next: The joy of the CBP and the Crowne Plaza O’Hare.
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