It’s time for a snapshot, this time examining the passenger experience aboard British Airways 296 between Chicago O’Hare International and London Heathrow.
In case you’ve forgotten how we do travel write-ups on Economy Class and Beyond, I have two major travel writing styles:
- Trip Reports – These are full deep-dive reports taking you into the experience and the small things… as well as the big things!
- Snapshots – These are bite-sized reviews that show you the basic product in some nice gentle headlines (and normally, only images shot on the phone).
Today, we’re on the Snapshot. The full in-depth review is very near completion.
Check-in was a multistage process, with the VeriFLY requirements needing to be met first. For the UK, this included
- Covid Vaccination 3D-barcode
- Passenger Locator Form
Note, that the requirements for entering the UK have changed this flight was flown.
Once these were validated by VeriFLY, I could proceed to check-in and generate a boarding pass.
Check-in at O’Hare Terminal 5 was near door 5D.
At the check-in desk, my baggage was accepted for travel, the VeriFLY pass was checked and a boarding pass was issued.
General Security at Terminal 5 was very quiet – with only three people going through at the time of passing.
The public area has changed very little, although Dunkin Donuts has turned up in the airport to offer a value option (compared to the ripoff that is Hudson news).
The only lounge that was accessible to me was the British Airways Lounge. The First Class lounge was in the process of being refurbished.
The lounge had an order food by smartphone system, allowing pasta, burgers, children’s snacks and drinks to be ordered.
There were a limited amount of pre-packaged snacks out, as well as a help-your-self salad bar.
Boarding would be from Gate M12 at Terminal 5- this is diagonally opposite from the lounge. It was delayed slightly due to a late inbound aircraft.
Boarding was controlled by groups, with ground staff following the groups’ rules.
Once the boarding pass was scanned and the small portion of it detracted, a facial scan was taken, to mark that I had left the country.
Today’s aircraft would be a British Airways Boeing 787-9 (a 787-10 had been booked originally, but this had been downgraded). This offers British Airways full four-cabin products of First Class, Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and World Traveller (Economy Class).
Passing through Club World, the seating was in a 2-3-2 configuration with a Ying/Yang layout (there are no Club Suite seats on this aircraft yet).
In World Traveller Plus, a 2-4-2 seating configuration is present.
For those in World Traveller, the cramped “Dreamliner” 3-3-3 seating is present.
All seats in World Traveller Plus were claimed for the flight between Chicago and London.
In World Traveller Plus, an amenity kit is on the seat when you arrive.
IFE aboard this aircraft is provisioned with a Thales IFE system, This system had issues on the ground, with it only responding (poorly) to remote control functions. Once in the air, the system responded to touch.
Noise-cancelling headphones were provided for in-flight use.,
Onboard connectivity was provided by Intelsat’s (nee Gogo) 2Ku system. This is offered free to British Airways First Class passengers, whilst everyone else had to pay.
Due to the flight being a night flight, I chose not to avail myself of the internet access fee.
Service on this flight was made up of three services – a snack, a Dinner service and a pre-arrival breakfast snack.
Pretzels and drins were offered for the first pass.
The first service offered was either a pasta dish or a chicken curry.
The second service was a bagged breakfast, with a choice of cheese bagel or a turkey ham with cheese bagel. this was offered with water and yoghurt.
The aircraft landed at Heathrow slightly early, however, it was sidelined onto a taxiway for 30 minutes, as it waited for a gate and a working jetbridge to be free. By the time the aircraft arrived at the gate, over 50 minutes had passed.
From landing to ground side, the process took around the best part of an hour 1:30 minutes.
The full trip report featuring British Airways 296 is coming soon!
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