BA174 New York JFK to London Heathrow – CLUB WORLD – Summer Tier Points
In this… epic.
- When will I learn to jump on a fare?
- Wednesday Afternoon.. off to the airport
- EI273 Birmingham to Dublin Airport
- Into Dublin for some Donuts. And Pokemon
- The Travelodge in Swords, Dublin Airport
- Pre-Clearance fun at Dublin airport, 51st and Green Lounge
- AA291 Dublin to New York JFK – Business Class
- A Manhattan Char Siu Adventure
- Back in the Secure Area, Flagship Lounge and AAdmirals Club
- AA2652 New York JFK to San Francisco International – Transcontinental Business Class
- The Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
- Do the BART into San Francisco, The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, San Francisco
- Sausalito: Which ferry to take?
- Halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge
- Fooding around San Francisco
- The Crowne Plaza, San Francisco Airport
- Early start at San Francisco airport
- AA164 San Francisco International to New York JFK – Transcontinental Business Class
- The joy of terminal swaps, BA Pre-departure dining
- BA174 New York JFK to London Heathrow – Club World (Business Class)
- An Early Morning Change at Heathrow
- BA828 London Heathrow T5 to Dublin Airport – Club Europe
- Doughnuts and coffee shops – Exploring Dublin
- Once more with feeling at Dublin Airport
- FR666 Dublin Airport to Birmingham Airport
- 600 TP: Done
BA174 New York JFK to London Heathrow T5.
British Airways Boeing 747-400 Mid-J configuration
61K, Upper Deck
140 Tier Points Earned, 3,452 Base Avios + 863 Tier Bonus Avios + 1,726 Tier Bonus Avios
I was welcomed aboard the plane and instructed to head to one of the most private places in the sky – the upper deck of a Boeing 747.
Let’s have a look at the seat.
The seating here is the classic BA ying/yang business class seats, with aisle seats facing forward and window seats backwards in the direction of travel. I settled into my seat of 61A and got to grips with my surroundings
I flipped open the In-Flight Entertainment screen… and to my horror… I found a tiny screen.
The plane had the ancient Rockwell Collins IFE system that has been the bane of my life when flying BA. Most time recently, I’ve managed to luck out on the Super HI planes that have the Panasonic ex3 systems (and offer a superior IFE experience).
This in 2018 is… how can I put it politely… is pretty ancient.
With me settling in, I moved the bedding off the seat into the side bin, as well as a few other things. Pre-departure beverages arrived
An amenity kit also arrived to, as well as the menu.
With a busy load, the Boeing 747 pushed back on time, and the safety video played. Now, the first version of this was pretty reasonable… If a little long.
Alas, it seems British Airways think they can play this joke 2 for 2… and this video just feels long without imparting information. That’s not a good thing for a safety video.
With the plane continuing its taxi, I have sat away from the terminal missing most of the planes.
Except for these- a state of Kuwait Boeing 747-8i as well as some other private jets.
Whilst the traffic queue to get out of JFK “long enough”, eventually – the 747 turned and powered up it’s Roll Royce RB211’s for the short hop to London Heathrow.
Climb-out was nice and smooth, with the BA174 making short work of the evening sky.
In vain, I turned on the Wi-Fi on my phone… and found nothing. Whilst the physical installed had been done, it seems, the on-board service hadn’t been activated.
At least the headphones that are supplied are reasonable (if not Bose quality), and the plane has offline BBC World News (and yes – I do bang on about this – there’s just something reassuring about a BBC World news announcer when travelling on a plane).
And that’s when the IFE worked – because the entire system crashed twice.
Seriously – I know these planes are due to exit the fleet in the medium term, but can someone give BA a pretty penny to fit modern IFE systems to these planes, please?
First drinks service followed, and it seems that the service would be the new Club World Service. The new glassware however which classic – does look like something that would come out of Hyacinth Buckets House. This was served with nuts.
The main meal came along – and it is important to note where BA has taken a few cues from other carriers – be in the plating or the mini breads in the bowl
These were warm and edible, with the mushroom soup being quite flavourful, and salad – whilst small – fresh. Add the covered butter – this a cut above the normal BA catering with Do&Co doing a good job.
This was followed with the chicken and sweet potatoes. An interesting mix that seemed to compliment each other with fresh flavours.
This is an improvement compared to some club world meals I’ve had.
I passed on the dessert options – instead of making my bed with the new White company bedding – which was very comfortable. Shoving on a mattress topper on the bed and a duvet/blanket sort of thing makes a big difference.
I watched Bobs Burgers and drifted off to sleep
I woke in time for the full breakfast service. Whilst I was pretty full from dinner, it would have been rude to turn down the service
It arrived with coffee a Croissant, fruit and a breakfast Panini, filled with eggs and bacon. And again, this was a decent arrivals service. The fruit had remained fresh, the croissant wasn’t overly hard and the panini was filled reasonably well.
Tiny croissant is tiny
Heck. This may beat the old BA Bacon Roll (which at some outstations got very wild very quick!)
With the plane waking up, and everyone having breakfast (be it the fast or slow forms of it). I raised the blinds to see the sun beginning to rise above the heavily cloudy skies.
With the captain making a 40-minute announcement, there was a bit of rush in the upper deck cabin to use the small room in time (it’s as almost as bad as Economy class).
The cabin was tidied for landing, with the upper deck cabin secure at 20 minutes before touch.
BA174 did a few loops in a Heathrow stack before being allowed to head in for landing.
With ease, the Boeing 747 cleared the stack and begun its approach into London, making short work of the landing on 27R.
With the plane pulling off the runway, it was a short taxi over to T5B – where we would be released today. Whilst I didn’t have time to dawdle at Heathrow – I had time to connect, so I was reasonably interested we would make the gate on time
With a final flourish, the plane pulled into the gate – ending the flight.
Disembarkation was slow, with passengers clearing upper deck to the lower deck, and to the exit via World Traveller Plus and finally exiting through door 1L.
I thanked the crew, and hiked off the plane.
Overall: Oh so close BA. Oh so close. We’re seeing a major up-tick in on-board service that can take the fight to AA and other carriers. We’re seeing product improvements – also welcome But putting on a Mid-J 747 was a joke wasn’t it? Sending out a plane that has seen better days like that on a premium service out of JFK was more than a little silly wasn’t it.
The crew rose to the occasion, with the upper deck crew rising to the customer service challenge.
But (and I’ll be considered a heretic by some), I still don’t like the Boeing 747 experience. Whilst it does offer the private jet experience on the upper deck, the lower deck is misery. From the 8-across business class seating, the 7 across World Traveller plus and the annoying 10 across World Traveller, it’s a world of pain.
And whilst it looks good in the sky (and BA are sweating the assets for all they’re worth), their time in the passenger experience game is coming to an end. New planes that are more efficient are around the corner – and knowing BA – will have a new generation product that should blow these old planes out of the water.
Whilst that will be sad for some… I won’t be sad saying goodbye to the Queen of the Skies.
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