It’s time for another snapshot, this time focusing on the passenger experience aboard British Airways on their Airbus A380 between London Heathrow and Chicago O’Hare in World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy)
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, 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 coming. But it’s taking a lot longer than usual to put fingers on the keyboard…
This seat was booked as part of the original booking made. Thus, I was able to allocate my seat, thanks to the status I hold. An offer to Club World was available – this was not exercised due to the cost.
I checked in at Terminal 5 at Chicago O’Hare International Terminal. The BA desks have moved down slightly from Door 5D. There was no queue to be seen, with both bags accepted for travel back to London Heathrow.
Security was ill-managed at O’Hare T5 – something that has become common since more carriers have moved into the terminal. The Left-Hand Security queue (near the BA counters) was capped, with passengers diverted to the main security queue.
The TSA were their usual selves.
Apparently, reminding a TSA Supervisor that the words “Please and Thank you go a long way” is met with ire these days.
It seems construction is still the name of the game at Terminal 5, with narrow walkways in key sections. Again, the terminal is as busy as ever, especially since Delta has moved in.
British Airways has a Terraces Lounge at Terminal 5.
This has had a light refresh with new furniture. The dining area had been divided into a general area and a separate First Class Dining area – divided by a partition.
A mixture of snacks was in the main lounge, whilst hot items were in the dining room.
Again, an Airbus A380 was used for the Chicago – London segment.
Boarding of the aircraft was from Gate M11, which can handle dual-decker aircraft. Boarding was conducted by groups and in order. To exit the USA, an image was taken on a device and the boarding card ripped.
Premium Economy is laid out on a 2-3-2 formation on the upper deck. I allocated myself a window seat for this flight – one behind the exit row. The seat also features extra storage in the side bin, next to the window. Two USB-A ports were within easy reach (although these charged the phone very slowly).
British Airways has a Thales IFE System installed on this seat – which is built into the seatback, within a comfortable eye-line. This has the old-generation interface on it, with touch-responsiveness being a little sluggish. The system was rebooted during the early phase of the flight with it out of action for the best part of an hour during the meal service when the entire system was restarted.
Noise-cancelling headphones (BA branded) were supplied for use.
Connectivity (In-Flight Wi-fi)
Onboard connectivity was provided aboard this aircraft with a 2Ku connectivity option powered by Intelsat (formally Gogo 2Ku). This was not used for the flight to the United Kingdom.
Menus were offered before departure – as well as a choice of pre-departure beverages (water/orange juice).
Once airborne, a drinks round with a snack was offered. A bottle of wine was also offered at this point for the main meal.
A choice of the main meal was given. The chicken option was selected.
Before arrival, a breakfast service was offered – this was a warmed breakfast muffin.
The aircraft to London over South Wales, through one of the Heathrow stacks, before lining up for the Northern Runway at Heathrow Airport. Upon landing, it was a quick taxi to Terminal 5 C, where two jetbridges were attached to the aircraft to allow the discharge of passengers.
From Terminal 5 C, the transit was used to travel to Terminal 5 A and the main immigration hall. Even though it was around 11:20 when I entered the hall, I was able to clear the UK Border in three minutes flat with a manual passport inspection.
Luggage delivery took its usual Heathrow time, taking 45 minutes from landing to bags arriving on the belt.
From there, I was able to exit via customs and head to a rest area to wait for the coach back to Birmingham.
The full review of British Airways 295 is coming soon!
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