BA294 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow (WORLD TRAVELLER PLUS)
More Business, More Pleasure.
In this divided trip report
Part One: The Pleasure
- Part 1
- Two o’clock in the morning. I love this time of day. Honestly.
- The Cathay Pacific, American Airlines Lounges… and a five-hour delay
- AA87 London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare International (Premium Economy)
- Crowne Plaza O’Hare
- A photographer’s paradise? The Central Camera Company
- Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Airplane Art Extra: From the Balcony of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare
- Back to the Bunny, British Airways Lounge
- BA294 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow (World Traveller Plus)
- Wait. My Bag is Re-Flighted???
- Part 2
BA294 Chicago O’Hare to London Heathrow
Seat 35K, World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy)
British Airways Boeing 747-400 Super Hi J
90 Tier Points Earned, 3,953 Avios + 1,977 Tier Bonus
Boarding the plane, I was welcomed aboard and directed to the correct side of the plane. With that, I made my way the business class cabin. With Super Hi J containing 80 business class seats in total, it’s a premium-heavy plane.
And the cabin was pretty much full from the views of things… as was World Traveller Plus – the cabin I was in.
And yes, I paid for World Traveller Plus as a cash fare – not as an upgrade for two reasons
- I needed to guarantee a seat in the cabin
- I needed to try and get a reasonable amount of seat.
What I didn’t realise was that the seat – whilst reupholstered, is the traditional World Traveller Plus seat. This means its a country mile from the bulkhead if you’re trying to sleep against it. But it also means lots of storage.
And the seat – whilst not the latest generation of design, is “adequate” in terms of offering a footrest, leg rest and recline.
Headphones and amenities were at-seat.
Which goes for the same for the amenity kit. “adequate”, with minimal branded products (and considering how much work American are putting into their Premium Economy product, there is work to be done
Not bad, not great… just adequate.
I swear the new cabins can’t come online soon enough some days.
But with a full flight, I put the rucksack up top, along with Peepette up in the overhead bin, and the day bag by my side. The blanket went on the floor to the right of me and I was set.
With a cancellation the day before, it seems the entire flight was heading out full that evening out of O’Hare.
One of the cabin crew also chatted with me, and we wound up talking about cameras in the quiet moments of boarding. And again, its something I’m liking about BA at the moment – the human side can come out occasionally as opposed to the robotosiced
As usual, I settled into the seat and got comfy. Menus and welcome drinks were distributed, with a few choices from the galley that evening.
With boarding complete, the safety video played. I think I’ve covered this version of the BA safety video enough times to shrink the commentary down to one line.
It needs a lot of flab cut from it. I can shrink that comment down further. Trust me…
With the video done, our plane was underway, taxing past Terminal 5, before finding a friendly runway for a quick take off into a Chicago evening.
Soon it was time for BA294 to accelerate up to power.
With the flight taking off towards the east, I also got a view of the City of Chicago as the plane begun tracking across Lake Michigan and heading northwards towards Montreal, Newfoundland and the Atlantic
Hot towels were also offered.
Let’s look at the IFE system. Again, this is a Panasonic ex3 system that installed in this plane (an upgrade from the traditional Rockwell Collins system installed), as such it has a variety of content installed on it.
As usual, British Airways services have a recent copy of BBC World News installed (one of the late night 30-minute segments). It seems they didn’t bother to upgrade it over the weekend though with a copy of the Friday evening news loaded.
Quickly switching away from that, I headed deeper into the content, with a good mixture of films and TV programmes loaded.
Well, any excuse to watch Bob’s Burgers really.
Whilst I had no intention to use it, I checked to see if the in-flight Wi-Fi was active… and lo and behold – the system was activated and ready for use.
British Airways uses Gogo’s 2Ku system aboard their long haul aircraft. Pricing was akin to what I experienced when travelling between Madrid and London a couple of months ago.
As this was a flight I was focusing rest on rather than productivity, I passed on the internet access.
A bar service came round, with the first round of drinks, as well as some snacks – and it seems British Airways have switched from Penn State Pretzels over to Nibnibs Mini Pesto Breadsticks.
And yes, they’re pretty much a dry snack. At least it’s a bit more creative than plain salt pretzels.
Dinner followed shortly thereafter, with a choice of three items – I went for the prawn curry.
Whilst three prawns may look a little mean, they were decent sized ones – which does make a difference. The curry that went with it had plenty of flavours, and the rice was passable (and more importantly – wasn’t dried out).
The mozzarella salad worked reasonably (if not my first choice), whilst the desert slice (chocolate and salted caramel omere seemed to pair well.
A reasonably well put together tray.
With the meal service completed, and the meal trays eventually collected, the lights went down. I tried to get some sleep in the remaining time of the flight. Not that my head falling to the side of the bulkhead helped a bit.
Eventually, I found a comfortable position and dozed off for a few hours, only to be woken for the breakfast service.
Whilst we have left the dark days of the breakfast muffin/bar/other bad things, it seems that British Airways aren’t exactly going over the top with their warm breakfast items
This is what I mean.
Well. It’s still better than a breakfast bar I suppose. This was washed down with a coffee in a vain attempt to rouse me back to life.
It was vain.
I checked the map – and we were closing on Heathrow thanks to Voyager 3D.
With the plane closing in on Heathrow Airport, the cabin was cleared down, and everything brought back into landing configuration. Meanwhile, on the crest of sunrise was in the distance as well
The plane entered one of the stacks at Heathrow – with it being a bit early, before exiting and heading for landing.
With a bump, the Boeing 747-400 landed safely at Heathrow Airport.
The 747 pulled off the runway, and taxied back slowly to the Terminal 5 complex, with morning time rising over the airport.
Eventually, our plane found somewhere to park on the far side of Terminal 5B and the engines came to a stop.
With a bong, the seatbelts sign was released, and it was time to go.
I gathered my items and waited for a short while whilst the jetbridge was docked. Eventually, I made my way off the plane.
Overall: Adequate was a term I used earlier in this trip report, and it seems to be the ultimate theme of the flight. The food service has improved in World Traveller Plus, along with the secondary snack service.
But the sooner the 747 and these end of life Premium Economy Seat go – the better. Whilst you gain the living space, there is a lot of wasted space between the seat and bulkhead.
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